Cataloging a Museum: Day Two

Yesterday was another interesting day at the museum. I got there about nine and surveyed what I had left to do. It didn’t seem like much. However, once I got into the picture taking, it was a lot more than I bargained for that day.

When all was said and done, around eleven in the morning, another 683 pictures had been taken. Most of the pictures are of farm magazines, farm manuals, seed corn equipment, and various other sundries. Here are a few of the highlights of day two.

554 644 402

The first picture is of an wrench that had a variety of sizes of sockets. The second picture is of a caponizing kit which is used to neuter chickens and make the birds more tender and fatter for slaughter. The third picture is of Lionel train kits that has all sorts of gauges and signs to order.

378 347 342


The next set of pictures contains likely my favorite artifact of the day, a poster for a medicine to grow hair. The second book is a catalog of John Deere tractors and their worth. The last picture is of a book on pigs.

438 419 163

I love the first picture. It is a kit for a cook on a wagon train. It has all kinds of compartments, devices, and places for spices that a cook would need on the trail. The second picture is a type of scyth used to  take down wheat and hay. It is massive is size. Then last is a magazine  put out by DeKalb Hybrids called Acres of Gold. The owner of the museum had about 40 of these educational magazines that helped farmers keep up with the latest in seeds and farming technology.

The next task on the agenda will be to make a digital catalog of the entire museum. I think that might take me most of the summer. With over 2,000 items to browse and find information on, plus other items he buys this summer, I get to work from my office and make a digital card for each item. I think as I begin to go through each item, categorize, tell its story, and import the picture, I will get a better understanding of the changes in agriculture over the years.

I will post occasionally about an item that I find to be interesting to me. With 2,000+ items, I am sure I can find something to pique my interest.


History Project of the Day


Yesterday, my students participated in the Northern Region History Fair at NIU in DeKalb. This is one of my student’s projects. It is by an eighth grade boy, and I must say, I was impressed by his marriage of history and sport! He advanced, along with 21 more of my students, to the Illinois state history fair on May 7. Click on the picture to enlarge.

The Greatest Catch: Rick Monday and the American Flag

rick_monday_autographFrom the second Rick Monday was drafted, his place in history was written in stone. Monday was the first player ever selected in a draft for amateur talent in 1965. The Kansas City Athletics selected Monday who had a stellar career at Arizona State University. His selection marked a turning point in baseball. No longer would the richest teams select and over pay for the best talent, teams would select players in order based on their record from the season before. It was a new era.

The era also was a time of great upheaval. The Civil Rights Movement was in full swing and the Vietnam War was reaching its zenith. These two great moments in history created a combustion of frustration and protest unlike anything America had seen since the Civil War. Monday reached the majors quickly in 1966 at the age of  20. He made his debut for the Athletics and soon would play alongside his college teammate Reggie Jackson beginning in 1967.

Monday was a good player, not great, but good. He had some power, played CF, and had a good glove.

Courtesy of baseball Reference

Courtesy of Baseball Reference

After the 1971 season, Monday was traded from the A’s to the Cubs for pitcher Ken Holtzman. After the trade the A’s went on to win three World Series Championships in a row without Monday.

MOnday 2

With the Cubs, Monday wore #7 and hit leadoff most days for the next four years. When the 1976 season began, Monday got off to hot start. It would be his best season as a pro. On April 25, 1976, the Cubs traveled to Los Angeles to play the Dodgers.

In the time period, burning the American flag was seen as a sign of protest. To Monday, a former Marine Corps Reservist in the 60s, it was desecration. In the fourth inning, Monday noticed two men running on to the field to try to burn an American flag. The quick thinking Monday did them one better. He stole it from them before they could burn it.

Flag Burning on the Field Stopped by Rick Monday


rick monday flag


Rick’s actions caught the nation’s attention. To many he was a hero.

Chicago Tribune Headline

Chicago Tribune Headline

For Monday, he never thought twice – his actions were just reaction.

He said:

“In between the top and bottom of the fourth inning, I was just getting loose in the outfield, throwing the ball back and forth. Jose Cardenal was in left field and I was in center. I don’t know if I heard the crowd first or saw the guys first, but two people ran on the field. After a number of years of playing, when someone comes on the field, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Is it because they had too much to drink? Is it because they’re trying to win a bet? Is it because they don’t like you or do they have a message that they’re trying to present?Rick Monday
“When these two guys ran on the field, something wasn’t right. And it wasn’t right from the standpoint that one of them had something cradled under his arm. It turned out to be an American flag. They came from the left-field corner, went past Cardenal to shallow left-center field. That’s when I saw the flag. They unfurled it as if it was a picnic blanket. They knelt beside it, not to pay homage but to harm it as one of the guys was pulling out of his pocket somewhere a big can of lighter fluid. He began to douse it. What they were doing was wrong then, in 1976. In my mind, it’s wrong now, in 2006. It’s the way I was raised. My thoughts were reinforced with my six years in the Marine Corp Reserves. It was also reinforced by a lot of friends who lost their lives protecting the rights and freedoms that flag represented.

