Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Cubs Fact: Yosh Kawano - 65 Years With the Same Team

The name "Yosh" probably means nothing to you if you are not a Cub fan. But a Cubs fan would recognize the name immediately as that of Yosh Kawano, longtime Cubs equipment manager and clubhouse attendant.

Yosh joined the team in 1943 as a clubhouse attendant. Ten years later he was named equipment manager and held that position for 46 seasons, through the 1999. After that he was scaled back and served as an assistant in the visiting team clubhouse. In 2008 he was forced to retire at the age of 87 for health reasons.

Here are some team cards fron the 50's, 60's, and 70's with Yosh in the picture. There would have been more from the 70's and 80's had the Cubs team pictures not been the floating head cards.

Topps 1956 Cubs Team, Topps was kind enough to list all the names. Yosh is third row, far left.

Topps 1958 Cubs Team, again with the names listed. Yosh is third row, far right

Topps 1960, with Yosh third row, far left

Topps 1967, Yosh is in the second row, with the white shirt and blue hat

Lastly, Topps 1975, with Yosh second row, third from left. It is interesting that in every photo he is wearing a Cubs hat. Yet I never saw him at the ballpark wearing anything other than his white fishing hat.

I attended one game at Wrigley last season, June 26. That was the day that the Cubs honored Yosh. He was given some awards before the game and also threw out the first pitch. He later sang Take Me Out To The Ballgame during the seventh inning stretch. The Cubs got clobbered by the Orioles so the Yosh ceremony was the highlight of the day.

Yosh's trademark was his white floppy fisherman's hat, which has been given to the Hall of Fame. He is also a part of the Cubs Walk of Fame and the home clubhouse has been named in his honor. Urban legend says that when the Wrigley family sold the team to the Tribune, they included a clause in the sale saying that Yosh could not be fired. No proof of that has ever been found, though.

More than half of the teams in the major leagues have not existed or been in the same city for 65 years. Its pretty amazing that Yosh was with the Cubs for that long.

1 comment:

  1. I have never noticed Yosh in those cards before. Never really took the time to read the names I guess. I do have his autograph on a Cub's ball buried somewhere in a storage shed. I just hope we don't see Ronnie Woo Woo on a team card someday! He is another one that noncub's fans probably don't know, but we know all to well!