When Then Was... Now!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Jerry Pritikin Gets 2014 "HILDA" AWARD.

Photo of Jerry Pritikin and Don Zimmer, courtesy of Jerry Pritikin.

                                                        Photo of Jerry Pritikin, courtesy of Mia Aigotti.

                                         Photo of Jerry Cohen, courtesy of Laurent Laporte.

The Board of Directors of the Baseball Reliquary is pleased to announce the 2014 recipients of the Hilda Award and the Tony Salin Memorial Award.  Jerry Pritikin, the legendary "Bleacher Preacher" long associated with the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, will receive the 2014 Hilda Award.  Jerry Cohen, founder and owner of Ebbets Field Flannels in Seattle, Washington, will receive the 2014 Tony Salin Memorial Award.  Both awards will be formally presented at the Shrine of the Eternals Induction Day on Sunday, July 20, 2014, beginning at 2:00 p.m., at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium in the Pasadena Central Library, Pasadena, California.  The festivities will include the induction of the 2014 class of electees to the Baseball Reliquary's Shrine of the Eternals: Dizzy Dean, Don Zimmer, and Rachel Robinson.

The official news release is attached, along with photos of Jerry Pritikin and Jerry Cohen.  Photo credits are as follows:

1) Photo of Jerry Pritikin, courtesy of Mia Aigotti.  2) Photo of Jerry Pritikin and Don Zimmer, courtesy of Jerry Pritikin.  3) Photo of Jerry Cohen, courtesy of Laurent Laporte.

Please advise if you would like any further information.

Terry Cannon
Executive Director
The Baseball Reliquary

e-mail: terymar@earthlink.net
phone: (626) 791-7647

Jerry Pritikin 312 664 3231

For Immediate Release – May 14, 2014
Contact:  Terry Cannon, Executive Director, The Baseball Reliquary
Phone (626) 791-7647; e-mail: terymar@earthlink.net


