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Charles Comiskey

This is Roald Tweet on Rock Island.

Back in 1926 The New Yorker magazine discovered you could offend people from Dubuque and get away with it. The first issue made fun of "the little lady from Dubuque" for living in a cultural wasteland. The one thing you can't get away with in Dubuque is making friends. Just ask Charles Comiskey. By 1926, Comiskey had already learned that lesson.

Charles Comiskey arrived in Dubuque in 1879. Tall, strong, handsome, the nineteen-year-old had come from his native Chicago to play baseball with the Dubuque Rabbits in the old Northwestern League.

The young Comiskey attracted immediate attention in Dubuque, and soon had many friends. He attracted attention in baseball circles, too, and soon was on his way back home to play for the Chicago White Sox.

Guess who followed along. Right. Dubuquers. A number of Dubuque business and professional men joined the Woodland Bards, the White Sox Social club. On the opening day of every White Sox season, there those friends were having come from Dubuque by chartered railroad passenger car.

As Charles Comiskey rose through the ranks to become manager of the White Sox, the Dubuquers stuck close. At the end of each baseball season, when Comiskey traveled north to his vacation cottage at Eagle River, Wisconsin, The Dubuquers went along. What are friends for?

The Dubuquers stayed with Comiskey when he became owner of the White Sox. In 1913, when the team returned to New York from a tour of Europe and the Orient, they were at the ship to welcome him home.

For Comiskey, friendship had its rewards. In 1914 he brought a Dubuque pitcher, Urban (Red) Farber to the White Sox. Farber won three games for the team in the 1917 World Series. In 1915, Comiskey hired another Dubuquer, Clarence (Pants) Rowland as manager. Under Rowland, the White Sox won the American League pennant and a World Series.

Charles Comiskey died in 1939, but for all I know, his Dubuque friends still get together once each year to see if they've been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Rock Island Lines with Roald Tweet is underwritten by Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois.