Wolf hits home run with library trivia
Three generations of Wolfs got to hold Babe Ruth's autographed bat when they visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in October. From left, William Wolf, grandfather Sherman Wolf and dad Stuart Wolf. Stuart won the VIP tour by entering a trivia contest at the Wilmette Public Library.Three generations of Wolfs got to hold Babe Ruth's autographed bat when they visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in October. From left, William Wolf, grandfather Sherman Wolf and dad Stuart Wolf. Stuart won the VIP tour by entering a trivia contest at the Wilmette Public Library.
Updated: January 7, 2013 6:32AM
WILMETTE — Wilmette resident Stuart Wolf has always been a baseball fan, which is no surprise, given that dad Sherman Wolf of Chicago once worked for legendary White Sox owner Bill Veeck.
Wolf himself wasn’t surprised when he asked his dad what he wanted for his birthday this year, and the elder Wolf joked that he wanted a trip to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
What did surprise him a few days later was the Step Up to the Plate baseball trivia contest he saw advertised at the Wilmette Public Library; first prize was – you guessed it – a trip for two to Cooperstown, complete with a VIP tour of the museum.
Wolf likes trivia contests and decided to enter, but this effort required more than luck. It was co-sponsored by the Hall of Fame and the American Library Association and contestants needed both baseball knowledge and library resources to research the questions they didn’t know.
“One question was about which baseball stadium had its opening day delayed by the sinking of the Lusitania or the Titanic, and that required a lot of cross-checking. I loved the challenge,” Wolf said Nov. 29.
He learned he’d won in October, and that he had answered 10 questions correctly. He had to convince his dad he wasn’t joking. Wolf’s 14-year-old son William (who is also a baseball fan, although he roots for the Cubs) was also a little dubious, William said last week.
“I thought it might just have been a Wilmette library contest for something,” he said. “Once I realized what it was I was really excited.”
Wolf decided to take William with him and his grandfather. Together, the three toured the museum in October. Sherman saw the Bill Veeck plaque he wanted to see and William saw the Ron Santo exhibit honoring his entry into the hall of fame. Even more special, they were given a special tour of the museum’s archives by one of its archivists, and visited its climate-controlled basement to view – and hold in their gloved hands – treasures like Babe Ruth’s bat and the bat Ted Williams splintered in frustration after being struck out by Satchel Paige.
What impressed William most was an elaborate scrapbook created by two brothers sometime around 1910. The book had dozens of signatures because players were touched by the boys’ efforts, and invited them into the dugouts to get autographs.
“That would never happen now,” William marveled.
According to librarian Leslie Bigelow, the contest “Is a fun way for the library to remind patrons that we’re here for them.”
Stuart Wolf couldn’t agree more. He first went to the library to research his own projects, but soon learned to explore its resources for enjoyment and now visits several times a week.
“It’s always been a big kick for me to help my kids find books, but the library is more than just a place to get a book. My kids and my wife and I have been to programs there, I’ve taken computer training there, and courses that have enriched my life,” he said.
And that’s not trivial at all.