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Cubs not at odds
with history in
Avello projection

By George Castle
Friday, October 23rd, 2015

If you’re a Cubs fan, you’ve got to love John Avello.

Since Avello likes Joe Maddon, the Cubs’ top management and the sparkling collection of talent already on the roster and still yet to arrive, he gives the star-crossed franchise as good of odds as anyone to win the World Series in 2016 or 2017.


'Cubs 101' for international audience

The Cubs' surprising journey to the National League Championship Series generated many TV-news and on-line media inquiries about the team to the Chicago Baseball Museum.

Latest was an international stage. The Voice of America's TV operation taped CBM historian George Castle outside Wrigley Field. Castle put the Cubs' unprecedented championship drought in perspective. For some viewers overseas, Castle's thoughts were like Cubs 101. There is scarcely a sports or entertainment entity like the team in the world.

Also interviewed at Castle's request was Rich Buhrke, the most senior of the "ballhawks" who snag game and batting-practice homers on Waveland and Sheffield avenues. Buhrke has been at his craft since 1959.



Maddon opens a new Cubs era
by proving less is more

Joe Maddon hears about Chicago traditions from longtime media stalwart Johnny Reyes at the 2014 winter meetings in San Diego, a month after his hiring. Maddon started his own tradition by changing his Cubs' work schedules to facilitate rest (Photo by Dr. David Fletcher).

Joe Maddon hears about Chicago traditions from longtime media stalwart Johnny Reyes at the 2014 winter meetings in San Diego, a month after his hiring. Maddon started his own tradition by changing his Cubs' work schedules to facilitate rest (Photo by Dr. David Fletcher).

George Castle, CBM Historian
Posted Friday, October 23rd, 2015

Amid the sudden gloom of the Mets’ four-game NLCS sweep of the Cubs, the light Joe Maddon shined all year that pointed to the Chicagoans’ century-long deferred goal dimmed not a watt.

Master manager Maddon provided show-biz sizzle with entertaining trains of thought, magicians and a mini-zoo installed in left field. But the steak he prepped will be long-lasting protein for the Cubs as the iconoclastic Maddon became the first team executive to creatively mitigate the most eccentric playing schedule and ballpark conditions in baseball.

In a City Hall-legislated environment that still prohibits the Cubs from playing a night-oriented schedule in sync with the rest of the game, Maddon provided a counter-measure: lightening the players’ daily workload to promote more rest. He canceled many batting-practice sessions in the second half of the season while even ordering the clubhouse locked to prevent players from arriving too early for games.

A positive cause-and-effect took hold. Marginally a contender in the first half, the youngish Cubs took off in the second half like very few of their predecessors.

The Cubs were 4-1 the last week of July after being swept three in a row by NL East cellar-dwelling Phillies, including Cole Hamels’ no-hitter, at Wrigley Field. Then they raced downhill with no brakes. A 19-9 August record was followed by a 23-9 September/October that clinched the second wild-card spot and gave the youthful roster a massive shot of confidence.

The 46-19 finishing kick was in stark contrast to scores of collapses in Augusts and Septembers dating back to the 1950s, in which the Cubs would lose up to 20 games in one month and were hard pressed to play .333 baseball over long stretches.

Former Cubs employees who labored under the old day-ball system of spending your body needlessly applauded Maddon.

Sandy Koufax's
perfecto, Part 1

Sandy Koufax's
perfecto, Part 2

Kyle Schwarber's
Cubs future

A multi-media celebration of Chicago’s own Double Duty Radcliffe

'Double Duty' Ted Radcliffe: Chicago's own Negro League superstar

Double Duty Ted Radcliffe was Chicago’s own Negro League superstar. Those who knew him and his work insist Duty would have been a star big-leaguer behind the plate and a very competent starting pitcher had the color line not been firmly entrenched in the prime of his career.

In connection with the DD Classic and as a permanent way to honor Duty, the Chicago Baseball Museum is presenting this special tribute to the great man and also assisted with the Double Duty exhibit at the DuSable Museum. On our 'Double Duty' microsite, we recount his long career with his own words, photos that show the ballplayer, the colorful personality and as a special treat, Duty’s own taped recollections from WGN-TV’s 1992 "Chicago American Giants" special.

Visit the 'Double Duty' microsite >>
Visit White Sox’ Double Duty Classic >>

Jack Brickhouse: Our man
for all sports seasons

Jack Brickhouse: Our man for all seasons

Jack Brickhouse enjoyed a life of firsts. He was the first voice heard on WGN-TV when it signed on 1948. He was the first Chicago voice heard on a trans-Atlantic satellite broadcast in 1962. He called eight no-hitters, six Gale Sayers touchdowns in one game and the better part of 45 runs scored in a 1979 Cubs-Phillies contest.

The Chicago Baseball Museum pays tribute to Brickhouse in this special Jack Brickhouse microsite at a time the Cubs are honoring him with a special bobblehead day, as part of their Wrigley Field 100th anniversary celebration. The website recalls different facets of Brickhouse’s life, including stories, photos from the collection of Pat Brickhouse, Jack’s wife, and a wide variety of video and audio highlights from his career.

Visit the Jack Brickhouse microsite >>
Chicago Tribune: Cubs will honor
Jack Brickhouse Friday >>

Jerome Holtzman Library

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