Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Titanic Trail-- Part 4:Halifax, Nova Scotia

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA:  Located 300 miles from the disaster site and because of the closeness, designated as the center for recovery.

An exhibit at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic has huge rivets and steel plates from the Titanic.  In addition, it has first-hand accounts of seamen, ministers and undertakers involved in recovering bodies, id-ing them and preparing them for burial.

Unidentified bodies were buried in three local cemeteries.

The nondenominational Fairview Lawn Cemetery  has 121 granite stones donated by White Star Line to mark their graves.  Many of them just have the victim's id number and the words "Died April 15, 1912."

One stone in the cemetery is marked "J. Dawson," but is not the fictional one from the movie.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Why It takes So Long To Do These Blogs: Majpr Watson and Margaret Rice

I have been writing about McHenry County's Major Watson, Revolutionary War veteran as of last week and from the article that served as the basis for the original posts, I found the Village of Hebron had a link with his history.  I found out he served in the First New York Regiment and did research on it, primarily from the 1st New York McCracken's Co, 1777 which besides the excellent history of the regiment had a thumbnail sketch on Watson's service in the war.

Then, I did research on Major Watson's War of 1812 service which led to research on the capture of Ogdensburg, NY, and Sackets Harbor, NY, where he was born in 1740.  He was captured at Ogdensburg and in the War of 1812 blog, I found mention of him as a prisoner in Montreal.  The Hebron article mentioned he was held prisoner in a prison hulk ship at Chatham, England which kled me to an interesting book "Prisoner of the British" where the author was held in a prison hulk in Chatham, England.  Maybe this man met Major Watson on it.  That led to a Wikipedia list of prison hulks and Dartmoor Prison.

Then, yesterday, I decided to go back to a 2012 article on the Titanic Trail;  I did two posts.  It mentioned a Margaret Rice who sailed from Queenstown, Ireland, (now Cobh), who died along with her five young sons.  That involved more research on her and her family.  A memorial stone was placed in Cobh for her story and another in Spokane, Washington, her destination.  Then, there were three other deaths of people with Spokane ties.  Had to research that as well.

No Wonder It takes So Long.  --DaCoot

The Titanic Trail-- Part 3: Other Things to See in Cobh, Ireland

The COMMODORE HOTEL is still there and still open for business.  This is where the first class passengers stayed before departure.  Who knows, perhaps you can stay in a room occupied by one of the Titanic passengers.

ST. COLMAN'S CATHEDRAL where passengers prayed for a safe journey before leaving.

The RAILWAY STATION where the passengers arrived in town is now the Titanic Heritage Center.

So Much to Dp.  --Cooter

Monday, April 28, 2014

Things to See on the Titanic Trail-- Part 2

COBH-- located 213 miles away and from 1850 to 1920, known as Queenstown, Cobh is a seaport on the south coast of County Cork, Ireland, and the last port-of-call of the Titanic before its fateful Atlantic crossing. Some 120 passengers boarded here where you will find a granite marker for Margaret Rice and her five sons who all perished.

The former White Star office has been converted into the "Titanic Experience," an interactive virtual voyage. You check in, get the name of an actual passenger, cross the gangplank and meet actors portraying the captain and crew. Then you visit an elegant first-class cabin and exit to a lifeboat.

At the end of that, you find out if you survived or not.  The article's writer was Katherine Buckley, a 22-year-old Irish girl in steerage. Her body was recovered by the Mackay-Bennett rescue boat and identified by her blue serge suit and ticket in pocket. Her body was sent to her half-sister's in Boston where she was buried.

Quite An Experience. --DaCoot

Things to See on the Titanic Trail-- Part 1

Frpm the Nay 20, 2012, New York Daily News "Even after the centennial there's still plenty to see on the Titanic Trail" by Sharon King Hoge. //// BELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND-- The Titanic was built here 1909-1911. At the time, the Titanic was the largest moving man-made object in the world. The area where it was built is called the THE TITANIC QUARTER and you can take walking and river tours. //// There are exhibits at the former White Star office where the plans for the giant ship were made. Local restaurants offer versions of the last meals served. //// The ship, and her two other sister ships, were made at the Harland & Wolff shipyard, which has the TITANIC BELFAST which has three ship prows representing the Titanic, Plympic and Britannic. //// On a cruise around the British Isles several years ago, Belfast was one of the stops, and the ship we were on docked right across from the drydock where the Titanic was built. It was huge. //// --Cppter

