In 1954, I was 13 . We lived about two blocks from the old Del Prado Hotel, in Hyde Park, which was where the American League baseball teams stayed when they were in Chicago to play the White Sox. (A footnote here: African-American players were not allowed to stay at the Del Prado, so they had to stay elsewhere.) On a sunny day in June, I took my younger brother with me to the Del Prado. I intended to get the Boston Red Sox team to sign a new baseball that I had received for my birthday earlier that month. For three days we stood in front of the hotel and asked each player to sign the ball, always imploring them to save the sweet spot on the ball for my hero Ted Williams to sign.
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By the third day, every one of the Red Sox team had signed the ball, but the sweet spot was still vacant and Ted Williams walked past me, saying “not now, kid,” as he had done on the preceding two days, without signing. I must have looked quite dejected because Bobby Doerr, a future Hall of Famer, got off the bus and took me by the hand, leading me onto the bus. He took me straight back to the rear where Ted Williams was sitting and said, “Ted, this kid has been out here for three days and we have all autographed his ball. He saved the sweet spot for you to sign. Please sign the ball for him.”
Ted Williams signed the ball and opened up the bus window and dropped it out on the curb. He said, “There’s your ball kid.” I rushed out and retrieved the ball, which I still have, but my memory of those days is saddened by the recent passing of Bobby Doerr at age 99.
Steven Schwab, Lakefront
I was aghast to learn in your recent article, “CPS CEO Forrest Claypool admits ‘mistake’ he made in IG interview (Nov. 18),” that the purported malfeasance stemming from the district’s contract with Jenner & Block was for a paltry sum of $250,000 — before the firm agreed to pursue the work for free. Really? Law firms like Jenner make over $250,000 a day. It defies reason to assume the firm received the (meager) contract due to an existing severance arrangement with the Chicago Public Schools general counsel. My read is that the lawsuit explicitly helped put pressure on the governor and state legislators to provide CPS $450 million this fiscal year; $250,000 is a bargain.
Ambrose Wilde, South Loop
Long way to go
We have a long way to go until the police union is living in the same factual world as the rest of us. At least we have Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx (“State’s attorney’s office heads in wiser direction” — Nov. 21), who is addressing the decades of lawlessness by our police and is dismissing cases based on testimony from corrupt officers. This should not be considered bold or unusual. This should be the regular course of business in a city where there is mutual trust between law enforcement and the community to work together to address issues around crime.
Ava Mohtashemi, Logan Square
Be cautious regarding sexual harassment claims
There is now an endless and growing list of politicians, newsmen, and celebrities who are being accused of sexual harassment, and whose careers are under siege or summarily ended based on these allegations. While I am elated that women are now empowered to come forward and call out predatory behavior, I also urge caution.
Human beings are complicated. While mistakes in judgement and inappropriate behavior should have consequences, I do not believe that a few episodes of bad behavior totally define a man who has a life history of exemplary accomplishments. There may be extenuating circumstances or perhaps a weak moment at a bad time. I am willing to call them out, but at the same time, give the benefit of the doubt or some forgiveness to an otherwise upstanding individual. Some of our greatest presidents and leaders had equally serious flaws. Something that started out as a positive cultural change should not devolve into a witch hunt.
Carol Kraines, Deerfield
I’ve had it
I think I’ve finally had it with the current state of politics in this country, led by a morally corrupt president who has no business being president, to a governor of Alabama, who stated she would rather elect another morally corrupt politician and accused pedophile to represent her and the citizens of her state than elect a Democrat, who I understand is a good person.
Mitchell Pierce, Oak Park