Friday, April 22, 2011

Coming this weekend

I'm not posting a Chicago Radio Spotlight interview this weekend or the following two weekends because of family commitments (Easter, First Communion, and Mother's Day), but Chicago Radio Spotlight will return on May 14th with an interview of a Chicago radio legend that I've never interviewed before. I'll say no more for now.

There will be a Father Knows Nothing column on Sunday. This week I present the final leg of my Extreme Lent journey. I'll probably be drunk when I post it.

Have a great Easter weekend!

Road Trip!

I just posted my weekly "Suburban Dad" contribution to the "A City Mom" blog at ChicagoNow. This week I offered a counterpoint to Kim Strickland's recent trip to London with her family. Mine is more about the dirty underbelly of the family vacation--The Cross Country Road Trip.

You can read it here.

Earth Day

My youngest son Sean pointed out to me that this year Earth Day and Good Friday are on the same day. He thinks that this is bad planning by God, who Sean points out, is in charge of both the Earth and Good Friday.

"He should spread these things out a little bit," Sean opined.

I'm sure God appreciates Sean's solid marketing advice.

The Bartman movie

I can't wait to see this movie called "Scapegoats," and not just because my buddy Dane Placko is part of it (the filmmaker saw him tell the story on JOBC). I'm also excited because the filmmaker on this project, Alex Gibney, is an Academy Award winner--and his other projects have been tremendous.

He was interviewed about the film by ABC. It's here if you'd like to read it.

The 1918 World Series

OK, I'm starting to get a little ticked at the coverage of this 1918 World Series story. If you've missed it, a new document has been revealed, an interview of disgraced White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte. In the interview he says he "heard that the Cubs threw the 1918 series."

That one comment, from a guy trying to save his own skin, with absolutely no evidence or proof to back it up--and zero corroborating evidence--has led to articles in just about every publication in America saying that the Cubs may have thrown the 1918 World Series.

It was on the front page of the Daily Herald yesterday. It's in the Boston Globe today.

I've looked at this story pretty extensively. In fact, I researched it for weeks. There's an entire book written on the subject, and that author spent more than a year researching it. After that whole time he came up with a few potentially fishy plays in the series, and a notebook written by a White Sox executive, who called somebody on the Cubs "a fixer." Two of the pitchers on the Cubs were later accused of fixing games too--but there's no evidence at all that they did in this series.

I'm not saying it didn't happen. I'm just saying that there's no proof at all that it did.

Good Friday!

It's Good Friday...which means the boys don't have to get up early for school this morning...which means we're sleeping in.

I mean, we're at church.

Yup, definitely at church.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Best Trade Ever

There have been a few (sadly not many) great trades in Cubs history, but I've always argued that the one that happened on this day forty five years ago was THE best. Look at the details...

The Philadelphia Phillies traded John Herrnstein, Fergie Jenkins and Adolfo Phillips to the Chicago Cubs for Bob Buhl and Larry Jackson.

Buhl won six games for the Phillies in 1966, and was out of baseball in early 1967. Larry Jackson pitched three seasons for the Phillies before retiring, but he lost more games than he won.

Meanwhile, Ferguson Jenkins won 20 games for the Cubs six years in a row, and entered Baseball's Hall of Fame wearing a Cubs hat. Plus Adolpho Phillips was the Cubs everyday starting centerfielder for the next three plus seasons.

Am I missing a Cubs trade that turned out better than that?

Al Capone's Vault

25 years ago today the most hyped television program in WGN history aired: The opening of Al Capone's vault

Geraldo Rivera managed to make a two hour special out of that non-event, and at one time it was the highest rated program of it's kind in history.

The full story is here, including something that happened to the Cubs that day...something that couldn't happen to them today.

Steve Tyler says a bad word

He said the bad word on American Idol...

Happy birthday

Two of my former colleagues are celebrating birthdays today. I've interviewed both of them for Chicago Radio Spotlight over the years.

Vince Argento is 40 (!) today.


Bob Hale is a little older than that.

Happy birthday, fellas!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

E-mails, we get e-mails...

"WC" writes about my earlier post regarding the first Cubs game at Wrigley...

"Isn't it interesting that the Cubs played their first game in Wrigley Field on Hitler's birthday? I looked it up--he turned 27 that day. I believe he was fighting in World War 1."

Not sure what you're implying there, "WC" (a White Sox fan, by the way), but yes, you're right. It was Hitler's birthday. It's a little odd that you knew that, but I'm sure it's nothing to worry about (rolling eyes).

In case you're wondering, this is what he looked like at the time. He's the one sitting on the right. He hadn't yet ruined the mini-Chaplin mustache for eternity; he still had that more bushy look going. Also, for the record, I'm fairly certain he wasn't a Cubs fan.

