Friday, September 18, 2015

Holy Toledo! R.I.P. Milo Hamilton

Over the past day, I'd realized that I was sitting on 199 posts here on Wrigley Roster Jenga.  Being that we humans have an odd fascination with round numbers (and I am not exception), I spent the last day trying to come up with a good topic to commemorate the milestone.  Unfortunately, inspiration struck..

Yesterday, Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton passed away at the age 88.

Milo worked for several organizations over the course of his 6 decade career - he's been around that he broke into the game announcing for the Browns.  He's been most synonymous with the Houston Astros, the team for which he spent the last 27 years working for.  However, he also had two separate stints with the Cubs.

First, in 1955, he was added to the broadcasting team alongside Vince Lloyd and Jack Brickhouse, two legendary names themselves.  It didn't last long however, as three years later, Lou Boudreau became available and P.K. Wrigley booted Milo to get the Hall of Famer.

He bounced around the league some more before returning to the Cubs in 1980, this time alongside Boudreau and Lloyd on the radio.  The Cubs were grooming Milo as the heir apparent to Jack Brickhouse on the TV side.  Then, fate struck again and Harry Caray became unexpectedly available in 1982 and the Cubs quickly swooped in, ignoring their previous promise to Hamilton.

Milo interviewing Mike Krukow for WGN in 1981
Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Understandably upset, Hamilton stuck around for a few more years, including the painful-but-amazing 1984 campaign, before moving on to greener pastures.  He never forgave Caray though, as not only did he blame him for usurping him from the Cubs gig, but also for his replacement by the Cardinals before his first Cubs stint.  He had a lot of not nice things to say over the years, including some particularly barbed comments in his biography.  But, I guess I'd be bitter too.

At any rate, Hamilton and his iconic home run call of "Holy Toledo!" made for great memories for many baseball fans, including Cubs fans.  He won the Ford Frick Award in 1992, securing his spot in the Hall of Fame, a spot well-earned.  Milo lived a full life; but, it's always tough to see and icon pass on.

A couple of real cards honoring Milo Hamilton
Images swiped from Ebay

I have yet to acquire a card of Milo; but, he does have a few on the market.  There are several team-issued oddballs from the Astros and what appears to be a custom creation by he and his people for autograph requests (above right).  Panini included him as an autograph subject in their 2012 Cooperstown checklist too (above left).  As morbid as our society can be, the prices on these cards have suddenly spiked.

But, I wanted to add a card of Hamilton to my collection and I wanted to honor him on this blog, so this seemed like as good a time as any to break out my new toy:

It's several generations behind and all of my training has been with Photoshop; but, I sure as hell couldn't pass this up when I saw it for chump change at a garage sale this past Saturday.  Thankfully, my Adobe Creative Suite skills transferred quite easily.

Thus, what you see at the top of this post is my first custom card, something I've wanted to do for a long time now and just never had the software for it.  I whipped it up last night while the girlfriend watched "16 and Pregnant" or some junk and I'm pretty happy with it as a first go-round.

Maybe I'll even create a back for it and print it out one of these days.

In the meantime, my emerging custom card creation "legacy" is nothing compared to the legacy left by Milo Hamilton.  After 62 years of calling baseball games, including such legendary moments as Hank Aaron's 715th homerun, Milo left an imprint on the sports world that will never be forgotten.

R.I.P. Milo


  1. Your custom looks great, vdery classy. I remember Milo with the Cubs but not him saying, "Holy Toledo".