Today’s Cubs Birthdays (October 23)
Gummo Marx 1893 (Cubs fan 1909–1920)
The Marx family had moved from New York to Chicago in 1909. For much of that time they lived in a large house at 4512 South Grand Boulevard (now called Martin Luther King Boulevard). The house is still there. The Marx Brothers (Gummo, Groucho, Harpo, Chico, and Zeppo) were already a traveling Vaudeville Act in April of 1917 when America entered World War I. They had been touring in the south when War was declared. But the war forced them to take drastic measures: they purchased a farm in LaGrange, Illinois. Their mother had heard that farmers were going to be exempt from military service, and she wanted to do whatever was necessary to keep her boys out the fight…even if it meant becoming farmers. This is the way Groucho Marx described his days on the LaGrange farm…”The first day we got up at 5 in the morning. The second morning we dawdled until 6. By the end of the first week we slept until noon, which gave us just enough time to catch the 1:07 train to Chicago to see the Chicago Cubs play.” They became regulars at Wrigley Field (then known as Cubs park) during the World Series year of 1918. The Marx family moved back to New York in the fall of 1920 and a decade later they moved west to Hollywood. But the boys came back to Chicago often to perform. In 1930, the same year they filmed “Animal Crackers,” they also performed the stage version of the play with the same cast at Chicago’s new Civic Opera House. Each time they returned to Chicago, they made a pilgrimage to their old stomping grounds at Wrigley Field. They may have been the worst farmers in American history, but farming’s loss was the Chicago Cubs’ gain.
~John Lackey 1978 (Cubs 2016-present)
After the 2015 season the Cubs realized they needed one more big starter to take them to the next level. Lackey was signed to a free agent contract to fill that role. The 2-time World Series champ (with Angels & Red Sox) was exactly the veteran presence the Cubs were looking for–he won 11 games, posted a solid 3.35 ERA, and held down a spot in the postseason rotation (although he didn’t win any of those games). He is now a 3-time World Series champ.
~Mike Sullivan 1866 (Colts 1890)
Big Mike, as he was called, pitched for the Cubs (then known as the Colts) early in his career. He went on to pitch in the big leagues for ten seasons for Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland, and Boston. In his one season in Chicago, he was 5-6 with a 4.59 ERA. Mike died only a few years after he retired, at the way too young age of 39.
~Félix Doubront 1987 (Cubs 2014-present)
The Venezuelan lefty was an important part of the Red Sox pitching staff that won the 2013 World Series, but he got off to a rough start in 2014, and was acquired by the Cubs. In limited action at the end of the 2014 season, he pitched fairly well for the Cubs (3.98 ERA)
~Solly Drake 1930 (Cubs 1956)
Solly got a lot of time in centerfield for the 1956 Cubs. He showed some speed on the basepaths (9 stolen bases), and played decently defensively, but didn’t really hit enough to keep his spot in the lineup. Drake later played for the Dodgers and Phillies. Both of his career homers were hit while wearing a Cubs uniform. Solly’s brother Sammy played for the Cubs too. (Photo: 1957 Topps Baseball Card)