Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Brothers and the Cubs

Thanks to Rick Kaempfer, editor of the blog Just One Bad Century, for pointing out that the Marx Brothers were Chicago Cubs fans. At the time of WW I, Minnie moved the family to a farm in LaGrange, Illinois, because she had heard that farmers would not be drafted. Rick quotes Groucho's comments about life on the 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.
Apparently, the brothers spent a lot of time at Cubs Park, now known as Wrigley Field, during the World Series year of 1918.


  1. I beg to differ. Groucho says in "The Marx Brothers Scrapbook"...

    "We lived in Chicago for twelve years. I saw Ty Cobb play baseball many a day at White Sox Park. We lived right near there. We bought a house for $25,000.00. We paid a thousand down and owed the rest."

    They moved to LaGrange sometime later...

  2. As best I can tell, the family moved to Chicago in 1909, living in an apartment at 4649 South Calumet Avenue. By 1912, they were living in a house at 4649 South Calumet Avenue (now Dr. Martin Luther King Dr.). Now things get a little murky. Gummo's WWI draft card gives his address as "Edgwood Rd., Lyons Farm, Illinois." The only Lyons Farm I can find in present-day Illinois is in Yorkville, which is about 240 miles from LaGrange. But he gives his occupation as farmer. Maybe there was another Lyons Farm in 1917. In 1920, the family moved back to NYC. So I think it's safe to say Groucho meant they lived in the Chicago area for (about) 12 years, including time on the farm.

  3. David, do you mean Yorkville is 24 miles from LaGrange?

    Also, "Lyons Farm" could refer to any farm in Lyons Township, which includes LaGrange, Countryside, and more. Lyons Township High School is in LaGrange.

    I don't see an Edgwood Rd., but in the LaGrange-Countryside area today, there are the Edgewood Valley Country Club, Edgewood Valley this and that.

  4. Edgewood Ave runs North and South about halfway between Brainard Ave. and Willow Springs Road/Gilbert Ave - it is the western boundary of the La Grange County Club.