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mike squires
02-03-2003, 12:56 AM
The following may be a little leanghty especially if I get on a roll. I did it last year and got post of the week (I don't expect it to happen again) so here goes...for you new folks, look up last years, it's pretty good...

This years Soxfest did not top last years. How could it? For one, it was my first and it seemed to have many more memorable moments but it was still fun.

While checking in I saw a guy signing autographs and had a hard time telling who it was. He had greyed a little bit and seemed to have aged. It was my childhood hero (along with Baines) Ron Kittle. My faithful and devoted wife was guarding the luggage along with the backpack full of new balls and cards. I mouthed to her that it was Ron Kittle and she qucikly got one of his cards out. (Luckily it was not an 84, I heard him say several times he only signs that one for charity) After getting checked in I too got in on the action. I pulled out my 83 Tribune article that my aunt gave me for Christmas in '83 and he beautifully signed it. I told him my aunt had got his autograph for me when I was 10 at a Walon Jennings concert. "Wow, that was a long time ago" he replied.

Then it was Ed Farmer. I had just met Hanger and exchanged greetings (nice to meet you Henry!) He had his typcial bored "wow, I'm so happy to be here look" I still got his signiature. Somebody commented on his red scarf, that he obviously only has to brake out occasionally. He said it was 85 when he left sunny California.

I felt like a little kid hanging out by the front doors waiting for other player to waltz in. Jerry came in, (Hell no I didn't ask for his autograph!) Carlos May was next and he shoood away some kids saying, "let me check in first."

I did my fair share of standing in line, however most of my highlights were listening to the seminars. The 83, 20 years later was great. Harold although in typcial fashion was quiet and seemed bored he also displayed some great wit, clowning with Roland Hemond and had some great comebacks with Ron Kittle. Afterwards I went up to the front to get some sigs. I asked Dot, "was it true you guys came in and found Luzinski passed out in the locker room the day after you clinched?" He said he hadn't heard that one but I swear he said, "Where did we clinch it at, California?" I said, no you clinched it at Comiskey. He replied, Oh yeah, we did clinch it at home. I absolutly could not believe that. It's a real eye openor that we the fans take this stuff so seriously and can remember alot of details when a player can't even remember where he clinched the division title....A child had a shirt on that read, Harold for the hall of fame and was on his fathers shoulders and was chanting, "Harold for the hall of fame." Ron Kittle deadpanned, "Ah, keep it down." Anyone figure out who sent the cot to kitty's room at 2 am? My guess is Harold. By the way, it was a nice gesture for Harold to say one of his all time greatest memories was when the fans chanted Haaaarold, Haaaarold. the crowd gave him a nice applause

Then during the private autograph session for Harold and Konerko my wife asked Harold, "are you going to the party tonight?" Harold replied, "it's top secret. I haven't read the itnerary" I said, "I can't wait to see your outfit, are you going to wear shorts? Harold chuckled a bit and my wife said are you going to get an autograph? (he already had the ball from the person behind me. I was so excited I almost forgot! It's interesting to note it took me 20 years to get Harold autograph. The last 2 years I have accumulated nearly 15.

I also had a nice exchange with Hawk after a seminar. he signed my book, Ball Four by Jim bouton (that is also signed by Bouton) on a picture of him in the back. "When you gonna write your book Hawk?" He said he had written one years ago. I told him He's gotta promote it more. he laughed and said no. Another guy said write another one. Hawk replied, I'd have to find someone to read it.

I only met Hanger and Hal Vickory at his stand. I introduced myself as Mike Squires from the sight. NOt sure if it rang a bell or not. I wish I would have had more time to meet others and hang out with that awesome conversation with Dotson but it seemed like I was either on the go or sightseeing the city.

My only dissapointment was not seing Herm. I wanted him to sign a pic I have of him after Reggie hit that 3rd home run in the 77 series. I asked Hawk at the party if he knew if he was coming. Hawk said he was there the first night but did not know if he was coming to the party. He said Jerry told him that Herm had lost 60 pounds. I could not believe Reinsdorf was there! Has he been to past Sox fests? It looked like he had lost some weight too.

My wife continued to be incredibly patient with me and stood in long lines as I tried to get others to add to my collection. She is the greatest. Her highlight was probably getting a Tigger sweatshirt from the Disneystore on the way home she's been wanting for awhile. She deserved it!

Well, I'm sure I left some things out but once again Soxfest proved to be a hell of a weekend.

mike squires
02-03-2003, 01:31 AM
Hell, how could I forget, I saw myself on the NBC news. That was pretty cool.