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Major Watson, Revolutionary War Soldier, Buried in McHenry County-- Part 2

He was born November 18, 1737 in Sackets Harbor, New York. This town is on the state's far western border and played a significant role in the War of 1812. Definitely the colonial frontier at the time. //// As a young man, he was captured by Indians and made to "Run the Gauntlet" where he had to run between two lines of Indians who tried to strike him down with war clubs and tomahawks. He later was befriended by a chief before making his escape with the help of a fur trader. //// During the Revolutionary War, he served under generals Washington and Lafayette. At the Battle of Monmouth, he was in the First New York under the famed Colonel Goose Van Schalk. //// He was later captured at Fort Stanwix by Indians and held prisoner for the duration of the war in Montreal. //// I have never heard of Fort Stanwix so will have to do further research on the battle. ////

Majpr Watson, Revolutionary War Veteran, Buried in McHenry County-- Part 1

From the Village of Hebron, Illinois, website. //// Major Watson is believed to be the only Revolutionary War veteran buried in McHenry County at Hebron's Linn-Hebron Cemetery. However, Watson lived most of his life in New York state and only came to the Midwest in the last three years of his life, and even then, living in southern Wisconsin. The Linn-Hebron Cemetery is just over the Illinois-Wisconsin stateline from Wisconsin. //// Major Watson was also one of the last survivors of the war for American Independence, dying in 1840 at the age of 100. //// He is also a veteran of two wars, the War of 1812 as well, (so I will have to mention him in my Not So Forgotten: War of 1812 blog) and was captured in both, spending most of the time in prison. He was captured by Indians twice, once before the Revolution. //// Quite An Interesting Life.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Revolutionary War veteran Honored in McHenry County, Il.-- Part 4

The plaques the SAR put up at the cemeteries tell the name of the American Revolution veteran and an account of their service. /// Franz Herder, the vice president of the northern region of the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) said: "All of these men, who died for our country are all over the state, and most people don't even know it. This is a way, in terms of public education, to recognize the sacrifices of those who fought for our country." //// Tim Evers, sexton of the Linn-Hebron Cemetery presented the SAR with a flag that had flown over the cemetery which also has Civil War and World War II veterans. //// The Linn-Hebron Cemetery also has five War of 1812 veterans buried there: Daniel Cornue, died 1876; John Begun, d. 1850; John A. Ehle, d. 1871; A. Clary, 1867 and Stephen Wickham. //// The cemetery is also the final resting place of Elmer Charles Bigelow, a World War II Medal of Honor recipient. //// --Brock-Perry

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Revolutionary War Veteran Honored in McHenry County-- Part 3

The plaque dedication was organized by the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR) and was also attended by the Daughters of the American Revolution and Major Watson Society of the Children of the American Revolution. //// The SAR estimates that in Illinois there are about 100 cemeteries with the remains of American Revolution veterans. Most individual graves have been marked, but the SAR wants to put these plaques at cemetery entrances to alert visitiors of the fact. //// The SAR is an international organization of men who are descendants of those who fought in the American Revolution. ////

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Revolutionary War Veteran Honored in McHenry County-- Part 2: Also a War of 1812 Veteran

We keep our boat at a farm near the Linn-Hebron Cemetery near the town of Hebron, Illinois. I'll check out the plaque and look for his grave when I go to pick the boat up in a couple weeks. //// Most people are surprised to find Revolutionary War veterans buried in Illinois, but a number of them moved here after the war. //// Of course, Illinois did not become s state until 1818, but it was a territory. //// Major Watson was present during the Battle of Monmouth and eventually was captured at Fort Stanwix in New York by American Indians fighting on the side of the British. He was held prisoner in Montreal for the duration of the war. //// Watson also fought in the War of 1812 where he was captured at Ogdensburg, New York, and held prisoner until 1815. //// Watson died at age 100 in southern Wisconsin (Hebron is right on the Illinois-Wisconsin border. //// Captured and Prisoner in Two Wars. --Brock-Perry

