The Chicago Cubs of
Catalina Island

Phillip Wrigley and Charlie Grimm discuss who the GOAT is.

In 1891, William Mills Wrigley Jr. broke away from his birth city of Philadelphia and the his Quaker roots to make his name in the industrial business center of Chicago. At the time there was only $32 attached to that name, but he used the money to bankroll a (very) small company that sold 'Wrigley's Scouring Soap'... which was quickly a failure. In fact, it was such a failure that when he had offered his customers free baking powder as an incentive to buy his merchandise, the baking powder became more popular than the soap. Undeterred, Wrigley dumped all of the soap and switched to selling the baking powder... which once again proved to be a failure—the chewing gum that he gave away as an incentive to buy the baking powder proved to be the more popular than the baking powder. Again Wrigley adapted. He dumped the baking powder and started selling the gum. This time the business was a success, and it was in chewing gum that Wrigley finally made a name for himself—and he printed that name on each pack, so everybody knew.

By 1916, Wrigley was an all-American success story, with untold amounts of wealth... but he was restless. He he wanted his name to mean more than what was seen on 5-cent packets of spearmint gum. Most men try to prove themselves and impress others with feats of strength and athleticism. Wrigley, however, was above that—he could prove himself by buying men who would impress others with feats of strength and athleticism. So he bought a minority stake in the Chicago Cubs baseball team of the National League, as part of a group headed by Charles Weeghman, former owner of the Federal League's Chicago Whales. Over the next few years, Weeghman's lunch-counter business declined, and in order to pay the bills he was forced to sell much of his stock in the ball club... to Wrigley, who once again pounced on a business failure to remake himself and steadily increased his stake. By 1918, Weeghman had sold all of his stock, making Wrigley the largest shareholder and principal owner of the Cubs. In a new twist, he didn't rename the team after himself—just (eventually) the stadium. The team stayed the Cubs, and the only surnames on the uniforms were the players'.

The Cubs started off strong under Wrigley, with a World Series appearance in 1918. But the next year was bad for the team—and for baseball, which took a blow to its credibility as the National Pastime thanks to Wrigley's cross town rivals, the White Sox (now called the "Black Sox") and a gambling scandal that occurred during the 1919 World Series. The Cubs weren't accused of fixing any games, as they finished too low to have been effective at it. Players grumbled that the only thing they wanted fixed was their spring training facilities. While they were still called the Colts, the club had a spring retreat in Hot Springs, Arkansas, where the team would "boil out" what manager Cap Anson and his trainers dubbed the "alcoholic microbes" built up over the offseason. Wrigley thought that the team could go to the warmer climate in California. He and his wife had purchased a mansion in Pasadena, and he wanted the club to be close so he could keep an eye on the players (and their microbes).

A production of "Damn Yankees" at the Avalon Theatre? Nope, just baseball players thrilled to be out of the Chicago snow.

In February 1919, Wrigley and his wife, Ada, road (not rowed) on his ship Hermosa across the San Pedro Channel in the Pacific Ocean, searching for an island that Wrigley had bought controlling interest in, sight unseen, for three million dollars (or roughly 60,000,000 packs of chewing gum). The island, 22 miles long and 8 miles across at its greatest width, was located about 29 miles south-southwest of Long Beach, and called Santa Catalina Island—part of the Channel Islands archipelago, sitting within Los Angeles County—though separated from Los Angeles by a lot of water, so it was private. The goal was to make this little kingdom the new practice facility for Wrigley's ballclub when it was too cold to play in Chicago.

Wrigley saw Mount Orizaba rising 2,097 feet in the sky as the fog lifted from the rocky shores. "My goodness. It is a mountain, I thought it was flat," Wrigley griped.¹ They disembarked and stayed in a luxurious (for the island) suite at the St. Catherine Hotel in beautiful Descanso Canyon, and decided to sleep over. Well, the sea air must have done wonders for their marital relations. The next day, Wrigley told reporters that as the sun rose, his wife had "walked to the window, and, after a moment, called excitedly, 'I should like to live here.'" He then recalled, "I joined her at the window. The sun was just coming up. I had never seen a more beautiful spot. Right then and there I determined the island would never pass out of my hands."²

As we have established, William Wrigley Jr. was not a man afraid of re-starting from scratch. So Wrigley combined his passions (minus the chewing gum), sending his Cubs to his temperate island as their perennial spring-training grounds—a brave move for a team that had finished below sea level the previous season.

