Jim Connell started writing Springfield sports stories — and winning awards — five months before I got married.
Twenty-one years ago, before he moved to Springfield, Jim was writing sports stories in Illinois as he cheered his favorite baseball team, the Chicago White Sox.
My first game of a catch with a White Sox fan! I actually stopped the game of catch to shake his hand, offering a peace between our two beloved teams.
Not only did Jim cheer for the Pale Hose, but he once interviewed my favorite White Sox player, The Big Hurt, Frank Thomas.
“He had no reason to, but he sat with me in the dugout for 20 minutes and answered my questions.”
Frank Thomas probably does not remember being interviewed by Jim. But, more than 20 years later, Jim still remembers that moment. I just think that is incredibly cool. A little kindness can go a long way.
Tip of the hat to you, Big Hurt.
These days, Jim’s writing great sports stories in Branson and at 417-Sports, hoping for the chance to interview Tiger Woods while he’s playing golf at Top of the Rock. I asked Jim if he’d tell Tiger hi for me when the opportunity comes up.
On a day when the weather was finally above freezing (37 degrees), we tossed the ball and talked for fifteen minutes.
Thank you Jim for your time today and all of your stories!
Happy birthday, Laloo!