Ernie Banks and myself in front of Wrigley Field. Photo by Lee Balterman
My photo of Lee, at one of his shows at Daiter Gallery. (c) J. Pritikin
Lee taking a close up of me just a couple of months ago (c) Jerry Pritikin
Chicago 3/17/2012 : Yesterday Chicago legendary Photographer Lee Balterman past away, he was 91 years old. I knew him as a good friend for over 25 years. His career spaned 60 years, including many years with Time/Life, Sports Illustrated and Black Star. He is represented by Daiter Gallery here in Chicago. We had a few things in common, our love for baseball, our parents and for using Chicago as a backdrop for many of our photographs. For over 50 years, Lee documented the constantly changing happenings on Milwaukee Avenue. It's interesting to see prices on hot dog/hamburger joints and food stores windows during that time. The changing styles of clothing and the different ethnic groups at the various Chicago seasons. I tried talking Lee into getting a digital camera, but like old faithful he used his Lieca and Nikon cameras. I would not be exaggerating to say in his lifetime, he shot over a million film frames and slides, including a hundreds of me as the "Bleacher Preacher" at Wrigley Field and Kane County Cougar games. So far there has been no announcements for services. On Monday, Paul from Daiter Galery made arrangements with WTTW/PBS Chicago Tonight, to rerun their interview with him for his last show at Daiters.
I was so lucky to count Lee and Carmella Hartigan, the Lady in the Pink hat as Cubs announcer
Harry Caray used to say, as good friends. I learned alot from them about life and this great city.
Together we had shared seats in the bleachers, or walks around the "Friendly Confines" and Hot Fudge Sundaes at the Zephyr. I'll be constantly reminded of the void left in my life by them, and thankful for all the good times we had together.