Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Carmella/Dutchie & Harry Caray/ Dave Kingman and The Bleacher Preacher

For some reason these images disappeared from this story when it was originally posted....J.P.
Here are a few images moments from the "Old Friendly Confines", before they had a sponsor. The#5, photo is that of Carmella Hartigan. She was to Wrigley, what Mrs. Miller was to the early "Tonight" Show. She once went on a streak of 7 Season's without missing a game. She took 2 buses, to get to the park, and most days I drove her home, after stopping at the Zyphr. I was introduced to her when she was in her 80s.... she became my sidekick for over 15 years. The late Stephanie Leather's, arranged for her to toss out the first ball prior to the Sept. 12th game. The week prior to her taking the mound, I took her over to Wells Park, and tought her how to pitch underhand. While practicing, a cub fan noticed us, came over and thought that Carmella was the Cubs next Rookie Pitcher. That game on Sept.12 WGN-TV opening shot of Carmella throwing out the pitch... A Strike! The phot was shot by Lee Balterman.

The #4, shot , at the same event... first waving to her friends in the Bleacher's,then throwing a strike, when Sammy Sosa, called her over, with a motion of his finger from her, towards himself. Carmella, waves her finger at Sammy, like a teacher a young student, to come over to her... and she won out! These images were taken by Lee Balterman. The 3 of us "Old-timers" were the Tinkers, To Ever's to Chance of Cubs baseball fans. Lee, spent many years shooting all kinds of sporting events for Sports Illustrated. Carmella and I were among the most noted "Bums" in the crowd.

#3, Dutchie and Harry Carry, spend a day in the Left Field Bleachers. Note Harry's Hawaiian Shirt. I gave Dutchie the Cub's Interstellar Propeller Beany Cap... and she wore it throughout the game. On several occasions I also put Beany's on Steve Stone, and Chip Carry, and again with Dutchie, when they graced the Left Field bleachers for a broadcast. .

#2,This was during Carmella's Centennial year, I made the sign for her... she was the true Matriarch, blessing kids, to me, in all my years as the"Bleacher Preacher",she was my favorite Cubs fan of all times! I was able to get her tickets, for the first night game and many more events, and post season games over 20 years. She was often sought out for print and broadcast media for her wit and charm. The Cubs finally gave her a "Free Pass" for her last season.

#1 My father was not a Dave Kingman fan... who he described as striking out when you needed him, and hitting Home Runs when the Cubs were leading most of the time. My dad became part of the Cubs lore, when he slipped into a coma for the last30 day's of his life. He was at the St. Francis Hospital in Evanston. He came out of the coma only once, when I was visiting him. His eye's opened and he took hold of my arm and directed me listen to him. And then uttered "We gotta get rid of Kingman!"There is no doubt, that my Dad passed on his love of the game, to me and my brother Allen. The Kingman story opened up an article about Cubs fans. The following year, at a Cubs Charity softball game... I was able to get Kingman to sign my SI, and then former Cubs and media people played a slow-pitched celebrity game... and it drizzle for the later part of the game. On a 3-2 pitch with runners in scoring and winning position... Kingman struckout swinging... and I thought I heard my Dad say" He be shit!"

1 comment:

Jerry Pritikin aka The Bleacher Preacher said...

This post originally had these images... and tonight I noticed they were no longer there. The Friendly Confines earned its moniker over the years through their fabled fans. Carmella, and Harry are now in the Heavenly Confines... and I have been priced out of the ballpark, like many of the old everyday fan. My dad told me that even during the depression, those without jobs or money could still enjoy a day at the ballpark or take in a movie. Today, a person almost have to file for bankruptcy to enjoy sports or entertainment. Harry Caray used to say "That you can't beat fun at the old ballpark!" to which I add... as long as you can afford it.

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