Friday, April 29, 2011

Coming this weekend

I've got an action-packed weekend planned. This afternoon I'm driving down to the old Alma Mater (University of Illinois) with my son Tommy. He's a "mathlete" participating in the state math meet. Looking forward to seeing some old friends, and I guess, watching kids do math problems? Then Sunday is Sean's First Communion, so excitement abounds.

I won't be posting a Chicago Radio Spotlight interview this weekend, but I will be posting a new Father Knows Nothing column on Sunday. It's about birds. A very strange coincidence involving birds.

Have a great weekend!

100 years ago

Two Cubs related births this week, one hundred years ago.

One was born in a little town in North Carolina and became a catcher for the Cubs with the memorable nickname of Tarzan: Walter Stephenson.

The other was born in Chicago, sold Cubs banners as a boy, and became the assassin of an assassin: Jack Ruby.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ann Margret

Can you believe she's 70 years old today? This is way I always think of her...and remember she was playing Tommy's mom in this movie....

Warren Spahn

Exactly 50 years ago today a very special baseball game was played in County Stadium in Milwaukee. 40 year old lefty Warren Spahn was on the mound for the Milwaukee Braves, and Sam "Toothpick" Jones (the first African-American pitcher in Cubs history) was on the mound for the San Francisco Giants. Less than 9000 fans were on hand to witness it.

The Giants had one of the most powerful lineups in history. Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and Orlando Cepeda (all in their prime) batted 3rd, 4th and 5th.

Sam Jones was masterful that day. Hank Aaron knocked in an unearned run in the first inning with a single, but Jones allowed only 3 more hits the rest of the game, while striking out 10.

But Warren Spahn, the crafty 40-year-old, no-hit that feared Giants lineup, facing the minimum 27 batters. He walked two men, and both of them were wiped out by double plays. The Braves won the game 1-0.

Spahn went on to 21 games that season at the age of 40, and won 23 more two seasons later at 42. He pitched in the big leagues until 1965, when he finally hung up his spikes at the age of 44.

The last team he pitched for? The San Francisco Giants.

Teaching babies how to hate

Scandalous video from the St. Louis area...

This is how it starts. Teach them to blindly hate before they can even form complete sentences. It's sad, isn't it?

Which reminds me, have you seen these incredible onesies we're selling at Just One Bad Century?

You can buy yours here.

Cubs tickets not selling

If you've been uninspired by this year's version of the Cubs, you're not alone. To hear some real tales of woe, read about the difficulties the ticket brokers are experiencing this year.

Kind of makes you think that, hmmm, I don't know, maybe the ticket prices have gotten a little too high in this down economy. But that's just me, Mr. Logical.

I've had the same seats for fifteen years. This is my ticket stub from the Kerry Wood 20 strikeout game in 1998. Look at the price. It was only $11. That's nearly two strikeouts for a buck. Those same seats today are $60 face value, and Kerry Wood strikes out an average of 19 less guys every time.

Do the math.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Keith Richards; Still Tickin'

One of my favorite stories of the past decade happened on this day in 2006. From Bob Dearborn's The Olde Disc Jockey's Almanac...

April 27, 2006…In Fiji, Keith Richards was admitted to a hospital with a head injury reportedly suffered when he fell out of a palm tree.
It just doesn't get funnier than that, does it? Let's face it, Keith is indestructible.

Chaperoning in Iowa

My buddy Kim (A City Mom) is chaperoning a school trip to Washington this week and has been blogging about it, so my weekly Suburban Dad contribution to her blog is also about chaperoning.

I've done it exactly once.

I call this piece "Chaperoning in Iowa"

(By the way, just as an aside, we've decided upon Wednesday as my day to contribute to ChicagoNow. I don't know if anyone makes notes of that sort of thing, but if you do, this info's for you.)

Jim Tracy

I watching the Cubs game on TV last night with my son Sean (age 8), and when Rockies manager Jim Tracy was shown in the dugout, Sean said: "He was on the Cubs!"

I just recently gave all of my old baseball cards to Sean, and sure enough, he had just seen this card of Jim Tracy. This is his 1982 Fleer card, though Tracy never played for the Cubs that year. He got 122 at bats in 1980, and 63 more in 1981 (all with the Cubs), and that was the full extent of his major league career.

But he is one of only 94 managers in MLB history that have managed in the big leagues for ten years or more.

Matt Murton

Cub fans, do you remember Matt Murton? Sure you do. Red hair, outfielder, hit well, but not well enough? Ever wonder what happened to him?

Well, here's a little bit of irony for you. He is a big star in Japan right now. Last season he broke Ichiro's record for hits in a season (214), and batted .349 for the year. He plays for the Hanshin Tigers, and here's where the irony comes in. The Hanshin Tigers are known as "the lovable losers."

In the audience for Babe's called shot

This week's Tale from a Bad Century goes back to the famous "called shot" by Babe Ruth. The Who's Who list of people on hand that day goes beyond the many big stars on the field. In the stands: a future president, a future assassination victim, and a future Supreme Court justice.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Good Lovin

One of the enduring rock and roll classics was the #1 song in this country, exactly 45 years ago today...

Ryan Dempster offers financial advice

What does 30-something millionaire Ryan Dempster do with his money? Just what your mom and dad always told you to do with yours. Take care of it, and be ridiculously conservative.

I'm with Ryan on that.

I found this strange but enjoyable article in the business section of the Joplin Globe.

The Bartman Movie

USA Today reviews the movie about Steve Bartman. It's called "Catching Hell."

Sounds to me it's the fans of the Chicago Cubs that will be catching hell for scapegoating that poor guy. For what it's worth, I agree that it wasn't our finest hour. I never believed it was his fault.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The JOBC Contest

In honor of the 35th anniversary of Rick Monday's heroic saving of the flag (see below), this week's JOBC contest is about the hero himself. The Cubs acquired Rick Monday from the Oakland A's in November of 1971. Who did they trade to Oakland to get him?

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! Congratulations to Grace Ross who e-mailed me the answer to today's contest question. The person the Cubs traded to Oakland to acquire Rick Monday was Kenny Holtzman. We'll have another contest next Monday. Be sure to check back for your chance to win.

Rick Monday

35 years ago today, Cubs outfielder Rick Monday rescued the flag from a couple of hippie protesters at Dodgers Stadium.

Relive the story here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

This week in 1908, 1945

Every weekend (even Easter weekend), JOBC goes back in time to the last year the Cubs won the pennant (1945), and the last year they won the World Series (1908).

This week in 1945, Hitler celebrates his last birthday in a bunker beneath Berlin, Happy Chandler is named the second baseball commissioner, and the Cubs get their ace pitcher back from an injury.

This week in 1908, a gruesome murder in Indiana is getting headlines, and the Cubs surge into first place on a 2-hitter by Orval Overall.

Father Knows Nothing

I just posted my latest Father Knows Nothing column. This week's is called "Lent is Over! (I mean "Happy Easter!")

You can read it here.