The Board of Directors of the Baseball Reliquary, Inc., a Southern California-based nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of American art and culture through the context of baseball history, is pleased to announce the 2014 recipients of the Hilda Award and the Tony Salin Memorial Award.  Jerry Pritikin, the legendary “Bleacher Preacher” long associated with the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, will receive the 2014 Hilda Award.  Jerry Cohen, founder and owner of Ebbets Field Flannels in Seattle, Washington, will receive the 2014 Tony Salin Memorial Award.  Both awards will be formally presented at the Shrine of the Eternals Induction Day on Sunday, July 20, 2014, beginning at 2:00 p.m., at the Donald R. Wright Auditorium in the Pasadena Central Library, Pasadena, California.  The festivities will include the induction of the 2014 class of electees to the Baseball Reliquary’s Shrine of the Eternals: Dizzy Dean, Don Zimmer, and Rachel Robinson.
Established in 2001 in memory of Hilda Chester, the legendary Brooklyn Dodgers fan, the Hilda Award recognizes distinguished service to the game by a baseball fan.  To Baseball Reliquarians, the award is comparable to the Oscar or Emmy: it acknowledges the devotion and passion of baseball fans, and the many ways in which they exhibit their love affair with the national pastime.  The 2014 Hilda recipient, JERRY PRITIKIN, became a Chicago Cubs fan in 1945 at the age of eight.  When the Cubs clinched the National League pennant, he asked his dad to take him to the World Series.  His father felt Jerry was too young but made him a promise: he would take him the next time the Cubs made it into the World Series!   And, of course, nearly seventy “wait until next years” later, he’s still waiting to get to the Promised Land.  Pritikin rooted for the Cubs even while in “exile” in San Francisco, where he worked as a freelance photographer and publicist from the early 1960s until the late 1980s, at which time he moved back to his beloved Chicago and became a regular at Wrigley Field, earning the moniker “The Bleacher Preacher” for his efforts to convert non-believers to the Cubs.  As “The Bleacher Preacher,” Pritikin wore a pith helmet with a solar-powered propeller; his antics included cavorting with a life-size voodoo doll that would be dressed up in the uniforms of opposing teams, and carrying around handmade signs including one fashioned after the Ten Commandments, inscribed “The Ten Cub-mandments,” and another which read, “How Do You Spell Belief? C-U-B-S!”  While he has attended well over a thousand games, his most memorable one was on May 18, 1947 when he was on hand to see Jackie Robinson’s Chicago debut, and noticed many of the 47,000 fans brought binoculars that day to get a closer look at the future Hall of Famer and Shrine of the Eternals inductee.
Called “The #1 Cubs fan” by broadcaster Harry Caray, the 77-year-old Pritikin has been inducted into both the Chicago Senior Citizen Hall of Fame (2012) and the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame (2013), the latter for “excellence and courage as a sports fan, photojournalist, and advocate.”  An early gay rights activist and close friend of Harvey Milk, Pritikin played on gay softball teams for over 30 years, finally hanging up the spikes last year.  Among his fondest memories was in 1981 when he got former major leaguer and friend Glenn Burke to strike out swinging on his knuckleball.  Pritikin regularly played in the annual Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association’s Senior Cup softball tournament, receiving the Oldest Active Player Award four times.
Established in 2002 to recognize individuals for their commitment to the preservation of baseball history, the Tony Salin Memorial Award is named in honor of the baseball historian, author, and Reliquarian who passed away in 2001.  The 2014 Salin Award recipient, JERRY COHEN, founded Ebbets Field Flannels in 1988, a Seattle, Washington-based company which manufactures historically-inspired athletic apparel, ranging from handmade reproductions of vintage flannel baseball jerseys to T-shirts, baseball caps, and even grounds crew jackets and sweatshirts, all made with a high level of craftsmanship and respect for authenticity.  Simultaneously, Cohen has been preserving the legacies and stories of obscure teams and leagues of the past that might otherwise have been forgotten.  His apparel represents teams from the minor leagues, Negro Leagues, the short-lived Federal League of 1914-15, and often obscure independent and barnstorming teams like the House of David.  The company’s handiwork was recently seen on the big screen, as Ebbets Field Flannels made all the minor league and Negro League uniforms for 42, the Jackie Robinson biopic.
At one time an aspiring rock musician, Cohen was born in Brooklyn the year after the Dodgers left the borough for Los Angeles.  His work might best be described as “wearable history,” and his replicas are meticulously researched and often involve painstaking detective work, because hardly any original garments exist for the teams and all the photos are black and white.  Ebbets Field Flannels currently offers over 400 different historic jerseys, and each one is created using authentic materials, with virtually everything crafted in the U.S.  The same dedication goes into making their authentic ballcaps, each of which features wool broadcloth construction, soft crown, satin undervisor, and period-style felt lettering or embroidery.  “We don’t follow trends, and we aren’t sitting around thinking of how we can create something to fit the current fashion market,” notes Cohen.  “We look at history as our guide.  And we see ourselves as archivists, and people who are trying to bring things forth out of history and turn it in to a living thing as authentically as possible, with as little interference from the original thing to the wearable item today.  That’s not always what gets us the biggest selling product, but I think it’s what people respect and like about the brand.”  
Both Jerry Pritikin and Jerry Cohen will attend the Shrine of the Eternals 2014 Induction Day in Pasadena, California to personally accept their awards. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy 420 Day (c) By Jerry Pritikin

Happy 420 Day, I did not smoke my first joint until my late 20s. I smoked with a future D.A. of San Francisco and several thousand of joints since... I bought my first 1 ounce lid for $7. at a tupperware-like party,however my favorite "WEED" story happened in the mid-1970s. Every summer I used to come back to Chicago, and my parents who lived in North Miami did too.We stayed at my sister's house in Morton Grove. We were sitting around the dinning room table and I took something out of my wallet and a joint fell out. My neice who was 13 years younger then me picked it up and waved it in front of my mother who was in her 70s. "Look what your son is smoking!" My mom came to my defense and said"Jerome does not smoke" and then looked at me and asked"Is that one of those funny cigarettes?" I nodded my head yes. Sadie then said she would like to try one! My sister Toby came running in from the kitchen and yelled" Your not turning Mom on!". I said she was old enough to make up her own mind and again I asked her if she wanted to try one and Sadie nodded yes. I explained to her how to inhale and hold her breath, then lit the joint with a match(plastic lighters were not available then). She took a couple of puffs... her eye's got a little glassy and she looked at me and asked "CAN YOU BUY THESE BY THE CARTON?"
      I rentend the house behind the peace sign for 6 years at $250.a mo. A few years ago it sold for $1,970,000.
                               Here's Sadie and myself about 17 years old. We lived on Miami Beach.1954