So I started to run after them. To this day, I couldn’t tell you what was running through my mind except I was mad, I was angry and it was wrong for a lot of reasons. Then the wind blew the first match out. There was hardly ever any wind at Dodger Stadium. The second match was lit, just as I got there. I did think that if I could bowl them over, they can’t do what they’re trying to do. I saw them go and put the match down to the flag. It’s soaked in lighter fluid at this time. Well, they can’t light it if they don’t have it. So I just scooped it up. My first thought was, ‘Is this on fire?’ Well, fortunately, it was not. I continue to run. One of the men threw the can of lighter fluid at me. We found out he was not a prospect. He did not have a good arm. Thank goodness.”

Monday would go on to have his best season as a professional. That winter he would be traded from the Cubs after a contract dispute. Ironically, he would be traded to the Dodgers on January 11, 1977, for Bill Buckner and Ivan DeJesus, and he would win a World Championship with them in 1981.

Former Teammate Darold Knowles said of the incident:

Monday with the now famous photograph

Monday with an artist’s rendering of the now famous photograph

“Rick got more recognition out of the flag incident than he got as a player. He was getting letters from all over the country, all the time _ from VFWs (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and American Legions organizations. Every place we’d go, somebody would honor him with a plaque. He let us read some of the letters (from) people thanking him.”

Monday added,

“The letters I’ve received from that day have run the gamut of emotions. They’ve been from children who were not born yet and had only heard about it. They’ve been from Vietnam veterans, including one yesterday. This soldier wrote that there were two things that he had with him in two tours of Vietnam. These two things kept him in check with reality. One was a small picture of his wife. The other was a small American flag that was neatly folded. The picture was folded inside the flag and in the left breast pocket of his uniform.
He would be in mud for weeks and months at a time. Those two things were what he looked at to connect him with reality, other than his buddies, and some of them were lost in battle. He wrote in the letter, ‘Thanks for protecting what those of us who were in Vietnam held onto dearly.’
That means something, because this wasn’t just a flag on the field. This was a flag that people looked at with respect. We have a lot of rights and freedoms — not to sound corny — but we all have the option if we don’t like something to make it better. Or you also have the option, if you don’t like it, [to] pack up and leave. But don’t come onto the field and burn an American flag.”


Monday with the Flag at Wrigley Field

Later that season, Dodgers General Manager Al Campanis gave Monday the flag back. Monday still has the flag is always eager to talk about the incident. It has survived hurricanes and still hangs proudly at his home in Vero Beach, Florida. Monday now is immortalized in the Hall of Fame as the first player taken in the Amateur Draft and for what many Americans think is the greatest catch in baseball history.

Monday’s selfless act was quite shocking considering the time period. Many players did not take stands about the Vietnam War. But for Monday, this was not a political act. His actions dictate his thoughts only about the flag. For that time period, it was a radical action (as in the Latin definition)  that evoked something America hadn’t seen in a while.

Here is a video tribute from the Dodgers on the 30th anniversary of the catch.

This blog was suggested by Clark Lorensen of the famous Larcher and Lorensen Sports Show in Chicago.

Chicago Tribune Newspapers Articles from the time period

Quotes came from

and the

Washington Post

The 1984 NBA Draft: Drafting Jordan – Not a Done Deal

MJ at his signing press conference

MJ at his signing press conference

On September 12, 1984, Michael Jordan signed his first NBA contract with the Chicago Bulls. It was a 5 year guaranteed contract with two option years. The whopping total was for a little over $6 million and that included a $1 million signing bonus. At the time, it was the third highest contract ever given to a rookie (behind Ralph Sampson and Hakeem Olajuwon). In 1984 the salary cap for the entire team was only $3.8 million. But for Thorn and the Bulls, they thought Jordan and his $1 million a year salary was worth it. A myriad set of circumstances took place that spring and summer for Jordan to fall to the Bulls, but also for the Bulls to use the pick to draft Jordan.

When the 1984 NBA season ended on April 15, 1984, the Indiana Pacers had the worst record in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately, they did not own their first round pick, Portland had traded Tom Owen for it in 1981. The Houston Rockets, who had landed 7’4″ Ralph Sampson the year before, were also in the running for the first pick having the worst record in the Western Conference. A coin flip would decide who would own the pick. The NBA was gaining popularity thanks to great players like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and Julius Erving. The draft in 1984 was seen as huge new part of the NBA’s marketing scheme and business model under new commissioner David Stern.

