The Rare Majesty of “Game 7″

Craig Counsell crosses home plate as the winning run in the 1997 World Series. (CBS Sports/No Photog Named)

Craig Counsell crosses home plate as the winning run in the 1997 World Series. (CBS Sports/No Photog Named)

The day was October 26, 1997.

I was five-years-old, going on six in a matter of days, and had spent the past week at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn. On October 21, we were celebrating my sister’s birthday, and I forgot why, but I felt compelled to be a typical five-year-old older brother and spoil one of my sister’s gifts. I went to my room and in what I assume was a cruel act of God, I stopped breathing laying in my bed.

I don’t remember much of what happened between then and being located in the ER, although my mother has told me in recent years the same thing happened a year prior, which has escaped my memory. It was an asthma attack, a brutal and horrifying experience at such a young age.

Those hospital days remain vivid and clear in my mind. I remember the dreadful needle test for allergic reactions, blowing out the digital candles to test my breathing, and above all else, the parched and unappealing food. I also vividly remember watching one of the best World Series in recent memory there.

Due to the influence of my grandfather and uncle, I had fallen in love with the sport just before the 1995 World Series; it helped that Uncle Tom was an avid Braves fan, as they won the Series in ’95 and lost to the Yankees in ’96. This would be the third I would have seen, and it was dramatic. A star-studded, Cinderella story Florida Marlins against the determined, hungry Cleveland Indians. The games in Cleveland were made memorable by temperatures near-freezing and a lot of bad pitching.

Sure enough, the series was tied 3-3 on October 26, 1997, and in my hospital bed, I witnessed my first Game 7 of the World Series. Read the rest of this entry »

Paul Konerko’s Memorable Legacy in Chicago

Paul Konerko is entering the final week of his career. (NBC5 Chicago)

Paul Konerko is entering the final week of his career. (NBC5 Chicago)

Since the first day of spring training, baseball fans have been suffocated with the retirement of legendary Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. A league without Jeter seems unfathomable; while he is no spring chicken anymore, he’s been one of the league’s main marketing fixtures since he debuted in 1995. It’s no question why; he played the game hard, won championships, and did it with a smile.

Because of this, it’s easy for people around the country to overlook the retirement of Chicago’s most consistently excellent baseball player for the last 15 years. Read the rest of this entry »