25 Random Baseball Things About Me

With kudos to Craig Calcaterra ("ShysterBall") over at The Hardball Times, who suggested giving the Facebook game, "25 Random Things About Me," a baseball twist, I offer my list of 25:(updated: mine now added, below Cubnut's, below the fold. - Trans)

1.) I attended my first Cubs game in 1968--Cubs v. Giants, Fergie Jenkins v. Ray Sadecki. I still have the scorecard and thanks to the miracle of Retrosheet have been able to confirm that I did a pretty decent job of keeping score for a 7-year-old.

2.) The first Cub baseball card I ever turned up in a Topps package was a 1968 Rob Gardner and yes, it was eventually thrown in the trash by my mother, along with all of my other precious cards.

3.) About three years ago, I bought a replacement Rob Gardner card on eBay. Take that, Mom!

4.) I have snagged one Major League foul ball in my life. It was at a night game during Joe Girardi's first tour with the Cubs. I was sitting in the second row of the upper deck on the first base side. Girardi sliced a ball that was on a direct line with my wife's skull. She ducked and without thinking, I reached up and caught the ball on the fly in my left hand. I don't know how I did it and I am positive that I could never do it again

5.) I know all the words to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and could sing it even without Jeff Foxworthy, Barbara Eden, Joan Cusack, or Erik Estrada leading the way.

6.)  I once wrote a commercial starring former Cub and actor Chuck Connors (The Rifleman). During a break in the filming, he turned to me and said, "You look just like Woody Harrelson." I was strangely flattered, though Connors was barely lucid at that point in his life. And, oh, yeah, I don't look anything like Woody Harrelson.

7.) My favorite Cub of all time is Don Kessinger and I carry his 1967 baseball card in a pocket of the folio I carry around at work for taking notes. Rick Monday is a close second.

8.) My least favorite Cub of all time is...well, I don't really have a least favorite Cub of all time, but so many are in contention. Among recent players, Jose Macias leaps to mind.

9.) I have had the honor of meeting three Cub broadcasters in my life. I met Lou Boudreau in the ballpark one day as he made his way up to the press box after he had completed his "Leadoff Man" show down on the field; I met Jack Brickhouse outside of Northwestern Hospital; and I met Harry Caray one night in his restaurant. They were all extraordinarily gracious.

10.) In my opinion, it is less painful to see your son get drilled by a pitch in a Little League game than to see him inadvertently drill some other kid when he's pitching, and feel your son's regret.

11.) I keep a spectacularly neat scorecard. Strangers often comment on it at the ballpark if they happen to catch a glimpse of it over my shoulder. They are complimentary, but I believe deep down they are thinking, "What is wrong with that guy?"

12.) My favorite teams besides the Cubs: the Twins (saw them down in Spring Training in Fort Myers when we used to vacation down there) and the Dodgers (used to see them in Spring Training down in Vero Beach, where we have vacationed the past few years while visiting my in-laws).

13.) My favorite baseball movies: "Eight Men Out," "Bad News Bears" (the original, Walter Matthau version) and "Pride of the Yankees."

14.) My favorite baseball books: "Ball Four," "The Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubblegum Book."

15.) I have witnessed via the miracle of television four Cub no-hitters: Carlos Zambrano ('08), Milt Pappas ('72), Burt Hooton ('72), and Kenny Holtzman ('71). Holtzman's first no-hitter, against the Braves at Wrigley in 1969, happened while I was at Golden Arrow Day Camp, and though I didn't witness the game, I have seen the video highlight of Billy Williams catching Hank Aaron's near home run so often, I feel like I saw all nine innings.

16.)  Major League parks (past and present) I have visited outside of Chicago: Milwaukee County Stadium, Tiger Stadium, Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Fenway Park, Anaheim Stadium, Ameriquest Field in Arlington. I never saw a game at Tiger Stadium but was granted access to the field a couple weeks after the final game played there so a photographer and I could take some shots for a book we were working on. The book never fully came together, but I still have those remarkable photos...somewhere.

17.) Favorite Wrigley Field memory: watching Sammy Sosa's game-tying homerun sail over the wall onto Waveland in the 9th inning of Game One in the '03 NLCS. I was sitting in box seats not far behind the Cubs bullpen and I felt like I had seen a rocket pass right before my eyes. I have never heard or felt such an explosive eruption of noise as when the crowd reacted to that homer.

18.) The baseball mitt I most treasured as a kid was a Rick Monday model. I think it was a Wilson, but all that really mattered to me was the Rick Monday signature on the palm.

19.) If there is a worse fantasy baseball team owner than me, I have not met him.

20.) On the shelf in my office, I have a ball autographed by Derrek Lee and a baby food jar filled with dirt from the Wrigley Field batter's box.

21.) There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing the Cubs win, but watching the White Sox lose comes damn close.

22.) I miss regularly scheduled doubleheaders.

23.) I also miss two six-team divisions per league, 18 games against each in-division opponent, 12 games against each out-of-division opponent.

24.) I really miss baseball without the DH and interleague play.

