Friday, April 16, 2021

The Baby Assassin vs. The Portugese Pontificator

In other words...collusion

Your Freedom is Killing My Freedom

 Thanks a lot anti-vaxxers.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Happy Birthday King Cole

 From his EveryCubEver profile...

~King Cole 1886–1916 (Cubs 1909-1912)
His real name was Leonard Leslie Cole. He started his baseball career as a pitcher with the Cubs in 1909. By 1910, he was the ace of the staff. He led the National League that season with a record of 20-4 and helped win a National League Pennant for the Cubs. His 20-4 record is the best winning percentage (.866) for a Cubs pitcher in the twentieth century. He was immortalized as “King” Cole by Ring Lardner, who no doubt, got it from the children’s nursery rhyme ‘Old King Cole.’ King Cole didn’t stay with the Cubs very long. He won 18 games for them in 1911, and was traded (along with fan favorite Solly Hofman) to the Pirates for Tommy Leach early in the 1912 season. He later landed in the American League, where Cole gave up Babe Ruth’s first ever hit in the majors (a double on October 2, 1914). But this King Cole would not live to be a merry old soul. In 1915, he contracted a disease that knocked him out of baseball. Some sources say it was malaria, others say tuberculosis, and still others speculate it was syphilis, but whatever the disease, it took Cole’s life. He died on January 6th, 1916, a few months shy of his 30th birthday.

Minutia Men Celebrity Interview: Shamus Toomey

Free Excerpt from The Unplanned Life

 Today would have been former Chicago mayor Harold Washington’s 99th birthday. One of our authors, Roger Badesch (The Unplanned Life), had the priviledge of working for the mayor in his press office. The Unplanned Life features an entire chapter of stories from his days in the mayor’s press office, but these two are among our favorites. We present them to you free today, in honor of Harold…


In 1984, the Chicago Cubs finished first in their division. 1984 would be the first appearance in post-season play for the Cubs since 1945. It was a baseball season to celebrate.

In anticipation of the Cubs clinching their division, I sent a memo on September 12th to Grayson Mitchell suggesting we should get ahead of the game, so to speak, and be ready to have the mayor congratulate the team.

Grayson replied to my memo with a sticky note: “Great idea! Let’s work in conjunction with Special Events. Also, let’s have Mayor present at clinching gameon phone, the dugout/locker room. Let’s talk!”

The Cubs clinched the division in Pittsburgh on Monday night, September 24th. The next morning I was in the City Hall press room handing out the press release—as enthusiastically reported by Harry Golden Jr. in the Chicago Sun-Times.

“City Hall today bloomed with Cubs regalia, proclaimed its joy, and planned a massive welcome for the victors. Mayor Washington was first with effusive words of praise and aldermen wound up for speeches in a regular City Council session.

Roger Badesch, a Washington press aide, bustled about with copies of mayoral statements while sporting a Cubs cap…

‘For many long years, the cry from the North Side of Chicago has been “Wait until next year,”’ the mayor said. ‘I am overjoyed to join the millions of Cubs fans around the world in saying, “Next year is now.”’…”

Unfortunately, the Cubs didn’t celebrate their World Series championship until 2016.


For Christmas of 1984, the mayor’s staff got him a stereo component system and presented it to him at the staff Christmas party. But it was up to me to make sure he was really surprised by the gift.

I connected the amplifier, AM/FM receiver, and speakers and hid them under the boxes in which they arrived. I tuned the receiver to a music station and had it playing when he came into the room.

As a ruse, I placed a small portable cassette – AM/FM player nearby, and we pretended the music was coming from that small device. The mayor’s photographers snapped pictures of him dancing to the music before the big unveiling. After the party, I boxed up the stereo system, and it was brought to the mayor’s apartment.

A few days later I drove over to the mayor’s apartment to connect and install the stereo system. It was about 7:00 p.m. when I walked into the Hampton House and was greeted by one of the mayor’s security staff, who directed me to the elevator.