On March 16, 1920, the Chicago Cubs arrived to train in a tropical paradise... wobbily disembarking from Wrigley's ship and climbing aboard an open-air cattle truck that the locals fondly called the 'Catalina Goat'. They rode along the bay, waving at the adoring local fans who had plastered a "Chicago Cubs Welcome to Our Island" sign on the Goat's rear end. In those rugged early days on the island, it must have seemed like they were headed into the wilderness for military training.

The Cubs' outfielders prepare to track down some of Rogers Hornsby's longer blasts.

Gabby Hartnett asks Charlie Grimm, "Weren't we supposed to be meeting the Tigers?" I can't believe I wrote that joke.
Baseball was in trouble in 1920, with a general perception by fans that corruption had permeated the game. Wrigley wanted to help America regain its confidence in the game, in itself and its institutions and heroes; Baseball was a "whale of a business," Wrigley enthused, claiming to draw from the diamond "larger dividends in fun and personal satisfaction than ... in money." The hope was that by bringing baseball to Catalina, the Cubs could start over fresh every Spring, and hoped that pro baseball could start over again, right along with them. It was also meant to revitalize Santa Catalina Island. Predicting that the development of Catalina would be "one of the greatest pleasures of my life," Wrigley hastened to add, "While my motive in purchasing the island is largely a romantic one, I am going to leave no stone unturned to make it a refuge from worry and work for rich and poor."²

It must be stated here that even in 1920, Santa Catalina Island was not the oasis that it presents itself to be today. Being 25 miles offshore from the California coast, it was remote and rocky, and known more for smuggling, otter hunting, and gold digging. By the end of the 19th century, the island was almost uninhabited except for a few cattle herders. Developers tried to build a resort, but in 1915, a fire burned half of the buildings, including six hotels and several clubs. In the face of huge debt related to the fire and the subsequent decline in tourism, the owners sold the island in shares, and Wrigley pounced. Through Wrigley's vision of an "Island of Romance," and more importantly his money to upgrade the infrastructure, utilities, agriculture, architecture, and even its animal life, he was able to transform it into the high-prices tourist destination it is today. Wrigley wanted to promote tourism, and he used the Cubs to do it.

Wrigley also wanted to promote Major League Baseball in the rapidly-growing western states. In the early 20th Century, the National and American Leagues didn't exist on the West Coast. Before commercial plane travel, it would take days for a baseball team to travel to the West Coast by train or bus, and would have left days or weeks between games in a regular schedule. As a result, there were no teams closer to California than St. Louis, despite a warmer climate that allowed baseball to be played year-round. There were local minor leagues, but the only way East Coast transplants in California could follow their favorite pro baseball team was to read the newspaper, or catch an unofficial game as the teams barnstormed across the western states in the off-season.

The Cubs work out on the sandy Catalina beach. "When somebody steals second, just raise your hands like this and let them. Don't be a victim."

Still, the remoteness of the island was an obstacle, and the construction of the new baseball-centric paradise was behind schedule. The Cubs trained on the beach while engineers scouted for a level location suitable for a ballfield on the rugged hills. There weren't many girls on the beach yet, or any other distractions for that matter, so the work was still getting done. Eventually they decided on a space in Avalon Canyon, adjacent to the oldest continuously operating golf course west of the Mississippi River—a rugged nine-hole sandtrap built by the island's original developers, the Bannon Brothers. The team set up the field and clubhouse in Avalon Canyon. Avalon townspeople began calling the field "Wrigley Field," although it was never officially named that.

