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posted: 4/27/2012 9:18 PM

Skowron was familiar face around Schaumburg

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  • In 2006, Bill "Moose" Skowron told tales of his colorful past in baseball to the Schaumburg Business Association breakfast meeting and later signed pictures and baseballs, including for Robin Darmstadt of Arlington Heights.

      In 2006, Bill "Moose" Skowron told tales of his colorful past in baseball to the Schaumburg Business Association breakfast meeting and later signed pictures and baseballs, including for Robin Darmstadt of Arlington Heights.
    Daily Herald File photo/2006

  • Skowron autographs a pink knit Sox cap for Kali Triunfol, 11, of Elk Grove Village at the Rolling Meadows Meijer store in 2008.

       Skowron autographs a pink knit Sox cap for Kali Triunfol, 11, of Elk Grove Village at the Rolling Meadows Meijer store in 2008.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

 
By Eileen O. Daday
Daily Herald correspondent

When Pete Justen moved into the Spring Cove subdivision of Schaumburg in 1968, his neighbor across the street was none other than Moose Skowron, the former first baseman for the White Sox and the New York Yankees.

"I remember the first time I saw him," Justen said. "I thought, 'Wow, he's a legend.'"

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By 1968, Skowron had just ended his big-league career, but he remained involved with the White Sox as a scout and an ambassador and consequently spent little time in the neighborhood.

"He was busy all the time," Justen said, "traveling and working with the team."

Another neighbor, Dominic Pileggi, remembers Skowron from when their children attended St. Hubert School together.

"He used to come over for spaghetti and meatballs," Pileggi recalls. "He'd be outside showing the kids how to hold the bat."

A barber who owns D&D Barbershop in Schaumburg, Pileggi occasionally provided Skowron with his signature haircut.

"He always wore a flattop," Pileggi says. "He had his own barber for years, but we'd cut it occasionally if he was in need, when he was going out of town."

Moose Skowron's daughter Lynette attended Schaumburg High School, and it led her father to begin following their athletic teams.

During the years when the high school ran the John E. Paul Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament, Skowron could be seen in the stands, following his alma mater, Weber High School, whose team always entered.

"He'd come every year and would sit in the hospitality room and talk with all the coaches," said John Selke, Schaumburg's former athletic director. "They loved his stories."

From there Skowron started following Schaumburg's basketball team, attending home and away games during its state championship run in 2001.

"He'd sit back in the crowd," Selke said. "Some people recognized him, but a lot of people never knew who he was. That was the kind of guy he was, very private."

Skowron also followed Schaumburg's baseball team, though he never was allowed to work with the players, Selke added.

Schaumburg Mayor Al Larson met Skowron several times over the years, including when the former ballplayer headlined a Northwest suburban regional chamber event and a meeting for the Schaumburg Business Association.

"He was a great, great storyteller," Larson said. "I loved hearing about his days playing with Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford and Roger Maris."

Skowron's wife, Cookie, worked with Larson's wife at a local car dealership. Their friendship led the Skowrons to invite the Larsons over one night, and the visit made a lasting impression.

"He had this tremendous trophy case," Larson recalled. "It was almost like a baseball museum."

These days Larson has a glass case of his own in his mayor's office, which features one of his most prized possessions: an autographed Moose Skowron baseball glove.

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