Dad grew up in a suburb of NYC, but around the age of 12 he became a Chicago White Sox fan. It seems the members of his Boy Scout Troop decided to pick teams to root for and Dad got the Chicago White Sox by default. He said by the time they got to him there weren't too many teams left, so he picked the White Sox.
Dad making the tag, his brother Robert as umpire, and his friend Clarence sliding into home plate.
The White Sox have never had such a loyal fan. It would have been so easy for Dad to become a Yankee fan at sometime over the years, but he never succumbed. The White Sox were his team and that was all there was to it.
Sometime in the 1950's Dad discovered that he could pick up the Baltimore radio station on the car radio. So, whenever the White Sox played Baltimore Dad would sit in the hot garage and listen to the game. Of course, he often got to see them play on TV when they came to town to play the Yankees. I guess that's how he became a die hard Yankee hater. He took his baseball very seriously. Once in a while we actually went to Yankee Stadium when the White Sox were in town. Dad enjoyed seeing his team in person.
Dad's only been to Chicago a few times in his life and never for a game. He followed his team in the newspaper, The Sporting News, and the sports reports on TV and radio. For most of his years that's the way he kept track of how they were doing. This was before cable or satellite TV.
Finally in 2005 they beat my Houston Astros in the World Series. Dad was ecstatic! It was a dream come true for him. At the time he was living in NJ and he'd call me in Texas after each game and we'd rehash what we had just seen happen.
In 2006 Dad moved to Texas and lived nearby in Assisted Living. For the first time in his life he was able to see most of the White Sox games. I signed up for MLB TV and would bring Dad over here to watch their games online. He was that 12 year old kid again. He'd sit in front of the computer screen watching excitedly. Just about everyone in Assisted Living knew he was a White Sox fan and after a win he'd be so excited on the ride back to the facility. He couldn't wait to share his good news.
Sadly, Dad's Alzheimer's progressed and he had to be moved to a nursing home a little over a year ago. This year for the first time he no longer asked me how the White Sox were doing. However, every day the aides made sure he wore his White Sox cap.
Yesterday he took a turn for the worse and for the first time spent the day in bed without his cap. Early this morning the Chicago White Sox lost their oldest and most faithful fan outside of Chicago. I'll continue receiving those E-mail alerts from the Chicago White Sox because then a piece of Dad will always be with me.
I like to think they won today's game for Dad. Thanks guys. You never knew him, but he sure knew you!