Friday, August 20, 2010

Derrek Lee's back in Wrigley

Today he'll play his first game as a Brave, and wouldn't you know it, it's in Wrigley Field.

Look for him to have a HUGE day.

By the way, I don't know if you've been following this or not, but Ted Lilly has been pitching like Cy Young for the Dodgers. He won again last night.

#14 Retired

This week in 1982, the Cubs retired the number 14 in honor of Ernie Banks. It was the first number the team ever retired.

Just over twenty years later the same honor was bestowed upon his former teammate Ron Santo.

They now share a flagpole at Wrigley Field.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"It's in the hole"

Eddie Gaedel

This caught my eye at Bob Dearborn's The Old Disc Jockey's Almanac. On this day in 1951...

"Bill Veeck, owner of baseball's St. Louis Browns, sent Eddie Gaedel, a 3'7" midget, to the plate to pinch-hit. Because of the tiny strike zone of someone of Gaedel's physical stature, he was walked on four consecutive pitches. His one appearance in the major leagues ended abruptly when he was replaced at first base by a pinch-runner. Gaedel's jersey, bearing the uniform number "⅛," is displayed at the Baseball Hall of Fame." 

(Photo: Major League Baseball)

D-Lee is outta here

I enjoyed Derrek Lee's time with the Cubs. I think he was actually a pretty classy guy, and he was a very good player for several of those years.

But for the rest of this season, and hopefully the post season, D-Lee is a Brave.

This opens up one position for next year's Cubs. The rest of them are pretty much locked into contracts.

My Sharona

Still love this one. It was #1 on this day in 1979...

The Knack's lead singer Doug Fieger passed away earlier this year.

Sammy unloads on the Cubs

Sammy says he tried to retire with the Cubs and they wouldn't let him. And he's still bitter about the way they damaged his reputation before trading him away.

The tease of the Chicago Magazine story is here.

It comes out in the newsstands today.

Holtzman's No-No

It happened on this day in 1969.

Here is the last out of the game.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Crashproof Motorcycle

Not sure if this is a joke or not...(although in my experience, Germans are not exactly known for their humor.)

Dan Quayle

On this day in 1988, George Bush unveiled his running mate to the nation...Dan Quayle. Don't you miss him a little?

China Grove

On this day in 1973, the Doobie Brothers released this one...

Bob Kennedy

Former Cubs manager and general manager Bob Kennedy was born on this day in 1920.

Kennedy was the Cubs manager the day the Kennedy expressway opened.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

RIP Bobby Thomson

The Flying Scot was a Cub for a few years, but everyone remembers him as the man that hit the walk off home run to clinch the pennant for the New York Giants.

He passed away yesterday at the age of 86.

You Really Got Me

The ultimate garage band song was released on this day in 1964...

Cubs eat caviar

The spread in the Cubs clubhouse before last night's game included caviar. I'm not kidding. Paul Sullivan has the details in the Tribune this morning...

The Cubs have the highest average ticket price in baseball, so perhaps it should come as no surprise that the team served caviar in its pregame spread before Monday night's game against the Padres at Wrigley Field. Manager Lou Piniella joked about the expensive delicacy to clubhouse man Tom Hellmann before the game, saying: "Hell, if we were in first place, we'd have a chef from France in here."

Ray Chapman

On this day in 1920, exactly 90 years ago, this guy--Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman, got into the batter's box against Yankees pitcher Carl Mays. Mays was a known headhunter; a mean and surly type that was roundly disliked by teammates and opponents.

Chapman took one to the head and went down hard. He died the following day. It's still the last fatality resulting from a baseball injury in MLB history.

After the season, a new rule was established requiring the umpire to get rid of any dirty balls (because they couldn't be seen well enough by the batters). The spitball was also banned, largely because of this incident.

As for Carl Mays, he became even more unpopular, and was later accused of throwing a World Series game. Although he had outstanding numbers (Five 20 win seasons, 4 World Series Championships, 2-time shutout leader, 207 career wins), Carl Mays was never seriously considered for  baseball's Hall of Fame.

Robert Redford

The star of the great baseball film "The Natural" is celebrating a birthday this week. He turns (believe it or not) 74 years old. Wonder if he still uses Wonderboy...

Monday, August 16, 2010

E-mails, we get e-mails

From "BP"

I agree with you on the greatness of “Hang on Sloopy.” I’ve always loved the song, too. Interesting note: When I saw Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band last summer Bruce played “Sloopy” as an encore. It obviously wasn’t planned as he sang the whole first verse by himself with only his guitar as accompaniment. On Bruce’s last tour he did a lot of impromptu songs. Fans were bringing signs to concerts for the last several years requesting oddball songs from deep in the Bruce catalog and oldies he had played in the past. Bruce amped this up by often challenging the crowd to “stump the E Street Band.” Bruce would have the band play an instrumental (“Raise Your Hand” or “Heatwave” while he would go into the crowd and collect these often elaborately made signs). The band had no idea what was coming and often had to huddle up to determine the key of the song or the bridge. The requests got more and more off the wall and by the end of the tour Bruce and the band had played everything from Elvis and Chuck Berry to The Who, The Ramones and The Clash. You can see Bruce collect signs and sort through them deciding which songs to play in the just released DVD “Live from Hyde Park .” The band opens the show with the appropriate “London Calling.”

I admit that I didn't appreciate Bruce in my younger days. My wife was the one that showed me the way.

Julie Newmar

She's 77 years old today. I don't care how old she is, Julie Newmar will always be, for my money, one of the hottest women ever. I think it was the catsuit. The other girl in this scene, by the way, is Leslie Gore singing her hit "California Nights"

The Day that Elvis Died

On this day in 1977...

Elvis' last song performed on stage

It was in June of 1977. Less than two months later he was gone.

This Week in 1945

Mao makes "peace," Chicago buses, Happy Chandler, Abbott & Costello, Orville Wright, and Cubs outfielder Frank Secory are featured This Week in 1945.

Harry and Elvis

On this day in 1977, the King of Rock and Roll passed away at the age of 42. Thousands of Elvis fans are currently flocking to Memphis to pay tribute to the man, but one story they probably won't tell or hear is this one: The day Harry Caray met Elvis Presley...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Father Knows Nothing

My latest Father Knows Nothing column is now available at NWI Parent. This week's is called: "Adulthood: The Video Game."

You can read it here.