Monday, October 15, 2012

Cubs 365, October 15

On this day in 1918, the University of Illinois released a report about the influenza epidemic. Among other things it reported: "An analysis of the influenza situation in Chicago today shows that the epidemic has not reached its crest here. For the week ending September 28, there were 598 cases reported in Chicago with 176 deaths. During the week ending October 7 there were 6,106 cases reported with 627 deaths. The week which ended October 14 produced 11,239 cases and 1,461 deaths. The total number of deaths from influenza and pneumonia in Chicago during the past three weeks was 2,264 compared with an average of 156 for the same period during the past five years."

On one horrible October day 381 people died from influenza in Chicago.

Baseball was not immune, either. Among the victims, former Cubs outfielder Jake Stenzel. In addition to Stenzel, Boston Braves outfield Larry Chappell died in San Francisco. Former St. Louis Browns outfielder Emmet Heidrick died in Pennsylvania. American League umpire Silk O’Loughin also perished in the pandemic. As did former Tigers owner William Yawkey.

By the time it finally subsided in 1920, a fifth of the world's population had been infected, including 28% of all Americans. An estimated 675,000 Americans died of influenza during the pandemic, ten times as many as in the world war.