Beneath the endlessly buoyant exterior of the sports journalist laid a young man combing the professional landscape in search of his niche.
Don Ladas's radio expertise in 1954 was limited to that of knowing how to turn one on and off. But when a sportscaster position opened up at WJOL in Joliet, Illinois, he decided to give it a shot and see where it went.
Fifty-four years later, he had become a member of nine Halls of Fame and one of the most revered figures in the city's 156-year history, with his Ten Pin Topics show reigning as the longest-running bowling broadcast in the country.
A straight-shooting product of the Depression Era, Don's first encounter with national sports heroes took place in an ice house where Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, two of baseball's greatest hitters, were holding court.
It was only the first of many rubs with the stars of the games. Before his career as a radio man, Don once spent a memorable nine innings sitting beside and joking with Ted Williams.
After assuming his role behind the microphone he would track the career paths and earn the respect of numerous local athletes who went on to make it on the grand stage: Ed Spiezio, "Billy Boy" Thompson, Tom Thayer, Bill Gullickson, Jesse Barfield, Terry Gannon and Mike Alstott, to name a few, all count themselves lucky to have had the support of the man whose name became synonymous with WJOL.
Of equal import to his enormous cache of experience in the world of sports is his dedication to the community, and the indelible mark that his works have left on both the city and its people.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.32(d)|