The 34th annual Polish Fest on Milwaukee’s Lakefront was held June 16-18. This festival is the largest Polish festival in the United States.
As a member of the Polish American Congress – Wisconsin Division, Mark Pienkos volunteered to work the cultural table the state division organized. His wife, Ann (also a PAC member and former officer, as well as 2012 Congressman Clement Zablocki “Civic Achievement Award” recipient), coordinated the volunteers for this important annual event. Mark shared his deep appreciation for his Polish heritage with the many visitors who stopped by the PAC-WI Division table. He also was able to share information about his recent book entitled “1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox Baseball” with interested attendees.
Mark is a life-long member of the Polish National Alliance, as well as a long-time member of the Polish American Congress, which was established in 1944 to fight for a free Poland. Mark was elected National Vice President for Public Relations for the PAC in 2014. As one of his responsibilities, Mark publishes a bi-monthly newsletter. For additional information, please visit: pac1944.org or pacwisconsin.com.
As Mark often says: STO LAT! (Polish Salutation): “May you live 100 years . . . and more!”
Mark Pienkos and his wife, Ann, were featured in the June 2017 edition of The Meadoword news magazine. The Meadoword is published monthly by The Meadows Community Association and is intended to provide information and education for Meadows Residents.
The Meadows is a wonderful community in Sarasota, Florida, with a population of 4,000 residents. The Greater Sarasota Area boasts a population of nearly 55,000 people. The area features a number of attractive venues including world class beaches, a wide variety of rich cultural and performing arts, world-class golf courses, baseball spring training, plus restaurants & shopping galore.
Mark was asked to share thoughts on his new book, "1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox Baseball." Interviewed by assistant editor, Carlene Cobb, the author shared his passion not only for White Sox baseball, but also he and his wife, Ann's, pride in their Polish heritage.
Mark was honored to be interviewed for The Meadoword!
(L-R) Mark, Edward, and Donald
On May 13, 2017, while attending the wedding of one of his nephews, Mark presented his two brothers with a signed copy of his recently released book, “1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox Baseball.”
In his Acknowledgement section, Mark wrote: “I wish to acknowledge my two older brothers, Don and Ed, who were role models to me while growing up in the Windy City. They taught me many things including sportsmanship, fairness, and always to do your best, even in the face of overwhelming odds. Little did they know that allowing me to tag along with them while they played sports “with the big kids on the block” when we lived on 57th and Neva and later when we moved to 48th and Keeler in Chicago would give me the confidence to know that I could do anything I made up my mind to do.”
Don is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee specializing in Political Science. Ed is a practicing surgeon in the field of Urology.
State Superintendent Tony Evers praised Washington-Caldwell for being among 178 schools in the state that received Wisconsin Title I School of Recognition honors for the 2016-17 school year during a special May 1 ceremony at the State Capitol in Madison.
Evers welcomed, from left: Jill Saltzmann, Washington-Caldwell Principal, Dr. Evers, and Dr. Mark Pienkos, Washington-Caldwell Superintendent, to the recognition event.
The state superintendent recognized 21 High-Achieving schools and 21 High-Progress schools as identified by results from 2015-16 statewide assessments; nine schools earned both High-Achieving and High-Progress honors. Four schools earned the award for a 10th consecutive year, while nine schools earned the award for a fifth consecutive year.
“Our Schools of Recognition are staffed by dedicated educators,” Evers said. “Their success is something to celebrate; it serves as an example of the importance of schools, families, and communities working together to ensure that every child graduates ready for college and careers.”
This is the third consecutive year that the Washington-Caldwell School District has received Wisconsin Title I School of Recognition honors.
Mark was invited to talk about his book, “1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox
Baseball” on the award-winning “Sports Jam” radio show. For nearly 25 years, “Sports
Jam” has entertained its listeners during its weekly Saturday morning talk show (7:00-
9:00 a.m.). WKLG is owned and operated by Barb and Tom Kwiatkowski, who live in
Lake Geneva, but are originally from the Chicagoland area. Tom is a White Sox fan, too!
WLKG has won numerous awards over the years and is one of the most popular radio
stations in southeastern Wisconsin.
Prior to the May 6 th broadcast, Mark was photographed with members of the “Sports
Jam” team. (Front Row Seated, L-R): Bill Blakeley, Mark Pienkos, John Handel; (Back
Row Standing, L-R): Jerry Stelse, Ryan Marks (Intern), and Mike Coolidge, host.
Mark explained to listeners why he wrote his book highlighting the great 1917 World
Series Champion Chicago White Sox. The book is grouped in three parts: the 1917 White
Sox, a brief history of the White Sox over the past century, and Mark’s own personal
vignettes about following the Pale Hose over his lifetime. It’s a fun read that will have
readers reminiscing about their own memories and attachments with their favorite
baseball team – which Mark hopes is the White Sox!
GO WLKG! GO “SPORTS JAM!” GO WHITE SOX!
On May 4, 2017, Mark Pienkos, author and Interim Superintendent for the Traver School District located in Lake Geneva, WI, donated a copy of his book "1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox Baseball" to the school library. Accepting were librarian, Carol Van Arsdale (center) and Interim Principal, Allyssa Andersen. Mark was recently appointed Traver's Interim Superintendent for the remainder of the school year, as well as the 2017-2018 school year. Traver School is a Kindergarten through Grade 8 school that sends students to Badger High School upon graduation.
