Jeff Vorva's Editor's Notebook: Baseball Hall voters — we’re really not a bunch of idiots

  • Written by Jeff Vorva

Column-Edit-NoteThis is the time of the year that people think that I am a dope along with 500 or 600 of my colleagues.

Last year at this time, we all took a beating. They thought we had the IQs of members Honey Boo Boo’s family. They thought we had the judgment abilities of someone who had 27 beers for lunch. They said mean, mean things about us. We were the lowest forms of life in the world. We were scum. And that was a kind description.

What did we do that was so wrong?

We didn’t vote anyone into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Yes, I am one of the lucky few to have a Hall of Fame vote. I paid dearly to get it. I had to cover the Cubs 10 straight years. More than 1,000 games. But I have it.

So the other idiots and myself had the audacity not to vote anyone in. And we took a pounding.

The 2014 announcement was made yesterday, Wednesday, and it came after our deadline. But with people like Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas and Tom Glavine, I can safely say we didn’t pitch a shutout this year.

There are probably a few people that wonder why their favorite eligible players did not make it and still think we’re a bunch of goofballs. But let me at least explain the process.

You need 75 percent of the vote to get in. Three out of every four. Think about it. It’s hard enough to get more than 75 percent of your pals to agree where to have lunch. And to vote for something as important at the Hall of Fame?

Last year, there were 37 ex-players on the ballot. There were 569 writers who turned in a ballot. They are allowed to vote for up to 10. They could vote for 10. They could vote for three. Some vote for zero. Those are the people who get ripped on the hardest.

Throw in the fact that the list includes players who were suspected of using steroids and some who were rumored to have used them and that throws the whole thing out of whack.

We are talking about more than 500 people of different ages and different backgrounds trying to figure this thing out. My criteria is different than some geezer who claims we’re a bunch of sissies and, by God, back in the good old days, he would have punched a player in the nose or slammed him against a locker if that player didn’t grant an interview.

My criteria is also different than someone who is voting for the first or second time who looks at me like I’m a geezer.

And it’s not like we are in some big smoke-filled room arguing back and forth for who should get in or not. We’re scattered across the country sitting in our homes in December trying to figure it out.

Finally — and most important — it’s a vote. A vote is personal. A vote is done with some research and with some gut feelings. It’s imperfect.

This is the first year I actually voted for 10. I usually top out at six, seven or eight. So, in alphabetical order, here are my choices: Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Tom Glavine. Greg Maddux, Edgar Martinez, Mike Piazza, Curt Schilling, Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Larry Walker.

Yes, some of the heavy steroid suspects such as Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa and others are off my list. The beauty is that if they get more than 5 percent of the votes, they can stay on the ballot for 15 years. So we can always change our minds on these guys if something comes to light in the next decade or so.

People may think that the criteria is too tough to get in and maybe they are right. But can you think of another hall of fame that has this much interest and passion? You rarely hear about controversy, outrage or much interest in general about the football, basketball and hockey halls.

So congratulations to those who made it. Those who didn’t? Life goes on, guys.

That goes for the fans, too.

Baker’s dozen

How in the world could I have forgotten this?

After last week’s column on my 12 favorite TV shows was published, Reporter reporter Bob Rakow named a few shows that were good and mentioned “The Paper Chase,” which was a show about a variety of students in law school who had the mean Charles Kingsfield (played brilliantly by John Houseman) as a contracts law professor.

So my dozen favorite shows just became a baker’s dozen.

Bartender, clerk charged with selling liquor to minors

  • Written by Bob Rakow

An Oak Lawn tavern and a liquor store were caught selling alcohol to minors Dec. 26 during a sting conducted by police.

Two Oak Lawn police officers at 5:16 p.m. witnessed a bartender at PJ’s Pourhouse, 5635 W. 87th St., serve a bottle of beer to an 18- and 19 year-old, according to reports. The bartender, Linda M. Roberts, 58, of Chicago, was charged with selling alcohol to minors, an ordinance violation.

About 30 minutes later, the duo purchased a case of beer at Cardinal Liquors, 9630 S. Southwest Highway, after the store clerk did not ask for identification, police said. The clerk, Marilyn R. Wantiez, 74, of Oak Lawn, also was charged with selling alcohol to minors, police said.

The investigation was conducted in conjunction with the Illinois Dept. of Revenue Liquor Control Commission. The arrests came shortly after Oak Lawn police warned bars and liquor stores they were cracking down on the sale of liquor to minors.

TC Pub owner contrite after OL fines him $1,250 for violations

  • Written by Bob Rakow

The owner of an Oak Lawn tavern has agreed with the village on a series of modifications designed to prevent underage drinking and other illegal conduct at the bar.

