Black and white photo of a baseball player with black text.
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Born in 1908, William “Billy” Frederick Jurges was a shortstop, manager, coach, and scout in Major League Baseball. Jurges played for the Chicago Cubs for his first eight seasons from 1931-1938, and later played seven more seasons for the New York Giants from 1939-1945. During his time with the Cubs, he played in three World Series, the Cubs winning in 1932, 1935, and 1938. From 1946-1947, Jurges was a player-coach for the Cubs, and later a coach for the Boston Red Sox and a baseball scout for many years. Jurges died in 1997 after a six-year battle with cancer at the age of 88.
Perhaps overshadowing his time in baseball was a strange event that happened in July, 1932 when Jurges’s ex-girlfriend, lounge singer Violet Valli, came to Jurges’s hotel room to confront him with a gun. She claimed her plan was to commit suicide, but Jurges intervened and took two bullets, one to his hand and another in the ribs. Valli was also shot in the hand, and the entire incident is said to be the inspiration for the book and film, The Natural, starring Robert Redford. Jurges didn’t press charges, and he returned to the Cubs after he recovered.