Babe Ruth greeted by Lou Gehrig at home plate.
Photo from the National Baseball Hall of Fame. 
As the Major League Baseball playoffs get underway next week some Illinoisans might be tempted to look back on the history of October baseball in our state. There have been some bright spots, like the crosstown series all the way back in 1906, and the Sox and Cubs both breaking their long title droughts in 2005 and 2016 respectively.

But Chicago’s October baseball history has some moments that are not so pleasant. While most of the details of the Black Sox scandal of 1919 are well established, and Cub fans are painfully aware of the particulars of the now-defunct curse of the billy goat, an incident at Wrigley Field in the 1932 World Series (which may not have actually happened at all) still inspires discussion and debate today.

Did Babe Ruth really call his shot?

Availability of ICU beds in Illinois. Illinois is currently in Phase 5 mitigation for COVID-19, with most public activities allowed if people wear facemasks indoors. However, the highly contagious “Delta variant” of COVID-19 is gripping Illinois and the nation, leading to increased coronavirus case counts and hospitalizations. One key variable, the number of available intensive care unit (ICU) beds, continues to show troublesome numbers. Statewide ICU bed availability has been under 20% continuously for the past two weeks, and in mid-September ICU bed availability in Southern Illinois dropped down to zero. These numbers matched the patient counts in states adjacent to Illinois, and states such as Kentucky and Missouri may be putting pressure on Illinois hospital care and infrastructure. 
A Union battery at Fort Prentiss (renamed Fort Defiance),
with guns facing the Ohio River, Cairo, Illinois. 
Out of the wreckage of the Union Army retreating in disarray from the disastrous July 1861 battle of Bull Run came the realization that the Civil War was not going to be a 90-day conflict, but a long, drawn out affair. It would be a war of attrition. The north would have to call upon its superior manpower and industrial base to save the Union. It would be helped along in no small part by the burgeoning economic powerhouse that was the state of Illinois.

Omnibus energy bill signed. After approval by both houses of the General Assembly, SB 2408 was signed into law on Wednesday, September 15. A key element of the energy bill and its approval was the continued operation of two nuclear power plants (Byron and Dresden). In return for electric rate guarantees contained in the bill, owner Exelon has made a binding pledge to keep these two plants open for at least five years. This pledge directly affects more than 1,530 employees of the two plants, together with the communities that are directly supported by their operations.

The late summer and fall of 1818 was a busy time in the Illinois Territory.

Spring had seen the U.S. Congress adopt legislation entitled the Illinois Enabling Act which would pave the way for statehood. It was signed by President James Monroe in April, setting Illinois on the path toward becoming the 21st state.

The act of Congress had established boundaries for the new state and authorized local leaders in the land between the Wabash and the Mississippi to get to work on establishing a state government, including the election of new leaders. There was much to do.


Illinois House passes omnibus energy legislation. The Illinois House of Representatives returned to session in Springfield on Thursday, September 9. On the agenda was a comprehensive energy bill dealing with various facets of Illinois’ energy and electricity supplies. The bill action followed notification to Illinois by Exelon, the operator of nuclear power plants in northern Illinois, that several of its fleet of nuclear plants were unprofitable and, without action by the General Assembly, would soon be decommissioned. This news threatened the operation of two Illinois nuclear power plants, Byron and Dresden. Exelon asked the General Assembly for state regulatory relief so that these two plants could remain open, protecting Illinois’ electric generation capacity and saving thousands of good-paying jobs.

When Jean Baptiste Point du Sable built his cabin and trading post, becoming Chicago’s first permanent resident, he saw that the location at the junction of the river and the lake had real potential.

The easy portage between the lake and the mid-continent’s river system made his new home the linchpin of a trading network that could one day cover thousands of square miles. The location was good, but the land was not all it could be. Most of it was swampland, and that was going to make it difficult to build a city.

Democrats ram through revised partisan maps during special session. Following the release of the 2020 Census numbers in early August, the Illinois General Assembly met in special session on Tuesday, August 31 to vote on revised legislative redistricting maps.

What we have witnessed over the past week has been the continuation of a grand farce that began in the spring, when a partisan map-making process played out in a backroom behind a locked door using inaccurate and incomplete data that produced flawed maps drawn by politicians.
Vandalia State House. Photo from the Abraham Lincoln
Presidential Library & Museum. 
It didn’t take long for Illinois state government to realize it needed a new home.

With statehood in 1818, Kaskaskia became the first state capital, but its days were already numbered, as the frequent floods of the Mississippi made it difficult to build a permanent capital on its banks. Congress had not designated any particular site as a permanent state capital, and the General Assembly had only picked Kaskaskia until a better location could be found. By the time the 1st General Assembly convened in 1819, the search was already underway.