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Original Issue


Chicago Stadium
I thoroughly enjoyed Rick Telander's "Da Stadium" (June 1). Chicago Stadium is indeed a national treasure. As a Chicago native, I suffer from an obsession about seeing Bulls and Blackhawk games whenever I am in town. Last December I was in Chicago for a convention. My wife would not go to the Bulls-Kings game with me because we could only get standing-room tickets. But she came along for the Blackhawk-Jet game, only to find herself silting in Section G, Row W, Seat 7—behind the infamous steel beam. Although we were two rows behind the seat mentioned in the story, it was almost impossible from her seat to see the game. When I told my wife that it was still worth the $30 apiece for the two of us to be there, you could tell by her look that she was born in Detroit.
Las Cruces, N.Mex.

Growing up in southern Illinois, I heard Blackhawk radio broadcaster Lloyd Pettit sign on every Sunday and Wednesday evening, "Live and direct from the world-famous Chicago Stadium." Later, while attending Game 3 of this season's Stanley Cup finals and watching the Hawks' half of the double-championship dream die, I came to the bittersweet realization that this arena, the Stadium, had been the real attraction for me all these years, not the teams playing in it. To have a place in which so much history has occurred torn down and turned into something like a parking lot is unthinkable.
Bridgeport, Conn.

I hadn't realized that Chicago Stadium opened on St. Patrick's Day in 1929. That means it was almost brand-new when my brother and I were attending Worsham Mortuary School on Lincoln Street. In 1930, for $1 admission, we attended the first indoor football game ever played. Our seats were in the balcony looking right down on the Chicago Bears playing the Chicago Cardinals. We saw Red Grange, Bronko Nagurski and Ernie Nevers, and a guy by the name of Dick Nesbitt punted 72 yards. I am sorry now that I neglected to keep my ticket stub and program.
Helena, Mont.

How could you write a story about Chicago Stadium without mentioning "da ushers"? Andy Frain ushers were fixtures at the Stadium, controlling the crowds and mayhem long before the yellow-jacketed, off-duty police took on the heavy-duty problems. Doctors, lawyers and business CEOs, not to mention a Catholic bishop (Cletus O'Donnell), have worn the blue-and-gold for Frain. During the '61-62 season it was an Andy Frain usher who saved the Stanley Cup from being stolen by a disgruntled hockey fan who had broken into the trophy case and was attempting to leave with the Cup.

To write about Chicago Stadium without a line of tribute to the Frain organization is "da pits"!
Frain Alumnus, '61-65
Park Ridge, Ill.

Where Is He Now?
My candidate for a flash in the pan {Flashes in the Pan, May 4) would be former Dodger pitcher John Purdin, except that I have no idea what became of him. I recall that near the end of the '64 season he threw three hitless innings in relief. He also started one of the last games of the year, giving up two hits while going the distance. Purdin then made the cover of Baseball Digest and was touted as a "can't miss" prospect. I never saw anything more about him after that write-up. I would sure like to know where he went wrong.
Fort Worth

•Purdin, 49, is alive and well and living in Eldred, N.Y., with his wife, Susan. He works for an electric lighting company. Purdin, a righthander, played with the Dodgers in 1964 and '65 and in '68 and '69. He appeared in 58 games for Los Angeles, including five starts, and wound up with a 6-4 record and a 3.92 ERA.

Purdin never made it back to the majors after '69, and he spent four seasons in the minors before tendinitis in his right shoulder forced him to retire in 1972. When asked about the highlight of his baseball career, Purdin said, "It was probably my first major league start. I threw a two-hitter against the Cubs. Dick Bertell got both hits—two infield singles—and he was a catcher!" Purdin occasionally participates in old-timers' games, the most recent one being a reunion of Dodger pennant-winning teams in 1990 at Dodger Stadium. He says he still receives mail from kids asking him to autograph their baseball cards.—ED.



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