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Revolutionary War Veteran Honored in McHenry -- Part 1

From the April 7, 2014, Northwest Herald (McHenry County, Illinois, "Revolutionary Honor: Sons of the American Revolution honor vet buried at Hebron cemetery" by Joseph Bustos. //// The re-enactors stood in Revolutionary War uniforms and about 35 people were at the entrance to Linn-Hebron Cemetery. They were there to honor the only-known American Revolution veteran buried in McHenry County. //// Major Watson served under General George Washington and General Marquis de Lafayette. //// Members of the Illinois Society of Sons of the American Revolution paid to have the plaque placed there, noting the cemetery as the site of Watson's grave. //// Too Bad He Wasn't a Major in Rank. Then He Could Have Been Major Major Watson.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Illinois Governors-- Part 6: Richard Oglivie

9. On ething that RICHARD OGLIVIE lacked as far as being a politician was a photogenic smile. But, he had a good excuse, As a tank commander in World War II, he was hit in the face by shrapnel. //// 10. OH THOSE NAMES-- The first governor of Illinois' first name was SHADRACH. The third governor's first name was NINIAN. In case you're wondering, their names were Shadrach Bond and Ninian Edwards. Ninian Edwards also served as governor of the Territory of Illinois from 1809 to 1818, until it became a state. He was appointed by President James Madison. //// What Were the Names of Santa's Helpers on the Sleigh? --Cooter

Saturday, April 19, 2014

41 Years Ago Today... It Was 1973

And there I was at the tender age of 21 and deep into student teaching at Maine West High School in Des Plaines, Illinois, and set to graduate from Northern Illinois at the end of May. I was still driving the infamous "Ramblin' Wreck" 1963 Rambler station wagon, which had finally started after shutting down for the DeKalb winter. It wouldn't be long before I bought my first new car, a 1973 Ford Pinto, manual transmission. Anyway, Chicago's WXRT, 93.1 FM, is going back to 1973 for the next two and a half hours, streaming live at So, if you're getting ready to go to your local mom and pop record store for Record Store Day (I still say it should be called National Record Store Day) , give it a listen. Last several songs played: I CAN'T STAND THE RAIN-- Ann Peebles ROSALITA-- Bruce Springsteen LET'S GET IT ON-- Marvin Gaye FAT MAN IN THE BATHTUB-- Little Feat SAIL ON SAILOR-- Beach Boys DEAR ABBY-- John Prine DYERMAKER-- Led Zeppelin Lots of Memories. --Cooter

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Illinois Governors-- Part 5: John Stelle

#8. JOHN STELLE, who served as governor for just three months after the death of Governor Henry Horner in 1940 (so that's where the Henry Horner Woods in Cook County gets its name), appointed a new state purchasing agent, GEORGE EDWARD DAY, who bought loads of paint from a Springfield merchant. Turns out that merchanmt was none other than himself. // This insider dealing, though, had a lasting public benefit. Illinois used Day's paint to became only the second state to put yellow lines in the middle of its roads to denote no-passing lanes. No mention of whether Day got in trouble for his "deal." //// Making the Best of a Bad Situation. --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Illinois Governors-- Part 4: Adlai Stevenson II-- "Big Jim" Thompson

6. ADLAI STEVENSON II was an Illinois governor and two-time Democratic nominee for president and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. He was also the inspiration for Peter Sellers' character of President Merkin Muffley in "Dr. Strangelove." Muffley is the mild-mannered rational "egghead" who says: "Gentlemen, you can't fight in here, this is the war room." OK, now, I'm going to have to watch the movie. //// #7. Serving from 1977-1991, Republican JAMES THOMPSON is easily Illinois' longest-serving governor. But "Big Jim's" (he is quite tall) impact on Illinois goes beyond that. In 1972-1973, as U.S. attorney, he successfully prosecuted Democrat former Gov. Otto Kerner for bribery. In 1975, still the U.S. attorney, he successfully petitioned for leniency for Kerner in part because of his ill-health. Later, as a private attorney, he would make the same plea on behalf of imprisoned former Republican Gov. George Ryan, who had served as Thompson's lieutenant governor. //// Depends Upon Which Side of the Toast Your Butter's On. --Cooter