25.) I have only met one fellow TCRer in person. That would be Ruz. I have spoken to Rob by phone and have seen a picture of Dr. Hecht. Transmission and Arizona Phil are mysteries to me, however. I picture Trans as a cross between Don Knotts and a young Tony Curtis; I imagine that Arizona Phil is a dead ringer for Dominic Chianese, not in his Corrado Soprano guise, but as he appeared in the role of Johnny Ola in Godfather II.


Transmission's 25  (Thanks for letting me in, Cubnut.  I really was trying to ace you out on this one, having also read the 25 post over at Hardball times.)

1.  Ron Cey is my all-time favorite Cub.  He was my childhood hero,
primarily because of the "Penguin" nickname.  Penguins are cool to
seven-year-olds.  I cried when he was traded for Luis Quinones.

2.  As a kid, I'd go out in the backyard almost every
summer day with mom, who would throw my fly balls (using a tennis ball)
to catch.  I'd pretend I was Bob Dernier or Gary Matthews.

3.  Like everyone else, I got into baseball cards.  I
didn't do much trading with my friends, however.  One of the few times
I did, I traded with my friend Justin down the street.  Justin was an
all-right kid, I guess, but also was my first introduction to Spoiled
Little Rich Kids.  I traded him...  Ugh, I don't even remember any
more, and he traded me a Don Mattingly.  The next day he knocked on my
door, and said "my family checked with our card broker, and
Mattingly has bounced in value to $2.50.  My parents (a lawyer and a
real estate agent) say I should ask for my card back."  My own parents adviced me that
I should give Justin and his Lawyer/Real Estate Agent parents their card back.  I hate to admit it, but this probably
informs a lot of my adult perspective on the relationship between the
well-off and the rest of us

4.  As does my own other baseball card trading
experience, a mirror image of number 3.  I traded a Don Mattingly for a
Tim Raines to another friend of mine, Jeremiah.  He and his mom
struggled a bit more than most families at my school.  When I traded
him a $2.10 Mattingly for a $.35 cent Raines, and then quickly realized what I'd
done, I decided that I wasn't going to be a prick and demand a
cancelation.  We kept the trade and I took my lumps.

5.  In grad. school a friend of mine found - I don't know
where, and don't want to know where - a nasty old Chicago Cubs coffee
mug that looks like it must be from 1982.  I've drank coffee out of it
nearly every day since in my classrooms.

6.  The Cubs have a perfect 1-0 record on games played on my birthday. (As best as I can tell)  

7.  I don't think I remember my first Cubs game.  I believe it was
1988.  The pictures I took on my kids camera show Palmeiro and Dawson. 
About the only thing I remember was my parents telling us to lock the
car doors as we drove through the neighborhood to get to Wrigley.

8.  After the 1984 season, someone gave me "Cubs Win!: A
Celebration of the 1984 Cubs
" by Bob Logan.  I adored that book,
reading and re-reading it dozens of times.  I still have it.

9.  Hey Cubnut:  My mommy never threw out a single one of my baseball cards. Neener, Neener.

10. Instead, I used them to play imaginary baseball games.  I never
knew about stratomatic until I got online and started reading baseball
sites, so instead, as a kid I'd just get out my ball cards, pretend to
play a game between the Cubs and Reds (just because I had the most
interesting opposition cards from the Reds), lay the players out on the
parents' bed-spread to make an imaginary field, and then simulate a
game in my head.

11.  When I wasn't doing that, I was using my
Transformers to play baseball games.  Would position them in an
imaginary field in my room, and swing at, say, a tinfoil ball with a
pencil.  The outcome of the play would be determined by where it landed
or who it hit.  Metroplex was a good guy to put in left field.  He was
huge, and could prevent home runs from landing in the desk shelf that
defined the left field fence.

12.  Yes, I also had a real life:  I'd play street ball games with the neighborhood kids almost every summer day, all day.

13.  Being unoriginal and unromantic, I've thought about proposing to
the poor, demented woman crazy enough to be interested in me, at
Wrigley Field.  We'll see if it ever happens.

14.  In grad. school, a couple friends and I thought
about writing an article on the reactions to the introduction of the
QuestTec system.  The discussion about whether it was more or less
objective, its level of technological precision vs. the "human factor"
of umpiring all fits into a lot of the central issues in my larger
academic field. Like most things, we never got around to it.

15.  Because I was always the youngest kid in my class, I
also was almost always the youngest kid on my baseball team.  But for
one glorious summer, going in to 7th grade, I was in a league with kids
more of my own age, and suddenly I became a jock - the top hitter,
pitcher, and charismatic leader on my team.  It was heaven.  Then I
went back to being a mediocre to weak player on teams where everyone
was a lot bigger than me.  Quit playing organized baseball after ninth
grade.  Still miss it.  

16.  I've been playing fantasy baseball almost
continuously since 9th grade.  I used to dominate most of my leagues,
but now play with competition that is far more literate in baseball
research than I am, and I tend to struggle when I don't devote complete
attention to my teams.  I've discovered that I enjoy being a
commissioner, and with a few exceptions, I seem to get good reviews.  