Early blueprints, titled the "Plan for Training Grounds for the Chicago Cubs at Avalon," showed an irrigated, sodded field picturesquely set at the base of Avalon Canyon and laid out to reproduce exactly the dimensions of Wrigley Field in Chicago.³ Bulkhead lattice would be used for the fence and a clubhouse would be located along the first-base line with first-class amenities such as a massage and rubbing room (remember those microbes), and a dedicated area behind home plate for the increasing number of newsmen accompanying the team on their annual island frolic. Along the third-base line, next to a row of eucalyptus trees planted for shade and protection from errant golf balls from the adjacent course, architects included a dedicated spectators' entrance to grandstands projected to seat 1,000 locals and tourists. Beyond the right-field fence, there would be a series of bungalows or "casitas" designed for players and staff with families in tow. About 1,500 feet beyond the bungalows, directly down the first-base line, Wrigley built a spring training bungalow for himself and his family on top of a 350-foot hill he dubbed Mount Ada in honor of his wife. But a lot of work still had to be done: There was land to grade, goats to herd and rocks to remove, and all of the equipment for the job had to be shipped to the island.

The February 1921 issue of the Catalina Islander reported that Cubs manager Johnny Evers had agreed to let his team take on a team of islanders calling themselves the "Catalina Cubs" in Avalon, and that "the game will be an interesting one for the island fans is the general opinion."⁴ In fact, while the Cubs were away the whole complex was to be used by the semipro Catalina Cubs, whose manager, Harry D. Diffin, would use the stadium for the local semipro team, using the finest facilities on the West Coast. Diffin's family ran the local grocery store, which sponsored scorecards for games. But Wrigley had much bigger plans: to bring big-time baseball to the disenfranchised people of California.

William Wrigley Jr. (left) and partners look over the blue print for Wrigley Field: 20,000 fans, one bathroom. (Photograph courtesy Los Angeles Public Library / Herald-Examiner Collection)

In 1921, Wrigley purchased the Los Angeles Angels baseball club of the Pacific Coast League, a top-notch year-round western baseball operation that used youngsters (Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams would get their starts in the league) and old Major Leaguers to entertain baseball fans on the mainland, near his new mansion in Pasadena. Wrigley purchased the Angels for the (then) astronomical sum of $150,000 (3 million packs of chewing gum), and then built a stadium for the team a few years later, called (of course) Wrigley Field. The million-dollar park (20-million packs of chewing gum) opened on September 29, 1925. The Angels and Cubs were Wrigley's newest passion, and the two teams would play each other in their home parks, in Los Angeles and Catalina, during the National League's off-season. The Cubs and Angels played the first exhibition game of 1926 in the brand-new L.A. stadium, with the Angels beating the Cubs handily, 5-2.⁵

Wrigley Field, Catalina

Wrigley lets the coach know who will be swimming home the next morning.
The Catalina ball field was the most extravagant on the Pacific Coast. Wrigley was a familiar face at the ball field, usually sitting in the bleachers to watch the workouts. By the end of that 20s, he had also constructed a clubhouse (now the Catalina Island Country Club). Like the windows and rooftops on Waveland Avenue in Chicago today, the clubhouse patios provided a sociable left-field perch for viewing the field below. But Wrigley's mansion was up on the hill, where he could oversee the play on the field via a telescope from his office perch. Underperformers would receive a summons to run up the rocky hills and terraces in the hot island weather leading to the Wrigley home, where, sweating and itchy in their woolen uniforms, they would be given the next day's boating schedule back to the mainland, and a different career.

Star second baseman and future Hall-of-Famer Rogers Hornsby said, "Like most successful men Mr. Wrigley was a man of strong likes and dislikes. If you showed him you were on the level he was for you right down the line. But if you ever did anything to show that your heart was not in your work, or that you would not help to make his the best rowboat, or the best steamship, or the best island, or the best ball club, he had no time for you, and did not want to see you in the picture any longer."²

Created for the home market in the year 1940, this silent newsreel film shows the Chicago Cubs during Spring Training on Catalina Island.

Wrigley aimed to create an exotic island health spa, away from the city and its mental, emotional and physical impurities—and he promoted the island to tourists as such: "Keep trim with the ballplayers at Santa Catalina Island" and "The Cubs are here—why don't you come, too?"

The strategy worked. In the ten years from 1919 to 1929, the exploits of Wrigley and his team had increased the number of visitors to the island from 90,000 to 750,000.