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Illinois Governors-- Part 3: Edward Coles-- John Peter Altgeld

4. EDWARD COLES, although well-connected and educated, wasn't much of a politician. he was socially awkward anda mediocre orator. Worst of all, he spoke his mind. But, some scholars consider him Illinois' greatest governor because he prevented the state from becoming a slave state (although born in Virginia). As the second governor, in 1824, he rallied the forces to stop a legislative-ordered referendum to rewrite the constitution to allow slavery. He even used his own money to help stop it. //// Fewer than a third of Illinois' governors were born in the state-- only 13 of 41. As a matter of fact, it wasn't until WILLIAM STRATTON'S inauguration in 1953 that Illinois overtook Kentucky as birthplace of state governors. And, two governors were born overseas: JOHN PETER ALTGELD was born in Germany and SAM SHAPIRO was born in Estonia. //// NIU's Altgeld Hall Was Named After Him. --DaCoot

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Illinois Governors-- Part 2: Blago-- $177,412

2. Former Governor ROD BLAGOJEVICH's legal name is not Milorad, but it almost was. His father wanted to give him this traditional Serbian name, which means "happy worker." But, his mother vetoed it and wanted the more American name Rod. //// 3. $177,412. That is what the Illinois currently gets. Early governors received $1,000 as set in the 1818 constitution. The salary ranks 4th highest for state governors, but less than the mayor of Chicago, heads of Metra and Chicago Public Schools or members of the state supreme court. //// Good Money If You Can Get It. --Cooter

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ten Things You Might Not Know About Illinois Governors-- Part 1: "Drunken Dick"

From the March 16, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer. //// I really look forward to seeing these articles every so often in the Tribune (wish it was every Sunday). In this past primary, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn faced but one opponent in a who-cares race as there was no doubt he would win it. However, there were four vying for the Republican nod in a rather vicious contest. All Illinois elections have been vicious lately. If the accusations are believed, everyone should be going to jail (also something Illinois governors are good at) instead of running for office. //// Well, our researchers par excellens, Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer, dug a little deeper and came up with some interesting stuff. //// 1. The first Governor RICHARD YATES (there were two Governor Richard Yates) earned his name "DRUNKEN DICK." At his inauguration night in 1861, the intoxicated politician kept president-elect Lincoln and other dignataries waiting for half an hour, then stumbled down the aisle into a chair. The House clerk read his speech for him. //// Vote for "Drunken Dick." He'll Wobble, Bit Won't Fal;l Down. --DaCoot

First Civil Rights Sit-In in Chicago, Not Greensboro

From the February 23, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Chicago Flashback: Birth of the sit-in" by Ron Grossman. //// It took place in May 1842, when a group of young Chicagoans, both black and white refused to take no when they went into the Jack Spratt Coffee House on East 47th Street. This place was wwell-known for its refusal to serve blacks policy. //// At the time, the United States was deeply involved in fighting World War II to save democracy abroad, all the while when blacks were denied equal rights at home by Southern laws and Northern customs. //// James Farmer was an organizer of the Fellowship of Reconciliation and 27 others decided to test their pacifist commitment at Jack Spratt's. Sure enough, the whites were served, but the blacks weren't. //// The management offered to let the blacks eat in the basement. When the police arrived, they refused to arrest the blacks, saying they hadn't broken any Illinois laws. //// Jack Spratt quietly dropped its anti-black policies after that. //// It was 18 years later that the group of college students in Greensboro, NC, had their much more famous sit-in. //// But, the First Was in Chicago.

Some More Chicago Innovations-- Part 10: Automated Conveyor (Dis)Assembly Lines

1. AUTOMATED CONVEYOR (DIS)ASSEMBLY LINES-- Chicago's Union Stockyards became huge because of the development of refrigerated train cars that enabled meat processed here to be transported elsewhere quickly with minimum spoilage. //// Another major factor was that owners figured out how to maximaize output to those train cars by speeding up the processing of cattle and hogs through automated conveyors. //// This process was reduced to 13 steps with workers doing the same action, such as hanging the carcasses on hooks. //// Among those impressed with this process at the Union Stockyards was a Henry Ford and we know what he did with it. //// Definitely a Lot of Innovations Out of Chicago. --Cooter

