PDA

View Full Version : Totally Biased Book Review: Chicago White Sox: 1959 and Beyond


Baby Fisk
12-13-2004, 10:36 AM
Chicago White Sox: 1959 and Beyond - by Dan Helpingstine (2004, 128. pp)

With Chicago White Sox: 1959 and Beyond, Dan Helpingstine adds a second volume to the "fans' eye" style of White Sox history books he began with Through Hope and Despair: A Fan's Memories of the Chicago White Sox, 1967-1997.

This time, he incorporates the reminiscences and photographs of numerous Sox fans into a collection of memorable moments in Sox history since 1959. I liked this book because it lets fans who weren't there hear about these great moments first-hand from those who were. Several WSI posters make cameo appearences throughout the book.

Recollections include pennant or division clinching games, pitching masterpieces, historic homers, opening days, and loads of off-beat or downright tragic moments, all packed into this slim volume. In the absence of any recent world championships for fans to relive, this is the next best thing.

Helpingstine places an emphasis on the decade that taste forgot, from the horrid 1970 season (106 losses) to the rise of Bill Melton and Dick Allen. Allen's game winning laser shot homer on Bat Day in 1972 is recounted vividly. Bill Veeck's presence can be felt throughout, in tales of his sailor-suited South Side Hitmen in 1977 and the chaos of Disco Demolition Night in 1979.

There's loads of other memories here too, bridging the span from the Go-Go Sox of 1959 to the present.

Each chapter of fan memories is followed by several pages of historic black and white photos made available from personal collections. There's 100 different photos in total, worth the price of admission alone. There's Ted Kluszewski in his Fred Flintsone sleeveless jersey. There's newcomer Carlton Fisk crushing a grand slam on Opening Day 1981. There's Black Jack McDowell delivering a pitch all elbows and knees. There's the Hitmen, the scoreboard, the gorgeous arched windows of Old Comiskey, and (my god!) there's the uniforms with short pants. If anything, the photos are a crucial reminder why the Sox must never change their uniforms ever, ever again.

The best parts of Helpingstine's book are the voices of the fans themselves. An octogenarian recalls her attendance at a World Series game in 1959, the last time it was ever played in Chicago. Another fan remembers storming the Comiskey outfield with other delirious celebrants as a teenager when the Sox clinched the division in 1983.

Yet another fan recalls the incredible scene at New Comiskey on June 19, 2000. It was the first home game after the Sox tore through Cleveland and New York on a seven game win streak:


"We knew it was going to be a huge jacked up crowd and that we would have to leave early [to get to the park on time]. We ended up leaving early but getting snarled in a standstill traffic jam on the Kennedy Expressway anyway. The source for this huge traffic jam? The Thirty-First and Thirty-Fifth Street exits to Comiskey Park! It had traffic backed up all the way through the Loop.

"By the time we got to the ball park exits, it was already in the fourth inning and we were listening to Ed Farmer and John Rooney [Sox radio announcers] call the game as the Sox were laying another whipping on second place Cleveland. All of the parking lots were sold out, and there were thousands milling about the ballpark looking for tickets. At this point, we decided to cut our losses on the Upper Deck tickets and call it a night. We took the rest of the game in a local bar.

"We later heard on the radio that the game was a complete sellout and the reason all the parking lots sold out was because an estimated fifty-six thousand people descended on the ballpark.

"It was the most unforgettable game I never made it to."


And to think that this turbulent scene was played out only a few short years ago. Here's to hoping that the Sox will reignite this kind of public intensity in Chicago soon. Very soon.

And here's to hoping that Dan Helpingstine will continue to produce these treasure troves of Sox history and lore.


--Baby Fisk

SOXSINCE'70
12-13-2004, 11:01 AM
How can I order the book??

Baby Fisk
12-13-2004, 01:59 PM
How can I order the book??The author is a regular visitor/poster at WSI. Send Dan H a personal message and he can set you up directly. Or, you can go online at Amazon or similar websites.

Foulke You
12-13-2004, 02:15 PM
Yet another fan recalls the incredible scene at New Comiskey on June 19, 2000. It was the first home game after the Sox tore through Cleveland and New York on a seven game win streak:


"We knew it was going to be a huge jacked up crowd and that we would have to leave early [to get to the park on time]. We ended up leaving early but getting snarled in a standstill traffic jam on the Kennedy Expressway anyway. The source for this huge traffic jam? The Thirty-First and Thirty-Fifth Street exits to Comiskey Park! It had traffic backed up all the way through the Loop.

"By the time we got to the ball park exits, it was already in the fourth inning and we were listening to Ed Farmer and John Rooney [Sox radio announcers] call the game as the Sox were laying another whipping on second place Cleveland. All of the parking lots were sold out, and there were thousands milling about the ballpark looking for tickets. At this point, we decided to cut our losses on the Upper Deck tickets and call it a night. We took the rest of the game in a local bar.

"We later heard on the radio that the game was a complete sellout and the reason all the parking lots sold out was because an estimated fifty-six thousand people descended on the ballpark.

"It was the most unforgettable game I never made it to."


And to think that this turbulent scene was played out only a few short years ago. Here's to hoping that the Sox will reignite this kind of public intensity in Chicago soon. Very soon.