By the middle of the 1920s the Cubs and the field itself had become the island's biggest winter tourist attraction, as the third Wrigley Field, behind the Cubs home base back in Chicago and Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. (The Chicago ballpark was actually the third Wrigley Field. It was known first as Weeghman Park, and then as Cubs Park, before being renamed Wrigley Field in 1926, to connect all three branches of Wrigley's baseball empire.) Logically, the Catalina Wrigley Field's dimensions were built to mirror those of the big club's Chicago base of operations, as was the field in LA, so if a player made it to the main squad when the NL season began, the transition would be smooth.

Catalina and the Cubs were both gaining in notoriety and in popularity. "If this is part of the Cub ball club treatment to players then a pennant should be forthcoming ere long," Cubs coach Bobby Wallace told the Chicago Tribune in 1923, adding that he "had never seen the equal of the spring training Bill Wrigley had resolved to provide his players."

Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy try to explain to the Cubs why a ventriloquist act is funny on the radio: "Trust me, my lips are barely moving when you hear him talk!"

Stan Hack saves a window on a house behind the left field fence as Barney Olsen slides for no reason into third in 1941. (Photo Courtesy Catalina Island Museum)
Unfortunately, the improvement in the training grounds did not automatically lead to an improvement in the National League standings. But after a last-place finish in 1925, the Cubs began a period of dramatic improvement, and Wrigley saw to it that the island kept pace. Even these he regarded as potential distractions, preferring instead to market the glass-bottomed boats and scenic tours. "There are hills to climb and flowers to pluck," Wrigley insisted, implying that racier diversions were best left to the mainland.²

Beyond the ballfield and clubhouse, Wrigley improved the island with public utilities, new steamships, and extensive plantings of trees, shrubs, and flowers, and even animals. He invested millions in infrastructure and attractions, improving the hotel into a 5-star resort, and adding a Casino in 1929 with and one of the first movie houses designed for "talkies." At first, Wrigley tried to keep the ballplayers away from the resort trappings and other distractions, but he allowed that the Cubs and their boosters deserved high-quality music and dancing, even though he himself did not dance, and installed a 12-story dance hall; Big-name bands-like Harry James and Jimmy Dorsey would play on weekends in a ballroom that boasted the world's largest uninterrupted dance floor and space aplenty for 1,800 simultaneously whirling couples. The Cubs would import girls from the mainland to provide partners for the dances, although wives and families were welcome on the island and often accompanied the players.

Wrigley also created good jobs for the local residents, beyond the Catalina Cubs squad. By making use of clay and minerals found on the island at a beach near Avalon, Wrigley created the Pebbly Beach quarry and tile plant. Along with creating jobs for Avalon residents, the plant also supplied material for the building projects on the island. Then Catalina Clay Products Tile and Pottery Plant began producing glazed tiles, dinnerware and other household items such as bookends (and are still highly valued today).

With Wrigley's efforts to glamorize the island, Catalina became a featured location for motion pictures such as Mutiny on the Bounty. Many celebrities and actors worked and played on Catalina Island during the 1930s. As a result, Many celebrities and actors worked and played on Catalina Island during the 1930s. Cary Grant, Clark Gable, Errol Flynn, Joan Crawford, Betty Grable, Norma Shearer, Irving Thalberg, Richard Arlen and Johnny Weismuller were all frequent visitors. Some developed life-long love affairs with the Island and its surrounding waters. Charlie Chaplin and his wife Paulette Goddard were frequent visitors and loved angling for marlin and tuna around the Island. James Cagney and his wife were known to anchor their yacht Marian in Descanso Bay. Marilyn Monroe visited often (she had once lived there as a 16-year-old teen bride by the name of Norma Jean Daugherty, before going into acting and modeling). Cecil B. De Mille was quoted in The Catalina Islander as saying that Catalina is "the only place where I can get away to work amid real inspiration." Buffalo were imported for one picture and then were left to roam wild. Each week, Harry Grattan, proprietor of the St. Catherine's gift shop, would report his celebrity sightings in a newspaper column called "Lobbying at the Hotel St. Catherine."

Charlie Chaplin and Paulette Goddard

Errol Flynn

Teen bride Norma Jean (Marilyn Monroe)
The success of the Catalina spring training, coupled with smart moves by the front office, and an owner determined to pay the asking rate for the league's best players, made the team a fan and tourist draw, and created winners of both the island and the club.

