Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cagney On My Mind

You ever have one of these days?

Tommy's Home!


"Uh, Oh."


"Tommy's dead!"
Never left the house yesterday, I have a pissed off back and a spasm in my right calf the size of a Spaldeen. I watched several old films.  One of them,"The Public Enemy," its final scene when Tom Powers comes home to Ma is one of my favorites. Seeing it again, reminded me how often I heard Cagney's name in Yorkville as a kid in the streets and in my house.

Jimmy Cagney, his brother, Bill, and my uncle, Joe Cuccia, played together on the "Yorkville Nut Baseball Club." I believe the years were between 1912 and 1917. The "Yorkville Nuts" were a famous and successful sandlot team in New York City at the turn of the century through World War I. Their main rivals were the "John Jays."
















This photograph of a group of Yorkville boys was taken around 1912 at the edge of the East River near the East Side House Settlement. Cagney is second from left in second row. My Uncle Joe whose nickname was "Cheech" is standing all the way to right in the second row. Several of these guys went to P.S. 158 together.

I'm trying to locate information on the Yorkville Nut Baseball Club, stories, pictures, box scores, etc. If Anyone has information on the "Yorkville Nut Baseball Club," and is willing to share it with me, I'd be grateful.

Cagney loved his Yorkville youth and loved the team. He kept the Nut uniform for his entire life, see the NY Times article below. My Uncle Joe had box scores, I saw as a boy, but sadly, they are lost.
Thank you. be well, Tommy

Here is a undated photo of the Yorkville Nut Baseball Club posing with some of the John Jays. My uncle is to the left of Cagney with the smirk on his face.



When Cagney's estate was auctioned off this piece appeared in The New York Times
on September 24, 1992. 
Note: baseball uniform reference

CHRONICLE
Objects and memorabilia belonging to James Cagney will be put on auction Sept. 30 at William Doyle Galleries on the Upper East Side. Fans of the actor, who died in 1986, will find mementos of some of his most famous movies, including the spats and boots he wore as George M. Cohan in the 1942 musical "Yankee Doodle Dandy," the role for which he won an Oscar.

The auction will also include his personal copy of the screenplay from "The Time of Your Life" and canisters containing various films, including "Public Enemy." A signed drawing by Al Hirschfeld and five 1930's portraits of the actor by Edward Weston are included. Also on sale will be more private items like a uniform from Cagney's childhood days on the Yorkville Nut Club baseball team and paintings and drawings that the actor made after he retired to his farm in Dutchess County.

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The book has 112 Amazon five star reviews out of 112 total reviews posted. We're pitching a perfect game. My old world echoes TV's "The Wonder Years" ~ just add taverns, subways and Checker cabs.

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4 comments:

Justin Salsberg said...

Well, although its not much, and im sure youve seen this already, but here is an old (early 30's) clip of Mr.Cagney briefly mentioning his Nuts game against the Sing Sing ball club back in 1914(?) They apparently got creamed by the prison team. Cagney said in his memoirs that there were a few guys locked up at sing-sing and playing for their team, who were from the "old neighborhood" (Yorkville) and who knew everyone on the Nut team. One of them was soon to get the chair.

Anyway cool piece! Thanks for sharing. I am currently working on a Cagney documentary on his early life, in NYC and your info on the ballclub was useful info.
Thanks!
Justin

here's that clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tlk1ogJiTao
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tlk1ogJiTao

Justin Salsberg said...

Well, although its not much, and im sure youve seen this already, but here is an old (early 30's) clip of Mr.Cagney briefly mentioning his Nuts game against the Sing Sing ball club back in 1914(?) They apparently got creamed by the prison team. Cagney said in his memoirs that there were a few guys locked up at sing-sing and playing for their team, who were from the "old neighborhood" (Yorkville) and who knew everyone on the Nut team. One of them was soon to get the chair.

Anyway cool piece! Thanks for sharing. I am currently working on a Cagney documentary on his early life, in NYC and your info on the ballclub was useful info.
Thanks!
Justin

here's that clip:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tlk1ogJiTao
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tlk1ogJiTao

Thomas Pryor said...

Hi Justin, thank you for this note, sorry to miss it but just watched your suggested youtube cagney interview, excellent!
take care, Tommy

Thomas Pryor said...

Hi Justin, my Uncle Joe played on the Yorkville Nuts Baseball Club with Cagney and his brother Bill, email at tommy.pryor@gmail.com. I'll share what I know about the team with you. The Yorkville Nut Club was on E. 89 St.