Kathleen Vogt, Media Technology Specialist for the Washington-Caldwell School District located in Waterford, Wisconsin, interviewed author Mark Pienkos. Kelli placed the interview on the school district’s website and Facebook page, as well as submitted it to the local newspaper.
Kelli Vogt is a 2011 Kohl Teacher Fellowship Award recipient in the state of Wisconsin. Annually, 100 professional educators state-wide earn this recognition.
Mark Pienkos is the past superintendent of the Washington-Caldwell School District located in Waterford, Wisconsin.
KV ~ Mark, can you share what was the inspiration for writing your book entitled “1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox Baseball?”
MP ~ As a loyal White Sox fan, beginning when I was very young living and growing up on the South Side of Chicago, I wanted to share my love – my passion – for my favorite team.
KV ~ Why do you start with a focus on the 1917 White Sox team?
MP ~ Baseball fans – especially Chicagoans – will hopefully learn more about the great 1917 White Sox team that not only won the World Series that year, but also set a franchise record winning 100 games that still stands. Even the 2005 World Series Chicago White Sox team couldn’t match that feat, going 99-63. By the way, the 1917 regular season consisted of 154 games. Today’s seasons are 162 games long. So you can see the 1917 White Sox were special.
KV ~ Besides winning 100 games and the championship, what else will baseball fans learn about the ’17 team?
MP ~ That team was very special. The Chisox were made up of great players that were built to win not just in 1917, but for years to come.
KV ~ How so?
MP ~ The 1917 White Sox had three players that went on to be inducted into the Hall of Fame: second baseman Eddie Collins – one of the greatest all-time at his position – catcher Ray Schalk, and pitcher Urban “Red” Faber. Plus, I hypothesize that five other White Sox players were potential Hall of Famers, including leftfielder “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, who I believe – pardon the pun – was a shoe-in for the Hall. His .356 lifetime average is third highest all-time in Major League Baseball history. The other four were third baseman George “Buck” Weaver, centerfielder Happy Felsch, and pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Claude “Lefty” Williams.
KV ~ What happened?
MP ~ The 1919 White Sox club basically had the same roster as in 1917. The ’19 team won the American League pennant and faced the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. The Chisox were heavy favorites going into the Series, which was extended to best-of-nine games to raise additional revenue for war-time baseball veterans. Unfortunately, eight of the players became involved in a betting scandal that led to the White Sox losing the Series to the Red five games to three. Suspicions of a “fix” began even while the Series was being played. Those suspicions continued into the 1920 season. Eight players were tried in a Chicago Cook County court to determine if they had in fact conspired to throw the 1919 World Series. With one week remaining until the 1920 season was to end – with the White Sox just 1/2 game behind the first place Cleveland Indians – the verdict of “not guilty” was declared. However, the next day, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the Commissioner of Baseball, ruled that any ballplayer who threw a game, conspired to do so, or had knowledge of this activity and did not come forward with information, would ever play professional baseball. Jackson, Weaver, Felsch, Cicotte, Williams, Swede Risberg, Fred McMullin, and Chick Gandil never played professional baseball again.
KV ~ Had the White Sox not turned “Black” in 1919, you think the fortunes of Chicago baseball on the South Side might have been different?
MP ~ I do. The White Sox of 1917 were built to win for a long time. With the players the Sox had assembled, I believe they would have added to their World Series title of 1917, in 1919, 1920 and who knows beyond. I ask myself the question: “Could the White Sox been a franchise to rival the New York Yankees?” My answer is, “Yes!”
KV ~ What else will readers experience as they page through your book?
MP ~ The book is actually divided into three parts. The first concentrates on the great 1917 White Sox team. The second focuses on one hundred years of baseball on the Windy City’s South Side – great games, great players, as well as my all-time favorite White Sox players. The third recounts my personal experiences following my team throughout my life, including my family’s attachment to the White Sox.
KV ~ What are your hopes for the book?
MP ~ I hope readers will enjoy learning more about the White Sox. I also hope that by reading my book, fans will re-live their own experiences – their own memories – following their favorite team, which I hope is the Chicago White Sox!
KV ~ Thanks very much, Mark. Good Luck!
MP ~ You are very welcome, Kelli. Go White Sox! Play Ball!
On April 24, 2017, Dr. Mark Pienkos presented principal, Jill Saltzmann, the Washington Caldwell School Board and the school library with a copy of his new book, 1917-2017-One Hundred Years of White Sox Baseball: Highlighting the Great 1917 World Series Championship Team. The school library is excited to add this to the library collection!
Peppertree Press Publisher, Julie Ann James and Editorial Director, Teri Franco, congratulate Mark upon the release of his first book “1917-2017: One Hundred Years of White Sox Baseball.” Mark and wife, Ann, were very grateful for all their guidance and patience through the publishing process. Mark autographed his newly released book at the Peppertree Press offices located in Sarasota, Florida on Friday, April 7, 2017.
Thanks Julie Ann and Teri! Mark highly recommends Peppertree Press as an independent publishing house. Their full-house publishing services are amazing! GO WHITE SOX! Play Ball!
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.