2011–The 75th Anniversary of GWTW, the book, based in part on writings from the Mitchell family scrapbook, shown above.
It is really going to be a stretch to try and connect the Chicago Cubs to Gone With The Wind…but I have something interesting to tell you about, so here goes. The Cubs are in fifth place (out of six) in the National League Central this week.
They have not won a World Series since 1908. Margaret Mitchell was seven years old that year–the Cubs beat the Detroit Tigers four games to one. Ernie Harwell, who lived in Atlanta, Georgia at the time and was destined one day to be the long-time Detroit Tigers broadcaster, was just 10 years old at the time. In a few years, he would become Mitchell’s paper boy, and then cover the GWTW Premiere in Atlanta before moving on to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The last time the Cubs even appeared in the World Series was 1945. That was the year World War II ended. Harwell had served in World War II, and was a writer for Leatherneck magazine at the time, and was on Wake Island in 1945 as a war correspondent. By this time, Mitchell lived in relative seclusion due to illness of her husband John Marsh, personal illness and stresses upon herself caused by the fame she received from writing Gone With The Wind, and health related issues with two of her employees.
Again, the Cubs faced the Tigers in the World Series. The Cubs won the National League pennant that year with a record of 96-56– Charlie Grimm was the manager –and then they lost that World Series four games to three.
Theodore Roosevelt was the President of the United States the last time the Cubs won the World Series. Speaking of Roosevelt he DID have a Gone With The Wind connection—well, two– sort of.
Roosevelt’s mother, Martha “Mittie” Bullock was a southern belle, who lived through the Civil War. When Margaret Mitchell was a young woman writing features for the Atlanta Journal, she wrote an article about Mittie and her descriptions could have been those of Scarlett O’Hara. After Mitchell became a famous author, other writers would go back and find that article, where she spoke of Mrs. Roosevelt’s strength, beauty, charm, and fun-loving nature and wonder if she based Scarlett after her. Research has shown otherwise, but nonetheless it has been written about in countless books and articles.
The second Roosevelt connection comes through President Franklin Roosevelt, who was actually a distant cousin of Teddy (fifth cousin, so that’s pretty distant). When the general public found out that Gone With The Wind was being made into a Hollywood movie, FDR’s wife Eleanor wrote to producer David Selznick to ask that her own maid, Elizabeth McDuffie, be given the role of “Mammy” in Gone With The Wind. Selznick, who had the nerve to turn down the President of the United States’ wife, of course hired the magnificent Hattie McDaniel for the role.
So now it is 2010, the 70th Anniversary of GWTW winning the Oscar—-and the 102nd Anniversary of the Cubs not winning the World Series. Here’s where it all comes together: the Cubs and a Novel.
Former Detroit Tigers first base coach, Andy Van Slyke has teamed up with sports author, and my husband, Rob Rains to produce a sensational mystery thriller involving the Cubs called “The Curse: Cubs Win! Cubs Win!… Or Do They?”
Rob has written 29 books and this is Andy’s second, and with all their combined years in baseball (Andy as a player on the Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals and Rob as a beat reporter for the St. Louis Globe-Democrat and National League Correspondent for USA Today’s Baseball Weekly) they have all a lot of inside knowledge on how baseball works. They based the book on the real history of the Cubs including the so called “Curse of the Billygoat” and came up with a dramatic plotline and ficticious characters that will have you on the edge of your seat for part of it and wiping a tear from your eye on the sweet parts about fathers and sons and baseball.
I’ve read the book and I think Andy and Rob have a winner on their hands with this book. I think they hit it out of the ballpark. And as our late friend Ernie Harwell would say, “that ball is loooooong gone!”—or maybe it’s gone with the wind!
The book is scheduled for release in early July. You can pre-order your copies from Amazon.com. (http://tinyurl.com/CubsBook)
By Sally Tippett Rains, author of The Making Of A Masterpiece, The True Story of Margaret Michell’s Classic Novel, Gone With The Wind (www.GWTWbook.com). Written May 9, 2010. Join our Facebook page (GWTWbook.com). Rob Rains’ articles can be read daily on the sports page at www.Globe-Democrat.com