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Some More Chicago Innovations-- Part 9: McDonald's

Ray Kroc didn't invent fast food. He didn't even invent the McDonald's hamburger. He was a salesman of milk shake mixers who saw what the McDonald brothers were doing in California and saw the potential to make it work on a broader scale through rigorous consistency, marketing and franchising. The McDonald's story is almost as well known as the global brand. //// And, the first Ray Kroc McDonald's was in Des Plaines, Illinois, and a rebuilt store from that era is still at the site, but you have to buy your McDonald's across the street. //// --DaCoot

Some More Chicago Innovations-- Part 8: Soap Operas

SOAP OPERAS: Chicago Tribune broadcast cousin WGN-AM's sales manager wanted a program that could sell products to women homemakers in the 1930s. //// So, Irna Phillips created the first soap opera, "Painted Dreams." Dubbed the Queen of Soaps, she would go on to develop radio and TV daytime dramas that defined the genre: "Guiding Light," "The Road of Life, "Young Dr. Malone," "As the World Turns" and Love Is a Many Splendored Thing." //// --Cooter

Monday, April 14, 2014

Some More Chicago Innovations-- Part 7: Playboy

4. PLAYBOY was funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hugh heffner's mother and the magazine launched in 1953, catching the front edge of the sexual revolution, bringing nudity and adult content to mainstream pop culture. In the tradition of predecessor magazines like Esquire, it introduced readers to many of the 20th century's best writers. //// Grew into a multi-media empire, including those Playboy Clubs. //// Just Read It For the Articles and Funnies, You Know. --Cooter

More Illinois World War I Medal of Honor Winners

From Illinois Chronicles. //// With the centennial of World War I's beginning fast-approaching (in August for the rest of the world, not until 1917 for the United States), it is interesting to note Illinois recipients of the Medal of Honor. Saturday, I wrote about Harold E. Goetttler of Chicago who died trying to deliver supplies by air to the famed Lost Battalion of the Argonne Forest on October 6, 1918. //// Other winners: John J. Kelly of Chicago; Weedon E. Osborne of Chicago; Thomas A. Pope of Chicago and Fred E. Smith of Rockford. ////

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Chicago's WW I Medal of Honor Pilot: Harold E. Goettler

From Illinois Chronicles. //// He received his Medal of Honor posthumously after trying to fly supplies into a unit that was cut off in the Argonne Forest (the famed Lost Battalion of the 77th Division) on October 6, 1918. On his first attempt he was under heavy German fire and was unhappy with the accuracy of his drop. //// He flew lower on his second attemp and was hit by machine gun fire and killed instantly. //// His body was returned to Chicago and buried at Graceland Cemetery. ////

Some More Chicago Innovations-- Part 6: Shopping Centers

SHAOPPING CENTERS: Chicago was at the forefront of the City Beautiful movement that made setting aside land for public use a priority. But, another land use became even more influential: the mall. //// Other cities claim to have the first urban shopping center, but the NRHP deemed it to be Lake Forest's Market Square, which opened in 1916. //// An early version of what became the typical indoor mall, the Lake View Store, opened in the U.S. Steel company town of Morgan Park, Minnesota. But, this mall was designed by the Chicago architectural firm Dean & Dean. //// Of course, one of the very early modern indoor malls, Randhurst. opened in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, in Chicago's Northwest Suburbs in the mid-1960s. That was a big hangout for all the local high schoolers, including those of us from dear old Palatine High School. //// Jus' Hangin' Out at the Mall. --Cooter

Friday, April 11, 2014

Some More Chicago Innovations-- Part 5: Portable Radios

#6. PORTABLE RADIOS: Broadcasting became the dominant mass media of the 20th century and helping to set the stage was Chicago area's Zenith which introduced what is considered to be the first modern potable radio in 1924. (Remember those huge old radios that cameout first?) //// Later Zenith introduced the first pay-TV service in 1947, FM stereo broadcasting (authorized by the FCC in 1961) and the first wireless TV remore control in 1955. //// Thank You Zenith, Especially for the REMOTE!! --Cooter