As I got off the elevator another security detail officer (all of the mayor’s security detail were Chicago police officers in suits) greeted me and directed me to the mayor’s apartment. The first thing I saw as I entered was the living room directly ahead of me.

There were several men sitting on a couch and a couple of easy chairs around a low glass table. On the table were boxes of food from a national fast food chain. I knew from talk among staff and news reports that several of the men talking with the mayor were part of his “kitchen cabinet.”

I also noticed against the front window an artificial silver Christmas tree. Shining onto the tree was a rotating multi-colored light. As I entered the room, the men at the table got up and left.

To my left was a room with a La-Z-Boy-style, thickly upholstered easy chair in the middle of the room. Surrounding the chair—bookcases on all four walls, from floor to ceiling, completely filled with books.

To my right a doorway to what I imagined would be the bedroom and restroom. Just past that was the open kitchen with breakfast countertop facing out to the dining room set. The kitchen was spotless.

As I started to unpack the stereo system, the mayor excused himself and went to the room with the easy chair and shelves of books. It was quiet in the apartment with the exception of the low rumble of the electronic “whirring” of the color wheel in front of the silver Christmas tree.

It took me about an hour to put the system together in its cabinet. When I finished, I walked over to where the mayor was sitting in his library and said I was done and was ready to show him how it worked.

He sat on one of the dining table chairs as I knelt on the floor showing him how to switch between the turntable, AM, FM, and cassette inputs. My thinking at the time was that, like the kitchen, the sound system would get very little use. After the demonstration he thanked me, we wished each other a happy holiday, and I left, walking past the same security detail as before, making my way out of the building and back to my car.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021


The Drive

Congratulations to all my friends over at the Drive. From Robert Feder's column this morning...

WDRV 97.1-FM, the Hubbard Radio classic rock station, was named winner of a 2021 Crystal Radio Award from the National Association of Broadcasters. The Drive was the only Chicago station among the 10 recipients honored Tuesday at the online NAB Show Premiere. The awards recognize stations for “outstanding year-round commitment to community service.” Winners were chosen from among 50 finalists by a panel of judges from the broadcast industry, community service organizations and public relations firms.

Senior Night

 The youngster played his final high school game last night. It was a bittersweet moment. He still has one more season playing for his club (Green White), and then that's probably it for soccer. I was his coach the first eight years he played. I've probably seen him play 500 games. I think I'll miss it even more than he will...

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Happy birthday Claude


~Claude Hendrix 1889–1944 (Cubs 1916-1920)
Claude Hendrix may be one of the most important figures in early Wrigley Field history. He started the very first game played in the ballpark (as a member of the Chi Feds), and the very first game the Cubs played there. On the other hand, his career ended with a gigantic asterisk. Team president Bill Veeck got a telegram before a game in August of 1920, saying that there had been an unusual amount of betting against the Cubs. The starting pitcher that day, Claude Hendrix, reportedly bet $5000 himself. The Cubs didn’t let him start the game. Grover Cleveland Alexander started instead (and was offered a $500 bonus if he won the game)—but the Cubs still lost 3-0. Though he had no proof it was true, Veeck ruled that the spitballer Hendrix couldn’t play for the Cubs the rest of the season. (History fails to note that Hendrix was running out of gas at the time anyway). Veeck also reported the incident to Judge Kennesaw Landis. In Judge Landis’ autobiography, he admitted that he quietly banned Hendrix for life. No public announcements were made. While Hendrix suffered greatly for his role in this case, he didn’t suffer as badly as the team across town. The investigation into this game didn’t turn up anything against Hendrix, but it did turn up a much bigger scandal: The Chicago White Sox had fixed the 1919 World Series. The Sox were acquitted in court, but banned for life by baseball anyway. Unlike Hendrix, they will forever be branded as the most notorious cheaters in baseball history.

Minutia Men

Particularly proud of the mature way we handled the Uranus story. (cough). Strictly science.

Sunday, April 11, 2021


 It knocked me out pretty good this weekend, but I finally got my second vaccine shot (Moderna). Pretty soon, I'll be back to some sort of reality (knock on wood)