Friday, April 27, 2012

Moose

I lost a friend today.  But that is a selfish way to think about it, really, because a lot of people here with the White Sox – and a lot of fans in New York and Chicago – lost a friend today.  And baseball, well, baseball certainly lost a character.  There was only one Bill “Moose” Skowron.

Image

For the past year or so, Moose had waged a tough, tough battle with cancer.  But Moose was a tough, tough guy, and recently, medical tests seemed to indicate that he was winning.  But the battle had been really hard on Moose and his body, and last night, he succumbed to congestive heart failure at the age of 81.  There will be one less Yankee great standing on the first base line at next summer’s Old Timer’s Game (Moose used to joke about how he had moved closer to first base over the years.  I think he was second or third last year).

Visitation for Moose will be Monday, April 30 from 2 to 9 p.m. at Colonial-Wojciechowski Funeral Home at 8025 W. Golf Road, Niles.  His funeral will be Tuesday, May 1, at Queen of All Saints Basillica, 6280 N. Sauganash Ave., Chicago at 10 a.m.  In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in Moose’s name to the American Heart Association.

If you want to read our press release, you can click here.

For those readers who have attended past Blog Nights here at the ballpark, you know that I frequently asked Moose to attend.  I just loved his stories, and his delivery, well, you couldn’t beat his frankness!

Moose wasn’t exactly “PC.”  I guess that happens sometimes.  That means I can’t really tell you all of the best stories about Moose.  But I can come close.

He loved Mickey Mantle, and was loyal to him to the very end.  Any time Moose told a Mickey story, his eyes would twinkle.  And though I never met Mantle, I got a sense of their relationship through his friend.  And I know this about Mantle, he took care of his friends.

One of the running jokes between Moose and Ed Farmer was about Farmer’s constant and unending pursuit of a signed Mickey Mantle ball.  Farmer would ask, and Moose would at first deny he had any, and then only under pressure would he agree to sell one to Farmer at an exorbitant price.

Farmer would counter that Moose must have a printing press in his basement churning out Mickey Mantle “signed” baseballs.  But what really happened, we surmised, was that years ago Mantle knew how valuable his signature was on a baseball and left his Yankee friends with enough signed balls to take care of them in old age.  That is a friend and that is a teammate.

Moose was the most fun on the golf course, although he grew to hate the game in recent years when his physical strength diminished.

We had a set foursome at the annual White Sox outing – me, Moose, Don Brown and Bob Grim.  I’d laugh for five hours.

It was so much fun to get Moose going.  It didn’t matter the game, he was a competitor and wanted to win.  He trash talked.  He tried to put pressure on your putts.  He kept you laughing.

But then he gave up the game.  When pressed as to why he didn’t play any more, his response was a common one your heard with with Moose about many subjects … “You can take that game, and stick it up your #$%&!”

Man, will we miss that guy …

Tributes

Moose is receiving a moment of silence before three baseball games today … Purdue University’s doubleheader, the Yankees game in the Bronx against the Tigers and our game against the Red Sox.  It seems only appropriate.

A black diamond with the word “Moose” is on the padding next to the White Sox on-deck circle and our team will begin wearing black diamond patches with B-M-S on their sleeves as soon as they arrive.

Image

I’m sure many fans have their favorite Moose stories from the years – I haven’t even mentioned his having to take dancing lessons to improve his footwork at first base – I’d love to read them as comments posted here.

 

 

5 Comments

Meeting Moose at blog nights and hearing his wonderful stories was one of the hightlights of blog night. He was a funny, funny man who had an obvious passion for the game. I could sit and listen to him for hours! The fact that he wasn’t “PC” was part of his charm! He told it like it was, or at least how he saw it. The White Sox lost a great ambassador. Prayers to his family and friends, may he rest in peace.

I agree with Donna, the times Moose would entertain us with his stories really were the highlight of Blog Nights. I could have missed the first three innings of the games if Scott would have let him continue. I’d get a kick out of watching Scott during Moose’s talks and Scott continuously looking at his watch, trying hard to wrap Moose up. If Scott would have allowed it we would have missed those early innings. I’d take more of Moose’s stories any day, there’s always baseball to watch later. He was a true White Sox treasure and he will be missed by us fans, but I’m sure by the people who truly knew him and played and worked with him, he will leave a tremendous void. Rest in Peace Moose and I bet you play a heck of a golf game in heaven.

Dr. Stein, the link to your story was a treat. What a wonderful story – I am so happy to have read it and that you shared it here.

Bill was my third cousin and when I was a little kid, I idolized him. He got me into the clubhouse of a Sox game when I was a kid, and I’ll never forget the home run he told me he’d hit for me when they were playing the Orioles at a game I was at. He knocked one into the stands off of Steve Barber, and that is a homer I will never forget. Last time I saw him play was Boy Scouts day at Comiskey and he was playing for the Angels. He didn’t have a good day, but he did hit one that the outfielder had to catch off the wall. I’m so sad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 120 other followers

%d bloggers like this: