Who could blame him? The team was bad, the days were long, the future was bleak. It had been decades since the Cubs had won the World Series, mired in a stretch of just three first-place finishes in 10 years.
It was the middle of the Great Depression. A lot of people were drunk, broke, bored, scared. They were looking for diversions of any kind.
He wasn’t kidding. Charles McNeil was in his 30s, a pole-thin, six-foot, football-obsessed mathematical genius with a degree from the University of Chicago. He had been gambling most of his life, parlaying a gift for numbers, a confidence in himself and an obsession with sports, into a side hustle.