A typical spring training for the Cubs began in mid-February, when pitchers, catchers and rookies would hop on one of Wrigley's fleet of tourist ships in Los Angles, including the Hermosa, the Cabrillo, the S.S. Avalon, and the S.S. Catalina, "The Great White Steamship" for the three-hour trip to Catalina. The rest of the team followed a week later. The trip did not come without a cost: almost everyone experienced severe sea-sickness on the way over in the choppy winter waters off the coast of Los Angeles. (Explaining how Dizzy Dean got his nickname.)

The Cubs would disembark on the island to cheers, parades, speeches and live music, then join the fashionable partiers at the Hotel St. Catherine, where they stayed. The team would be accompanied by the sports press, including a radio sportscaster named Ronald "Dutch" Reagan, who covered the Cubs on Catalina, who would go on to earn acclaim in different environments, from acting to politics, to worsening reviews.

Meanwhile, the Cubs were getting better. Manager "Boss Joe" McCarthy had led the team to 4th- and 3rd-place finishes respectively in 1927 and 1928, and the front office made a blockbuster trade for the league-leading hitter from the Boston Braves, Rogers Hornsby, for $40,000. Hornsby joined Hack Wilson, Kiki Cuyler, and Riggs Stephenson as a power-hitting foursome the Associated Press dubbed "The Four Bludgeoneers"⁶—which sounded morte like a mob outfit than a baseball squad, but it got the message across. The Cubs pummeled the Angels, 11-6, in their first exhibition game of the season at LA's Wrigley Field, delighting the reported 8,000 fans on hand for the novelty of a match between the two teams owned by Wrigley.

The 1929 Chicago Cubs season was the 58th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 54th in the National League and the 14th at Wrigley Field. The Rogers Hornsby acquisition definitely paid off: He hit .380, with 39 home runs, 149 RBI and a .679 slugging percentage. The 156 runs he scored were the most by a right-handed batter in the National League during the 20th century. Hornsby collected his second Most Valuable Player award, and the Cubs finished first in the National League with a record of 98-54, 10.5 games ahead of the second place Pittsburgh Pirates. The team was defeated four games to one by the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1929 World Series. By the end of the season, the Cubs had drawn an estimated 1.5 million fans to Chicago's Wrigley Field—500,000 more than had visited Santa Catalina Island. Exactly ten years after the "Black Sox" World Series had disgraced the National Pastime, thanks to that other team across town, Wrigley had saved his team, Catalina, and baseball itself, and his dream had come gloriously true.

The team would arrive every spring on one of Wrigley's fleet of ships from the mainland... This was the way a player traveled home if he was cut from the roster.

The relationship between Cubs and Catalina lasted for thirty years, which is longer than most show business marriages, anyway. During that time Avalon served as a training ground for several hundred players, including 16 future Hall of Famers, whose success and popularity turned rocky, remote Santa Catalina Island into an enclave for movie stars and starlets, while the tourist trade boomed. "I am putting more than $1,000,000 a year into Catalina," Wrigley told reporters in the early 1930s. "I may be foolish in doing this. I do not think so. I love the island, and before I pass on I hope to have a larger portion of my fortune invested there. I feel that I am doing something definite and useful for humanity in developing it."² He loved the island so much that he was interred there after his death in January 1932, in a custom-built sarcophagus at the base of a reinforced concrete and Catalina tile mausoleum said to be 80 feet tall and 180 feet deep... although during World War II the family moved his body to Pasadena, citing increased security concerns. At his death, Wrigley was worth $34 million or (680,000,000 packs of chewing gum—approximately $657 million today), but he was worth much more than that to Catalina, and to baseball fans.

The Cubs would train in Avalon from 1921 to 1951, with the exception of the war years of 1942-1945, when Catalina Island became a training ground and lookout station for the military. The Cubs' last season on the island was 1951. A spell of bad weather, including an actual snowstorm, pushed the team to move spring operations to Mesa, Arizona. According to the Daily Breeze, an announcement was made in May 1965 by then-owner Philip K. Wrigley (William's son), that the Cubs would return to Catalina temporarily for the 1966 spring training session while other permanent facilities were being finished. But a combination of timing issues and the expense of conducting the camp caused the team to reconsider, and they trained at Blair Stadium in Long Beach instead.⁶ After that they returned to Arizona, where their spring training is held to this day.

