Tierney: Dad’s visit with Slammers a 2012 highlight
By Tim Tierney For Sun-Times Media December 31, 2012 7:42PM
Updated: February 2, 2013 6:08AM
The boyhood memories of going to Cubs and Blackhawks games with my dad and brother have faded, but I still can picture Billy Williams playing at Wrigley Field and Bobby Hull at Chicago Stadium.
These days, I try to take my dad to a game every year. Whether it’s the Cubs or Blackhawks or just a football game at Marist High School, the time together still is special.
Last summer, I took my 88-year-old father, Joe Sr., to a Joliet Slammers game at Silver Cross Field. I covered the team for the Herald-News, so my dad sat with me in the roomy area above the press box.
Before the game, he visited with then manager Bart Zeller in his office and chatted briefly about baseball lore. My dad definitely enjoyed the conversation about the past and was invited to come back any time.
He never had been to Silver Cross Field and was impressed with the size and appearance of the ballpark, especially for a minor league team.
Having spent decades as a hoisting engineer for the city of Chicago, my dad liked seeing the “Local 150” sign among the advertising on the outfield wall.
He also shared common ground with Slammers official scorer Dave Laketa, also the athletic director at the University of St. Francis. My dad drove my older sister there from the Southwest Side in the late 1960s when the school was the College of St. Francis.
Laketa joked with my father about who knew more about baseball, me or him. Laketa was guessing it was my dad.
The Slammers rallied to beat Windy City 4-2 that night before one of their largest crowds of the season. My dad remarked that the fireworks show that followed was pretty close to those at U.S. Cellular.
The next day, the Slammers coaches wanted my dad to come back for that game, too. He didn’t. They lost. Just a dad that made a difference.