I owe Jerry Krause.
Apparently, he even scouted outdoors writers.
In 1997, early in my days as the outdoors columnist for the Sun-Times, I reached out to Krause to go fishing. He already knew who I was. He called from a hotel room while on a road trip with the Bulls to Cleveland.
The memories came back today with his death.
Krause loved fishing. His words came spilling out. I pounded the keyboard. He kept talking fishing. I kept pounding the keyboard. Meanwhile, I’m thinking, “I’m talking to effing Jerry Krause.” And I kept pounding the keyboard.
When we were done, I had a pile of raw notes from which I pulled together a piece good enough that Bill Adee, then the Sun-Times sports editor, had the column gussied up, framed, for Krause’s office.
Quite frankly, it put me on the map, made me. Krause didn’t have to do that. Just as frankly, another big personality of that championship Bulls era noted for fishing, gave me the symbolic finger and brushoff via an underling when I asked to talk fly fishing (a hint).
In 2003, I finally fished with Krause on the Chain O’Lakes with my buddy Art Frisell. The fishing was tough and, if I may do some scouting of my own, Krause was no great shakes as a fisherman, but he loved fishing. (He did not like or respect hunting.) The day was good.
The stories flew–fishing, sports, newspapers–and I got another big spread. Apparently, our lives had once crossed in the centerfield bleachers of Wrigley Field. When Bill Veeck watched his last game there, Krause was in the entourage sitting a few feet from our group.
At some point, Krause stopped interacting with the Sun-Times, largely because of then sports columnist Jay Mariotti. Every few years, I would get a call from the desk, “Do you still have a number for Krause?” If my memory is right, Krause always declined to comment, then we would shift to talking about fishing or sports shows.
I bumped into him occasionally at sports shows, where he was just another fisherman pawing through the stuff of fishing.
Krause was prickly but loyal, human. I guess I am too. He was the greatest general manager in Chicago history (six titles, scout in two sports) and was given a rougher ride in terms of his legacy than he earned.
Krause deserved smoother waters. May he float gently into the afterlife and his history here be rewritten back toward truth.
ALL-STATERS: Two rising stars of Chicago-area fishing–Buffalo Grove High School junior Tyler Lubbat (Wheeling) and Minooka senior A.J. Wojtowicz (Shorewood)–earned spots on the Bassmaster High School All-State Fishing Team. From those 69, 12 finalists will be picked to compete in a one-day Bassmaster All-American High School Bass Tournament in May on Sam Rayburn Reservoir out of Lufkin, Texas.
STRAY CAST: I shoot like David Ross dances.