When Mississippi native CP Crawford drew his first breath, it was the late summer of 1907. Henry Ford’s Model T was still a year away, as was the song “Take me Out to the Ballgame.” By the time Crawford moved north to work on the Illinois Central railroad, radio was carrying White Sox games into the Chicago area. Between the radio and newspapers, the White Sox caught CP Crawford for life. He couldn’t get to a game, but with Hal Totten describing the action he could follow his favorite team when they were home. When the Cubs were home, Totten would broadcast them. While he was quoted as saying the Cubs were good, Crawford’s heart belonged on the south side of Chicago at Comiskey Park.
When TV reached Chicago, CP Crawford was a man in his early forties, trying to make ends meet and still loving the White Sox. On TV through the fifties and sixties Jack Brickhouse would yell “Hey Hey!” at a great play. The 1959 “GoGo” White Sox made the World Series and lost to the Dodgers in 6 games. CP Crawford, working man and father of six couldn’t get within the walls of Comiskey Park. In the ’70’s He heard Harry Caray yell “Holy Cow,” and heard Jimmy Piersall say just exactly what he wanted to say, whether it made sense or not. When Harry went to the north side for good, CP Crawford was a senior citizen … without having once found the right combination of time and money to get him to a White Sox game. With Caray gone, Crawford could watch and listen to “Wimpy and Hawk,” aka Tom Paciorek and Ken Harrelson who called the White Sox “the good guys.” Said “Good Guys” won the AL West in 1983, but were steamrolled by the Orioles in the playoffs.
CP Crawford was approaching 100 when the White Sox swept the Astros in 4 games to win the 2005 World Series. By now, it seemed unlikely he could ever take his love of the White Sox to the next level and go to a game in person.
By the start of 2019 Old Comiskey Park was long gone and the new park had gone through as many names as Elizabeth Taylor had been through husbands. The glory of 2005 was an old memory. Enter Club 100, a group which focuses on people who have turned 100 years old or more. Their executive director Andrew Holmes found out about how CP Crawford had spent decades piled on decades following and loving the White Sox without being able to see them in person. Holmes and his group intervened. They summoned a limo to the nursing home where Crawford lives. the Club 100 people didn’t tell Crawford where he was bound on his 112th birthday, pretending they were going to a regular annual Club 2100 party. They kept the secret like parents not telling what a Christmas present will be. Club 100 and the White Sox got together to make this the granddaddy of all birthday parties. One may only guess at the delight Crawford felt when he got out of the limo and realized where he was. The fun was just beginning. Harold Baines gave Crawford a team jersey with the number 112 on his back. Management arranged for him to spend time on the field, then directed him to club level seats where a birthday party would take place. As an extra special treat for the man who turned 112 years old in late August, a nearby fan gave Crawford a foul ball. Can it get any better. At long last, the man whose life began 6 years after the American League was formed got his chance to see in person the team he had followed by newspapers, radio and TV for more years than most of us can hope to live. The White Sox may not make good watching, but they know how to repay a guy’s faithful fanhood. Happy birthday, CP Crawford.0