17.  The Cubs nearly killed me in 2004.  After a
particularly bad loss (I don't remembe which one) I ran around doing
the fake-theatrics I-want-to-die, thanks-to-you-stupid-cubs things. 
Most of this theatrics was to amuse my partner, who was living with
me.  So I stuck my head in the (electric, turned off) oven, held my
breath, etc. etc., pretended to chug some cleaner fluid, generally
being funny. (I swear, in the context, it was.)  Then I saw the cheapo,
cleaning-grade vinegar. I concluded I could swig a little bit of it
without it being a big deal, since hey, it's just vinegar.  Big
mistake.  I lay gasping on the ground, feeling my windpipe constrict,
for a few minutes.  Feeling much better, now.

18.  The only autograph I've ever asked for in person was Chico Walker's when he played for the Iowa Cubs. 

19.  I wrote twice to Ron Cey - once for an autograph, once just to
encourage him in a letter where I said I didn't need an autograph. 
Both times he sent an autogrpah picture.  I admit being a bit
disappointed when I deduced that he probably hadn't read my second
letter, the one of encouragement.

20.  I've only ever met one person in any way connected
to TCR - a guy who signed up for one of my fantasy leagues through TCR
many years ago, then joined my keeper league.  Met him when I was in
NYC this January.  Good guy.

21.  Field of Dreams makes me cry.  (I don't believe I've
cried in front of another human being in maybe 15 years, which is why I
only watch Field of Dreams alone.)

22.  I've never caught a foul ball, and have never really had one come close to me. 

When I was maybe 15 and my brother was starting T-ball, the team needed
a coach.  I volunteered.  Mercifully, another guy finally also
volunteered, so I could just be assistant coach.  One summer of T-ball
is the entirety of my coaching experience.  It was fun.

24. I almost certainly will apply for any position I can get in the Cubs organization, later this summer.

Transmission doesn't exist.  He's just a gimmick that Ruz. created in 2002 and that
Rob took creative control of in 2004.  Part of our split from MVN was
over Rob's demand of complete creative control, liscencing and
marketing of the "Transmission" character.



Fun post!

I once met Ryne Sandberg at an autograph signing. Had a signed baseball. WHen I was like 7 years old me and my cousin played catch with it and ruined it. *slaps self in forehead* I'm such a dunderhead.

PS-- Also loved "Eight Men Out".

A classic kid baseball fan mistake and the basis for an all-time great episode of "Leave It To Beaver." Only the ball that Beaver ruined was signed by Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth and Kiki Cuyler. By comparison, your tragedy with the Sandberg ball was small-time stuff.

who's baby ruth?

"Kiki Gehrig?! You're quite a comedian, Ward."

--Fred Rutherford to Beaver's father, after Beaver tries to duplicate the autographed ball and unknowingly transposes some of the players' names.

on the off chance, where?

I got rynos autograph @1983. Could it be the same signing?

My god, it was a long time ago. I remember it being some sort of collectible shop in Wrigleyville. The line was about a block long. Couldn't tell you any more details, though.

I miss 8 team leagues

I don't have time to write two things, much less 25 about me, but number 25 has to be that my favorite baseball moment involves the White Sox, not the Cubs. I was watching a Sox game cuz my old man was a Sox fan and I was just a dumb kid who later rebelled, and I was watching Walt Williams up at the plate. He spat in his helmet, and rubbed it around on his head. It was the most beautiful baseball moment I've ever known.


Larry Bowa talking about Brad Penny.

"In my opinion, it is less painful to see your son get drilled by a pitch in a Little League game than to see him inadvertently drill some other kid when he's pitching, and feel your son's regret."

I agree wholeheartedly. There are so many levels of meaning behind that reaction that I have a hard time sorting them out. That was a wonderfully poignant observation by you.

All of the countless hours (weeks? months?) I have spent on TCR would have been worth it just to read that statement. That was beautiful.

Thanks for taking the time to let me know. It is much appreciated.

I have been thinking about this issue and thinking about how often you hear managers or pitching coaches say of their young pitchers or sometimes their entire staffs, "They're never going to succeed until they stop being afraid to pitch inside." Considering how many Major League pitchers have the accuracy to knock the wings off a fly, I wonder how much of that fear of pitching inside is related to experiences those pitchers had when they were very young and accidentally put a ball in some other kid's ribs or worse, nailed a batter in the helmet.


Actually, that sort of works.

You just did beat me to the 25 Random Things. I will finish mine at the office, then post them below yours or in the text or something...

Very nice!

Read carefully--that's Don Knotts with a 'young Tony Curtis' chaser. Far different than 100% Don Knotts.



Thing # 26 - ESPN was my introduction to the larger world of following baseball on the internet.  The espn.com Cubs fan message board started it, I think it even introduced me to TCR.  Of course, Neyer introduced me to sabrmetrics.

Not just sons hit other kids with pitches. My daughter, who pitches in softball - and throws absurdly hard, broke another girl's wrist with a pitch in a game last year and I think it still bothers her.

I've heard a lot of differing opinions as to where that Sosa HR landed. I swore it hit the little TV camera building but some lady giving the Wrigley field tour swore it went to the right of there. You are saying it went onto waveland.

