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This Cubs Bat Boy Got The Mayor's OK To Cut Class For The 1938 World Series

By Ariel Cheung | April 10, 2017 8:19am
 Vito LaPorta was a Cubs bat boy during the 1938 World Series and got a note from then-Mayor Edward Kelly excusing him from Lake View High School classes on game days.
Vito LaPorta was a Cubs bat boy during the 1938 World Series and got a note from then-Mayor Edward Kelly excusing him from Lake View High School classes on game days.
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Provided/Mike Gauthier

WRIGLEYVILLE — If you think the 2016 World Series run was as unforgettable as it gets for a Cubbie, think again.

That honor might just go to Vito LaPorta, one of the Chicago Cubs bat boys during the 1938 World Series.

Sure, the Cubs fell to the New York Yankees 4-0, but LaPorta came away with memories — stories that have lasted beyond his lifetime.

Mike Gauthier, 38, inherited his grandfather's love for the Cubs and shared LaPorta's story while drinking with a buddy and cheering on the Cubs at Murphy's Bleachers during Game 2 of the 2016 World Series.

"He raised his family here, two blocks from Wrigley," Gauthier said. "You could listen out the window to hear the game [from the ballpark]."

LaPorta died 16 years before the Cubs would finally win it all against the Cleveland Indians in 2016. He remained one of many long-suffering — but never defeatist — Cubs fans who would never see a World Series win in their lifetimes. 

"He was a lifelong Cubs fan, and he stuck by them his entire life," Gauthier said.

LaPorta's legacy as a Cubs bat boy lives on, Gauthier said, both through his family and in print.

During the 1938 World Series, LaPorta and a second bat boy, Vince Garrity, were Lake View High School students who needed to get out of class for game days.

After working at the Cubs' bat boy during the 1938 World Series, Vito LaPorta used his $500 share of World Series money to pay for his brother's appendectomy. LaPorta can be seen in the bottom row, fourth from the right, in this 1938 team photo. [Provided/Mike Gauthier]

The anecdote was chronicled in news wires and was published in the Oct. 4, 1938 issue of The Daily Capital News of Jefferson City, Missouri.

"They took their principal a written excuse," the news brief explained. "And when the principal opened it he read an order excusing them from classes, signed by none other than Mayor Edward J. Kelly himself ..."

After the World Series, another newspaper clipping details what LaPorta did with his share of the National League winnings.

"Vito La Porta, Cubs' bat boy, will use his $500 share of world series money to pay for an appendectomy for his brother," reads a small blurb in the Oct. 13, 1938 issue of The Piqua Daily Call in Ohio.

The $500 in 1938 would be worth around $8,500 in 2016 dollars.

This year, the Cubs handed out $27.6 million in playoff shares to 66 players, coaches, trainers, scouts and other club members.

Gauthier, a lawyer who lives in Lakeview, bought his home five blocks from Wrigley Field just like grandpa and got on the season ticket waiting list in 2005 when he was a graduate student.

"In 2012, I got the call," Gauthier recalled. "The team was awful. But when you get the chance like that, you've got to take it."

Four years later, it was all worth it, Gauthier said.

"I always hoped, as a Cubs fan, that the team was finally going to get there," he said. "And now it's the real deal and they're here to stay."