Talk:Pat Pieper

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Pieper's Night Job[edit]

Throughout the 1960s, the Cubs and White Sox used to stage an annual, in-season exhibition game to benefit youth baseball. Said game was always played at night, and always at Comiskey Park (as Wrigley Field didn't have lighting). One year, to liven things up and to allow the White Sox to show off their powder blue "road" uniforms, the teams agreed to make the Cubs the "home" team. Pat Peiper was asked to serve as announcer. The Cubs exclusively-daytime home schedule didn't interfere with Peiper's nighttime job as a waiter, but this game did. He had to ask for a night off. WHPratt (talk) 13:32, 18 May 2009 (UTC) (At least one of the Chicago newspapers reported this.)

I checked, and it was the 1966 contest, played July 25. Reference: Prell, Edward: Cubs or Sox to Triumph Tomorrow. Chicago Tribune, Jul 24, 1966, p. C3. WHPratt (talk) 03:54, 15 November 2012 (UTC)

Awesome. Had you waited 3 more days, it would have been exactly 3 1/2 years between asking your question and answering it yourself. :) Is there an indication of where Pieper worked? Or was it more than one place? ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 06:02, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
The Prell article simply confirms that the Cubs would be the nominal home team and that Pieper would be the announcer. So far I can't find documentation of his other job. The article notes Pieper's "raspy" voice: I recall that when he announced "Lou Brock" it sounded like static. I also remember that he used to sit in a chair well behind home plate, and that at one point his job included providing the plate umpire with a stock of new baseballs when requested. Jack Brickhouse used to note when Pieper had to scramble out of the path of a catcher chasing a foul pop. WHPratt (talk) 14:49, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
Seems to me I knew, or had seen comments about, where Pieper worked, but that was obviously a long time ago. Probably in a column by an Ed Prell or a Dvaid Condon or one of those. His voice wasn't quite as graceful as Bob Sheppard's, but it was definitely distinctive. I used to hear it described as "crisp". And, yes, I recall that he used to sit down behind the plate and hand fresh baseballs to the ump. As I recall (though I may be mis-remembering) in those days there was a little gap between the vertical part of the screen and the box seat wall, so he could duck behind it if he had to. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:41, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
On, his WWII draft card shows up, indicating his employer at that time was a Ralph Jansen, and that his place of employment was 3000 North Clark. That's at Wellington, a number of blocks south of Wrigley. There's a very old-looking bar on one corner of that intersection. His home address was listed as 3523 North Racine, which is about equidistant between, a bit west of, the other two locations. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 22:53, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
The 1940 census has the same Racine address, and it gives his occupation as a waiter in a restaurant (unnamed). That would have been a year-round job, while Wrigley was just a summer gig. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 23:14, 15 November 2012 (UTC)
It must have been a classy restaurant. I remember one of the Chicago papers doing a story on him and including a photo of him in a white dinner jacket and carrying a tray. WHPratt (talk) 19:28, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I also have a vague recollection of something like that. It's too bad the Trib doesn't have a free archive. It occurs to me that what he was notable for was the Cubs, and was "also" a waiter. But in reality, it looks like he was a waiter who "also" worked for the Cubs. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 20:59, 16 November 2012 (UTC)
I did scour the Tribune archives via ProQuest for any mention of Pieper. The article we both remember may have been in the American, which was more feature-oriented than the Trib. I can't speak for the Sun-Times or the Daily News, as my family didn't get those. WHPratt (talk) 19:39, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Surely they would have had an obit on him. The Trib was pretty sports-oriented even before they owned the Cubs. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 21:51, 4 December 2012 (UTC)
Okay, I was inspired to make another search: I must have time-limited the earlier one. It'll take some time to sort through the clips that I grabbed, but I can tell you that it was the Ivanhoe restaurant where he worked for many years. More later. WHPratt (talk) 03:15, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Googling the subject suggests that's the case. Finding an actual obit would probably be the clincher. There's a Google Books entry about it, but it looks suspiciously like it was lifted from wikipedia at some point in time. Some of the google sources indicate he was not just "a waiter", but that he was the maitre'd (or whatever spelling). Also, the Ivanhoe itself seems to have closed around the year 2000. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:48, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
Actually, it might have been just the adjoining theater that closed in 2000. This Tribune writeup[1] indicates the address of the Ivanhoe Restaurant was... ta-da! 3000 North Clark... and the place was owned by... ta-da! Richard Jansen. That was Pieper's workplace and employer, respectively, in 1940. All that may not be sufficient as a reference, but it confirms the facts pretty well. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:52, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
The Daily Herald for 8-2-74 apparently mentions it in his obit, but that appears to be a pay site. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 10:56, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
And by the way, the "castle" is still there at 3000, except it's now a place called Binny's. Fittingly, it's a gin joint, which is apparently how it started during the prohibition era. Here's a Trib writeup on it from 2002. It doesn't mentioned Pieper, but it's clear it's had a colorful history, and maybe deserves its own article.[2]Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 11:01, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

