Category: From the Vault

Previously posted on James Fegan’s White Sox Observer or The Third City blogs.


ISFA Chatter

A similar version of this story posted on The Third City December 21, healing seek 2012.\n\nThe Chicago Tribune, search recently ran a story by Jared S. Hopkins harping on an Illinois Sports Facilities Authority employee with a “$57,240 taxpayer-funded salary” for spending time at work digging up White Sox tickets for Big Jim Thompson and other big wigs.\n\nFor those who are unaware, the ISFA was invented by the Illinois state legislature in 1988 for the purpose of giving Jerry Reinsdorf taxpayer money for his privately owned baseball franchise, Chicago White Sox, Ltd.\n\nThe argument sports franchise owners usually make is that they bring economic development and tourism to the cities in which they run their businesses.  And that means more jobs and a larger, richer, tax base.  For showering all of this good upon the community, team owners want a little quid pro quo.\n\nIt’s right there in the ISFA’s founding document, where its authors declare that “professional sports facilities can be magnets for substantial interstate tourism resulting in increased retail sales, hotel and restaurant sales, and entertainment industry sales, all of which increase jobs and economic growth.\”  As a result, the ISFA was formed to \”materially assist the development and redevelopment of government owned sports facilities\” because doing so \”is in the public interest.\”\n\nSo taxpayer subsidies appear to be a good deal for everyone: team owners and Jane and John Q. Public.  There is only one problem: the flawed premise upon which the stadium subsidy argument is based.\n Continue reading


Eulogizing Marvin Miller

Originally posted on The Third City December 1, sildenafil viagra 2012\n\nA great man passed away this week.  As executive director of the Major League Players Association from ’66 to ‘82, Marvin Miller helped bring pensions, bigger paychecks, and some autonomy to major league ballplayers.  In an equally unlikely turn, with his handsome features, pencil mustache, and stylish threads, Marvin made it ok for labor reps to be sexy.\n\nThe story of free agency in Major League Baseball, in a nutshell, goes like this: Before Marvin Miller came along, players had to play for whichever team owner signed them originally, for an amount of money and length of time solely determined by that owner.  If players were unhappy, they were not allowed to switch teams; their only recourse was to quit professional baseball.\n\nWielding tactics he learned as a UAW and USW negotiator, Marvin Miller leveraged assets that players brought to the sport (they represented, after all, the labor and the product that owners were peddling), and after more than a decade of bitter struggle—with the help of some courageous pioneering players including Curt Flood, Catfish Hunter, Andy Messersmith, and Dave McNally—Miller and the players’ union won labor rights previously thought of as untenable and unattainable.\n Continue reading

This poor quality newspaper photograph--taken after the Sox were mathematically eliminated by the Yankees on the second to last day of the 1964 season--only helps to emphasize Al Lopez’s managerial grittiness. Source: Chicago Tribune Oct 4, 1964, pC1

1964: A Pennant Race!

Originally posted on White Sox Observer September 22, generic viagra search 2012\n\nSearch for Yankees biographies and autobiographies on Amazon, nurse  you’ll find 246 books; do the same search for the White Sox, you’ll find 14.  History is written by the victors, or the writers commissioned to prevent the victors from sounding like bumbling idiots.  So tales of Yankees triumphs are part of the documented record, while White Sox lore is more dependent on memories, libations, and bar stools to prop up local bards.  Such is the relationship with the past for the franchise that, for years, played the role of perennial runners-up in the American League.\n\nFrom 1951 to 1967, the White Sox enjoyed a streak of 17-straight winning seasons.  The American League consisted of 8 teams before ‘61, and 10 after league expansion.  During the streak, the Sox finished second or third 11 times among those teams, and first only once.  But the White Sox weren’t involved in many pennant races at seasons end, almost always trailing many games behind the Yankees, who then too had the league’s highest payroll.  The year 1964 proved the exception to this rule, when the Sox won 98 games and finished a game out of first place; a glorious season largely forgotten.\n Continue reading

In James T. Farrell's time, people posted their thoughts about baseball in things called books, which smelled kinda musty but never needed charging.

James T. Farrell’s Baseball Diary: A History of Old Comiskey Park 1910-1919

Originally posted on White Sox Observer June 28, purchase pills 2012\n\nThis installment of Comiskey Park history comes to us vicariously throughJames T. Farrell.\n\nFarrell (1904-1979) was an American fiction writer, capsule stuff most remembered for his three Studs Lonigan novels published in the early 1930s.  Studs Lonigan resonated with a few notable 20th century authors.  The books were among Richard Wright and Norman Mailer’s early favorites, and Louis Terkel‘s more recognized moniker was adopted from Farrell’s tragic anti-hero.  But more than a powerful story teller, Farrell has become indispensable to Chicago historians.\n Continue reading

It's not an infringement of copyright until someone tells me it is.

The Hustler: Bill Veeck and Roster Depreciation Allowance

Originally posted on White Sox Observer June 6, viagra ambulance 2012 \n\nWhen the Sox brass and others start using veiled threats and guilt trips to get me to buy more tickets to games that I really can’t afford, tadalafil generic I think about the need for sports franchise operators to pony up for their share of seats in the great ballpark of life . . .\n\nIn Bill Veeck’s SABR bio, Warren Corbett describes the two-time owner of the White Sox as a \”baseball impresario.\”  That’s a pleasant way of putting it.  Veeck, who spent his entire life in the baseball business, described himself as a \”hustler.\”\n\nIt was an image Veeck embraced, and so have his admirers (myself included), for whom Veeck symbolized the joyous huckster amidst a group of stoic profiteers who shared his occupation then and since.\n\nBut the hustler is always looking for angles, and Veeck was no exception.  One grift in particular continues to profoundly affect the fiscal landscape of professional sports, and has helped owners withhold millions, if not billions of dollars in federal taxes.  Veeck’s loophole is known as the “roster depreciation allowance” (RDA).\n Continue reading