Sunday, May 17, 2009


I want to suggest a real change of pace in reading with Mike North’s new book "SETTLING THE SCORE – TALKIN’ CHICAGO SPORTS." Mike is a native Chicagoan who is a product of the north side Rogers Park neighborhood. He got his start owning and operating a Hot Dog stand, and this led to a very successful career as a highly opinionated Sports Talk host on Chicago’s very popular WSCR-AM (The Score). Mike has developed a unique shtick with a highly exaggerated Chicago accent.

Love Mike or hate him, he has built a loyal following within the huge block of Chicago sports aficionados for many years. Reading this book brought back many fond memories of my youthful days as an Andy Frain usher at Wrigley Field, Comiskey Park, The Old Chicago Stadium, and Soldier Field in the 1940’s.

Mike North is much younger than me, so he refers to many players from his era, and thus there are just reasons for me to disagree with his list of the best participants on the Chicago sports scene. Be that as it may, he sure brings back memories of watching great games on some of the coldest Sundays at Wrigley Field when George Halas was coaching the Chicago Bears against great Green Bay Packer teams who were coached by the legendary Curley Lambeau. I totally agree with Mike when he says that Wrigley Field was the best place to watch football, because your seats were real close to the action.

Your Commander retains great memories of Soldier Field too, dating back to the time my Dad took me to the then very popular Chicago Tribune All-Star football game. We saw the great halfback Tom Harmon of Michigan play for the College All-Stars against the Chicago Bears in 1941. I recall that the fog was so bad along the lake front that it was hard to see the field, but Tom Harmon along with the Bears filled the house to some 90,000 excited fans.

Also there were those late evening rides home on the Rocket Streetcar along Madison Avenue after working great Chicago Blackhawk hockey games in the old Chicago Stadium or seeing Gorgeous George wrestle The Giant. The old Chicago White Sox Comiskey Park was a fond place for my Grandmother and me for numerous Ladies’ Day games, and also ushering at Chicago Cardinals football games.

Mike will not be getting a Pulitzer Prize for his writing skills, or will I, but if you have any Chicago connections you surely will enjoy this soft cover book (214 pages). It was not a problem for me, but Mike tends to repeat himself in several different chapters.

Mike has worked the Chicago sports scene during a truly exciting period, especially with Michael Jordan playing two different times for the Bulls. We old dogs had our great experiences too, and saw some of the best who ever played in Chicago like the Cub’s Stan Hack or Hank Sauer or Phil Cavaretta, then Bill Mosienko, Doug Bentley and Stan Mikita with the Blackhawk’s, or early Bull’s stars Jerry Sloan and Bob Love under beloved Coach Johnny “Red” Kerr, and Luke Appling or Minnie Minoso with the White Sox, and you cannot forget Chicago Bears like George Blanda or John Lujack either. I totally agree with Mike regarding his comments about the Bears great Sid Luckman, because I feel he was one of the very best quarterbacks I have ever seen.

So for a total change in a reading experience, I recommend you pick up a copy of "SETTLING THE SCORE." At least it is not about depressing political shenanigans or the sluggish economy.

Let me close with this quote from Mike North’s book about the late, great Walter Payton, “I’ve seen guys who were more talented, but I’ve never seen guys get more out of their talent.” May you rest in peace, Sweetness.


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