Loyal Cubs fan Stevens was at Ruth’s called-shot game

Stevens is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan. He was at the 1932 World Series game at Wrigley Field when Babe Ruth supposedly pointed to the bleachers during an at-bat -- and then hit a home run.

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U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens winds up to throw out the first pitch before the start of the Chicago Cubs game with the Cincinnati Reds, at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Sept. 14, 2005.

AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court JusticeJohnPaulStevens, who told President Obama on Friday he will retire this summer, is a Chicago native with longtime ties to the city.

I asked Bill Barnhart — a Chicago journalist who is co-author with Gene Schlickman of the biographyJohnPaulStevens: An Independent Life, to be published next month — to provide highlights ofStevens’ connections to the city for the Chicago Sun-Times. Here they are:

1.Stevens’ father and grandfather built what was the world’s biggest hotel in 1927, TheStevens, on South Michigan Avenue. It is now the Chicago Hilton. There still are “S” crests above the main entrances to the hotel.

2. His great uncle was Charles A.Stevens, owner of the former landmark Chas. AStevenswomen’s apparel shop on State Street.

3. WhenStevenswas a teenager, his father and grandfather were indicted on charges involving embezzlement from the family business. His father, Ernest J.Stevens, was convicted in 1933, but the conviction was reversed by the Illinois Supreme Court.

4.Stevens, born in 1920, grew up on 58th Street in Hyde Park, went to the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and later the U. of C. One of his college mentors was Norman Maclean, author of A River Runs Through It.Stevenswas chairman of the board of the Chicago Maroon student newspaper as America geared up for World War II. His law degree is from Northwestern.

5.Stevensis a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan. He was at the 1932 World Series game at Wrigley Field whenBabeRuth supposedly pointed to the bleachers during an at-bat -- and then hit a home run.

6. When the Picasso statue was unveiled in Daley Plaza in 1967,Stevenswrote a humorous letter to the Chicago Tribune speculating that the statue depicted a GOP elephant and was erected by Mayor Richard J. Daley as a triumphant trophy for the Democratic Party.

7. In 1970,Stevens’ first major dissent as a judge of the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals came in the case of Milwaukee priest Father James Groppi, who was jailed for disrupting the Wisconsin legislature in a protest over the treatment of poor people.Stevens’ dissent, in which he argued Groppi was denied his due process rights, was affirmed later, when the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the 7th Circuit’s majority opinion.

8. In the mid-1960s,Stevensrepresented baseball owner Charlie Finley, who was an insurance executive with offices on Michigan Avenue.Stevenshelped Finley move the Athletics from Kansas City to Oakland.

9.Stevensis a champion bridge player.

10.Stevens’ experience with Chicago politics, including heading an investigation into misdeeds by two Illinois Supreme Court judges, shaped his view of the law, especially his dislike of any sort of legal immunity for politicians. He ruled against President Clinton, for example, in the infamous Paula Jones sexual harassment case.

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