A Short List of Second City Alumni

From Wikipedia. //// In the last post, I mentioned that improv has its roots in Chicago, especially with the Second City comedy troupe which had a lot of my favorite folks among its alumni. These are some of my favortes from Wikipedia's much longer list: Alan Arkin, Robert Klein, Peter Boyle, Brian Doyle-Murray, Harold Ramis, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd, Eugene Levy, George Wendt and Shelly Long. //// That's An Impressive List. --DaCoot

Some More of Chicago's Innovations-- Part 4: Improvisational Theater and Mimeograph Machine

#8. IMPROVISATIONAL THEATER: Chicago-born Viola Spolin developed what she called theater games. Her son, Paul Sills started Compass Players, the nation's first improvisational theater troupe and forerunner of today's Second City. // Chicago became a hotbed for improv acting and comedy and a magnet for talent. Lots of really funny Second City alums. //// #7. A.B. DICK MIMEOGRAPH MACHINE: Thomas Edison invented the stencil duplicator, a device that enabled a person to print a number of copies of a document. // Chicago's A.B. Dick is responsible for popularizing the mimeograph machine in the pre-Xerox era. In schools, many, many, many tests and study guides were run off on these, with theirspecific look, feel, SMELL and occasional stain. // (I sure ruined the occasional shirt and tie on these when I taught in the 70s to early 80s. And then, there was that smell, especially when fresh run, but continuing in diminished form for years. //// I Can Smell It All Now. --Cooter

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Some More on Slave Reunions-- Part 2

I found the same photo posted at the Shorpy site of Jan. 19, 2009. This one was shown as being taken in Wasdington, D.C., circa 1916. It listed their names and ages: Lewis Martin, 100; Martha Elizabeth Banks, 101; Amy Ware, 103 and the Rev. Simon F. Drew, born free (perhaps like "12 Years a Slave?). The photo was taken at Cosmopolitan Baptist Churcg at 921 N. Street, N.W.. ////

Some More on Slave Reunions-- Part 1

I did a Yahoo! search for slave reunions and came up with a photo titled "Slave Reunion from 1916" on Boing Boing. Unfortunately, it didn't say where it was or if the four former slaves pictures (two mwen and two women) were part of a larger group. But, being 1916, there must have been more than one slave reunions. //// This could make a good topic for a book. ////

Slave Reunion in 1914

From the April 12, 2014, Wilmington (NC) Star-News "Back Then." //// This is a look back at past papers. From the January 1, 1914, paper: "The first reunion of the ex-slaves of New Hanover (NC) County was held at St. Stephen A.M.E. Church. Some 300 were in attendance, including some white citizens. //// The article seemed to infer that most of the former slaves had been house servants in Wilmington. //// I'd never heard of former slave reunions. I wonder if this happened other times? The youngest ones would have been about 49. //// Something I Didn't Know.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Some More of Chicago's Innovations-- Part 3

9. MODERN OPTIONS TRADING. The Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus is said to have bet on future olive harvests around 300 BC. and there have been various forms of options investment ever after. //// Its modern form began with the 1973 launch of the Chicago Board Options Exchange. //// Chicago through the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and Chicao Board of Trade (CBOT) have long played a big role in the trading of commodities and futures trading. The CBOT even rauised and equipped a battery of cannons that saw service during the Civil War. (Everytime I drive through Central illinois, I listen to the Whip in Farmer City and get to hear those hog and etc. futures. Of course, in these days of prices going up and down so fast, I'm not sure futures trading is a good thing for us. //// --DaCoot

Some More of Chicago's Innovations-- Part 2: White Sox Exploding Scoreboard

Chicago can credit its rebirth after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. It was a spirit on innovation, entrepreneurship and ambition that led to its recovery and continues on to this day. //// Phil Rosenthal would like to add ten more things to the list of Chicago innovations. //// #10. SCOREBOARD AS ENTERTAINMENT //// White Sox owner and showman Bill Veeck introduced his pinball-inspired "exploding" scoreboard at Comiskey Park in 1960 (the year after the Sox appearance in the World Series). To say entertaining scoreboards have caught on is putting it mildly. //// Even the Cubs with their beloved old-fashinoned, hand-operated scoreboard say they desperately need a massive video screen. //// That 1960 scoreboard was cued by Sox homeruns with strobe lights, electric pinwheels, sound effects and two-three-four or so fireworks. There was even a modest Sox-o-Gram message board and its own sound system. //// That original 1960 scoreboard reportedly cost $300,000, about $2.3 million today. Last season, the Seattle Mariners installed a scoreboard with a 202-by-57-foot video screen in Safeco Field for $15 million. //// So Next Time You're Entertained By a Scoreboard, Thank Bill. --RoadDog