Robert Olson, owner of TC Pub, 9700 S. Cicero Ave., was fined $250 for being open after hours on Dec. 13 and $1,000 because cocaine was found in the office of the establishment when police responded to a disturbance at the bar that night.

“I’m sorry for everything that happened,” Olson told Mayor Sandra Bury at Monday’s liquor commission hearing. Bury serves as the village’s liquor commissioner.

The agreement calls on Olson to enforce an employee code of conduct as well as a drug-free workplace policy. Additionally, he agreed to hire security to be at the bar from 8 p.m. until close on Fridays, Saturdays and other nights that a large is expected. An off-duty police officer is one of the two security personnel hired by Olson, he said.

The agreement requires employees to complete the state’s Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Servers Education and Training program.

“I took (what happened) very seriously. It was my dad’s. It’s mine now,” said Olson, who said he now spends about 40 hours a week at the bar in addition to his work as an attorney.

“We don’t want anyone underage,” said Olson, who added that employees have been told to check the identification of anyone who appears under 30 years old.

Olson said the agreement was reached after a meeting with Bury and village staff.

“I put together a plan prior to coming in, and the mayor pretty much told me what she wanted, and whatever the mayor wanted we put in.”

The code of conduct states that the bar’s last call will be at 1:30 a.m., and customers must leave by 2 a.m. Employees must leave by 3 a.m.

“We really want everyone out of there by 2 o’clock. That gives our employees time to clean up,” Olson said.

Employees may not consume alcohol after the bar closes. Friends and customers are not allowed on the premises after close, according to agreement.

Man charged with stabbing wife, daughter in Palos Hills

  • Written by Bob Rakow

Waldemar DzbikWaldemar Dzbik


A Palos Hills man was charged with two counts of attempted murder Tuesday afternoon after allegedly stabbing his wife and daughter with a collector’s keepsake knife during a domestic disturbance, police said.


Waldemar Dzbik, 50, stabbed his wife multiple times in the bathroom of their home in the 9700 block of Maple Crest Drive, police said. He stabbed his 19-year-old daughter once in the chest when she tried to pull him off her mother, police said.

Both women were taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where Dzbik’s wife underwent surgery, police said. Information on her condition was not available.

The incident occurred at approximately 10 a.m. When police arrived, they located the victim and her daughter at a neighbor’s house. Dzbik, meanwhile, fled in his Volkswagen Jetta. Palos Hills Police Chief Paul Madigan found Dzbik sitting in his car at 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of a McCook trucking company, police said.

Dzbik drove away when he saw Madigan approach his car, but was later arrested by McCook police near 47th Street and Harlem Avenue, according to reports.

Police have responded in the past to domestic disturbances at the house, they said.

‘A direct slam to the family’

  • Written by Bob Rakow


Two months after death, family of Brittany lashes out at local police


Brittany WawrzyniakBrittany Wawrzyniak Two months after Brittany Wawrzyniak’s death, the family of the 18-year-old girl have broken their silence and are strongly criticizing the Worth police department for failing to keep them apprised of the investigation.

“We’ve got a dead 18-year-old girl with no information on how she died other than they state she was jumping out of a moving car on a drug buy. That’s ludicrous,” Wawrzyniak’s step-grandfather, Earl Lane, said Tuesday.

Wawrzyniak’s mother, Rebecca Tully, is equally dismayed over the police department’s failure to inform the family of the investigation’s progress, but did meet briefly with Police Chief Martin Knolmayer on Monday afternoon.

“The [Worth police] chief basically told her she ought to go out in [her] car, climb in the back seat and jump out and see how it’s done”

— Earl Lane

“I feel like they were more polite with me because Brittany’s dad called (Worth Mayor Mary Werner),” Tully said on Tuesday.

Tully said she had no intention of returning to the police department following a Dec. 2 meeting with the chief.

Tully’s mother, Rebecca Lane and Earl Lane sat down on Tuesday with The Reporter to talk about the police department’s handling of the case.

“It seems like a direct slam to the family,” Earl Lane said of the police department’s refusal to share information about the case.

Knolmayer has refused to publically comment on the case, saying only that his department is the midst of an ongoing investigation.

“She wanted to know what was going. What was happening, who they interviewed,” Earl Lane said of the December meeting.

“They weren’t returning her phone calls. She finally got to make an appointment,” Rebecca Lane added. “She figured if she went in in person she might be able to get some answers.”

Tully brought a close friend to the meeting, who was escorted out at the chief’s request when she began to ask questions about the witnesses police had interviewed, Tully said.

Tully asked the chief how her daughter could have fallen out the car. The chief’s response shocked her.