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About the Author:
Jim Vitti could not hit the curveball. (Nor could he hit the slowball, come to think of it.) Fortunately, some English teachers saw a glimmer of promise...so the lad ended up writing about baseball instead. He's managed to get a pair of lousy novels published, as well as a how-to book for HarperCollins. James can occasionally be found sitting at the old ballfield in Avalon, wishing it were the Spring of 1937.
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.
The Gulls-Eye View
A magical place, a magical time, a magical team
The Magic Isle
The Rookie's Guide to Santa Catalina Island
A quick look at one of baseball's oldest, most beloved, legendary teams
Springs Before Catalina
Boiling off the winter's remnants
A 30-year relationship -- sort of
Trains, planes, buses, steamerships, streetcars, cabs, & the occasional thumb
Hack Miller, Hack Wilson, Stan Hack, & Warren Hacker
An assortment of colorful Cubs just kept hacking away . . .
Practice, practice, practice
Goat trails, medicine balls, & a dash of pepper
Snipe hunts, a friendly game of cards, & putt perfection: What's a boy (on an island) to do?
The natives are female!
Dames, skirts, & even an occasional broad
How a plucky young radio man parlayed his Catalina trip into a career in Hollywood . . . & another in Washington
Lefty Carnett, Lefty Chambers, Lefty Minner, Lefty O'Doul, & Lefty Sloat
Where's a good southpaw when you need one?
The stars really came out . . . while the Cubs played on Catalina
The great quake of '33
California rolled out more than just the red carpet one March afternoon
Jolly Cholly, Gabby, Old Flash, Cavy, & other managerial types
A collection of colorful coaches & skippers came over to keep the boys in line
They don't make 'em like Andy Lotshaw . . . or Yosh Kawano . . . any more
Chuck Connors, the Branded Rifleman
After Dutch, another strapping visitor from the East hopped over to Hollywood from the Catalina diamond
Onto the Summer & into the Fall: Back to the friendly confines
Once the boys broke camp, they spent a little time at Wrigley Field, too
What I did during my winter non-vacation
In those days, most ballplayers slogged through blue-collar wintertime jobs . . . after making it back home at season's end
The other Channel Islands -- & isles further out to sea
There were a few other ports around the deep blue oceans . . .
Mr. Wrigley, PK, & the executive team
Meanwhile, back at the tower . . . they made a lot of chewing gum, a few good baseball decisions, & way too many bad ones
The War, & the dreary front at a place called French Lick
Spring Training in the snow, while the others had traded their bats for bayonets
Jimmy the Cork, T-Bone Otto, Gentleman Jim, & a variety of others with ink in their veins
Overtown to the other Wrigley Field
Before anybody found a diamond at Chavez Ravine, a beautiful ballpark (or two) graced Los Angeles
Marcelino, Lolo, & lots of other locals
Hang around the Avalon barbershop long enough, & you'll hear plenty of baseball tales that're sure to curl your hair
On to Mesa
A great thing comes to an end
Baseball on Catalina today
The diamond remains virtually unchanged -- a time capsule to a glorious
past -- but is there still any baseball to be found on Catalina Island?
The Cubs today
The flannels & the colorful characters are all gone now . . . or are they?
Posted November 23, 2003
One would think that a book about baseball spring training in the first half of the 20th century, while an excellent read for baseball aficionados, would be significantly less interesting for those people -- like me -- who are not well-versed in baseball lore. However, when I read The Cubs on Catalina, I was continuously drawn in by the funny, touching stories of the ballplayers from their time spent training on Catalina Island. The photographs that fill each page of the scrapbook-like book reminded me how beautiful Catalina is, and introduced me to some new spots and people on the island as well. This book is an excellent choice for everyone from serious Chicago Cub fans to island travelers to lovers of stories.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.