a parking lot of memories
Growing up a White Sox fan on the southeast side of Chicago meant that Comiskey Park was pretty much my second home.
Most of the early visits were with my dad Angelo, who ironically happens to be a Cubs’ fan. Each year, he would take my entire little league team to a game. During early season night games, he would buy coffee for the visiting pitchers stuck in the cold bullpen situated along the stands by the right field foul line. He was there with me for Disco Demolition Night, for Detroit’s Jack Morris’ no-hitter, the 1983 All-Star Game and for the stadium’s final game in 1990. He would even drive me to the games 2 and a half hours early so that I could get autographs. Wonderful memories!
What characters populated the park- Bill Veeck, Andy the Clown, organist Nancy Faust, Ozzie Guillen in his playing days, the 1977 South Side Hit Men and the incomparable broadcasting team of Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall. My first brush with a celebrity was peeing in a Comiskey Park trough next to a very drunk Harry Caray. Holy Cow!
I met my first “real” girlfriend in the left field bleachers during a Chicago Sting soccer game, I saw The Police, Joan Jett, The Fixx, Ministry and A Flock of Seagulls during one of the World Series of Rock concerts, I ran a 5K that ended at home plate and I even made a photograph from the stands that garnered me an honorable mention in the Bank of Evergreen Park photo contest, my first ever contest win.
One of my favorite photo books is Park Life: The Summer of 1977 by Peter Elliott. Elliott’s photographs dove tail perfectly with my recollections of “Kaminsky”, as some Chicagoans call it. I am actually shocked that I am not in one of these photos.
All that is left of Comiskey Park is a replica home plate situated in the parking lot just north of US Cellular Field where the park used to stand.
Occasionally, like tonight, I will take a walk by Parking Lot B, pause for a moment and remember.
© 2009 Chicago Tribune/ Scott Strazzante