I agree that was probably my most exciting moment as a cubs fan and I wasn't even there.

I was there, and it was freaking amazing. The sound of the ball when it hit Sosa's bat was louder than any other I can recall. And the crowd went apeshit, as you would expect.

I have such a great memory of that moment, but to this day I've never seen a replay that showed where it landed. I don't even recall seeing a replay of it that night or the next day. I don't even care.

I was there too, flew in with the the Angel Fan Wife after scoring tickets when they went on sale somehow. (LIfe before the kids).

Easily my favorite Wrigley Field experience...

There's a clip here if you look at the bottom links, but it's a Real Audio file and I refuse to install it on my computer.


I was also there. Kind of.

My mom had to leave the game early, and she was wary of finding her way back to the right CTA line. So I walked her to the station and pointed her in the right direction. I figure the game was lost by that point.

I had my headphones on, and I was walking along Belmont when Sosa hit that HR. "Get out the tape measure.... Gone!" I was jumping up and down like a lunatic on the sidewalk.

"...but it's a Real Audio file and I refuse to install it on my computer."


Media Player Classic! No Real Player but you still get to see the files.

MPC is awesome...and it can run without installs as a standalone file...it's just plain ol' useful.

Yeah, I feel like it passed right in front of me. Would probably be easy to check via a clip at mlb.com, but it's an incredible memory either way.

I'm just doing the square root:

1. I was privilege to witness in person the only time since 1908 the Cubs have won a postseason series, in Atlanta in 2003. I wouldn't trade that night for almost any memory of mine.

2. That year, I was also at Mark Grace's final game at Wrigley, a rain-soaked win against his Diamondbacks.

3. Other than Atlanta, most of my experiences seeing the Cubs on the road have been disasters - the Mackowiac doubleheader in 2004 in Pittsburgh, the brutal roll-over-and-die sweep in Minnesota a few years ago, a one-hit masterpiece by Juan Cruz in 2006 in Arizona, DLee going 5-for-5 before lining out to end the game in Milwaukee in 2005, watching Milwaukee win the Wild Card in 2008, Jose Valentin's walk-off on the South Side, and I could certainly go on.

4. Still, the worst Cubs game I ever went to was definitely a home game - Game 3, 2007 NLDS.

5. Favorite Cub always has been and probably always will be Rick "Everybody on Earth has been trying to steal you" Sutcliffe.

In terms of recent memory, I think one of the most memorable home runs had to have been Kerry Wood's home run in game 7 of the '03 NLCS. I literally almost kissed the TV.

The rest, of course, is history.

And thanks a lot for this post, Cubnut. Last year's post season was... let's say debilitating. I haven't really wanted to think baseball all winter, but this is a mood setter.

I hope I don't come off as the insensitive jerk here, but I can't see how hitting/getting hit with a pitch is that big of a deal. Granted a Marmol fastball in the ribs would not be pleasant, but it is pretty rare in MLB for a hit by pitch to result in anything but a minute or two of pain and maybe some aching. And we are talking about at the Little League level?

Obviously resulting in an injury of any sort or some extreme pain is a different circumstance.

I guess all I'm saying is it's part of the game and although I'm sure your reaction is simply indicative of a caring personality, you guys certainly shouldn't lose any sleep over it.

"10.) In my opinion, it is less painful to see your son get drilled by a pitch in a Little League game than to see him inadvertently drill some other kid when he's pitching, and feel your son's regret. "

He was saying as a parent it is easier to watch your son get hit by a pitch, then to watch him hit someone with a pitch.

Being that you feel your sons/daughters remorse and how badly they feel if they hit someone rather than being in the limited physical pain of getting hit.

The point of the 25 random thoughts was it's supposed to be personal and about baseball. I would say that what's quoted above fits those categories.

"...it is less painful to see your son get drilled by a pitch in a Little League game than to see him inadvertently drill some other kid when he's pitching, and feel your son's regret. "

"less painful" = "easier"
"drilled" = "hit"
"see" = "watch"
"than" =/ "then"

"...it is easier to watch your son get hit by a pitch, then to watch him hit someone with a pitch."

Thanks for the expert analysis. Who knew some synonyms and a grammatical error could go so far?


In the same sense that getting hit by a pitch is not such a big deal, hitting somebody with a pitch is not a big deal. I understand the emotion, just pointing out that most players hit by a pitch forget all about it by time they reach first base.

In the same sense that getting hit by a pitch is not such a big deal, hitting somebody with a pitch is not a big deal. I understand the emotion, just pointing out that most players hit by a pitch forget all about it by time they reach first base.

Not 10-year-olds. I've been coaching them for the past 5 years, and at least 50% of the kids who get beaned are useless for the next 3 or 4 games. And about half of the kids who see the beaning are useless at the plate for the next couple of innings.

I've also witnessed pitchers who hit a kid lose their ability to throw strikes for a long, long time.

It's the kids it DOESN'T affect that you worry about.

"In the same sense that getting hit by a pitch is not such a big deal, hitting somebody with a pitch is not a big deal. I understand the emotion, just pointing out that most players hit by a pitch forget all about it by time they reach first base."