Even though Wrigley is gone from the island, his dream for Santa Catalina Island—that it be protected for future generations to enjoy, came true. In 1972, his son Philip established the Catalina Island Conservancy and, incredibly, transferred all family ownership to it. The Wrigley Memorial stands in the Wrigley Botanical Gardens on the island. But that isn't all the family preserved: Baseball remained after the Cubs left, as well: The semi-professional Catalina Cubs (sometimes Angels) remained, all those years after that practice game, sponsored by the Wrigleys. Their opponents were semi-pro teams from the mainland such as Fox Studios and the Paramount Cubs. Pitcher Hub Kittle recalled, "We were getting $50 a month, and we were working for the Santa Catalina Island Company. They hired us to play ball, but since we worked for Mr. Wrigley's company, we did other things, too. They had us pick up the garbage, empty the cans by the ballpark—it was part of our work." Kittle claims that, "I got pictures of Marilyn Monroe—out on Catalina. She was a good ball fan, she came to the park."⁹

Meanwhile, the ball field on Catalina is gone; only a plaque noting the location remains, implanted on the grounds of what is currently the Catalina Island Country Club, though its clubhouse is the same structure that Wrigley built for the Cubs. But the memories remain.


¹—William Sanford White, Santa Catalina Island: Its magic, people, and history, White Limited Editions; First Edition (January 1, 1997) 200 pages; Ernest Windle, Windle's History of Santa Catalina Island (Avalon, California: Catalina Islander Newspaper, 1931), 19.
²—William Zimmerman, William Wrigley Jr.: the Man and His Business (Chicago: R.R. Donnelley and Sons Co., 1935), 221-242.
³—"Plan for Training Grounds for the Chicago Cubs at Avalon," collection of the Catalina Island Museum, Avalon, California.
⁴—"Catalina Cubs vs. Chicago Cubs," Catalina Islander, February 1921.
⁵—The First Time the Cubs Ever Played on Wrigley Field, It Was in Los Angeles, by Paul Buchanan for "Los Angeles Magazine", April 19, 2017: "The Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Angels—both owned by chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley Jr.—played the first exhibition game of 1926 in a brand new L.A. stadium, Wrigley Field. The park, which stood on the corner of Avalon Boulevard and 41st Street, was built for $1.3 million and seated 30,000, which made it the largest ballpark west of Chicago."
⁶—Spring training with the Cubs on Catalina Island. South Bay History blog, on spring training baseball action at the Chicago Cubs' Wrigley Field facility on Catalina Island in the 1920s: Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr.'s twin interests in baseball and Catalina Island—he bought Catalina in 1919, and gained a controlling interest in the Cubs in 1921—dovetailed nicely when he made the decision to have the Cubs train on Catalinia Island.
⁷—Associated Press, "Cub Bludgeoneers Gird for Flag Fight," Carbondale (Pennsylvania) Daily Free Press, March 8, 1929, p. 8.
⁸—Edward Burns, "Mr. Wrigley's Boys Quit Island For the Big Town," Chicago Tribune, March 8, 1929, p. 23.
⁹—Hub Kittle profile by Ken Ross.


  • "Wrigley Back on Catalina; Chicago Cubs Due at Avalon Sunday," News-Pilot, San Pedro, California; 23 Feb 1921, Wednesday; Page 1.
  • "Sight Seeing Trips Through Souther CaliforniaCatalina Island," The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California; Sunday, July 10, 1921; Page 5.
  • "Big baseball Show Begins," The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Knoxville, Tennessee; 21 Feb 1931, Saturday, Page 7.
  • "MAN WHO SOLD GUM TO WORLD CLOSES CAREER," The Idaho Statesman, Boise, Idaho; 27 Jan 1932, Wednesday; Page 1. (Page 2)
  • "Manager Hornsby's Chicago Cubs Capture Catalina Island!," Idaho Evening Times, Twin Falls, Idaho; 25 Feb 1932, Thursday; Page 2.
  • "Spring Is Here! Major Baseball Practice Begins in West, Santa Rosa Republican, Santa Rosa, California; 07 Mar 1939, Tuesday; Page 4.
  • "Cubs Toil Under Warm Catalina Sun," by Edward Burns, The Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California; 24 Feb 1940, Saturday; Page 9.
  • "Hey, Boys! Don't You Need a Maypole?," The Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee; 06 Mar 1941, Thursday; Page 14
  • "Cubs Open Training at Catalina Base Tomorrow," by Frank T. Blair, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Long Beach, California; 16 Feb 1947, Sunday; Page 15.