Sunday, November 17, 2013

November Anniversaries (c) Jerry Pritikin

I'm just over a month away from my 77th birthday. If I don't look into a mirror, I can often forget how old I really am. However, I know I do not need a mirror to remind me that I'm getting older because, the ass I never had is sagging and the dust in my apartment accumulates faster then I can keep up to clean up.   For me, it's the fifty-first anniversary of my meeting the # 2nd of my 3 lovers. It was on our first anniversary that JFK was killed. 

I have not watched any of the JFK 50th Anniversary shows. There's nothing there that I have not seen before. No sense wondering what if, because we will never know. This month also marks another Anniversary of the killing of Mayor George Moscone and Gay Icon Harvey Milk. I knew them as friends,they fall into that "what if ?"category,too.
This is the lessor of my known images of Harvey Milk taken on Orange Tuesday 6/7/77... However what I love about it is MILK forever NOW! (c) Jerry Pritikin 

With Harvey Milk on the day he was the acting Mayor of San Francisco 3/9/78 Photo:Danny Nicoletta

With my friend Mayor Moscone,  Opening Day of the 1978 Gay Community Softball League.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Hey Yogi... it's over! 38 years ago I played on my first gay softball team... and now it's over.(c) Jerry Pritikin

 This was the only time that Jack"Irene"McGowan,Me in the middle and Mark Brown(sitting) that they were not yelling at one another!
Jack"Irene"McGowan one of the cofounder of the 1st Gay Softball League in the country and controversal manager in the league. That's S.F.City Hall in the background.(c) Jerry Pritikin
I was always into the game and depended on my knuckle ball and control. In the Opener of the 1978 season I gave up one run before 2,000 and ZERO runs before 8,000 fans for the Annual Police/ Gay Charity Game.

Gus Torez,knocking one out of Lang Field. He was the Leagues MVP in '78 and the reason I learned how to pitch... Thank you Gus!
For most of the 21st. Century, I played in the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association's Senior Cup softball tournament every September. I played on my first gay team in 1975. It was sponsored by AL Hanken's "Round Up" Bar. He belonged to the S,F. Tavern Guild. Jay Platt was the Manager, and I was a 38 year old rookie playing 12" ball. I started out as a third baseman, until Jay recruited Gus Torrez who also was a 3rd baseman. He was a San Francisco banker with a small child. I remember seeing him at batting practice and knew at once that would have to  find a different position to play.  Jay handed me the ball and said pitch batting practce. It turned out to be a turning point for me. I never played team ball since grammar school. I learned to throw a knuckle ball that danced in the bay winds. Hanken dropped us as our sponsor when he found his lover in the arms of Dr. Jim Halloran, our shortstop. Jay found us a new sponsor. Oil Can Harry's, the best gay disco bar in San Francisco. I had a radio show via the cable Viacom TV news/sports show channel 8. By osmosis I wrote sports/ and free lanced photography for several gay newspapers... and involved with a few start up magazines and newspapers.  I enjoyed the spotlight of pitching. I  was knocked out of only a few games over 4 seasons. I was a good fielding pitcher and had my shares of base hits with a few being extra base hits. 