Monday, April 7, 2014

Some More of Chicago's Top Innovations-- Part 1

From the January 19, 2014, Chicago Tribune "Chicago's top innovations: Single list can't hold them all" by Phil Rosenthal. Back in January, the Tribune ran a list of twenty innovations accredited to Chicago and surrounding area. I printed them, but mostly in short form back then. //// Here are the Top Twenty: 1. Nuclear reaction // 2. Skyscraper // 3. Cell phone // 4. Open-heart surgery // 5. Balloon-frame construction //// 6. Mass production of McCormick Reaper // 7. First gay rights group // 8. Reversing the flow of the Chicago River // 9. First televised presidential debate // 10. Fermi-Linux Code. //// The second 10: 11. Farm Silo (Right here in good ol' tax-paying Spring Grove, Illinois) // 12. Ferris Wheel // 13. Deep dish pizza // 14. Consumer preferance research // 15. Mechanical dishwasher //// 16. Pullman sleeper car // 17. Game of softball // 18. Zipper // 19. Mail-order retail // 20. Vacuum cleaner. //// Well, Phil Rosenthal Thinks There Should Be more. Next. --DaCoot

Cub Players Through the Years-- Part 3

1961-- Billy Williams // 1961-- Lou Brock // 1966-- Robin Roberts // 1967-- Ron Santo // 1968-- Lee Elia // 1069-- Bill Hands // 1970-- Hoyt Wilhelm // 1971-- Ferguson Jenkins // 1972--Milt Pappas // 1973-- Tony LaRussa // 1974-- Rick Monday // 1975-- Don Kessinger // 1976-- Steve Stone // 1977-- Bruce Sutter // 1979-- Dick Tidrow // 1982-- Larry Bowa // 1984-- Ryne Sanberg // 1986-- Dennis Eckersley // 1989-- Andre Dawson // 1988-- Mark Grace // 1992-- Greg Maddux // 1995-- Shawon Dunston // 1998-- Sammy Sosa // 2004-- Ryan Dempster. //// Plenty More At the Site. --Cooter

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Cub Players Through the Years-- Part 2

Well, the Cubbies lost their home opener yesterday by a 7-2 score to the Phillies, now coached by former Cub standout Ryne Sandberg. I still believe he should have been the Cubs manager. //// Anyway, continuing with the Tribune's photo list of former Cubs players by year. //// 1944-- Bill Nicholson // 1945-- Phil Caverretto // 1947-- Peanuts Lowrey // 1950-- Andy Pafko // 1951-- Chuck Conners (as in "The Rifleman) // 1952-- Hank Sauer // 1953-- Ralph Kiner // 1954-- Joe Garagiola // 1958-- Ernie Banks // 1959-- Alvin Dark. //// More to Come. --Cooter

Friday, April 4, 2014

Cub Players Through the Years-- Part 1

From the Chicago Tribune. //// Earlier this week the Tribune ran one photo of a Cub player for every year from 1914 to last year. Some were all-time Cub greats, others only played a short time. Some I did not know and only wrote down the ones I knew. Along with the picture, the Trib had information so you Cub or baseball fans should check it out. //// 1916-- Modecai Brown // 1918 Hippo Vaughn // 1920 Grover Cleveland Alexander // 1922-- Ray Grimes // 1927-- Charlie Root // 1929-- Joseph McCarthy // 1930-- Hack Wilson // 1931-- Rogers Hornsby // 1933 Gabby Hartnett // 1935-- Billy Herman // 1938-- Dizzy Dean // 1943-- Eddie Stanky //// And, More to Come. --DaCoot

Cubs Home Opener Today-- Part 3: Retired Numbers

Here is a list of Cubs retired numbers...all greats. Amazing how many of these number are from those great late 60s teams. //// #10-- Ron Santo //// #14 Ernie Banks //// #23 Ryne Sandberg (manager of the Phillies who the Cubs are playing today and should have been the Cubs MANAGER!!!!) //// #31 Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux. //// Love Those Cubs. --Cooter

