The graph below illustrate the White Sox and Cubs’ win/loss records since the early 1900s. Each season consists of 162 games played.
The White Sox’ records start at 1901, their first year as a Major League franchise team. The Sox won the World Series three times since their inception: 1906, 1917 and 2005.
The Cubs’ played their first Major League game in 1876 under the team name the Chicago White Stockings. The team officially changed its name to the Cubs in 1907. The Cubs won two World Series Championships early in their history: 1907 and 1908. Since then they have been plagued by the “Curse of the Billy Goat,” and have failed to take the Series. This graph starts at 1909, the year after their last World Series win.
With Rod Blagojevich’s trial scheduled to start, Chicago Loopster takes a look back at the scandal that brought the former governor down. What are the charges? What is his defense? And what can the public expect?
The Blagojevich scandal first broke when federal prosecutors, led by U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, charged 16 felony counts against former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich during the early morning hours of Dec. 9, 2008. Blagojevich was accused of trying to sell Barack Obama’s Senate seat to the highest bidder, and charges included racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud, extortion conspiracy, attempted extortion and making false statements to federal agents. In Feb. 2010, a federal grand jury in Chicago re-indicted Blagojevich on eight new charges, including racketeering and bribery, bringing the total number of charges to 24.
Immediately after the arrest, prominent Illinois lawmakers, including then Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, attorney general Lisa Madigan and state Republicans called for Blagojevich’s resignation. Democrat State Rep. John Fritchey told CBS News he thought impeachment proceedings should begin if Blagojevich did not step down.
Blagojevich emphatically maintained his innocence and refused to resign. This led the Illinois House of Representatives to impeach Blagojevich by a vote of 114-1 on Jan. 9, 2009, making him the first Illinois governor to be impeached. The House took action for Blagojevich’s “abuse of power” in “a plot to obtain a personal benefit in exchange for his appointment to fill the vacant seat in the United States Senate,” according to a MSNBC article. The trial was then taken up by the Illinois Senate, which came back with a guilty verdict with a vote of 59-0. In a public response, Blagojevich said he knew he would be impeached.
“The fix was in from the very beginning,” said Blagojevich, according to ABC News.
Since his arrest, Blagojevich and his wife Patti have been on a crusade to exonerate his name in the court of public opinion through appearances in reality TV shows and interviews with various media outlets. He has steadfastly sought his day in court to prove his innocence.
“I’m telling you now I am an honest man,” Blagojevich said in an interview with WLS-AM Sunday. “The government will not be able to show that I took one… penny that I wasn’t entitled to. Whether you voted for me or not… you should know I did not do these things and I am an honest man.”
Blagojevich isn’t the only one who has faced scrutiny in the controversy. Roland Burris, whom Blagojevich appointed after being arrested, was cleared of legal wrongdoing in the case by the U.S. Senate ethics panel. Christopher Kelly, a Blagojevich aide who was set to go to trial with the former governor, committed suicide in Sept. 2009.
With Blagojevich’s federal corruption trial scheduled to start June 3, two separate recent rulings both denied the defense team’s motions to delay the start of the trial. The latest attempt to delay the proceedings occurred May 25, when the defense team alleged U.S. District Judge James Zagel mishandled the jury selection process. This motion fell alongside a separate petition filed on May 19, currently under review with the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court must decide whether the “honest services” provision of the fraud law, which Blagojevich is being accused of, is constitutional.
“U.S. District Judge James Zagel said he was following normal procedure when he dismissed scores of would-be jurors who answered a mailing by saying they couldn’t serve on a long trial because it would be a financial hardship,” according to the Chicago Tribune. The Supreme Court also denied Blagojevich’s request the next day without comment, but is still expected to deliver a final opinion about the fraud law during the course of the trial.
Next Step: a Jury
Despite the massive amount of publicity this case has garnered over the past 18 months, Andrew Leipold, law professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, does not think it will be too difficult to find impartial jurors.
“The test of course, is not whether they’ve heard about the case, but whether they could be fair,” said Leipold. “Whether they could put whatever they’ve heard aside and listen, and base things only on the information presented to them in court. How likely is that? … I think if you ask most people, they would say, ‘Well, yeah, I’ll just listen to what’s presented.’”
What to Expect
Leipold said the onus is on the government to prove its claims. Like many high-profile cases, he said, the trial will consist of long periods of legal wranglings most people will be uninterested in, punctuated by moments of high drama.
“Listening to the actual recordings of the conversations, I expect will make pretty good theater,” Leipold said. A summary of the original complaint can be found here.
The defense might try to contextualize Blagovejich’s now infamous conversations to claim he was working within the scope of the governor’s daily job of politicking on behalf of the state.
“I think they’ll try to say, ‘Look this is just politics,’” said Leipold. “‘This is how you have to get things done. You reward the people that support you because that’s the only way you have to gather support for the things you think are important for the people of Illinois. So you need to the see the governor governing.’”
Chicago’s homicide count continues to grow every day — and in the past couple of months, the rate of shootings has increased drastically. So just how dangerous is Chicago compared to other cities in the U.S.? Chicago Loopster breaks down the rate of violence and the city’s response.
Pictured: Community members in Humboldt Park respond to the violence in their community by holding regular peace vigils. Local churches in the neighborhood organized this vigil in the fall of 2009. Credit: Kyung Jin Lee/MEDILL
The Chicago Blackhawks were one of six teams in the National Hockey League’s original expansion into the United States in 1926. The Hawks have won three Stanley Cups, the last one in 1961. When past owner Bill Wirtz, known for being stubborn and cheap, died in 2007, his son Rocky took over and immediately began rebuilding relations with fans. Hawks’ fans today are glad the ownership change has positively impacted the team’s performance.