The 1978 season turned out to be one heck of a time for me and my teammates. Mayor Moscone accepted my invitation to throw out the first pitch in front of 2,000 fans.
Before the game, George pitched batting practice to the Oilers and used my glove. I was the Opening Day Pitcher. When I was introduced,I heard a lot of boo's. This was orchestrated by Jack McGowan,who happened to be handling the mic. McGowan was one of the founding fathers of the league aka "Irene". I had a love to hate relationship with a few associates who were as stubborn as Billy Martin.  We had quite a few non-gay players, so during Irene's introduction ceromony, he would always ad "one of our own kind" when introducing a gay player on our team.  I had a fine over all pitching record going into the season. The 1978 season came with a unique incentive... the Championship team would represent S.F. at the 2nd Gay World Series in N.Y.City. We wound up as the Wild Card at the end of the season. I went 6-0 in the play-offs including a double header wins over the runner up team,the Sutter Mill's Gold Diggers for the Championship. The Oilers were blessed to have teammates from all walks of life,including Vietnam Vets,city firemen,a teacher and a doctor. However when we arrived in the" Big Apple", we were kicked out for having too many straights on our roster! 

In 1979, I played on the first gay senior's team in the nation.  Jack McGowan's FABULOUS 40s. It was the only time Jack respected me when playing on his team! We always had a feud going. The Fabulous 40's turned out to be a really was a good team and we came within a run of representing S.F. at the 3rd. Gay World Series. 

In 1981,I was playing for the MINT, Ron Lezell of the Mint team talked me out of retirement, and we made it to the play offs. I got former MLB player and friend Glenn Burke to strike out swinging on a knuckle ball. I have played for many teams over 30 years. Mostly as a pitcher. However for the past 13 years I played as a catcher. It seems most senior teams are over stocked with pitchers. I was able to get Bubbies Kosher Pickles(A legend in its own brine!) to sponsor several of our teams. The one thing I never did over my softball playing days was manage a team.  I equated that as bad as playing in the game of politics, especially when friends are involved. For over 10 years I played in the Chicago Metropolitan Sport Association's Senior Cup Tournament, winning a Championship, and 2nd place win in the Rocker Division for Bubbies sponsored teams.

I contributed to Bob's Big Bats Division Title in 2011 with some timely hits,a few walks and made some good plays at home plate. However last year was a different story. It rained the first day and we had to play on the wet grass and then on the muddy infield. I had a hit and a walk, and for the first time ever I swung and miss on a pitched ball... not striking out. I also hit into my first double play. A line drive speared by the 1st baseman and he caught the runner off base.

This week, I gave much thought about playing one more time. However at 76... I realize that mishaps happen on the field and there was talk again of rain for this weekend. So I decided to hang up my spikes, not with a bang. At least in my lifetime I got to know what it was like to play on a Championship team several times. I excelled when needed. The best highlight from anyone game that stands out for me was in the 1978 Police / Gay Softball game. The Crowd was over 8,000. Again, I was booed when the P.A. announcer introduced me. I left in the 5th inning,shutting the fuzz out and at one time retired 9 in a row and 7 on 7 pitches. I was looking forward to playing in the Gay World Series. 

In the mean while I played several regular seasons in the CMSA. Since the inception of the Senior Cup I have played for most of their 13 years. I won the OLDEST PLAYER AWARD 4 Times. Friday I decided not to play this year. The possibilities of rain added to my decision. I managed not to see this year's edition. Sadly I did not see many of the old timers that has been part of my September tradition.

I'm putting together a unique photo exhibit in Lakeview for October. I'll post more about that in days to come. I'm still looking for a doc-maker ... 
Gay Bleacher Bum... Mark Twain said the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Franciso!(c) Jerry Pritikin

Winning my 3rd of 4 Oldest Active Player Award in the CMSA's Senior Cup Tournament-2011
The Championship Bob's Big Bats-2011 It felt good contributing to the Throphy in the Rocker Divison. Can you find Waldo?

My introduction into the National Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame. I knew quite a few players inducted at this years event. I received a standing ovation after my acceptence speech.

ALL of the © JERRY PRITIKIN images on this blog
cannot be reproduced, re-posted elsewhere or published without PRIOR WRITTEN PERMISSION