Joy to the World

I never met a bullfrog. For that matter, I never even met someone named "Jeremiah." But I was one of the many millions of people in the world that knew the first line of this song in 1971. It was HUGE. Forty years ago on this day it was the #1 song in the country...

First Cubs game at Wrigley

On this day, April 20, 1916, exactly 95 years ago, the Cubs played their first game in what is now known as Wrigley Field.

It was still known as Weeghman Park at the time, named after their owner Charlie Weeghman, the man that built it. William Wrigley had just bought a minority share in the club, but the ballpark wouldn't bear his name for several more years.

The manager of the Cubs that day was the future Hall of Famer Joe Tinker (we have his 1911 baseball card at the link--that's Joe in the photo). The man on the mound, Claude Hendrix, was quietly banned from baseball in 1920 for allegedly betting against the Cubs. (He also started the first game in the ballpark's history in 1914)

It was almost as if the Cubs knew this was going to be an important day in their history. They staged a parade from Grant Park through the downtown streets before the game, and then, before the game started, they sent aerial bombs into the sky--each one shooting an American flag into the crowd, or beyond into the North Side neighborhood.

The Cubs won that first game after a dramatic comeback. They scored twice in the bottom of the eighth thanks to doubles by (future 1918 World Series goat) Max Flack, and (future criminal) Heinie Zimmerman. Cubs first baseman Vic Saier knocked in Cy Williams with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

Here's one last piece of trivia from that day. The first ever National League homer hit in that ballpark was slugged by Reds outfielder Johnny Beall. It was the only one he hit that year, one of only three in his career, and the last one he ever hit.

First Televised Cubs Game

The TV era at Wrigley Field is becoming a senior citizen today. The first televised Cubs game was exactly 65 years ago, April 20,1946. They raised the 1945 pennant flag that day.

Bob Buhl

This week's Tale from a Bad Century is about a Cubs pitcher that set a record in 1962. It's not a good one, but it is amazing.

He went 88 consecutive at-bats without a hit, including the entire season of 1962.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Attack of the Flying FIsh

This is awesome. Watch the fish jumping on the Wabash River in Indiana...

Royal Wedding Rehearsal

This is a real good job with very convincing lookalikes done by T-Mobile...

Marse Joe

This week's Great Nickname at Just One Bad Century is "Marse Joe." He was a very successful manager with the Cubs; he won 7 World Series titles...after the Cubs fired him, of course.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Four Pack Rack

Mark Roskuszka is a friend of mine that has come up with an invention. It's called "The 4 Pack Rack." He sent me an e-mail yesterday explaining how he was inspired to come up with this idea, and how people can get it...

"After many years of coaching and attending little league games, I have invented the 4 Pack Rack. This water bottle rack holds four water bottles per rack and easily attaches to any chain link fence. The racks are stackable and portable so they can be used at all the teams’ practices and games. I have about 300 blue racks in stock and have a second production run for black, red and green racks in process and due for completion later this season. I believe this product will be useful for all ages and benefit baseball/softball travel, highs school and park district teams. Please send me an email or visit my website"


If you turned on ABC-TV exactly 40 years ago tonight, this is what you would have seen...

The JOBC Contest

In honor of today's snow in Chicago, this week's Just One Bad Century quiz is about a different kind of snow. What former Chicago Cub was busted for possession of snow (cocaine) on May 23, 1980 during a customs search in Toronto? (He was found possessing 3.0 grams cocaine, 2.2 grams hashish, and 1.75 grams marijuana.)

The first person that e-mails me the correct answer at will win a commemorative Greg Maddux 3000th strikeout scorecard, plus a t-shirt from the Just One Bad Century catalog.

UPDATE: We have a winner! Bernie Cobb of Naperville knew that Ferguson Jenkins was the former Cub busted for cocaine, and was the first person to e-mail me at Bernie wins the Maddux scorecard and JOBC t-shirt. We'll have another contest next Monday.

Say it ain't so, Snow

It was a nice day yesterday, so people were working outside doing yardwork all day. Then last night, they took their yard bags to the end of the driveway to be picked up along with the garbage (it's garbage day in our neighborhood).

Those yard bags are now covered with snow.

Never a dull moment in Chicago.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Father Knows Nothing

My latest Father Knows Nothing column has been posted at NWI Parent. This week's column is about the single-minded obsession of my youngest son. It's called "Letters from Sean."

This week in 1908, 1945

Every weekend Just One Bad Century goes back in time to the last year the Cubs won the World Series and the last year they won the pennant.

This week in 1908, the Cubs play their home opener at West Side Grounds--their first game as defending champs--and Edward R. Murrow is born.

This week in 1945, President Roosevelt dies, and the Cub play opening day at Wrigley Field in his honor