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There are songs to fit all occasions. Give Me That Old Time Durocher is a favorite, and there is even one for the Cardinal announcer, Harry Caray, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Ego Grow?
The dedication of the Bums is such that they throw back any homer an opposing player hits into the bleachers. Should a Cub homer, the Bums throw their cups of beer into the air. They want to see the Cubs pour it on. If the Cubs have 12 runs, the Bums clamor for 13. If the Cubs have 13, the Bums roar for 14. By the eighth inning Wrigley Field is reverberating with noise as fans in the rest of the park stand up and slam their seats in cadence to the chants of the Bums. The din is so overwhelming that the opposing players in the field are at a disadvantage; they cannot hear the crack of the bat.
"These Bums are tremendous," says Selma. "It's something to be in a crucial situation and hear 25,000 people behind you. It gives you a strength you never knew you had." Gene Oliver says, "It starts a flow of adrenalin to you," and Santo adds, "They get everyone going." Once in a while catcalls from the bleachers backfire. The Bums got on Willie Davis of the Dodgers one day, and he got so fired up he hit two tremendous homers. The Bums were told, "Don't wake up Davis. Let him sleep."
The word is easy to pass among the Bums. They have a president, Ron Grousl, 24, a part-time bartender who began hanging out in the bleachers seven years ago. He wears a yellow hard hat with his name on it. Other regulars include Mike Haley, vice-president; Lou Blatz, 71, secretary (he pitched in what is now Wrigley Field in 1916 for the Chicago Whales in the Federal League); Doris Herbon, treasurer; and Bud Koszola, traveling secretary, who plans jaunts to spring training in Scottsdale or trips to Cincinnati and St. Louis. (Last year 17 of the Bums stayed in one room at St. Louis Chase-Park Plaza Hotel in a scene reminiscent of the Marx Brothers.)
The Bums, and other bleacher regulars, come from all walks of life. Some are schoolteachers who think nothing of playing hooky, and there is even an affluent gent with the grand old name of Samuel Insull III. Young Sam wears cut-down shorts, sneakers, a hat and tennis shirt. He speaks with an Ivy League accent and toddles about the bleachers with a beer. On occasion he is accompanied by his friendly, hovering stockbroker, L. E. (Pete) Kelley of Walston & Company, who says, "That Sam, he's the greatest."
After a game at home the Bums repair to Ray's Bleachers, a bar at Waveland and Sheffield directly across the street from the entrance to the bleachers. The jukebox rocks but shouts from the Bums drown out the blare. Some of the Cubs may drop by to say hello and when they do the bar goes wild.
No one is more elated about the Bleacher Bums than Durocher. "These are some kind of fans!" he exclaims. "They're absolutely frantic with joy and happiness. They are in seventh heaven and you can't blame them. Their screaming and antics air marvelous and just bring the club on. They have exuberance in their hearts. And this is the attitude of the players. They smell the roses, they smell the money. They have an attitude of desire and determination. They feel they can go out and beat anybody. What we are trying to do in this clubhouse is to win a pennant for Mr. Wrigley, for the fans and for the city of Chicago. Win a pennant, that's what we're striving for. It's been a very long time in coming."