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Bill Stern and the Chicago/Peshtigo Fires

Posted: Sat Aug 29, 2015 10:57 am
by midnights8
I vividly recall listening to a Bill Stern radio program, probably in the late 1940s, during which tale-teller Stern started out reasonably enough talking about the Chicago Fire and Mrs. O’Leary. Dramatically, he added an increasingly unbelievable tidbit about the tragic Peshtigo, Wisconsin fire which happened the same day. The unbelievable part was that a baseball game was going on in Peshtigo before the fire and that one of the players hit a towering blast which caused the ball to go over the fence and through a nearby barn window knocking over a lantern which started the Peshtigo fire. The batter, Stern claimed, was none other than a nephew or grandson of Mrs. O’Leary.

I have related this story to others on many occasions over the years but have never been able to find that particular Bill Stern broadcast to back it up. I would appreciate any help readers may have so I can track down this story once and for all. Thanks.

Re: Bill Stern and the Chicago/Peshtigo Fires

Posted: Fri Sep 18, 2015 11:13 am
by WaltP
I just heard that episode very recently while updating my Bill Stern log. It does exist. Unfortunately, I haven't compiled a list of stories yet, so I can't pinpoint the episode.

The global facts are true - there was a fire on that day in both cities, as well as 3 others in Michigan!!! Historically, there is no indication of baseball being involved, though.

See the Wikipedia entry on the Chicago fire, specifically ... ted_events. The link also mentions that because of helping Chicago rebuild, Singapore, Michigan was also destroyed, but not by fire.

Re: Bill Stern and the Chicago/Peshtigo Fires

Posted: Tue Sep 29, 2015 11:11 am
by midnights8
Hello WaltP. It was great to read your post and to find out that I wasn't losing my mind again in thinking that I was the only person in the world who had heard Bill Stern and that wild tale about Peshtigo and Mrs. O'Leary's nephew or grandson. I hope you will post the details about the program in question so I will be able to track it down and thrill to Bill's inimitable rendition again.