I’ve been meaning to write a post about Jack Bales’s amazing work as part of the Domain of One’s Own faculty initiative this past Spring, but somehow a post seemed inadequate. For more than three years now I’ve been bothering Jack, telling him he should get a domain to feature all the amazing research he does. An effort which resulted in his first domain: jackbales.com. And by no means was I pandering to Jack’s ego (if he even has one), he has eight books under his belt, and his magnum opus—a multi-volume tome on the history of the Chicago Cubs—is being written presently. Jack is a titan amongst librarians, and a veritable icon at Mary Washington. He’s been at UMW for 33 years now, and in addition to his copious research and stellar publication history, his work ethic with faculty and students on a day-to-day basis is the stuff of legend. Like Jack, I support faculty as part of my job here at UMW, so I have a very good idea how much time and energy goes into supporting more than thirty classes on average a semester—it’s Herculean. And on top of all this, Jack is possibly the most congenial, good-hearted, and downright awesome person working at UMW. And just about anyone in the UMW community would echo that sentiment. If I had a career like Jack’s in my line of work, I would consider it a resounding success. He’s a model for us all.
But enough of the Bales love, now we gotta get down to brass tacks. In this episode of DTLT Today Jack shares some of his recent research forays into a few colorful episodes from the Chicago Cubs’ history. All of which are also published on his Cubs site Wrigley Ivy that he started as part of the Domain of One’s Own faculty initiative. He uses that space to publish his research about a wide-range of Cubs history, including the dating of a poem about Tinker to Evers to Chance (a topic that got Jack’s research into the Chicago Tribune), Willian Veeck Sr. (the basis of this article on Veeck in the baseball journal Nine as well as a forthcoming book), the Jurges and Waitkus shootings (which will be the fodder for a forthcoming ChicagoSide article), and the so-called curse of the billy goat (which Jack already turned into an article for ChicagoSide). And that’s not even everything! All this is just the beginning of Jack’s mammoth research work that will be published as a documentary history of the Cubs—it’s amazing to see someone get so deep into a labor so great. But Jack isn’t only a font of facts, contexts, and anecdotes about the Chicago Cubs, he’s also unbelievably enjoyable to talk to as the video will attest.
Unfortunately, Domain of One’s Own can take no credit for Jack’s unbelievable talents as a researcher and writer. However, we can argue it did connect him with a world of people, sources, and possibilities that might not have materialized otherwise. Every campus has their Jack Bales, the question is how can we help to augment these connections within and beyond their professional domains. I’m increasingly convinced that with Domain of One’s Own UMW is at the very beginning stages of developing the richest network of teaching and learning we’ve yet to see on this campus and beyond—and Jack’s experience with this space is a wonderful illustration of it’s amazing potential. Thanks Jack, I am a BIG FAN!!!