Thursday, October 30, 2008

Meantime, In Between Time

So the Phillies, with a little help from their newfound friends (the umpires) defeated the surprising Tampa Bay D'Rays in the 2008 World Series. A laurel and hearty applause goes out to former Giant, Pedro Feliz.

Now it's on to the signings and trades. All the shuffling and uniform changing may be why only Sports Weekly provides the number of the player and most other publications choose not to be bothered with the erasable, hardly indelible, number.

But before we get to that let me throw out some fun facts about the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox from ESPN magazine.

(Thanks to ESPN mag for the fun facts about the two major league teams representing the city of Chicago, that toddling town.)

Betcha Didn't Know...

When they joined the National League as a charter member in 1876, the Cubs were known as the White Stockings. They had more than a dozen other nicknames before becoming the Cubs in 1902, because of their young roster.

The basket protruding from the outfield wall at Wrigley Field was installed in 1970 in an attempt to keep objects from coming onto the field, including bleacher bums!

It was legendary White Sox owner Bill Veeck who, while working for the Cubs' front office in 1937, suggested planting ivy on the outfield wall at Wrigley Field.

The tradition of flying the W or L flag from the Wrigley Field scoreboard after each game started in 1938, to inform El riders of what the Cubs had done that day.

The only ball ever to hit the Wrigley scoreboard was a golf ball struck by Sam Snead on April 17, 1951, before the Cubs' season opener, Slammin' Sammy used a 4-iron from home plate.

In 1973, South Side pitcher Steve Stone was traded for North Side icon Ron Santo. Stone is now a broadcaster for the Sox (after doing Cub games with Harry Caray, remember he was the one not hoisting a Bud every innning!) and Santo lives and dies as the Cub announcer.

Dick Allen, who drove in 113 runs in 1972, is the only White Sox player ever to lead the league in RBIs.

What's up with that Captain Morgan dance Nick Swisher does after he hits a homer? "Orlando Cabrera is the one who can dance. He came up with the handshakes, and I brought the Capt. Morgan pose from Oakland. Now, at home games, there's a fan dressed as the Capt. Morgan character. It's classic," says Swish.

When Nick Swisher was asked who was in charge, of the 2008 White Sox he responded, "Jim Thome is our clubhouse cop. When he talks, everyone listens. Then we go back to being knuckleheads."

Johnny Kling, star catcher for the 1908 World Champion Cubs, sat out the following season and won the world pocket-billiards championship. Kling returned to the team in 1910. (Just a note for all you heartbroken Cub fans. When you look at Johnny Kling's history in the major leagues, you realize that the Cubs kicked major league butt. Kling was on the Cubs in 1906, when they faced the Chicago White Sox in the World Series and lost to their crosstown rivals. Then in 1907, the Cubs again made it into the World Series against the Detroit Tigers and beat them for the title. In 1908, the Cubs defeated the Tigers once more for the World Series title. Then in 1910, the Cubs faced the Philadelphia A's and the A's won it. Not a bad run, eh?

(Kling played catcher, first-base, shortstop, and outfield. In 1903 he belted 13-triples. He stole 123 bases back in a time when caught stealing wasn't something that was kept track of, sort of reminds me of my softball team. They don't keep track of the errors they make, so history kept repeating itself, sort of. Although, this year with just the right combination/infusion of new blood, it didn't cost them as dearly as in years past.)

A group of Cubs fans have restarted the West Side Rooters Social Club, which was disbanded by team president Charles Murphy after the 1908 season. Club members claim that's the real reason the Cubs haven't won in 100 years. Ernie Banks serves as chairman and the secretary is Ryne Sandberg.

The last forfeit in the American League was by the White Sox. Between games of a July 12, 1979, doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers at Comiskey Park, the Sox held a Disco Demolition promotion, in which a local DJ blew up dance records. Thousands of fans stormed the field, lit fires and tore up the diamond.

Three-Finger Brown, the early 20th-century ace, who had only 3 fingers and a thumb on his pitching hand, holds modern-era Cubs records for ERA (1.80), complete games (206), shutouts (48), and winning percentage (.686). Six-fingered Antonio Alfonseca, who has an extra little finger on each hand, was the Cubs' closer in 2002 and holds no records.

Wrigley Field was built in 1914 on land once occupied by a seminary.

In the 1918 World Series, the Cubs played their home games at Comiskey Park because it held about 8,000 more fans. Red Sox pitcher, Babe Ruth went 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA. As a hitter in the 1932 World Series, the Babe allegedly called his shot at Wrigley. Ruth is the only man to play Fall Classics at both Chicago ballparks.

North Siders: The Cubs wore major league baseaball's first zippered jerseys in 1937, vests in 1940, and powder-blue road unis in 1941. They also sported the first- and, thankfully, only- pleated pants in 1940.

South Siders: Chisox innovations: player names on jerseys (1960), batting practice jerseys (1972), Untucked pajama jerseys with stupid-wide disco collars (1976) and the first throwback unis (1990).

Late-great (Bud man and a Bud fan) Cubs broadcaster, Harry Caray, started singing Take Me Out to the Ballgame in 1976-while announcing for the White Sox.

The Wrigley anthem "Go, Cubs, Go," played after every home WIN, was written by composer Steve Goodman.

The White Sox anthem, "Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye" was recorded by studio musicians as a B-side in 1969. When the label released it as an A-side, the sriters created the fictitious band Stream to avoid listing their names on the single. The one-hit wonder shot up the charts, knocking "Come Together" by the Beatles out of the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1969.

And finally, in an October Sporting News issue, was a picture of a Dodger fan (he was wearing an LA hat so I don't think he was rooting for the Cubs) holding up a sign that read:

  1. Death
  2. Taxes
  3. Cubs choking in the playoffs.

(thanks to ESPN magazine and The Sporting News)

Kevin Marquez