What is your fondest memory growing up? That is an exercise on my creative writing websites.

For me, my fondest memories were early April each year and the beginning of the baseball season. I played, watched and went to baseball games each year.

I grew up 21 miles west of Chicago, in Lombard, Illinois, the Lilac Village.

We frequently endured several months of cold, frigid temperature with packed snow on the ground.  April brought the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs back home to Chicago, along with the green, green grass at Comiskey Park and Wrigley Field.

Each of my friends loved baseball.  Starting in the summer when we were about 7, we  grabbed our baseball gloves, a bagged lunch, and bicycled to the park where we played baseball from sun up to dinner. We each dreamed of playing in the major leagues and mimicked our heroes.

When I was 9, I started playing little league baseball on the White Sox team. Looking back, I am not sure if that was the reason I became a White Sox, rather than a Cubs fan.

My White Sox hero was Minnie Minoso. I wrote about him in a blog two years ago: Law Firm Excellence Needs A Culture of Creative Dissatisfaction.  I mourned the year he was traded back to Cleveland, just in time for the Go-Go White Sox to win the 1959 American League pennant.

As I shared in: What are you borrowing from your role models? Nellie Fox became my White Sox hero and, as evidenced in my family photos in 1959, my cheek bulged from the big wad of gum from my Topps baseball cards. I haven’t really chewed gum since that year.

Sadly, I rarely got the chance to see my heroes at Comiskey Park. Young kids from Lombard could not get there on our own, and most of the games were played at night. But, we could fairly easily get to Wrigley Field, where all the games were played in the afternoon.

Until we started working in the summer, we regularly went to games at Wrigley Field. We rode our bikes to the Lombard train station, took the train to Oak Park and took the L from Oak Park to Wrigley Field.

I believe the most expensive box seats tickets were $4 or $5, the grandstand seats were $3 and the bleacher seats were $1. We always arrived early so we could stand right against the wall at first or third base and watch the teams warm up.

In those days, players would gladly sign our programs. I believe my father tossed those old programs along with my 12 years of Topps baseball cards, during my first quarter at college. Oh, well…

Many fans remember Harry Caray as the voice of the Cubs. In the day when I was taking the train and L to Wrigley Field, Caray was the voice of the Cardinals. Jack Brickhouse was the television voice of both the Cubs and the White Sox.  As you will hear in the clip below, when a Sox or Cubs player hit a home run, we heard: “Back, Back…Hey, Hey!”

Baseball fans also know that Wrigley Field is 100 years old this year. My high school friend Jim Roberts has taken some photos.

What are some of your fondest memories growing up? I would love to hear about them.