Personally, I think that getting hit by a pitch is not such a big deal, hitting somebody with a pitch is not a big deal -- when I am the person doing the hitting or being hit. However, I saw my son's reaction after hitting a batter with a pitch -- and he's a pretty tough kid (12 yr old at the time)-- but his regret and remorse was pretty profound.

I do know that getting hit by a pitch usually is only a momentary incident, but occasionally there are some kids who get really freaked out by getting hit. Maybe my son's reaction had something to do with knowing that was a possible effect for the kid he hit, I don't know. But for me, seeing my son (who is a pretty tough competitor) have the ability to show that kind of empathy for another kid he didn't even know was a proud and humbling moment. The fact that he felt that way was a good thing and I wish he could have felt some of my pride for him. Instead, he only felt the regret of causing another pain because of his incompetence -- his inability to throw the ball where he wanted it to go. "I screwed up and because of that, someone who didn't deserve it got hurt." That's quite a thing to experience as a parent.

This is one of those things I wouldn't have understood without having experienced it myself. That's why I really appreciated Cubnut's mentioning of it. It was one of those profound experiences of life and I was glad he reminded me of it.

I will tell the TCR readership for the first time that Cubnut and I are lifelong friends and that I introduced him to TCR. While I've remained a loyal reader and infrequent poster, Cubnut has turned into a frequent and clearly talented contributor. You have me to thank (or blame if you choose).

With that in mind, I'm amazed since the content of our conversations over the past 40+ years have been more than 50% baseball-related, how many of Cubnut's comments were news to me. I must also say, I've seen the Facebook list, and this is an exponentially saner twist. My own personal list and apologies for the legnth, sponging of off Woody, er, Cubnut's.

1. My first game was also 1968, 6/30, Cubs 6 Cards 2. I've retro-sheeted the game (Hands over Carlton), although I didn't score it. My dad somehow scored us 6th row tickets behind the Cubs dugout. My memories, a Cubs 6-2 victory, HR by Jim Hickman and how green the grass and ivy were, (no color tv yet my friends).

2. No specific memory of first Cub card, but we bought them at "Deany's" on Clark Street (poetic justice) and it's very likely that Cubnut was with me at the time. I can still taste the stale pink gum.

3. My mom actually kept our cards and they are now in the closet of our guest room. Take that Cubnut! On your next visit to CA, I'd be happy to taunt you, er show them to you.

4. I've never caught a foul ball, but Paul DoLuca once in a rare LF start at Dodgers stadium threw the ball used to warm up between meetings into the stands and it landed at my wife's feet. He was traded days later. At a minor league game in Lancaster, CA (the JetHawks), youngsters and their parents were invited to run from foul line to foul line between innings. Afterwards, we were escorted back to the right field line (beginning spot) behind the scoreboard. On the way, I found a ball on top of an old shack. I justified the theft by rationalizing that each of my sons needed their own professional baseball.

5. Ditto, I know the words too, but probably can't sing much better than Mike Ditka.

6. I know Cubnut and I've never thought he looks like Woody Harrelson, but now that Chuck mentions it, I see an ever so tiny resemblance.

7. Fav Cub, I'll go with Glenn Beckert, I don't know why. I also really liked Keith Moreland.

8. Least favorite - nobody in particular, but I know there are many I haven't really cared for.

9. Only baseball broadcaster I met was Tony Kubek who was doing the game of the week one Saturday at WF. I asked for his autograph on his way up to the booth. He put his hand on my shoulder and said something like "Son, I'm sorry I can't, I have to get up to the booth." I thought it was very cool both at the time and in retrospect. I also met Lou Boudreau come to think of it at some Men's Club thing my dad took me too. Ron Santo also in another year.

10. My sons have fortunately been on neither end of a beaning incidient.

11. I will vouch for Cubnut's incredibly neat scoring and add that he thinks of incredibly esoteric ways to note the happenings. For example, if a single is hit to right center, there will be a hash mark in that direction to indicate such. He taught me (being all of six months older) how to keep score. He and I invented an award (a combination of our real names, hey we were 10) given to the player with the most Total Bases. It kept some pretty boring games interesting.

When we were in HS, I keep stats for basketball. The next year, I asked him to join, and the coach after one game noted how much neater my shot chart was. Simply sitting next to Cubnut shamed me into keeping neater stats.

While I've since lost them, I had quite a nice collection of scorecards from the various years and along with them many autographs from visiting teams. We realized we might be able to squeeze in from the visitors, with no chance to get Cubs. I'm pretty sure Pete Rose and Joe Morgan were among the lost cards.

12. Next fav teams would be the Dodgers (because I now live in LA) or was until taunts of "101 years" and thrown peanut shells at G3 of the NLDS. I've rooted for Oakland ever since I read Moneyball.

13. I'm a sap, more of a "Field of Dreams" kind of guy. It's my favorite movie of any kind.

14. Books - Moneyball and Ball Four spring to mind. There was also a book about a guy who had a Strat-o-matic style dice league that Cubnut recommended that I loved, can't remember the name.

