Ki Ki Cuyler 1930's Cracker Jack Baseball Pinback, Chicago Cubs Button

1930 Cracker Jack Prize. If you have time, read a little about this player below, no wonder they made a button for him in 1930.

This is in remarkable shape. It came from a huge collection of baseball pinbacks or buttons and the fella took very good care of them. He even had 2 of Lou Gehrig, but I couldn't afford those. I could only afford to get one and this is the one I chose. It is 13/16" in diameter, very little paint loss, a few surface marks, visible with magnification.

Ki Ki Cuyler, one of my mom's favorite players. I am a third generation Cubs fan. My grandfather, born in 1895, was around to see them win back to back World Series in '07 and '08. The following generations have not been so lucky. Carl and Beulah always sent away for the Cubs Team picture at the beginning of every season. The last time the Cubs were in the WS, 1945, Carl took the train to Chicago, and slept on the sidewalk to get a ticket. He didn't get a ticket, but ran to the building across the street and watched it from the rooftop.

What follows are excerpts from the Bleedcubbieblue website with great information on the player and he is ranked #21 in the 100 best Cub Players of all time.

Hazen Shirley (and if those were your given names, wouldn't you rather be called "Kiki", or maybe ANYTHING else?) Cuyler was born on August 31, 1898 in Harrisville, Michigan. After briefly attending the US Military Academy at West Point, Cuyler returned to Michigan, married his high school sweetheart, and worked, as so many people did in that part of the country in those days, in the auto industry for General Motors. Playing for a company baseball team, his talent was noticed and he actually changed positions in the company, moving from Flint to Detroit, so he could play in a "faster" league, from whence he was signed by the Pirates in 1920.

Cuyler spent most of the next three years in the minors, finally cracking the Pirate starting lineup in 1924, when he hit an impressive .354/.402/.539. The following year, he did even better, .357/.423/.598, scoring 144 runs in 153 games, and led the Pirates to the 1925 NL title and World Series championship, driving in the Series-winning run with a two-out, two-run double off Walter Johnson in the eighth inning of game seven. During that 1925 season, he had a career-high 18 HR, including two inside-the-park home runs on August 28 at the tiny Baker Bowl in Philadelphia. In all, Cuyler hit eight inside-the-park jobs in 1925. It took until 1979 -- when Willie Wilson had five -- for someone to have even close to that many in a season. He'd have won the MVP award easily (he finished second in the voting), except that Rogers Hornsby chose that year to hit .403 with 39 HR and 143 RBI, winning the Triple Crown and thus the MVP. The voting was close -- Hornsby had 73 points and Cuyler finished second with 61.

The Cubs got him on November 28, 1927. He led the National League with 43 stolen bases (one of four times he led the NL in steals), and the Cubs won the pennant in 1929. The stolen base number is even more impressive given that SB were becoming less important in an era given over to power hitters. The next NL player to steal more than Cuyler's 43 in 1929 was Maury Wills, with 50 in 1960.

He suffered a broken foot during the 1932 season, causing him to miss a third of the year. When he returned, he put the entire ballclub on his back and almost singlehandedly carried the Cubs to the pennant. He hit .365 from August 27 to the end of the season, the bedrock of his Cubs reputation. He hit a walkoff homer in one of the most dramatic games in team history on August 31. Bill Veeck said it was the best game he ever saw in person. For a while it held the reputation of being perhaps the greatest single Cubs moment, then Gabby Hartnett's "Homer in the Gloamin'" came along six years later, and Cuyler's game is now forgotten except by history buffs.

Here's what Bill Veeck wrote about the August 31 walkoff in Veeck as in Wreck:

I saw him (my father, Wm. Veeck Sr., Cubs president) forget his dignity only once. He was entitled to this one fall, for it came at the end of the greatest ball game I have ever seen... Late in the season, we were playing the Giants to break a tie for first place, a game of such importance that we found Judge Landis sitting with my father. The Giants seemed to have the game sewed up right into the ninth inning when the Cubs scored four runs to tie it up. The Giants bounced right back with four runs in their half of the tenth. In our half, the first two batters went out. Mark Koenig kept us alive with a home run. The next three batters got on to load the bases. Up came Kiki Cuyler, representing the winning run. And Cuyler belted one. The ball was still climbing over the fence when William Veeck, Sr. let out a rebel yell and vaulted over the railing. Marsh (Bill Jr.'s friend) and I had leaped out toward the railing, too, but we were somewhat delayed because we had to untangle ourselves from the harrumphing Commissioner. By the time we got onto the field, my father was in the very center of a mob scene, grabbing for Cuyler's hand.

Item ID: lgv1627

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