All-Star Style Give These Sports Fans Three Cheers for Creativity

Article excerpt

Byline: Deborah Donovan Daily Herald Staff Writer

Paint a mural of the Cubs bleachers on your wall or hang an artistic photo of Michael.

That's how two suburban sports fans have followed the designers' dictate "decorate with what you love."

John Meschewski transformed his West Dundee basement into a haven for his Cubs memorabilia, and Pam Moyer created a Bulls shrine in the spare bedroom of her town house in Lake Barrington.

Meschewski is not an artist, but his mural, which took him three months to paint, turned out to be the most impressive feature of his Cubs room.

The secret was to start in the "back" bleachers and paint each row over the one behind it, he said.

He depicted his own family of five, some friends, businessmen in suits (they're in front because they can afford those seats), a woman dressed for warm weather ogled by sailors and other males, vendors and the gang from the television show "South Park."

A boy reaching over the brick wall to retrieve a baseball is raised with spackling to give him a 3-D appearance.

Meschweski painted most of the walls in the room to resemble green leaves - he tried for the ivy look first, but that didn't work out. Here and there wallpaper with a brick pattern peeks through.

All of this is a backdrop for his collections.

He started out collecting Cubs scorecards. He wanted to get ones from the '60s when he became a fan, but early on he lucked into a horde that dated back into the 1800s. An older man in Chicago had them and sold the collection for a few thousand dollars. But later Meschweski learned that a few individual cards were worth that much, so he keeps them in a vault and displays colored copies of the originals.

His favorite scorecards are from the '50s because he likes the artwork. For example, a small scene of the bleachers inspired his mural.

More obvious is his collection of "player model gloves" marching around the walls.

Kids today go to stores like Sport Mart and buy "Ken Griffey Jr." gloves. "During the '40s and '50s, any player had a glove named after him," Meschewski said.

When he bought his first Cub player model glove, he thought there were about 50 to round up. So far, Meschewski has 215 gloves endorsed by players who wore the Cubs uniform. A total of 250 such players had their own gloves.

So there's one named for Johnny Evers (Evers to Tinker to Chance was a famous double play) who played for the team from 1902 to 1913. The collector can also show gloves in honor of Roger Hornsby, Billy Williams and Ernie Banks.

The room displays more typical collectibles, too, like autographed baseballs and bats and a uniform that wasn't very expensive because it belonged to Jim Frey, who was a Cubs manager rather than player.

The stairway is a gallery for the infamous '69 Cubs who were destined to win the pennant, but somehow blew it and let the New York Mets take over.

Meschewski has been lucky and has not paid large sums for individual items in his eight years of collecting. He also hasn't sold anything.

But he really would like to have a Dizzy Dean glove. Yup, the Hall of Famer and broadcaster pitched for the Cubs as well as St. Louis' famous Gashouse Gang of the 1930s.

Dean gloves are rare. …