Friday, July 24, 2009

Lee Balterman... In my thoughts (FOR LEE'S DEATH CHECK THIS SITE FOR MARCH-2012)

LEE BALTERMAN FAN...

PLEASE NOTE, SINCE THIS STORY RAN- I HAVE POSTED SEVERAL STORIES ABOUT LEE BALTERMAN, INCLUDING LEE'S DEATH CAN BE FOUND ON THIS SITE FOR MARCH 2012 , AND BY LOOKING UP PREVIOUS POST IN MY ARCHIVE LABEL SECTION, UNDER LEE'S NAME. J.P. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS PLEASE EMAIL ME @ jerrypritikin@yahoo.com

The profile image of me on this site was taken by famed photographer Lee Balterman, who only has 2 Life Magazine covers to his credit, and was a staff photographer for Time-Life & Sports Illustrated just to name a few. I usually play phone tag with him and vice versa to see what is on Lee's agenda. It is seldom that we ever plan ahead. However, tomorrow we had a date with partners of a well known sports auction house in the East. Lee was going to sell his sports collection, and for the past year plus, he was getting it into some kind of order from the past 50 years. I first met Lee just after the final outs of the Cubs/ Padres 1984 N.L. Play-offs... the game was in San Diego... but here in Chicago, Cubs fans hung around the Wrigleyville sports bars, especially Murphy's Bleachers. The Pennant went down the drain, when First Baseman Leon Durham booted a play that led to the Cubs downfall. I was there with my life size Voodoo Doll... dressed in the Padre's ugly uniform.



The rainy afternoon added at least 20 ponds to my cotton stuffed friend. I was interviewed by USA TODAY... and as the reporter asked me my thoughts on the Cubs loss... and on "Q" a tear came to my eye. It was the first place nationally that I was tabbed "The Bleacher Preacher". A few hours later, I was still on Addison, near the Tents that popped up containing the latest "Cubs" gear, selling at better than half off, that including Pennants and T-shirts announcing The 1984 World Series Cubs Edition, that became instant collectables. It was there, that Lee was shooting the aftermath of their final game of the year. Lee took a few photos of me... then we walked towards the #36 bus. Then we talked Cubs, Chicago, and photography for most of the next 29 years...

About 3 years ago I had read in a newspaper about an auction house that bought up a famed early sports photographer's collection. And I sent them contact information for Lee... but be that as it may... they never contacted him. Then last month I was meeting Lee to celebrate his 89th birthday... and he handed me a copy of the letter I had sent to that auction house. I resent it, and this time they called back within a few minutes... and was able to set up a date to see Lee's collection. Well... that was to be tomorrow. For the past month, Lee has been working to put it into some kind of order... mostly baseball, but he also shot Mohammed Ali, Sonny Liston and 40 years ago took photos for Life of Buzz Aldrin's wife. Last night, I received a message that Lee was in Northwestern Hospital... and this morning I found out he had a stroke. I just got back from visiting him... and he is partially paralyzed... but he able to speak and recall... and we hope soon for his complete recovery. I am posting a few of Lee's images...
Get Well Soon Lee!



Carmella Hartigan, Margie and Lee circa about 2001

5 comments:

Pat Arnow said...

I met Lee Balterman long ago and took his picture, which I just posted on flickr (I've been scanning old negatives lately). Thought you might find it interesting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/patarnow/3894690020/

jerrypritikin@yahoo.com said...

Yes, I noticed it... and Lee could of been a subliminal hippie with all that hair.Do you recall where it was that you "shot" him? I had mentioned it... but he wasn't too sure where it might of been. I am glad to say... he is getting better. He a genuine Chicago character, like many of his subjects. I just noticed the comment... and loved your flickr collection. Now I have too take time, and scanned my negatives... it only took me 20 years to learn to tie my shoes... and 4 years to send an email... but I have a good incentive... I have a show at Roosevelt University next June.
Cheers... J.

Pat Arnow said...

Hi Jerry,
I do remember where it was. My parents had a pottery studio under the el tracks on Lunt Ave. (Morse Ave. stop, Rogers Park). That evening Lee took some great portraits of me using my camera, and I then took some of him.

Lee's hair was moderate, not anywhere near hippie level, for that time.

Thanks for your compliment about my flickr collection.

Please send my best wishes to Lee. I'm glad to hear he's feeling better.
Pat

Jerry Pritikin said...

I was with Lee this weekend... He's been sorting out his files... and in good spirits.

Pat Arnow said...

Glad to hear Lee is well and sorting. Best wishes to him and to you, too.

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