Early baseball history is often a blur of fact vs. fiction.
The case of HOF left-hander and former Cub, Rube Waddell, is no exception.
Luckily there are guys like Dan O’Brien, a well respected source on Waddell, who’ve dedicated countless hours to uncover the truths of baseball’s past.
My latest ‘Cubs History’ piece featured Waddell’s brief tenure with the Cubs. O’Brien was kind enough to fill me in on some slight inaccuracies with the post, and I’ve since updated the post accordingly. Below is a copy of his email to me.
-Email from Dan O’Brien:
I always love to see Rube Waddell references. You captured the basics of Rube’s departure from Chicago’s National League team but, as an admitted nitpicker where Rube is concerned, I have to point out some very slight inaccuracies in your recent column.
Rube didn’t exactly bolt Chicago for a Pacific Coast League team. Chicago had suspended Rube near the end of the 1901 season. He then pitched for semi-pro teams in Wisconsin. In one memorable match-up, Rube faced fellow future Hall of Famer Addie Joss for the Wisconsin state championship. Joss’s Racine team defeated Waddell’s Kenosha club, 4-2, despite 19 strikeouts for Rube. Rube played football in the area and announced he would remain in Wisconsin.
However, Joe Cantillon enticed Rube join a West Coast barnstorming group of major league players. During the barnstorming tour, Rube signed to play with Jim Morley’s Los Angeles team for the 1902 CALIFORNIA League season. The Pacific Coast League didn’t play its first season until the following year (1903).
O’Brien has written a screenplay based on Rube’s life. The script recently placed third in the Cherub Productions’ Free Screenplay Contest, which received 1,986 entries from around the world.