    • Cubs on Catalina: A Scrapbookful of Memories about a 30-Year Love Affair Between One of Baseball's Classic Team & California's Most Fanciful Isle, by Jim Vitti; Settefrati Press; Illustrated edition (September 1, 2003), 382 pages. "Booze and broads, World Series rings, a couple dozen Hall-of-Famers, and memories. Grown guys named Gabby and Jolly Cholly and Dizzy and Fuzzy, whose tales would stir any imagination. There¬ís human drama, laughter and tears tucked into these 35 breezy chapters, filled with oral histories (first-person interviews with more than 50 former Cubs), old newspaper reports, and scores of fascinating photos—written in the voice of a wide-eyed kid on the isle in those days." Named "Book of the Year" by The Sporting News. Now in its 10th year, The Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award is the most prestigious honor in sports publishing. This is the ultimate book to get on the Cubs and Catalina. However, if it's too expensive for your taste, he did a streamlined version, detailed below.
    • Chicago Cubs: Baseball on Catalina Island by Jim Vitti; Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2010. The team was the Chicago Cubs, and the place was Santa Catalina Island—through the Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, and World War II. William Wrigley owned both island and ballclub; from 1921 to 1951, they came together. There were movie stars, like Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe. There were grand steamships, big bands, hopes and dreams, and World Series rings. It's Chicago Cubs: Baseball on Catalina Island, and it's a trip like no other.
    • Cubs Spring Training on Catalina Island!. Subscribe to 'Old Baseball Photos and Essays!' for automatic updates at
    • Wrigley Field, Los Angeles. SportsHollywood's page on Wrigley's other field, occupied by his other team until 1958.
    • Catalina Island, by Zachary Michael Jack for the Society for American Baseball Research.
    • Greetings from Catalina Island, from the article in the 1997 issue of Spring Training Magazine.
    • Chicago Cubs on Catalina Island, on the Catalina Food Tours site. "Explore Avalon's unique food scene with our friendly local guides! Encounter the flavors, sights & stories behind our enchanted isle on private or public tours. Escape & discover the authentic pace of island life on Catalina."
    • SABR Digital Library: Winning on the North Side: The 1929 Chicago Cubs, edited by Gregory H. Wolf, 314 pages. SABR's newest e-book celebrates the 1929 Chicago Cubs, one of the most exciting teams in baseball history. Bashing their way to the pennant by crushing their opponents in a high-scoring era, skipper Joe McCarthy's North Siders were an offensive juggernaut, leading the majors with 982 runs scored. Future Hall of Famers Hack Wilson, '29 NL MVP Rogers Hornsby, and Kiki Cuyler, along with Riggs Stephenson formed one of the most potent quartets in baseball history, collectively scoring 493 runs and knocking in 520. As awe-inspiring as the Cubs offense was, their pitching was almost as good. Charlie Root, Guy Bush, and Pat Malone anchored a staff that finished second in team ERA and led the league in shutouts.
    • California's Gold, with Huell Howser. Chicago millionaire William Wrigley brought excitement to the Catalina Island every year, when his Chicago Cubs baseball team came for spring training each season through the late 1940s. A ball field was built and visitors came from Los Angeles and other California cities to watch the "Catalina" Cubs.
    Jeffrey C. Hause has written professionally (in a very amateur fashion) for entertainers like Jay Leno, Jim Carrey, Rodney Dangerfield, Gabe Kaplan, Rick Dees and people he'd rather not tell you about. He's also written screenplays for producers like Ivan Reitman, Richard Donner, Ray Stark, Lawrence Turman, and Samuel Goldwyn Jr., at Warner Brothers, Disney, Universal, Columbia, Franchise Pictures and Interscope. Here's his résumé. You can e-mail him at

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