15. Can't remember the specifics on the no-hitters, missed Z's, saw Hooton's and what's weird is that I remember Holtzman 69 and playing baseball in front of some friends house (to Cubnut it was M & E) and their mom coming out to tell us that Holtzman was throwing a no hitter. In my mind's eye, you were there, but I guess not.

16. Stadia: Milwaukee County, the HumpDome, Busch (old), Anaheim, Dodgers, PetCo, DBacks, PacBell (or whatever it's called now), and Camden Yards. Would love to see Fenway.

17. Fav Wrigley moment, I don't know but some assorted memories: Shawon Dunston's first ML HR, taking my kids for the first time, Pete Rose's 4190th hit (I believe the one before he tied the record). Also had a paper route and had to leave around the 7th innning one day. From the corner of Addison and Sheffield I "heard" Hank Aaron's 7XXth HR (somewhere between 700 and the record-breaker.

Duh, just remembered my favorite, I was at G1 of the 1984 NLDS, Cubs 13 Pads 0.

18. No specific mitt, I just like the smell.

19. Cubnut introduced me to fantasy baseball, turned me into an addict, then just as quickly decided he hated it. There was a guy in his office that was an obsessed nut. My most satisfying fantasy league title was winning the "Sons of Brickhouse (SOB)" title for 1991, depriving the obsessed guy of what would have been 4 straight titles. I still have the final standings in my planner. CubNut finished 6th of 8.

20. The WF dirt Cubnut has is very cool. I have in my office a framed picture of WF and an autograph picture of Ernie Banks. He wrote "Keep on Going", I never met him, a friend attended a conference where he was and knew I was a big fan. My only time on the field was when I was an extra in a Bud commercial, took the whole day, I was sick as a dog, got $100. My buddy and I snuck down and stood on the warning track in RF. Even in tiny WF, it's a long way. (I should have scooped some dirt).

21. Ditto Cubnut on Cubswin/Soxlose, I think I got it from him. If you ever play poker at PokerStars, I'm Cubswin623. 6/23 is my birthday and of course, the date of the "Sandberg game" - my 23rd birthday.

skipping to 25 - other than Cubnut, I've only met Rob G. when he and I were the only attendees at a Cubs Dodgers TCR event. I remember Rob as a good guy and incredibly knowledgable baseball fan which is obvious from his writings. I don't remember who won which makes me think it likely wasn't the Cubs...

I think it was this game..


curiously, it seems to be missing from our archives because I recall doing a write-up on it.

I started writing here in Jan, 2005 and I know I missed the 2005 Dodgers series because it was right around when my kids were born, so I'm pretty sure it was 2006.


I think you're right because I recall being excited about seeing Maddux and I recall it was a very quick game (1:59).

yeah, I did find the announcement about the get together...


no idea what happened to my recap of the game though...

I was at that game too... but I was in the bleachers.

Hmm,  in the comments to the post I linked in comment #32, you said you couldn't make because you had to pick up your wife at the airport.

So you lied to us, I shall never forgive you...

lol, busted., full-blown-pants-on-fire incident.

Oh... than I was not at that game...

I remember watching Greg Maddux pitch, from the bleachers, at Dodger Stadium. Must not have been that game.

UPDATE: I think it may have been this game.

Back in the day, I remember sending mail and requested photos from players that I thought were "not as popular", so my strategy was that the less popular players would be thrilled to get a letter from a fan asking for a signed photo.

So - I'm sure I had more than what I can remember now, 35-40 years later or so, but I got, get this: a Manny Sanguillen photo that he obviously cut off of another group photo, then signed with a ballpoint! I also had acquired a Roberto Clemente, and a Ted Simmons photo.

Ted Sizemore also sent me a photo that was an early use of a home-made duplication type - not "mimiograph", but something that may have been printed with a fascimile signature.

Somewhere in a box I think I have an 8x10 Fergie signed to me personally, too, from 1970 or so (we knew the Cubs/Bears dentist).

I let all of this stuff go after the basball strike...

Surprisingly, I sent a Nike poster of Ryne Sandberg to him c/o Wrigley with a smaller mailing tube included, post paid, and got it back a couple months later. The signature looks like the real thing and I've had it authenticated. This was 1984. The poster was a shot of him at Wrigley, taken from the ground, taking a throw over second base.
In the mid '60s I mailed away for several Cub autographs. The bigger the name, the better the signed item. I got one from Ron Santo which was a non-glossy 4 x 6, like they used to sell at the park. I got one from Billy Hoeft which was a B&W snapshot taken of him as an Oriole.
My first game was September, 1959. Cubs beat the Giants 20-9, and I remember bits and pieces of it (like an Alvin Dark homer). My first in-person Cub autograph was catcher Ed Bailey in '65 or so. One summer day in 1970 my friend and I got in a little conversation with Leo Durocher by the wall, he said "If you had brought something to sign I'd do it." 5 minutes later we got snubbed by the Reds' Milt Wilcox.
When we worked fundraising at Wrigley in the concession stands in 2002, after the game Mark Prior gave us a $50 tip. It might have been after the 130-pitch CG against the Rockies.

