Monday, January 19, 2009

"Hail Chicago Cardinals!" - Thanks New York Times and Vince Banonis!

The hard character on the far-right is Chicago Cardinal Vince Banonis! The Bidwills could pick them!

Hail Chicago Cardinals, crimson and white,

We’ll back you ever, down the field, we’ll fight, fight, fight.

We’ll whip the Green Bay Packers, Rams and the Bears,

We’ll take Detroit and Pittsburgh, and do it fair and square.

Yea, Cardinals!

This John Branch story in today's New York Times is pure Grantland Rice!

The burly old two-way player, a center and linebacker who is now 87, is one of the few people alive to know how it feels to be on the Cardinals and play for a championship.

For Vince Banonis, 60 years and another title tilt with the Eagles were reasons enough to break out the old fight song. He and some teammates recorded it back in another time, another place.

Over the phone from Southfield, Mich., Banonis sang:

Hail Chicago Cardinals, crimson and white,

We’ll back you ever, down the field, we’ll fight, fight, fight.

We’ll whip the Green Bay Packers, Rams and the Bears,

We’ll take Detroit and Pittsburgh, and do it fair and square.

Yea, Cardinals!

Like his surviving Chicago Cardinals teammates, Banonis has long cheered the Arizona Cardinals from afar. Now there is increasing curiosity, even suspense, six decades in the making.

The Cardinals play the Philadelphia Eagles in Sunday’s National Football Conference championship game. Millions will watch on television. A handful of viewers will see it differently than anyone else.

“It’s kind of a reminder of the games we had with the Eagles, oh, 60 years ago,” Banonis said.

Before they moved to Arizona, and before they moved to St. Louis, the Cardinals were Chicago’s team — or its other team. They played mostly at Comiskey Park, mostly in the broad shadow of George Halas’s Bears, who played at Wrigley Field.

But for one season, at least, the Cardinals outshined everyone.

“In 1947, we had a good run,” said Charley Trippi, now 86, then a nimble halfback from Georgia in the first year of a Hall of Fame career.

It never occurred to anyone that the Cardinals’ championship victory — a 28-21 defeat of the Eagles on Comiskey’s frozen and slippery field — would be the last that most of the franchise’s coaches, players and fans would live to see. No current N.F.L. franchise has gone longer without a title. The Cardinals have not even played for a league or conference championship since 1948, when they were 11-1 and lost a rematch with the Eagles.

“I didn’t think it would be forever, which it has been,” Jimmy Conzelman Jr said. He was 10, a “locker-room pest,” when his father, a gregarious future Hall of Famer with a shock of silver hair named Jimmy Conzelman, coached the Cardinals to the title.

This is a great story . . .and it is in the New York Times. John Branch is almost as good as Chicago Tribune's Dan McGrath - almost.

Click my post title for the full story.

My Dad, who could not be more happy about the Cardinals and for the Bidwill Family ( 'I knew Old Charley and the two kids, Billy and Stormy, - he was a hell of a nice guy and great to Veterans') called to remind me of the old Bidwill Stadium that served as a great Chicago Women's 12" Softball stadium over east in the South Shore neighborhood which brought me to this great South Shore Neighborhood Site - Shouth Shore Newspsot:

Nota Bene!!!! I deleted e-mail addresses from the excerpts.


Regarding Bidwill Stadium, it was the home stadium for the Bluebirds who were in the Chicago area women's baseball league. They played with a 12" and hard baseball. They had played with somewhat oversized gloves since the 12" ball is larger than the smaller ball used in the major leagues. Jerry Barich Hyde Park HS 1956

Bidwell stadium and it was named after Charlie Bidwell. It was also the home stadium for the Women's fast pitch (12" not 16") league during and immediately following WWII. There was another stadium around 76th St and Loomis called Shewbridge Stadium, another home stadium for the league. I recall one team was the "Bloomer Girls" and the other was the "Blue Jays". My father was part owner of one of the teams (the one that played @ Loomis Ave) but we used to go to Bidwell to see games in the late 40s & early 50s. John McNeal, Asst. Atty. Gen. (ret), originally from 73rd & Luella, Graduate of Mt. Carmel 1960 J

I remember going to Bidwell Stadium to watch DONKEY BASEBALL! Does anyone remember that? Also, I think they used to hold carnivals there. My brother and I and the neighborhood kids used to walk along the railroad tracks to get there. We all lived on East End Avenue between 73rd and 74th Street. Sara Zaremberg

I wrote back to Sara asking her if the donkeys played baseball and here is her reply.

Hi Caryn, your response really made me laugh! The GUYS ran the bases riding on the donkeys and of course, the asses didn't always want to cooperate! I don't remember if the BATTERS were on the ASSES when batting. It was an advertised event if I remember correctly. It was generally used as a softball field. Sara

All of my life I've pronounced the name of the stadium Bid-well and spelled it that way. In fact it's actually Bid-will. Still, nice to know some of the old time memorabilia is of interest to some people. Don Turner

Don Turner's recollection of Bidwell stadium is correct. The "Bluebirds" played there during the early 1940's. The Bluebirds was a woman's baseball team. I saw a baseball game there that was played on donkeys. That was quite a sight. The Bidwell family still owns the Cardinals. They are now the Arizona Cardinals. I would appreciate any pictures of the stadium that you might have. I made a slide-show of Chicago pictures. Any additional pictures would be a welcome addition. My wife, Gail Miller class of 1954, and I, class of 1953 enjoy your newsletter very much. Joel Wolff

I spent a lot of time at Bidwell Stadium growing up. The Bidwell family still owns the Cardinals, the Arizona Cardinals. I will send you some expansion of details on the area bounded by the B&O tracks, Jeffrey and 75th Street. Also some information on the "Stone Factory" in the triangle bounded by the B&O tracks, 77th Street and Chappell. Ronnie and Kennie Sone lived north of the tracks on Chappell. Their father was a doctor or dentist, I believe. Jim Gibbons /blockquote>

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