Crosstown Connections

The press box at Wrigley Field is very small.

The place was built just before the rise of the Roman Empire, however, and back then there were no cameras. Radio was, essentially, two tin cans connected by string. Broadcasters just didn’t need that much space to spread the word of baseball from town to town.

Despite its small size, the Executive Producer of White Sox baseball on WLS-AM 890, managed to secure a secondary booth high atop the perch of this ancient and austere baseball palace. From this distance, the smell of last night’s beer on the concourse fades all the way into memory.

For whatever reason–maybe the punctuated silence of the neighborhood at this hour, perhaps the rumbling of the Red Line in the distance but, more likely, the recent trade the two clubs made–I’ve been thinking about the connected histories of these teams.

From this chair, the first that comes to mind is Steve Stone. Stone, of course, played for both clubs and broadcast for both clubs. Stone might just be the best analyst in the business and is a more than competent play-by-play man, to boot. From Stone, the natural jump is to Harry Caray. It’s always strikes me as odd that Caray, started with the Cardinals, left for the White Sox, and landed with the Cubs. As far as those fandoms go, it’s pretty incongruous group. The fact that Caray was, I think, welcomed by all only adds to his legend.

Ron Santo’s legacy in this ballpark is palpable. As a player and broadcaster for the Cubs, he was and still is loved. Santo, of course, was traded to the Sox in 1973 for, among others, Steve Stone.

Bill Veeck, a man whose hand shaped the history of the White Sox franchise as much as any other, has connections deep into the ground at Wrigley. First, his father, Bill Veek Sr., was president of the Cubs from 1919 until 1933. Veeck, Jr. planted the ivy in the outfield. He was also the brainchild of the exploding scoreboard at Comiskey Park.

Probably, you knew most of this. It’s entirely possible you knew all of it.

The next chapter of the White Sox-Cubs relationship, however, was just given a title. The Jose Quintana trade.

It remains to be seen exactly how critical the deal will be to each side. Odds are, however, it’s much more impactful than the last trade the two sides made. (Neal Cotts for David Aardsma in 2006.) Just yesterday, Quintana pitched well (and won) a game against the Cubs division rival, the Cardinals. While the White Sox have lost nine in a row, Eloy Jimenez had the first five-hit game of his career for the White Sox high A affiliate, the Winston-Salem Dash. Jimenez had two singles, two doubles and a dinger.

While they may be headed down different roads for the time being, history has taught us that their paths will cross again.