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Interviewing the Cubs: The Lost Tapes

Literally. My tapes are lost. Well, my “tapes” are not literally lost, but the audio has been lost. For more than a decade I worked as a sports director at a number of radio stations in Illinois.

Through that time I was able to interview dozens of pro athletes. Many of them baseball players, notably Cubs and former Cubs.

Today is former Cubs pitcher Jeff Pico’s birthday and he was a player I interviewed for a Cubs program I hosted. When I asked about his sparkling Major League debut (a four-pitch shutout in 1988), he brought up a story that a brick building had fallen on his car just days before. I use the word literally here again. A building literally fell on Pico’s car.

As I tweeted out this fact, my trading buddy, who also happens to be a sports journalist, Matthew Wheaton, wanted to hear the interview. Since I began this blog I have often wanted to find these lost tapes and have taken brief looks through some basement boxes to no avail.

Since I could use this Pico audio, and know that at least one other person besides me would want to listen, I spent some time digging through boxes on my lunch break.

I didn’t come up completely empty. I went through some boxes I hadn’t searched in my previous attempts and found a few baseball pieces that I’ll throw in some trade boxes.

Then I found a couple thumb drives! When I left the radio station to go to work for Western Illinois University I transferred all my interviews and many full game broadcasts to some thumb drives. This was also almost 10 years ago when 8GB was a huge thumb drive, so I had to get creative and toss some unwanted files.

No Cubs interviews. It wasn’t all for naught as I did uncover all of my WIU Leathernecks broadcasts, highlights, and interviews. But, the interviews of Derek Jeter, Andre Dawson, Andy Pafko, Lennie Merullo, Richie Hebner, Josh Donaldson (as a young Cubs prospect with the Peoria Chiefs), Darold Knowles, Jeff Pico, Eric Patterson, and a couple others are still M.I.A. I also know that I did have these interviews burned to CDs with each name on the front of the CD…much like my college mix CDs featuring Nelly, Ludacris, and the “Thong Song” I burned off Napster.

These CDs were at one time with me here in my current house, meaning I did not purge them in a move. With the help of my wife becoming obsessed with Marie Kondo’s methods, I feel a spring cleaning will be forthcoming very soon.

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