Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sox FanFest

My weekend activities centered around the Chicago White Sox FanFest, where I volunteered a shift at the booth for the proposed Chicago Baseball Museum, and sold a few copies of the Red Faber biography. A high school classmate, Dr. David Fletcher, is the president and founder of the museum, a 501(c)3 organization. "Doc" and fellow organizers hope to construct the museum on the Far West Side of Chicago (about equidistant from Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park -- er, U.S. Cellular Field).

My time at the museum booth went quickly, thanks to (from left) Amber, Matt and Sharon (Matt's Mom). I also lined up a Faber book-signing with the Chicago Old Timers' Baseball Association and introduced myself to Rich Linderg, the White Sox historian, who was supportive and complimentary of the the Faber book.

With that bit of business taken care of, I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours of Ray Schalk research at the Chicago Public Library. I pored over microfilm of Chicago newspapers (except the Chicago Tribune, which I can view online, thanks to Carnegie-Stout Public Library in Dubuque).

There were no "Ah Ha!" moments derived from the clippings, but I will now be able to piece together a chronology of the days immediately before, during and after Schalk's purchase by the White Sox and his major league debut. For example, Schalk was with his Milwaukee team in Louisville when his contract was sold to the White Sox. He reported to Chicago the next day, asked for and received permission to hurry home to Milwaukee to retrieve his personal possessions and returned to Chicago in time to play the first game of a doubleheader the day after that. He singled in the ninth inning of his major league debut. Not exciting stuff, but it helps put a few pieces together.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Public radio interviews

On Friday, I experienced role reversal. Instead of being the journalist/interviewer, I was the interviewee.

Rob Dillard, of Iowa Public Radio, interviewed me in Des Moines concerning my Red Faber biography. Rob is a fan of the game and its history, and his questions reflected that background.

A broadcast time for the segment has not been set.

Meanwhile, I will be interviewed on "About Books" on WVIK, the public radio station on the campus of Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill. (90.3 FM in the Quad Cities and 95.7 FM in Dubuque.) My interviewer will be Faye Clow of the Bettendorf Public Library. The broadcast is scheduled to air March 3.

On the road again

Three weeks after making a couple of Chicago-area presentations about Red Faber, I will be back in Chicago to promote my biography of Faber and to promote Chicago baseball history.

This event is the White Sox FanFest, at the Palmer House. I will be helping a former high school classmate promote his major project, creating a Chicago Baseball Museum, by working a shift at the museum's booth. Meanwhile, I hope to sell a few copies of the Faber book available and make some contacts for my Ray Schalk project.

I don't have much feel for how productive this trip will be, but I'm overdue for a visit to downtown Chicago anyway.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Start 'em young!

It warms the cold, cold heart of an editor/Grandpa to see his 10-week-old granddaughter enjoying the Sunday paper!

No, those aren't TH comics. Unfortunately, Claire and her parents do not live in our circulation area. But better to read some newspaper than none at all.

Our industry's drive to attract younger readers must be working!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

'Frazz' makes the cut

The past two weeks, I invited Telegraph Herald readers to weigh in on “Frazz,” which is receiving a tryout on the weekday (and Saturday) comics page.

Some of the low scores came from readers demanding that I return “Fox Trot” to the page. Heard of the statement, “The customer is always right”? Well, the customer is not always right. As I have stated here three times previously, the decision to discontinue “Fox Trot” was not ours. The artist retired from doing the strip on weekdays. There are no daily “Fox Trot” episodes. None.

Participation in the poll was light, and though it was not unanimous, “Frazz” received enough favorable scores – especially considering its newcomer status -- to stay in the lineup.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

First Citizen program rewarding

One of the highlights of my job is coordinating our Telegraph Herald First Citizen Award program.

The highlights of that highlight are notifying the winner of his or her selection and, for the past four years, hosting the public reception for the honoree.

Such was the case Thursday, when some 200-250 people turned out at Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino to honor Norma Denlinger.

It was fitting and ironic that the event, after three years at the now-closed Rafters restaurant, moved to the dog track's banquet room. After all, Norma is a charter member of the Dubuque Racing Association, which made the dog track possible. Actually, the venue was a coincidence. We booked the room several weeks before Norma was selected for the award. (The folks at DGP really rolled out the red carpet when they knew they were helping honor Norma. Thanks, ladies and gentlemen!)

A special part of the program is recognition of previous winners of the award. The turnout was great. Shown standing with Norma are, from left, Eldon Herrig, C.J. Buelow, David Rusk, Larry Friedman, Dick Wertzberger, Hunter Fuerste, Arnie Honkamp, Jerry Enzler, Jan Hess, Bill Kruse and Donna Ginter.

Thanks to all who turned out to celebrate leadership in our community.

Monday, January 08, 2007

It's awesome -- going missing in Gitmo

My column on Tuesday discusses on Lake Superior State University's annual list of words banished "for mis-use, over-use and general uselessness." Here is the list for 2007.
  • Gitmo.
  • Combined celebrity names (such as TomKat).
  • Awesome.
  • Gone/went missing.
  • Pwn or pwned, a misspelling of "own" used by online video gamers
  • Now playing in theaters.
  • We're pregnant.
  • Undocumented alien.
  • Armed robbery/drug deal gone bad.
  • Truthiness.
  • Ask your doctor.
  • Chipotle.
  • i-anything.
  • Search.
  • Healthy food.
  • Boasts.
By the way, the university accepts nominations for words to banish throughout the year.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Chicago/area presentations and Deadball photos

I will be presenting two slide shows on Red Faber in the Chicago area on Saturday, Jan. 6.

Grayslake Historical Society
9 am Saturday, Jan. 6
State Bank of the Lakes community room
50 Commerce Drive
Grayslake, IL

Chicago Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research
1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 6
Roden Branch/Chicago Public Library system
6083 Northwest Highway
Chicago, IL

Books will be available for sale. If you are in the Chicago area on Saturday, I hope to see you there.

MEANWHILE, here is a link to a YouTube slideshow featuring photos from baseball's "Deadball Era." Though Faber is not shown, there are plenty of Chicago photos (as well as one of the great Honus Wagner). Note what access the news photographers received during game action.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Two months, and doing tricks already!

I know, I have been less than dedicated to the blog lately. So to make up for that, I will share a photo of the most beautiful baby anywhere. Granddaughter Claire is 2 months old -- and she already can do tricks! Here is one.