Saturday, April 11, 2009

Milo Hamilton...

...joined the Cubs broadcast booth this week in 1980.

Milo, of course, is most famous for his call of Hank Aaron's 715th home run.

He also voiced this terrible Burger King commercial in the 80s while he was with the Astros.

As for his experience with the Cubs? Let's just say that he doesn't consider it one of his career highlights.

In his autobiography he rips Harry Caray, calling him a "miserable human being." I wrote about that book when it came out, and you may be surprised by my analysis.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Chuck Connors

The physically imposing 6'5" Connors played first base for the Cubs in 1951 and hit a whopping two home runs in 200 at bats, not exactly the kind of power you want from a big first baseman. That performance earned him a trip back to the minors.

Luckily for him, the Cubs minor league team at the time was in Los Angeles. While he was playing in the Cubs minor league system he got a bit part in the movie Pat & Mike (starring Spencer Tracy--1952). That led him to quit baseball for good and become a full-time actor. By 1958, he was starring in The Rifleman, which aired until 1963. He also starred in Old Yeller, Soylent Green, and Roots, and is arguably the greatest Cubs actor of all-time (other than Sammy Sosa during his "corked bat" press conference).

He was born on this day in 1921.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

A Cubs Question

Bonnie writes...

"I have a question: What was the "home run sign" that Cubs fans used to execute in the bleachers when they wanted a home run? I read about this in the play Bleacher Bums but have not seen it or been able to find an explanation after pages and pages of google hits. Can you describe this?"

Anyone? Drop me an e-mail (rick@justonebadcentury.com) if you remember so I can write Bonnie back.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

MJ at Wrigley

It happened on this day, 15 years ago. Michael Jordan played for the White Sox in an exhibition game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

He hit a double.

I was there, freezing my tush off in the upper deck with John Landecker.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Curse of The Lutheran Seminary

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Cremate the Curse event at the funeral home in Schaumburg Sunday, and thanks to everyone who provided eulogies for the various Cubs curses, especially the MC of the event, Tom Dreesen. He was great, as always.

Here's my contribution...The Curse of the Lutheran Seminary

In 1914, Charlie Weeghman found a great location on the North Side of Chicago to build his new ballpark...a chunk of land at Sheffield, Addison, Waveland and Clark. It was absolutely perfect.

There was only one problem. Something already stood on that ground. A Lutheran Seminary.

Charlie purchased the land, and built his ballpark on the exact same spot that Seminary once stood. A place that had been a center for thoughtful contemplation, a home for heavenly guidance, a divine dwelling, was replaced by a ballpark filled with alcohol swilling, profanity hurling miscreants, probably playing hooky from an honest day’s work. (People like me).

Now I’ve got no evidence that this brought on a curse, other than the 33,580 days without a championship since the Cubs started playing there, and a few other signs that maybe, just maybe, somebody (points up) didn’t like that too much.

Sign #1: The league this ballpark was supposed to feature, the Federal League, was broke in two years.

Sign #2: The man who built the ballpark, good ol’ Charlie, was bankrupt just five years later.

Sign #3: The team that took over that ballpark, the Cubs, have played the World Series in this ballpark 5 times, and each time they brought a dark cloud of bad karma along for the ride.

1929, moments before the first Wrigley Field World Series game was even played, two Wrigley employees were arrested for beating up a hot dog vendor outside the ballpark.

1932, Cubs players stiffed their own teammate Mark Koenig a full playoff share, angering his good friend Babe Ruth, who you may remember, made a point (point) of getting back at them.

1935, Cubs players screamed so many profanities from the dugout that the umpire actually threw the entire bench out of the game. In the ninth inning of the final game, with a runner on third base and the score tied, the Cubs had to let the pitcher bat.

1938, a ninth inning home run was hit in Wrigley Field by a Yankee the Cubs had turned down just a few years earlier because they didn’t think he would be good enough...Joe DiMaggio.

I’ll let the next speaker tell you what happened in 1945. Let’s just say that the groundwork may have been laid for a humble curse request from a man who wasn’t allowed to bring in a goat.

That’s why I’m contributing this photograph of the construction of Wrigley Field to this curse cremation.

This is our way of letting HIM know, we are formally asking for forgiveness (Maybe for the first time ever.)

Please, consider One Bad Century sufficient penance.