A lot of maneuvering took place before the coin flip took place. The consensus #1 pick that year was Hakeem (then spelled Akeem) Olajuwon. The 7’0″ center from the University of Houston was coveted by every General Manager (GM) of every NBA team. He was smooth, sleek, quick, and a winner having won a NCAA Championship as part of Phi Slamma Jamma at the University of Houston. After Olajuwon, the second pick was anybody’s guess. If Patrick Ewing of the Georgetown would have come out a year early, he would have been the second pick. In fact, the Portland Trail Blazers tried to convince Ewing to leave school a year early. Ewing did not. Ewing only wanted to play for the Lakers or the Knicks. But, the Trail Blazers got caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar. The result was a then staggering $250,000 fine placed by brand new commissioner David Stern.

Stern, asserting his authority, called both the Rockets and the Blazers executives to his office to discuss the matter. The Rockets, having documented their contacts with NCAA coaches came away with no damages, fines, or draft picks taken away. The Bulls meanwhile, sat on the sideline hoping that either team would be stripped of its pick allowing the Bulls to possibly move up and take Olajuwon. That did not happen either.

Before the coin flip, the Bulls were in active talks with several teams about the #3 pick. Some of the talks were not so pleasant. Former Bulls coach and then Dallas Mavericks head coach, Dick Motta, complained openly the Bulls had tanked several games in the 1983-1984 season in order to enhance their draft slot. Despite Motta’s objections, Philadelphia GM Pat Williams adored Jordan and was willing to talk a deal. Everything depended on the coin flip. Either team was going to take Olajuwon with first pick. But Houston was not going to take Bowie second if it lost the first pick. Had this scenario played out, that meant that 7’1 Kentucky big man Sam Bowie would fall to the Bulls. Then, in turn, the Bulls would have shipped Bowie off to Seattle for All-Star and Illinois native Jack Sikma, then a 28 year old center for the Super Sonics. The Rockets won the coin toss killing the Sikma deal.

May 27, 1984 Tribune Trade Account

May 27, 1984 Tribune Trade Account

The Bulls also took in and pondered offers from the Atlanta Hawks of Center Tree Rollins for the third pick. The San Diego Clippers (soon to be Los Angeles) offered Forward, and Chicago native, Terry Cummings. Thorn turned down all offers.


But even drafting Jordan was not a done deal. The Portland Trail Blazers sat at number two and they controlled the draft and the Bulls’ fortunes. According to Hakeem Olajuwon, in his memoir, the Trail Blazers offered the Rockets an unbelievable scenario to snag Ralph Sampson instead of Bowie. It would have gone down like this: Olajuwon would have been drafted at one by the Rockets. Then Ralph Sampson would have gone to Portland in exchange for Drexler and the #2 pick and Jordan could have picked #2 by the Rockets. But that deal, like many others, was either just a pipe dream or received little merit by the Rockets. The Rockets saw Olajuwon as once in a lifetime player to pair with Sampson.

It was up to Portland. They brought in Sam Bowie in for a round of tests and examinations. According to Bowie, the physical exam lasted seven hours. Bowie was not that far from Olajuwon athletically, but Bowie sat out 2 years in college with shin splints and leg issues. He was only 22. But at 7’1″, the Blazers, who had won 48 games the year before, felt Bowie could push them over the edge to a championship caliber club. The NBA game at the time was built around the center being a dominant offensive and defensive force. Bowie fit that mold as a college player when he was healthy.

In the recently released ESPN Films “Going Big,” Bowie said of the process,

“I can still remember them taking a little mallet, and when they would hit me on my left tibia, and ‘I don’t feel anything’ I would tell ‘em. But deep down inside, it was hurting,” Bowie said in the documentary. “If what I did was lying and what I did was wrong, at the end of the day, when you have loved ones that have some needs, I did what any of us would have done.”

Still, despite Bowie’s admission of hiding pain, the Doctors for the Blazers cleared him. He did have a productive rookie season before missing most of the next two seasons. The Blazers pick was later seen as a disaster and a cautionary tale of millions of dollars lost investing in a high pick. In the film, then Coach Jack Ramsey said that Jordan wasn’t even a consideration. It was alluded that Blazers were more interested in Auburn forward Charles Barkley.

At the draft, it was well-known who was taking whom ahead of time. Draft picks were not held close to the vest like today. Olajuwon went first.

He would go on to win two back-to-back NBA Championships in 1994 and 1995.