Cub Home Opener Today-- Part 2: Just A Little Cibbie History For 'Ya

Like I said, Wrigley Field celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, MLB's second-oldest ballpark behind Boston's Fenway Park. //// As sad as the Cubs are these days, at one time, there was a regular Cubs dynasty. That would be from 1902 to 1920, when they won four pennants and TWO, back-to-back World Series, 1907 and 1908. /// They were in the World Series in 1906 as well, when they lost to the Chicago White Sox. Other World Series appearances in Cub History: 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938 and the LAST APPEARANCE in 1945. //// --DaCoot

Cubs Home Opener Today-- Part 1

Listening to Lin Braemer on WXRT, 93.1 FM right now and he is broadcasting from Wrtigleyville, right by Wrigley Field, for a home opener that is going to be plenty miserable with high winds, temps in the lower 40s, overcast and rain/drizzle. //// I definitely wouldn't want to be there. This is the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, which opened in 1914. WXRT newscaster Mary Dixon just mentioned that in 1914, Cub fans were grousing about the long five-year drought from the last World Series Championship in 1908. Cub fans are still waiting for that elusive NEXT World Series Championship. //// By the Way, 43 Degrees At the Lake Right Now. --Cooter

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Babe's Baseball North Carolina Connection

Not only did Babe Ruth hunt in North Carolina, but also he definitely had  a baseball connection with the state.

Fayetteville is where he hit his first professional home run while playing in the minor leagues.  It is also where he was given the nickname that stuck with him the rest of his life, the "Babe."

A "Babe" By Any Other Name Would Still Be the "Babe."  --Cooter

The Babe and Mrs. Ruth in Goldsboro, NC-- Part 2

"'We are taking back almost a car load of game in a refrigerator car out there.  Game that Babe, Bud Fisher and some of Babe's friends killed, and my duck is in the lot,' explainedMrs. Ruth in a soft southern voice.  She was born in Georgia.  "I tyhink I'll have it mounted by a taxidermist, and labeled 'killed by Mrs. George Herman Ruth at Davis, N.C. and give the date.'  Don't you think  that would be a good idea?

"I'm sure it would,' said the Babe.  'I had her in the blinds with me all day, and she held up pretty well.  It's rained ever since she got down here though, and I believe she  brought the rain with her.'

"Ruth, off a few pounds from what he was his last visit to Goldsboro, said he was going to begin indoor training in earnest when he gets back to New York.

"Goldsboro people and admirers of the Bambino  trooped in and out continuously to shake his hand.  Miss Hazel Nasekos presented Mrs. Ruth with a box of flowers."

Mrs. Ruth here was the Babe's second wife, Claire Merritt from Athens, Georgia.

So, the Babe was popular in North Carolina and bit heavier during the off season.

A Chance to Meet the Babe.  --DaCoot

The Babe and the Mrs.Ruth in Goldsboro, NC-- Part 1

From the March 30, 2014, Goldsboro (NC) News-Argus "Mighty dogs and hunters of bygone days" by Sherwood Owl Williford,

Seventy-three years ago a famous hunter passed through Goldsboro en route to his favorite hunting grounds at Camp Bryan near New Bern.  That man, of course was none other than George Herman Ruth, better known as "Babe."

The following is a 1932 News-Argus story about him and his wife, "Mrs. Babe."  The artricle was written after the hunt when they were waiting for a northbound train.

"DEMURE BRUNETTE TELLS OF BAGGING A DUCK:  Goldsboro got its first look at Mrs. George Herman Ruth Tuesday night, and liked her.  Numbers of times Goldsboro has seen the Yankee slugger himself going to and from Camp Bryan near New Bern on his annual hunting trips, but it was the first time that Mrs. Ruth had accompanied her famous husband.

"Arriving from New Bern the couple had supper at Williams Cafe, greeted scores of Ruth fans and departed for New York on the 9:45 train.  Mrs. Ruth, a demure brunette with a saucy red hat, confessed that she got only one duck in a day's hunting with her husband while the babe, whose shooting eyes are as good as his hitting eyes, was getting the limit,"

More to Come.  --Cooter