Thompson: Shooting of Cubs’ Billy Jurges marks anniversary as research resurrects case

From Phil Thompson at the Chicago Tribune on July 6, 2017:

Cubs history has its share of misfortunes, but it’s hard to get any more bizarre or tantalizing than the day in 1932 when shortstop Billy Jurges was shot in his hotel room by a spurned lover, setting off a chain of events that culminated in Babe Ruth’s mythic “called shot.”

The twisted drama between Jurges and Violet Popovich Valli, which made national headlines at the time, marks its 85th anniversary on Thursday. “The whole thing was a soap opera,” said Jack Bales, a University of Mary Washington librarian and Aurora native.

Bales won an award from the Society for American Baseball Research in May for an article he wrote for the Baseball Research Journal in the fall, “The Show Girl and the Shortstop: The Strange Saga of Violet Popovich and Her Shooting of Cub Billy Jurges.” Over three years, Bales dug through articles, court records, books and archival material and interviewed other researchers, baseball historians, Popovich’s and Jurges’ relatives — to piece together obscure or unknown details about the incident the Chicago Evening American once described as the “famous Carlos Hotel gunplay.”

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Originally published: July 7, 2017. Last Updated: July 7, 2017.