Editor's note: Baseball in Chicago
This article was published in the 2015 The National Pastime.
Growing up in Chicago in the early 1970s was about as good an environment for a young baseball fan as could be hoped for.
Not only were the Cubs and Sox competitive—sometimes even at the same time!—it was also very easy to get involved in the daily struggle of both teams. Chicago had several daily newspapers, all of which covered the teams thoroughly, and the Cubs and Sox both showed a heavy majority of their games on television. I later learned that this privilege was not enjoyed by most other fans, outside of maybe those in New York.
The Cubs televised all their home games and most road games on WGN, Channel 9, while the White Sox showed most home and road contests on WFLD, Channel 32, and then WSNS, Channel 44. The games not shown were mostly late-night contests from San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Anaheim, or Oakland, most of which were past my bedtime anyhow.
Of course, the radio was always on during the summer, so I heard plenty of the Cubs (on WGN) and Sox (on WEAW, then WMAQ) when riding in my parents’ car, or on a transistor while flying my bike down the streets of Evanston, playing ball at the park, sitting on the porch, or walking through the neighborhood.
It was the voices of those teams, and that time—Vince Lloyd, Lou Boudreau, Harry Caray, Jack Brickhouse, and even Bob Waller and Jim West—that helped form my love for baseball. I owe them all a great deal; they were enthusiastic, friendly, and knew how to tell stories. I found the game and the way they covered it to be enthralling. Nearly all of those men are gone now, and those times are well beyond the rear-view mirror, but I still remember how much of a buzz it was for me to dive headfirst into baseball in my preteen years.
I had that same feeling of discovery reading through the articles for this issue of The National Pastime. In these pages (and in the other superb articles available in the digital edition of TNP at SABR.org), dedicated researchers and thinkers show the fruits of their work. There are biographies, previously untold stories, forgotten chunks of history that shaped the game, statistical studies, and even poems, all about Chicago’s impact on our game and about the players who have passed through the Windy City on their way to eternity.
It was only by fortune that we had a biography of Cubs idol Ernie Banks planned when he passed away. I am sorry we couldn’t do the same for his White Sox counterpart, the late Orestes “Minnie” Minoso. My hope is that the passel of fascinating South Side baseball history presented in this and the online edition will compensate for Minnie’s absence.
Bouquets go to Cecilia Tan, SABR’s Publications Director, for her faith in my abilities. Cliff Blau is the world’s greatest fact-checker and Lisa Hochstein a great designer with seemingly endless patience. I appreciate Marc Appleman’s commitment to the printed (and digitally printed) word, and I thank Mark Fimoff for helping with some critical photo identification. John Horne at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum provided superb photos with speed and courtesy.
I express my highest gratitude to the writers and researchers who contributed their hard work to this journal, and to you, dear reader, for your interest in baseball history and your support of SABR.
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STUART SHEA is the editor of "The National Pastime: Baseball in Chicago" and the author of SABR's "Calling the Game: Baseball Broadcasting from 1920 to the Present." Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.