February 21, 2011

Memories of Baseball in Uptown and a Chicago Cubs Player

Editor's Note: Reader Wally Moy e-mailed this to us. If you have stories to share, e-mail editor(a)compassrose.com.

This blog really brings back memories.

In the late 50's, I lived on the 800 block of Montrose next to Lang Dental labs, where they made false teeth in the basement. The neighborhood kids played fast pitch in the vacant lot next to it, where they would chalk up a strike zone on the brick garage back and would try to throw a tennis ball as fast as we could past the opposing batter.

I played baseball at Clarendon park. I belonged to the Boy's Club little league. Back then, the Chicago Boy's Clubs had a small branch next to the park on Clarendon and Agatite. We played on the field behind the old water pumping station, but I remember the team would hop on the L and travel to play other boy's clubs teams in neighborhoods all over the city.

In the summer, semi-pro softball teams would play at Clarendon on Friday and Saturday nights on the big field next to the Clarendon Field house. It was the only diamond with lights in those days.

Because of our proximity to Wrigley Field, a few Cubs and Bears players and ex-players lived in the neighborhood. Hippo Vaughn, who pitched for the Cubs during the dead ball era, lived across the street. We loved visiting with him after our games. Mrs. Vaughn would serve us cookies and lemonade, and Hippo, long since retired, would regale us with stories of how baseball was played in the old days, and how the Cubs should have beaten the Red Sox in the 1918 World Series.

James Leslie "Hippo" Vaughn was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball for the Chicago Cubs during the 1910s. Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Reading this blog brings half forgotten memories into sharp detail, as if they happened last week rather than more than 50 years ago.

1 comment:

fishing adventures said...

here i am again - we lived near the clarendon field house and i remember when they had baseball games. we used to go and watch. in the winter, they froze the field for iceskating. what fun marilynne (marcos) jawitz


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