<--- [Shift left margin. It was getting tight in here!]

Okay, here's some more material. See if you think anything could be elaborated upon:

Burns, Edward: “I Was There...: Hartnett's ‘Homer in the Gloaming’ Sparks Cubs to '38 League Title.” Chicago Daily Tribune, Jan 7, 1954, p. B1. (Has a photo that identifies Pieper running “home” alongside Hartnett.)

Canton, Ray: “Pat Pieper of the Cubs: For 49 Years He Has Been as Much a Part of ...Chicago Daily Tribune, Aug 30, 1953; p. D7. (Says that Pieper has worked at the Ivanhoe since 1933, and at the Dearborn Club before that.)

(No byline): “Musial Fans As Executive in Third Inning: Cards Name The Man Vice President. Chicago Tribune, Sep 26, 1963; p. E5. (We are told that the retiring Stan Musial was named a Vice President of the St. Louis Cardinals, and heard the news just as he came to bat in the thirds inning against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Pieper told the crowd about that just before Musial's second and last at bat, in which he struck out. Stan then went to Mayor Daley's office to be made an honorary citizen of Chicago and to receive numerous gifts and other honors.)

Other articles have tidbits that say Pieper was on the Cubs bowling team Cubs' bowling team since at least 1949. Teammates (or opponents) included Andy Pafko, Billy Holm, Phil Cavaretta, Charlie Grimm and Gabby Hartnett. Husar notes that Pieper bowled a 200 game at age 80.

Logan, Bob: “Cubs' Pat Pieper Hospitalized.” Chicago Tribune, Oct 18, 1974; pg. C2 (At age 88, in the American Hospital with acute jaundice.)

Husar, John: “Cub field announcer Pieper dead at 88." Chicago Tribune, Oct 23, 1974; pg. E1

WHPratt (talk) 14:12, 5 December 2012 (UTC)

All very interesting stuff that fleshes out the bare facts. I think it all has a place in the article. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:29, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
FYI, the 1930 census gives his occupation as "Announcer, Cubs Ball Pk". The home address reference is a bit vague, but it seems to be that same Racine Avenue address as in 1940. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 01:33, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
You may be interested in the fact that the Scanlon Funeral Home as 2907 N. Clark St. handled Pieper's rites. Give me a week or so and I'll try to expand the article. (I don't think that last fact will make it.) WHPratt (talk) 02:27, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
It is kind of trivial, and possibly just coincidental. It does seem that everything about him seems to have orbited Wrigleyville, but in the old days a lot of folks lived and worked within walking distance. ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 12:11, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Pat didn't own an automobile. WHPratt (talk) 16:50, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
Nor would I, as cars weren't seen as a life necessity in those days. Also, ask yourself whether walking or driving along Clark after a game would be faster? :) ←Baseball Bugs What's up, Doc? carrots→ 16:54, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
My grandfather must have been born about the same trime as Pieper. He never drove a car, didn't trust the darn things. "Be careful crossing the street, you'll get hit by one of those machines," he'd say. WHPratt (talk) 17:24, 9 December 2012 (UTC)

I rewrote the article, retaining the facts previously recorded, but expanding it with new material. I invite suggestions for improvement. WHPratt (talk) 00:29, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

Darn! Did I really claim that he got to throw out the first pitch in 1979, when he'd been dead for five years? Sorry about that, and thanks to whomever caught it. My sources sway that his first-ball toss was for his 75th birthday, which would make it the 1961 Cubs' opener. WHPratt (talk) 21:19, 5 June 2013 (UTC)

I wonder if Pieper was the announcer when 17-year old Lou Gehrig played in Wrigley with his school team. Gehrig hit one out of the park that day [in 1920] and made his first headlines. WHPratt (talk) 15:47, 30 August 2013 (UTC)