By George Castle
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Louis I've seen the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry from both sides and prefer to bleed Cardinal red. But because of some pleasant experiences in Wrigley Field a quarter century ago, I'll always have a soft spot for the Cubs except when they play the Cardinals. Growing up in north St. Louis in the late 1950s, a short bus ride or a long walk from the Busch Stadium once known as Sportsman's Park, I didn't consider the Cubs a rival for my Cardinals. The Cardinals were usually contenders and the Cubs weren't.
The Sox supporters practically became insufferable when their heroes leaped into the pennant race against the Oakland Athletics in 1972. Meanwhile, the Cubs lagged as second-place also-rans, just out of contention against the powerful Pirates, a team of free swingers that enjoyed a merry time against Chicago pitching in this era. I could never figure out exactly why Sox fans hated the Cubs so much. After all, the Cubs, playing in the other league, never deprived some of their fine Paul Richards- and Al Lopez-managed teams of pennants in the manner of the Yankees.
So in 1974 I changed allegiance and rooted for the Cubs, even when they played the Cardinals. That 1974 Chicago bunch was the most miserable team I've ever pulled for, much worse than any Cardinals team I'd seen. But I still rooted for them every game and believed in them like I once had in the Cardinals. I even immersed myself in Cubs history, poring over accounts of seasons past. One thing I could never figure, though, was why the most popular Cubs team among the people I spoke with was the 1969 one, which in the space of six days in September had blown a 5 1/2-game first-place lead and eventually finished eight games behind the Mets.
The I-55 Series Cubs Vs. Cardinals by George Castle