Friday, December 11, 2020

Roy Clark

Ron Santo


This has been a pretty bad off-season for the Cubs, but 1973 was even more painful for Cub fans. The Cubs traded two Hall of Famers: Fergie Jenkins and Ron Santo. Santo was traded on this day to the Chicago White Sox. Santo was a nine time all-star (including 1973), but was clearly on the downside of his career. In return for Santo the Cubs got pitcher Steve Stone, catcher Steve Swisher, and pitcher Ken Frailing. It actually turned out to be a good deal for the Cubs. Santo only played one year for the White Sox and retired after hitting a woeful .221 for them. Steve Stone, on the other hand pitched three years for the Cubs (including a 12-win season in 1975), as did Ken Frailing, and Steve Swisher became a National League all-star in 1976. Santo was very upset by the trade, but he obviously eventually forgave the Cubs. His #10 flag will fly on the Wrigley Field foul pole forever

Father Knows Nothing Interviews

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview--Paul Michael Glaser

Free Kicks--The Champion's League


Wednesday, December 09, 2020

Sean's National Team Commercial

Ten years ago today, this commercial debuted during a US Men's National Team game on ESPN. The kid at the end of this video is my youngest son Sean. I got a call from the advertising agency asking if he would come out and film it on a cold morning on Chicago's lakefront. He was 8 years old at the time, and he was paid a brand new pair of cleats for his time (Size One). He still plays soccer, by the way, although it's clear he will never play for the national team. This is as close as he will ever come. But it's still pretty fun to relive it....

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Remembering John

Minutia Men--Rick and Dave's European Vacation

John Lennon

 40 years ago today John Lennon was murdered on the streets of New York City. Eckhartz Press author Bobby Skafish was on the air at WXRT when the news broke. He wrote about it in his book We Have Company. Here is that chapter from the book…


Monday, December 8th, 1980, the night John Lennon died, I was on the air at WXRT, doing a 6 to 10 PM show. On Mondays the 9 o’clock hour was always “This Week in Chicago,” a 60 minute heads up on who was coming to Chicago and the surrounding area to play live music.

During the second half of this specialty show an alarm went off on the news wire. There was a tiny room with a permanently opened door that housed a teletype machine or two. When it would signal an alarm due to important news, you could hear it out in the hall, but in the sound-proof air studio a flashing light did the job. John Lennon had been shot in New York City. I went back on the air, and not long after another bulletin came: Lennon was dead. It was right around this time News Director Neil Parker called with corroboration. Not a long time before Johnny Mars would take over at 10.

My dilemma was this: This Week in Chicago, sponsored by Talman Home Federal Savings and Loan, was specific in its mission. Yet, on a December 8th there was much less action on the stages; artists toured Chicago less during cold-weather months. That meant less Springsteen and Queen and more Koko Taylor and Phil ‘n’ the Blanks. This was one of those kinds of weeks in Chicago.

So, although I made the announcement on the air, I couldn’t, in my mind, play Lennon music. I put myself in a box of my own making. There was no phone conversation with program director Norm Winer. In his first movie Pee Wee Herman proclaimed himself a loner and a rebel. At most, I was only half that.

The phone calls from listeners were another matter. People literally cried over the phone, and some gave me a “say it isn’t so” challenge I couldn’t meet.

After I signed off TWIC, Mars took over and worked the Lennon tragedy thoroughly, playing plenty of his music and adding commentary. Mars was acclaimed, I believe in popular free Chicago weekly The Reader, for rising to the occasion.

I sort of disqualified myself from doing something timely and soothing and laudatory – all called for. Considering that this monumental thing cold-cocked me with no time to reflect, only react, while being deep into the regularly scheduled offering, the task of fitting an ocean of thoughts and emotions into a thimble of time was just too overwhelming.

In 1989 midday host Bob Stroud and I jointly interviewed John’s first son, recording artist Julian Lennon, live over the Loop airwaves as he was promoting his third album, Mr. Jordan. I’ll never forget playing Julian’s first single “Valotte” for the first time in 1984, eerily hearing his dad’s voice in his. In person, Julian was a sweet, down-to-earth guy. When we were on, wiseacre me said that his music was great and wondered if he came from “a musical background at all?” Laughs, fortunately, and Julian answered, “Just a little bit.”

Before we went to spots Stroud asked Julian if we could ask him a few famous-dad type questions, and he replied, “You can ask me whatever you want.” Relief! I took the first one upon returning.

Bobby Skafish: “I heard a rumor years ago that when the Live Aid concert took place that you rehearsed with George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr?”

Julian Lennon: “No, not at all. There was a lot of press about it saying ‘are you or aren’t you’ and we never talked about it and never discussed it.’

He also denied ever playing music together with the three living ex-Beatles. So I tried another one, about having heard that he had been waiting for a sign from the afterlife from his father.

JL: “Well, I had always been told…dad said that if there’s any way of getting back to anybody it would be a white feather across the room. And I used to look for it, but if it does happen that would be special, but I’m not going to sit around and wait for it.”

In December of 1995 the unexpected appeared – a Beatles record released 25 years after their break up. “Free as a Bird” started as a John Lennon New York City home demo in 1977. Fifteen years after his assassination Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, aided by co-producer Jeff Lynne of ELO, Travelling Wilburys, and Harrison’s Cloud Nine album fame, added overdubs at Paul’s studio in Sussex, England. To mark the release of new Beatles music, WGN television news sent a cameraman and reporter Randy Salerno (1963-2008) to WXRT’s studio on Belmont Avenue, two blocks west of Cicero. They basically made a piece about me playing “Free as a Bird” over the air, including a short interview by Mr. Salerno.

I remember thinking the late Randy Salerno had every right to pull some sort of rank because he was in TV while I did radio, but nothing could be further from the truth. There was a kindness about the man.

It aired that night on WGN-TV news.

Bob Dylan Sells His Songwriting Catalog

 This is a shocker to me. Bob Dylan has sold his entire songwriting catalog (more than 600 songs) to Universal Music for an estimated $300 million.

I'm wondering how many of his songs will soon be commercials...

*The answer my friend, is Beefeaters Gin. The answer is Beefeaters Gin.

*You gotta drive somebody.

*It ain't tea babe

*The New York Times they are a changin

*Positively Wall Street

*Like a Starbucks Scone

*Tangled up in Selsun Blue

Monday, December 07, 2020

RIP Lindy McDaniel


Just hearing this news. Lindy McDaniel, former Cubs pitcher, passed away on November 14th. Here is his obituary in the New York Times, with the completely unneccary slam: Ace Reliever for Mediocre Teams. He passed away of the coronavirus. Sad to hear it. If you ordered the latest version of EveryCubEver, this news came too late to update his bio. 

~Lindy McDaniel 1935--2020 (Cubs 1962-1965)

The Cubs picked up Lindy McDaniel from the Cardinals in 1962, and he had a few very good years for the team, despite the fact that the Cubs were awful while he was there. In 1963 he even led the league in saves. That same year he might have had his best day in baseball. On June 6, 1963, he came in to save the game. The bases were loaded in the 10th inning of a tied game, and there was one out. McDaniel promptly picked Willie Mays off second base for the second out. Then he retired Ed Bailey for the third. Then, in the bottom of the tenth inning he came up to bat, and promptly hit a homer to win the game. That game obviously made an impression on the Giants, because they traded for McDaniel just a few years later. In return the Cubs got two prospects that became key members of their late 60s contenders: catcher Randy Hundley and pitcher Bill Hands. 

RIP Dick Allen

Bummer. One of the stars of my childhood.