Also, during one of the seminars a door from the side opened and Hawk and Kenny Williams was gesturing for him to come up. He finally did and it was Mark Bhuerlie. The crowd gave him a standing O and he "sarcastically" said (like in St. louis) I love Chicago and the fans and then took off. He was a hard one to get an autograph from. He appeard to be one of the most popular players on the team.

Also I got Ken Williams autograph on an 89 upperdeck card. When I handed it to him I asked him, "what was is it, a lazy pop fly to center? He looked at the card and said, "are you crazy? that was a double to right center, are you crazy?"

WhiteSox = Life
02-03-2003, 01:36 AM
Originally posted by mike squires
Also I got Ken Williams autograph on an 89 upperdeck card. When I handed it to him I asked him, "what was is it, a lazy pop fly to center? He looked at the card and said, "are you crazy? that was a double to right center, are you crazy?"

Now, that's cool. It would've been awesome to see his face when you asked the question and he looked at the card. Not only that, how he said the response would've been priceless to hear!

:smile:

mike squires
01-21-2004, 01:57 AM
This is my 2001 experience that I dug out of the archives. This is mostly for Hitmen77 who got a kcik out of my last one and well, anyone else that enjoys it.

HITMEN OF 77
01-21-2004, 02:15 AM
Good stories Mike, I enjoy reading them. So the way to do it, is put all your items you want signed in a back pack and carry them around all day? I'm going to start digging out some stuff to bring and have signed. I think some old scorecards, from the early 70's (Melton on the cover), some baseball cards, stuff along those lines would be good. Any otehr ideas? I wish Carlos May was going to be there this year, but doubt it.

mike squires
01-21-2004, 10:11 AM
That is how I do it Hitmen. Load everything up into my backpack and at night sort thru stuff and leave stuff in the hotel room so I don't have so much to worry about.

Getting things in advance or throughout the day at the booths during down time. Is a great idea. Getting older cards of Hawk and Minnie or whoever you want is a good idea and can usually get for pretty cheap. I got two Miniature Rawlings bats I had Minnie and Harold sign with the bat tubes which make it nice for displaying. Old Sports Illustrateds are nice. I think Bill was on one. Frank is on one. I found one with Greg Luzinski at an old store and little did I know I'd eventually get it signed a year later. Nice!!! The key is to be prepared. I went to the 83 reunion weekend and got everyone there except Julio Cruz. Just cause I didn't ask who it was or recognize him. I'm still kicking myself for that one! There is a resaraunt we ate at just a block from the park that we enjoyed. I think it may be called Hoolihans. We saw John Garland walk in and he ate at a table jut down from us. We watched fireworks from the Wrigley building. It's nice. Enjoy your weekend and make sure you tell us all about it! I'll be looking forward to it.

Iwritecode
01-21-2004, 12:08 PM
OK, this is about a year late but after reading Mikes, I decide to put my experience down also. I'll see if I can remember everything but I have to warn everyone, it's not all that exciting...

First of all, Friday afternoon/night we ended up getting there a little late because I missed the enterance to the hotel. There was a big truck parked in the way and I didn't see it. I then realized that you cannot go around the block. Driving in Chicago can be a real pain if you don't know where you are going. So after about 20 minutes of driving around, we finally got back to the hotel and got checked in and everything. Didn't see any players or WSI members that I recognized. So we threw our stuff in our room and went down to start waiting in line to get in. During the opening ceremonies they announced that Koch would be signing at a specific stage, so that's the first place I went. On my way there, I noticed some moron wearing a Cubs hat. Amazingly, everyone pretty much left him alone. More on him later... So I got Koch's sig and I'm pretty sure I got Frank's that night too. If this was the night that they announced the naming rights being sold to US Cellular, I also got Konerko's. It was interesting because he was literally holding my ball when a reporter came up and started asking him about how he felt having the name of the park changed. I couldn't exactly here what he was saying so when she was gone I asked him "What happened?" So the first person I heard the news from was Paul Konerko. On the way back to our room, we stopped and took a look at the bar. We didn't actually go in because my brother-in-law was with us and he was under 21. I found out the next day how much I missed... :(:

Saturday morning I got up early so I could get Magglio's autograph. They gave out wristbands to everyone that got in line to make sure nobody was jumping ahead I guess. So basically what I did was get my wristband and had my wife sit and wait in line for me. Then I got out and jumped in line for Ed Farmer?, Jack McDowell and a third guy but I can't remember who for sure. After getting their sigs, I jumped back in line for Maggs. A small tip that works great BTW. Remember that guy I saw wearing a Cubs hat? He was in line to get Maggs autograph and when he got up on the stage everyone started yelling "Don't sign it Maggs!" Of course being the nice guy he obviously is, he did and we booed the Cubs fan off the stage. When I got up there I overheard the lady sitting next to Maggs telling him that when the guy in the Cubs hat went to get Koch's sig, he wouldn't do it! I looked at them and just said "Way to go Billy!" That night we went and did a little sight-seeing around the city. We ended up at Dick's Last Restort and had a great time exchanging insults with the waitress and throwing napkins at everybody. They had a pretty good live band that night too. :gulp:

Sunday I don't really remember as much. I had pretty much gotten all the "big" names that I wanted to get. I checked out the hitting clinic with Joe Crede and the garage sale. I got a really good picture of DJ while he was signing too. I was standing off to the side about 20 feet away from him and he was bent over signing something. I figured I'd just get him as he was handing it back to the person. Instead he looked right at me with a big smile and I got a perfect picture. I thought that was really cool because I didn't think he'd even notice me standing over there. I tried Connie's pizza for the first time that day also. Pretty good.

For whatever reason, I've never been lucky enough to meet any of the players besides at one of the signing booths. Told ya it wasn't as good as Mike's... :smile:

mike squires
01-21-2004, 12:37 PM
This is what I'm talking about! I want everyone to go to do a little write up about their experience (especially cause i can't go) Even the littlest of details. It's amazing how much interaction goes on between the fans and players. (I still can't believe Dot didn't remember that he clinched in Chicago!) Remember, it's not a competition.

Code, you are exactly right about the enterence. There was some road construction going on and we were confused on how to get there. We ended up going like 2 hours out of our way and ended up in Wrigleyville!!! After some choice words between my wife and I we finally made it and only Soxfest could have lightened our moods. I suggest those coming from out of town to get very specific instructions. It can be kind of a pain to get to.

HITMEN OF 77
01-21-2004, 12:43 PM
Sounds like it's a truley fun and memorable time. Can't wait to be back and see it all. Got some items to get signed packed already. A week from tomorrow I will be home.

Iwritecode
01-21-2004, 01:44 PM
Originally posted by mike squires
Code, you are exactly right about the enterence. There was some road construction going on and we were confused on how to get there. We ended up going like 2 hours out of our way and ended up in Wrigleyville!!! After some choice words between my wife and I we finally made it and only Soxfest could have lightened our moods. I suggest those coming from out of town to get very specific instructions. It can be kind of a pain to get to.

Actually, I think the road construction was in 2002. We didn't stay at the hotel that year so we got turned around and finally ended up at a parking garage about 10 blocks from the hotel.

Last year we found the hotel with no problems at all but I just ended up driving right past it because I didn't see the entrance. Then when I tried to go around the block we ended up on a "lower" level of streets. Of course the map we were using didn't warn us about that so it took us a little while to get back "up" to the level we needed to be...

I have better directions this year and I'm determined not to miss the enterance again...

ewokpelts
01-21-2004, 02:05 PM
Originally posted by Iwritecode
Actually, I think the road construction was in 2002. We didn't stay at the hotel that year so we got turned around and finally ended up at a parking garage about 10 blocks from the hotel.

Last year we found the hotel with no problems at all but I just ended up driving right past it because I didn't see the entrance. Then when I tried to go around the block we ended up on a "lower" level of streets. Of course the map we were using didn't warn us about that so it took us a little while to get back "up" to the level we needed to be...

I have better directions this year and I'm determined not to miss the enterance again...

I walk to the hotel from the train...so I dont have those problems.
Gene

HITMEN OF 77
01-21-2004, 03:10 PM
I certainly hope the shuttle guy from O'Hare knows how to get there. After 6 hours of flight, I don't want to be driving around downtown Chicago all day.

mike squires
01-21-2004, 05:17 PM
You won't have a problem. There is a lower and an upper whacker drive. That one year there was road construction and very confusing. We simply missed a turn and ended up in Wrigleyville. It sucked!!! Here it was Soxfest and here I was near Wrigley. Don't ask me how that happened. SO much for internet directions.

HITMEN OF 77
01-21-2004, 05:59 PM
:bluesbros

"This is deffinetly lower Wacker Drive"

ewokpelts
01-21-2004, 06:25 PM
Originally posted by HITMEN OF 77
:bluesbros

"This is deffinetly lower Whacker Drive"

Wacker