Chicago Baseball History Feature

Out of range of the majors as a kid, Denver fan brings old ballparks to his museum

Bruce Hellerstein at his National Ballpark Museum in Denver.

Bruce Hellerstein at his National Ballpark Museum in Denver.

What man grows up out of range of most big-league broadcasts, still falls in love with old Crosley Field and self-funds a baseball museum across the street from the home-plate entrance of Coors Field in Denver?

“It’s an incredible passion,” Bruce Hellerstein said of his National Ballpark Museum. “It might seem strange, but I really felt my (baseball-fan) needs were met during my childhood growing up in Denver.”

At 68, Hellerstein is old enough to remember attending games at 20,000-seat Bears Stadium before it was expanded into multi-purpose Mile High Stadium, eventually the first home of the Colorado Rockies in 1993.

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’67 Sox greatest waste of stellar pitching

Cash had the most productive career of any of the home-grown hitters the Sox traded away after 1959.

Cash had the most productive career of any of the home-grown hitters the Sox traded away after 1959.

Fifty years later, the statistics still don’t lie: the White Sox had a better overall pitching staff in 1967 than the Sandy Koufax-Don Drysdale Los Angeles Dodgers of previous seasons.

“We had a bullpen and a half,” recalled then-long reliever Wilbur Wood, who’d go on to become the team’s knuckleball ace in the early 1970s, but then yielded late-inning work to closer Bob Locker, flutterball master Hoyt Wilhelm and veteran Don McMahon.

The starting Big Three of Joel Horlen (2.06 ERA) — who threw a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers — and lefties Gary Peters and a pre-surgery Tommy John helped produce an American League-leading team ERA of 2.45, a throwback to the Dead Ball Era.

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Pressy his own ‘Syncopated Clock’ through more than 2,500 games at Wrigley Field organ

Gary Pressy, showing off his Cubs championship ring, prepares to sing in the seventh inning of his 2,500th consecutive game.

Gary Pressy, showing off his Cubs championship ring, prepares to sing in the seventh inning of his 2,500th consecutive game.

Even though they have copiously honored Gary Pressy for ability and uncommon endurance, the Cubs may not know what they truly have in their generation-long organist.

Just celebrating 2,500 consecutive games at which he has performed from his Wrigley Field career debut on Opening Day 1987, Pressy could be the reigning “rain man” of baseball history and pop culture on any given day at Clark and Addison.

Ed Hartig is the figure filbert of Cubs stats and milestones going back a century-plus. But the Pressy ability to recall events long forgotten by almost all those who enjoy his keyboard artistry is the underlying basis of his talent. He lived Cubs history, did not forget it and can revive it at any time on his Lowery Heritage organ.

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Sox pre- and post-game, prospects, Dahl – all in a day’s work for WLS’ McKnight

Connor McKnight has to keep his eye on myriad player minor-league tracks as Sox pre- and post-game hosts.

Connor McKnight has to keep his eye on myriad player minor-league tracks as Sox pre- and post-game hosts.

Connor McKnight has got a lot of plates balancing in the air at the same time.

In his second season on the job, the host of the White Sox pre- and post-game show and “White Sox Weekly” on WLS-Radio first has to navigate a big commercial load with frequent breaks and promos for Steve Dahl’s afternoon-drive show leading up to the game. McKnight’s got to make the show flowing and snappy, getting in all the segments featuring the likes of Ed Farmer, Darrin Jackson and Don Cooper while accommodating the cash flow via sponsors in an iffy ratings year.

He can’t just concentrate on the 100-losses-bound Sox parent club. With the rebuilding plan in full swing, McKnight has to keep at least one eye on the Sox’s farm system to update the prospects’ progress. Callers on the post-game show hunger for news on the future since the present is just little more than place-holding. All the while, the fans still putting credence into the Sox big-league season need plenty of Dr. Phil-consoling, so McKnight continues the post-game tradition mastered by predecessor Chris Rongey on The Score AM 670.

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