Father’s Day

I grew up a Chica­go Cubs fan. I don’t know exact­ly when I became a Cubs fan, but by the time I was ten, I was a Cubs fan. My best guess is that Ray Raynor, who did a morn­ing show for kids on WGN TV in Chica­go, was respon­si­ble for mak­ing me a Cubs fan.

Dad was a White Sox fan. But I had no idea that Dad was a White Sox fan until I was well into adult­hood. One would think that I might have got­ten a clue from the num­ber of times I walked in on him watch­ing the Sox game when the Cubs were also play­ing. I would com­ment that the Cubs were on and he always changed the chan­nel to the Cubs game. I just fig­ured he did­n’t know.

Some­time in my twen­ties or thir­ties Dad told me the sto­ry of how he became a White Sox fan. As a child, Dad was a Cubs fan. In 1929, Dad was twelve years old. The Chica­go Cubs were in the World Series for the first time since 1918 (when Dad was 2 years old).

It was the fourth game of the series. The Philadel­phia A’s were up 2 games to 1. But the Cubs were look­ing good to even the series at two games each with an eight run lead in the sev­enth inning.

But the A’s scored ten runs in that sev­enth inning, aid­ed by Hack Wilson’s fail­ure to catch two fly balls that he lost in the sun. Twice in the same inning!! Wil­son was the star of the team, hit­ting 39 home runs and dri­ving in 159 runs while bat­ting .345 that year, so it was dou­bly painful that he con­tributed so much to the bad inning.

The A’s won the game and went on to win the series. Dad could­n’t take it. He aban­doned the Cubs and became a White Sox fan.

As it turned out, he had made a good deci­sion. It took thir­ty years, but the White Sox won the World Series in 1959.

The Cubs looked good to get to the post sea­son in 1969 and I was right there keep­ing a scrap­book since Jan­u­ary. Every word the Chica­go Tri­bune print­ed on the Cubs was in my scrap­book. The Cubs blew it in the end and the Mets beat them out. I threw my scrap­book away in dis­gust, but I was still a Cubs fan.

Two weeks ago, the Cubs were mired in a slump and they were play­ing Min­neso­ta. The Twins had men at first and third with one out. A fly ball was hit to medi­um deep right field. Mil­ton Bradley, a high pro­file acqui­si­tion pri­or to the sea­son who has­n’t played well, caught the fly ball. Then he tossed it into the stands.

At that moment, I had an under­stand­ing of what my Dad might have felt back in 1929.

I’m still a Cubs fan (and I’ve enjoyed the last few games!) but it got me to won­der­ing. If I had switched alle­giance to the Sox after 1969, I would have only had to wait 36 years for a World Series win. As it is, I’m still waiting.

2 thoughts on “Father’s Day”

  1. Sad but true, Hack became a goat that day. Check out my new site Hack191.com to find out about the biopic that I’ve written…

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