July 28, 2015

Progression workout today. I was thinking about the South Side today.

The year 1959 started as Bautista fled Cuba and Fidel Castro took over. The Soviet Union was launching rockets and probing the planets. The Soviets were taking pictures of the moon and everyone in America knew they were taking pictures of them too. The cold war was in full swing and the White Sox were about to join the hit parade.

Moving from the North Side to the South Side was traumatic for the Dolans, especially for the youngest Cub fans. The family officially lived one block south of Madison Street on Monroe Street and everyone began to recognize the White Sox. 1957 and 1958 had been good years for the south side. 1959 would be a great year too, if we could keep those damn Soviet nuclear weapons from ruining the party. People were tense, but still hopeful.

About the same time the baseball season started, the morning sickness started again. Three babies with birthdays 11 months apart kept the second floor at the Monroe Street address hopping. There was no time for slowing down. Peter the younger remembers coming home for lunch every day and the young mother of three fixing him a sandwich while he sat and watched the Uncle Johnny Coons Show on the TV. Uncle Johnny was bigger than Santa Claus back then. Mom would make Pete a fresh sliced roast beef on a bakery poppy seed bun with a little mayo and butter and remind everyone that there was some German heritage in the young mother. Mom began to show the baby belly and the White Sox began to win. Pete just hoped the sandwiches would keep coming.

Summer came and the Soviets kept launching rockets. The year 1959 had a beautiful warm summer in Chicago and the cold war became a persistent threat as Castro was saber-rattling in Central America. Surprisingly, all was well on the south side. Summer began to fade and September came with cool and clear weather that was made for baseball. Nellie Fox was hitting laser-guided gappers and Luis Aparicio was orbiting the base paths, stealing bases and scoring runs. They called this team the Go-Go White Sox. This was too much for the young couple and Jimmy decided to take Barbara on a date. In early September, Jimmy Dolan would take his young bride to 35th and Shields to witness the magic in person.Tootsie would babysit the three little ones but one small baby was along for the ride to the ballgame.  Obviously, this was a hot-ticket to see the Go-Go White Sox but he called in a few favors and got a couple of nosebleed seats. After climbing 273 stairs to reach the upper-upper deck, Jimmy declared, “Look, I can see our house from here!” Peanuts and Cracker Jack, nothing was too good for this date. The excitement of the action made the baby kick, boy or girl, that baby was having a grand time. The 1959 White Sox were the most exciting thing to happen in Chicago since the Columbian Exposition (sorry Cub fans).

It was not long after the descent from the mountainous perch in the upper-upper deck back to Monroe Street that the pangs started to present themselves. Mom didn’t know for sure, but the baby knew something big was about to happen on the south side, he kicked and jostled. It was time for the party to start! Dad was listening to the game that night as the Go-Gos were inching closer to the pennant. “Jim, it is time to go-go to St Anne’s hospital”, my mother announced loudly. It was September 16, 1959 and my dad, who was listening to the game on the radio, responded “No-no, Early Wynn (great baseball pitcher name) has got the Yanks on the ropes.” No-no Jim we have to go-go”, my mother yelled. He reluctantly clicked off the radio and joined the motorcade at the door. The route to St Anne’s Hospital was well-worn. They arrived at the hospital and friendly hellos were exchanged to their regular customers. Mom went directly to labor and delivery and everyone at the hospital knew that Barbara was back. Dad went to admitting and then directly to the waiting room. The expectant fathers had no idea that a future waiting room hall of famer had just entered. He took a seat near the radio and listened to his beloved White Sox lose to the Yankees. Just as the last out was recorded a nurse poked her head in the waiting room door and said, “Mr. Dolan? Mr. James Dolan?”

Jimmy clicked off the radio and replied, “Yes”.

Mr. Dolan you are now the new father of a bouncing baby boy. He smiled and thought that maybe he might have been blessed with the next Luis Aparicio. This baby would turn the White Sox’ luck around.

He joined an exhausted mother and baby and they both decided to call him Thomas Gerard. Mom was convinced he was destined for something great. Dad thought he would steal a few bases before it was all over.

Mom settled in for another ten day stay at the hospital and they brought the little boy to her room on day six. That evening as the child was dozing in his mother’s arms, the wail of air raid sirens could be heard getting louder and louder outside the hospital window. Barbara immediately thought that the Soviets had launched their deadly strike. It was OK, there was no need to duck and cover, it would all be over soon. Surprisingly, the baby cracked a smile and figured correctly that the White Sox had just clinched the 1959 American League pennant. You see, Tommy Dolan and His Honor Mayor Richard J. Daley were both south siders and big White Sox fans.

Morning run. Favorite song today: Beyond the Sea performed by Bobby Darin.

Long shadow in the morning.

Long shadow in the morning.

3 thoughts on “July 28, 2015

  1. Hey Mike, just a few items of clarification. We lived on the West Side. Technically Monroe St is one block south on the city grid, but West Siders were very different than South Siders and didn’t associate. We was dignified. As for baseball, Pa and Aunt Tootie were Cub fans and your father and I were Sox fans. I changed my allegence when I was in college. The Cubs you see had all the good looking girls in the bleachers and well the White Soxs had those drunken South Side Irishmen to deal with.

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  2. One block south of Madison Street is technically White Sox territory. North or South, bleacher bums are bleacher bums, and there is usually beer involved! West Side Irish are fixed in their heritage. We don’t have to cast aspersions toward the South Side Irish, or the lovable White Sox fans, winners of the last World Series in Chi-town.

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  3. West side, south side, I don’t care. That one may be the best yet. So touching how you tied Tommy birth to you and he’s beloved White Sox…and Dads, of course. Go Cubs!!

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