In 2007, I was in Mesa for Spring Training. I went to Fitch every morning to watch the minor leagures practice. Well, I went to the bathroom one day and in walked Ryno. Ryno and I relieved ourselves in the same ballpark privy. Top that one.

I can't, I did once relieve myself in the same bathroom as Jerry Seinfeld and resisted the urge to ask him if he could spare a square.

At Spring Training once we went to see the Angels. Saw Bo Jackson and my 3 year old nephew got a ball autographed by the late Jimmy Reese, a coach at the time, and one-time roommate of Babe Ruth.

wrong reply

The Ricketts family makes a major move to complete purchase of the Cubs -->


AMTD will pay $11.85 each for 34 million shares.

That's $402,900,000.00...should be enough to cover Peavy and/or O-Dawg's contract. :)

O-Dawg! O-Dawg! O-Dawg!

The Cubs are definitely the best investment out there.

O's close to four-year extension with Brian Roberts:

A bad day for the rumor-mongers economy.

Great. Sounds like Lou is planning on Lee at #3. I'm thinking the #5 or #6 spot would be best...

1-Can't quite remember my first game, but my earliest Wrigley memory was sitting in left field bleachers in 78 and watching a Kingman homer flying over my head out onto Waveland.

2-I use to play wiffle ball across the street from my house and try to hit homers over my house.

3- I collected cards and I still have all of them favorite ones are rookie Sandberg and 1969 Nolan Ryan.

4-I cried after game 5 of NLCS in 1984.

5-I had model Buddy Bell baseball glove.

6-I still have Cub give away calanders from 1985 and 1986, the 1985 is signed by Shawon Dunston.

7-I frequently saw Ryno in 1990's at health club I worked at in Arizona. Nice guy no personality, signed everything I put in front of him and I still have them or gave them to family members who requested.

8-I have a friend who played in MLB on off in same time and he told me himself, Rob Deer and Sandberg played in a Over the Line softball tournament in Phoenix on a whim. I asked him how they did he said "We blew everyone's doors off".

9-Stadiums- Tiger Stadium, Fenway, Yankee Stadium,Turner Field, Ballpark Arlington, Camden Yards, Dodger Stadium, Jack Murphy, Candlestick, and BOB in Phoenix.

10-I wrote Bob Feller a letter in 7th grade after reading a biography about and he sent me an autographed HOF post card, which he wrote "Thank You for the nice letter.

11- The Tiger Stadium game was against the Cubs in 1998, Wood started, Sammy broke the record for HR's in a month and Brant Brown hurt his shoulder diving for a fly ball.

12- When Brant Brown dropped the ball against Brewers in 1998 I was driving in my car and Santo yelled my first reaction...I laughed.

13- I talked to Rod Beck before Cubs game at Dodger Stadium in 1998 and we were both impressed with Kerry Wood's warm up. Week later he struck out 20.

14-I was sitting along main aisle along third base side down by the bullpen in 1984 when Keith Moreland fouled a screaming ball hitting the empty seat next to me. Sounded like a bomb went off.

15- Favorite Baseball movies-
Field of Dreams and Eight Men out.
I cry every time when Ray asks his dad "to have a catch" to this day even though any good Midwestern boy knows you PLAY catch.

16-I was at a game in 2003 Wood started and it was night game against the Brewers. The game was delayed by power outage due to the extreme heat. Sosa hit his longest homer I believe at Wrigley that made it two houses down on Kenmore. There was a spraypainted mark there for a couple of years on the street where it landed.

17-I've been to one opening day, maybe 1999(?), Mark Parent hit a homer and it snowed.

18- I was at game 163 in 1998.

19-My favorite Wrigley moment in 1995(?) Cubs were down two runs in 9th with two outs againt Slocumb and Phils. One guy walked, next guy was hbp and then Dunston his a walk off three run homer.

20-I went to my fair share of spring training games they are only fun until the players with football numbers on their jerseys start playing.

21-I enjoy watching the Cubs playing at Dodger Stadium on TV.

22- I helped coached both of my sons' baseball teams and was very proud of both especially my eldest who is autistic. He played this year with kid pitch for the first time and in his first game he was batting he was hit by pitch. He yelled down to me at first base coach box "hey that kid hit me!". I said I know get your butt down here. He felt better.

23-Due to the leagues getting more competitive my oldest will not be able to play anymore(retired at 9). I type this with tears in my eyes.

24-1984 and 2003 broke my heart than any other years that I have followed the Cubs. Yet I return.

25-TCR is very theraputic for me and I appreciate every one's insights, stories and thoughts.


I was at game 163 in 1998.

Me too! I thought I recognized you.

I lived 4 blocks from Wrigley at the time. As soon as it was clear that there would be a one-game playoff, I ran to the ballpark, where a line was already halfway around the block. We didn't even know if they were going to sell tickets there or not, but about an hour(?) later, I had six pretty awesome seats.

One of the best nights of my life.

Great post, guys. Much better than the viral note making its way around facebook. I'm not gonna do a 25 things, but here would be the highlights, in response to Cubnut and Trans:

Cubnut's #2: I was never much into baseball cards, so I don't remember my first, but I am in possession of a 2007 Mike Fontenot card. Okay, no big deal, except the picture on the card is Ryan Theriot. Start the bidding.

