On Sunday, October 22, 2017, Mark was invited to be the main speaker at the annual "Founder's Day" Dinner sponsored by the St. Francis de Sales Knights of Columbus Council located in Lake Geneva, WI.
Mark shared his insights on his recently published book, "1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox Baseball." He also responded to questions and comments posed to him by the large number of guests present.
Mark is proud to be a member of the Knights of Columbus. The K. of C. is a Catholic organization founded in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, CT. Catholic men age 18 years and older are eligible for membership. There are nearly two million members in 15,000 councils represented in the following areas around the world: the United States (including the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam), Canada, the Philippines, Mexico, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Panama, the Bahamas, Cuba, Guatemala, South Korea, Ukraine, Lithuania, and on U.S. military bases worldwide.
The Knights of Columbus consists of four degrees: Charity, Unity, Fraternity, and Patriotism. Mark became a Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus in 2012.
Following his presentation, Mark autographed copies of his book. He enjoys listening to stories and recollections others have about their own personal baseball experiences. GO WHITE SOX!
On October 3, 2017, in his capacity as Interim Superintendent for the Linn Joint 4 School District in Lake Geneva, Mark attended a regional meeting of the Wisconsin Association of School Boards held in Elkhorn, WI. Following the meeting, Mark presented an autographed copy of his book, "1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox Baseball" to the WASB Executive Director, John Ashley.
In his leadership role, Ashley does a phenomenon job working with school board members in over 425 school districts throughout the great state of Wisconsin!
Thank you, John, for your leadership! Enjoy the book and . . . GO WHITE SOX!
On September 27, 2017, while attending the annual meeting of the Polish American Congress in Washington, D.C., Mark met up with his good friend - and very loyal Chicago White Sox fan - Len Baldyga. Besides enjoying a delicious dinner together, Len and Mark exchanged stories about their proud Polish heritage and, of course, being ardent ChiSox fans.
Mark presented his book, "1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox Baseball" to Len. In return, Len returned a book about the great White Sox third baseman, Buck Weaver. Entitled, "The Ginger Kid: The Story of Buck Weaver" written by Irving Stein and published in 1992, it details the life and brilliant career of Weaver. In Mark's opinion, Weaver was destined to become a Hall of Famer, but because of his involvement in the Black Sox Scandal of 1919, Buck never reached enshrinement.
On Friday, September 8, 2017, Mark was invited to speak about his book, "1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox Baseball." His audience was Polanki - the Polish Women's Club of Milwaukee. The event was held at The Villa of St. Francis in Milwaukee and nearly 80 people were present. After his well-received presentation, Mark sold and autographed several copies of his book. In the photo, Louise Cieslak poses with Mark after purchasing a book for her husband who is a loyal White Sox fan! Thank you Louise! Thank you Polanki for the invitation!
On Monday, August 21, 2017, Mark traveled to Carbondale, IL from Lake Geneva, WI to
take part in the festivities surrounding the full solar eclipse in this southern Illinois city.
Carbondale is a city of 25,000 people and home of the University of Southern Illinois
Salukis. On this day, over 90,000 visitors converged on Carbondale to witness a-once- in-
As Mark got closer to Carbondale, traffic on Interstate 57 was starting to build, so he got
off the expressway and began to meander through the small towns of Southern Illinois to
get to his destination: Carbondale.
Not having secured the proper sunglasses to safely view the eclipse, Mark stopped at a
few stores and gas stations to see if there were any available. No luck. He continued on
his drive and came across the small town of Zeigler, IL – population 1,750 residents.
Rather than just driving through, he decided to get a closer look into the town. What he
discovered was a quaint downtown square – and a library! Mark remembered that
libraries were providing NASA approved sunglasses and decided to stop in to see if this
was the case in Zeigler. The lady inside directed me to some people who were setting up
for the eclipse in the parking lot where other towns people were assembling. To my
surprise, the people in the van were from the Adler Planetarium in Chicago! They were
setting up to view the eclipse on the library’s front lawn. They gave me a pair of
sunglasses – free!
Mark decided to return the hospitality. He asked if the librarian was present so that he
could present a copy of his book, “1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox
Baseball” to the library. She was!
Although the focus of the day was the solar eclipse, Mark and Peggy had a nice chat and
he discovered that Peggy has been the librarian for the Zeigler Library for 41 years! What
dedication – and you can see Peggy has greatly loved and enjoyed her service to the
community. In return, you could see they love her, too!
The drive to Carbondale to witness the solar eclipse was a fantastic experience for Mark,
but equally so was his visit to this beautiful, small downstate Illinois town where
hospitality abounds! Thanks, Peggy Carpenter! Thank you, Town of Zeigler!
(By the way, baseball fans may want to learn more about two major leaguers who hailed
from Zeigler: Babe Martin, outfielder and catcher for the St. Louis Browns and Boston
Red Sox, grew up in Zeigler AND Mike Milosevich, shortstop for the New York
Yankees, was born in Zeigler.)
On Saturday, July 29, 2017, the Chicago White Sox hosted the Cleveland Indians in a "throwback game" honoring the 1917 World Champion ChiSox team. Mark was in the stands and also received a 1917 World Series team jersey. Even though on this day the White Sox fell to the Indians 5-4, it was a great event honoring a fantastic team from a century ago.
During a recent road trip, Ann & Mark visited their great friends, Donna and Doug Callaghan, in Nashville. Doug was gracious to write a comment on Mark's book, "1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox Baseball" that appears on the book's back jacket. During their stay, Donna was equally gracious in offering "Southern Hospitality," including a home cooked fried chicken dinner with all the fixins! Delicious! What wonderful hosts - and friends! Thanks, Donna! Thanks, Doug! (Being a big Tamp Bay Rays' fan, Mark wished Doug the best as he pulls for his team to make the playoffs in the A.L. East.)
Dr. Mark Pienkos was born in Chicago. His parents were Stella and Edward who worked in factories to support their family of three boys. Mark’s mother only attended school through the 8th grade, while his father went to one year of high school. Mark’s oldest brother, Don, is professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in Political Science and his other brother, Edward, is a surgeon specializing in urology.