Sam Bowie went second to the Trail Blazers. Listen closely to the commentary about Bowie and how he was projected.

While his second and third years were spent missing a lot of games, he did wind up playing in the league for over ten years, some very productively for the New Jersey Nets. He was no lost pick like Greg Oden.


Basketball Reference’s chart on Bowie’s career


Jordan, he went third to the Bulls. Six Championships later and the greatest player ever label was not foreseen. Most scouts thought he would be a good player, but they even had no idea.

The summer of 1984 was a magical one for Jordan and the Bulls. Jordan went to the Olympics and helped the US win Gold in Los Angeles. Jordan’s prowess was on display that summer and it became clear to Bulls GM Rod Thorn that he had made the right choice with the third pick. Rave reviews came in from not only Coach Knight, but basketball reporters across the world as Jordan led the Olympic team in scoring at over 17 points per game.

Jordan olympics

After the Olympics ended, negotiations began in earnest for Jordan’s services. The highest contract the Bulls had previously given was to Center Artis Gilmore when he arrived after the 1976 merger and that was for $4.5 million. Jordan in one fell swoop became the richest Bull and led the Bulls to many riches. over the next 13 years.

That summer of 1984 saw many other changes in the NBA. The Clippers moved to LA, Stern and the NBA sued and lost. A draft lottery was instituted to keep teams from tanking and losing on purpose in order to move up in the draft. It was not popular as many owners and GMs felt that the worst team should have the best pick. It rarely has happened in the 28 drafts since. When New York won the lottery in 1985, the right to draft Patrick Ewing along with charges of conspiracy came along with it.

However, in one summer in 1984, what some call the greatest draft class ever, changed the fortunes of many NBA teams and was a turning point in the history of the game. Jordan, along with Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and 16th pick John Stockton ruled the NBA in the 1990s at the height of its popularity.

73626_ni5n8jtxji6bi_al Michael-Jordan-1984-NBA-Draft-ICEDOTCOM-e1308861217808

Watch the whole 1984 NBA Draft here.

1961 Chicago Blackhawks

Up until 1967, the NHL used to only consist of six teams: The Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, and Boston Bruins. From 1926 on the Chicago Blackhawks played in the six, sometimes seven, team National Hockey League. In all that time, with only six teams, the Blackhawks only won the Stanley Cup three times. The last Cup came in 1961. The Blackhawks have played for the Cup five times since (not including the current finals). But in 1961, the Blackhawks nucleus thought they would win many. That nucleus played for the cup four more time in the next twelve years (1962, 1965, 1971, 1973), falling short every time. But to many Blackhawks fans, that 1961 team is still the greatest Blackhawks team of all time.

In 1961, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita were respectively 22 and 20 years old. Not quite in their prime, the two youngsters were second and third on the team in scoring. The veterans, Pierre Pilote, Ken Wharram and Eric Nesterenko, all were in their prime. Goaltender Glen Hall was described by the Chicago Tribune as the “quiet, calm, nerveless knight of the nets”.

From the outset of the season, it was clear this was defenseman Pierre Pilote’s team. He controlled the puck, the pace, and flow of most games. Center Bill Hay led the team with 59 points and Bobby “The Golden Jet” Hull led the team with 31 goals. The Hawks were 29-24-17 in the regular season. In the six team league they finished third with 75 points. This put them in the playoffs against the mighty first place Montreal Canadiens.

The Blackhawks stunned the Canadiens four games to two. Goaltender Glen Hall shut out the “Habs” 3-0 in back to back games to clinch the series. During the regular season, the Canadiens had swept the Blackhawks four games to zero. Bobby Hull said:

”After that we didn’t care who was waiting for us. We knew we had won the Stanley Cup by beating the mighty Montreal Canadiens in the semifinals.”

Going into the Stanley Cup finals, the semifinal win had given the mix of veterans and youngsters enough confidence to defeat the Red Wings, which they did 4-2.

In comparing that team to the present, Bobby Hull said:

”The fact that Jonathan Toews is the leader of this team at 22 and Patrick Kane being one of the goal scorers they depend on, it was very much the same kind of deal in ’61 when we won the Cup. Mikita was young and a future Hall of Famer at that age. I was 22 and I could skate all night. They had to rope me down to stop me.”

The Blackhawks were a mix of veterans and youth and many thought 1961 would only be the beginning.In fact, it was the only one in Hull’s and Mikita’s tenure with the club.

‘I figured that [the 1961 Cup] was just going to be one of many that we were going to win during our span in the National Hockey League. I was too young to really appreciate how important it was to win that Cup. That’s what I’m trying to get across to the kids today — you are so close that if you don’t take advantage of this, you may regret it for years to come.”