Cherish the memories at Chicago Historical SocietyPhotos courtesy of Chicago Historical Society The glory days of the Chicago Bears and Chicago Bulls are remembered at the "Chicago Sports" exhibit.
Nothing beats a day at Wrigley Field … in January. At this Wrigley Field, memorialized in an expansive exhibit called "Chicago Sports! You Shoulda Been There," currently in its last month at the Chicago Historical Society, the Friendly Confines are shrouded in even more nostalgia than the real thing a few miles north on Addison and Clark.
Don Young’s baseball mitt, the uniforms of Ernie Banks and Ron Santo, those original bleacher seats and Gabby Hartnett’s antiquated catcher’s gear are there. So is some wicked Cubs trivia, such as who was the third baseman omitted from New York columnist Franklin Pierce Adams’ immortalizing short verse "Baseball’s Sad Lexicon?" The answer: Harry Steinfeldt. He helped the Cubs, including his infamous infield brethren, Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance, to four straight National League pennants from 1906 to 1910. There was even a World Series victory in there somewhere.
But the Cubs of yesteryear are not the only champions on display. Six NBA Championship trophies won by the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in the ‘90s have an honored spot. So, too, does the 1985 Super Bowl ring and Chicago Bears jersey worn by superstar running back Walter Payton.
It all adds up to an opportune moment for teaching unsuspecting children that sometimes Chicago teams do win and that many players have thrilled us with their talent, drive and record-breaking performances over the years.
When the awe of the memorabilia fades, return to the trivia. One baffling delight: Which Chicago native (and sports legend) didn’t do such a good job playing right field for the 1919 New York Yankees-prompting the team to trade for Babe Ruth? Answer: George Halas.
The exhibit runs through Jan. 25 at the Chicago Historical Society, Clark Street at North Avenue, Chicago. The museum is open 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5, adults; $3, seniors and students ages 13-22; $1, children 6-12; and free for children under 6. For more information, call (312) 642-4600 or visit www.chicagohs.org.