Cubnut's #9: I haven't met any announcers, but my father got to interview Harry Caray in the announcers booth decades ago. Also, he says he stood in an elevator with Ron Cey.

Cubnut's #10: I'll reveal something I haven't before. I write poems, and I take it pretty seriously. Anyway, I've written a poem on the subject of beanings from the pitcher's view, and I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiment, Cubnut. How 'bout this one: seeing a kid bean somebody, get left in the game, and bean three more people. The last two batters he faced came out with protective vests on (little league). He didn't complete that inning or any other until he was in the tenth grade. Totally psychological. He threw pretty hard for his age, too.

Cubnut's #20: I made a black market deal this summer and managed to acquire an official Chicago Cubs base. It has footprints on it and everything. I'm still trying to figure out how I want to display it. Never caught a foul ball or got an autograph.

Trans's #15: I quit playing organized baseball at a young age due to an eye condition and never made it back. For years, I ignored baseball. Then I suddenly got interested again and have been a fanatic ever since, and have been involved in some unorganized baseball activities, but feel as if I never got to play organized baseball like a real baseball player, just like a kid who basically couldn't see and didn't know why it was so hard for him. When I played organized ball, I played third. And I had a lot of bruises, but I did manage to knock down pretty much anything hit my way.

Trans's #24: That'd be great. Two things I'd love to get paid to do: write, or do just about anything involving baseball.

Fave Cubs possessions are a handful of 1909 T206 Cubs tobacco cards esp Chance, Tinker, Evers, M.Brown and a 1933 Goudey Gabby Hartnett rookie.

First fave Cub was Chuck Rainey because I was the P/SS on my little league team and his windup looked similar to mine.

Used a Sandberg model glove in Little League through 8th grade.

I beaned Jeff Samardzija in a high-school state tournament game because I thought he was looking back at the catcher stealing signs. I guess he didn't think I was purposely throwing at him because he didn't retaliate.

I hate bad arena music at baseball games...the Wrigley organ is generally tolerable.

I take fantasy baseball way too seriously. So much so that I've racked an 88% overall rating in 4 years worth of baseball and hockey leagues.

Attended my first Cubs game in 1984 vs Cardinals, and yup it was that game - 6/23/84. I was 7. Was also there for the Sandberg number retirement ceremony.

My fave in person experiences with pro baseball players have all actually been with former White Sox players because they used to come to my town all the time. Like Minnie Minoso, Scott Radinsky and P Barry Jones who was on a rehab assignment and talked to me for like 20 minutes before a minor league game. He taught me how to throw a sinker. Told me not to throw anything except FBs and changeups until I was 16. Apparently I was the only person who knew who he was and I think I was 12 at the time. He was like a Rod Beck kind of guy. I didn't tell him that really the only reason I knew who he was was because I opened about 8 million packs of 87 Topps baseball cards and had every player memorized.

Went to a autograph signing for Andre Dawson in 1988 as a kid. He never looked up and just signed my Dawson rookie card and pushed it forward. His Jheri curl was glistening that day however. He spent his entire earnings from that signing on sports memorabilia like M.Ali boxing gloves and signed Jordan items. All of which likely were fake because that dealer went to jail for fraud. I was merely out a fake Billy Williams signed ball.

Jeremy Roenick bought me a beer in a Phoenix hotel bar a couple years ago. The years (and high sticks) haven't been kind to his face.

Grew up idolizing Sandberg and Chris Chelios, the latter of which I now can't stand. If I ever see him in public I'll probably punch him in the face. I'll be ok because we all now know how soft he is and chances are I'm a better fighter after having taken lessons from former pro fighter Harold Brazier who incidentally also sold me my new car (he runs a dealership).

My nephew is 12 years old, 5'10 and is throwing 75mph, switch hitting, and hitting opposite field homeruns (out of the park) and his follow through looks a lot like Derek Jeter at the plate. I will be living vicariously through him for the next decade or until I have children. When he is making $15m per year professionally I'll remind him that I bought him his first giant red wiffle ball bat and Jeter model glove and threw him countless hours of BP.

I've heard that Bobby Hull only charges $3000 for a one hour personal appearance. I'm thinking of doing it. I mean if he'll sign like 10 items that will almost pay for the fee in of itself. I'll throw the same offer out to Ernie Banks' people and see who bites first.

I beaned Jeff Samardzija in a high-school state tournament game because I thought he was looking back at the catcher stealing signs. I guess he didn't think I was purposely throwing at him because he didn't retaliate.

Attended my first Cubs game in 1984 vs Cardinals, and yup it was that game - 6/23/84. I was 7. Was also there for the Sandberg number retirement ceremony.

Is this the Cubs' Jeff Samardzija's older brother who's also named Jeff? Is there another Jeff Samardzija? Jeff was born in 1985 (http://chicago.cubs.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player...) and you were 8 in 1985. How did you pitch against him in a high school tournament?

homerzzz makes a good point...

haha he sure does

unless maybe you were held back for at least 4 years

The jerk threw at his pregnant mother! Get him!!

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