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Big League Stew

Photo: 1908 Cubs protect their mascot’s back

Big League Stew

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Cubs players in 1908 gather at West Side Park behind their ferocious mascot. (Chuckman Chicago Nostalgia)

This photograph proves why the Chicago Cubs had a mascot in 1908 but don't anymore. Because such a beast could easily be mistaken for a giant squirrel, or Frank from "Donnie Darko."

What's great about this shot of the most recent World Series winner in Cubs history (aside from the taxidermy project gone wrong in the foreground) are the looks on the faces of a couple of players. Notably (I believe) outfielder Del Howard, the only person in the photo actually acknowledging the mascot's presence. He's standing fifth from the right, with his hands crossed, looking amused.

The other funny face is that of Hall of Famer Johnny Evers, who is behind the bear cub and just to the left of its head. He's obviously very excited to pose for the photo. And if you're wondering where Joe Tinker and Frank Chance are (as in "Tinker to Evers to Chance"), look out below:

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Not sure where Three-Finger Brown is.

About eight years after this photo was taken, the Cubs experimented with a real, live bear cub mascot. He was called Joa and his tenure lasted three months at Wrigley Field before being traded to Lincoln Park Zoo in September for (the story goes) $20.

The real question is: Whatever happened to that bear suit from 1908?

Big BLS h/t: @uniformcritic

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