And here's to hoping that Dan Helpingstine will continue to produce these treasure troves of Sox history and lore.


--Baby Fisk
Hey, that fan quote is from none other than yours truly.:cool:

Dan's books are really a good read. I highly recommend both this one and "Through Hope and Despair" as a stocking stuffer for any Sox fan.

starboy0
12-13-2004, 03:05 PM
I have both of Dan's books and highly recommend each of them. Once you start reading them you can't put them down! It's good to know your Sox history.

whtsx1959
12-13-2004, 03:10 PM
How can I order the book?? I also saw them at Grandstand and at a local BAM (Books-A-Miilion)

I love the book, mostly because there is a picture of my mom and uncle in it.

TommyJohn
12-13-2004, 04:34 PM
How can I order the book??
Don't need to. I have seen several copies available at Barnes & Noble and
Borders.

SOXSINCE'70
12-14-2004, 06:59 AM
Don't need to. I have seen several copies available at Barnes & Noble and
Borders.
Thanks for your help!!:bandance: :bandance:

P.S.- Sorry for trading you to the Dodgers for Dick Allen
after the 1971 season.:D: :D: :D:

Wsoxmike59
12-14-2004, 07:42 PM
I also saw it advertised on Target.com

Dan H, quick question.....Didja ever find out if you'll be able to sell the book at Soxfest? (I wouldn't see why not) But I remember you telling me the Sox wanted to give you the good seal of approval before giving you the go ahead.

NWSox
12-15-2004, 01:13 AM
Thanks for the recommendation. I just bought a copy from Amazon.

Dan H
12-15-2004, 09:40 AM
I also saw it advertised on Target.com

Dan H, quick question.....Didja ever find out if you'll be able to sell the book at Soxfest? (I wouldn't see why not) But I remember you telling me the Sox wanted to give you the good seal of approval before giving you the go ahead.
I will be at SoxFest this year. Everything is fine with the White Sox. I will be sharing the table with Leo Bauby who contributed many of the pictures to the book. We also hope to have Mark Fletcher and Gerry Bilek at the table. Mark and Gerry also contributed many photos to the book. Mark also was a big part of the Rich Lindberg's White Sox encyclopedia.

I appreciate the good feedback on the book. I had a great time doing it, and may be looking to another. Some of my plans will depend on how this one sells.

I'm looking forward to meeting WSI posters at Sox Fest. It is nice that SoxFest won't be on the Super Bowl weekend. Again, I thank anyone who bought the book. Hopefully the Sox will really make some history that can be written about.

Frater Perdurabo
12-15-2004, 10:08 AM
Baby Fisk: That's an incredible review. Now I want to buy both books.

Dan H.: What's the price for both?

Dan H
12-15-2004, 12:19 PM
Baby Fisk: That's an incredible review. Now I want to buy both books.

Dan H.: What's the price for both?
Through Hope and Despair is $12.95, though it may be cheaper on Amazon. 1959 and Beyond is $19.99. If you want to order directly through me, you can and I will sign them. Send me a personal e-mail and I will give you ordering information. 1959 and Beyond is on Amazon was well. Thanks for your interest. It is very flattering that Sox fans have liked my work.

I want to take this opportunity to thank George Bova for the help in connecting me with the publisher in doing 1959 and Beyond. An editor was surfing the net and found White Sox Interactive. He was impressed with the site and the knowledge of the fans who post here. I gave credit to George in the book's acknowledgements but want to do it here as well.

TornLabrum
12-15-2004, 08:50 PM
I will be at SoxFest this year. Everything is fine with the White Sox. I will be sharing the table with Leo Bauby who contributed many of the pictures to the book. We also hope to have Mark Fletcher and Gerry Bilek at the table. Mark and Gerry also contributed many photos to the book. Mark also was a big part of the Rich Lindberg's White Sox encyclopedia.

I appreciate the good feedback on the book. I had a great time doing it, and may be looking to another. Some of my plans will depend on how this one sells.

I'm looking forward to meeting WSI posters at Sox Fest. It is nice that SoxFest won't be on the Super Bowl weekend. Again, I thank anyone who bought the book. Hopefully the Sox will really make some history that can be written about.
Dan, I'll be sure to stop by your booth while I'm on a break from the WCSF booth. (You can only manage the pencil pull for so long!) And you can bet I'll be picking up a copy of the book.

Dan H
12-16-2004, 09:31 AM
Dan, I'll be sure to stop by your booth while I'm on a break from the WCSF booth. (You can only manage the pencil pull for so long!) And you can bet I'll be picking up a copy of the book.
Thanks. I am looking forward to seeing you at another Sox Fest.

Lip Man 1
12-16-2004, 12:18 PM
Dan:

Remember to run when 'your friend,' Scott Reifert comes around ! LOL

Lip

eastchicagosoxfan
12-16-2004, 07:33 PM
Dan was at the Borders in Highland on Saturday. I bought the book and he signed it. It's a nice easy read. Plenty of great pictures. I can never get enough pictures of the old park. He racaps Joe Cowley's no hitter. I was there. He recaps the no-hitter the Yanks threw in 1990 won by the Sox. I was there too. Just lucky. I didn't speak to Dan for more than a moment or two, but a moment with a Sox fan is worth a day with a cubs fan.