I grew up a Chicago Cubs fan. I don’t know exactly when I became a Cubs fan, but by the time I was ten, I was a Cubs fan. My best guess is that Ray Raynor, who did a morning show for kids on WGN TV in Chicago, was responsible for making me a Cubs fan.
Dad was a White Sox fan. But I had no idea that Dad was a White Sox fan until I was well into adulthood. One would think that I might have gotten a clue from the number of times I walked in on him watching the Sox game when the Cubs were also playing. I would comment that the Cubs were on and he always changed the channel to the Cubs game. I just figured he didn’t know.
Sometime in my twenties or thirties Dad told me the story of how he became a White Sox fan. As a child, Dad was a Cubs fan. In 1929, Dad was twelve years old. The Chicago Cubs were in the World Series for the first time since 1918 (when Dad was 2 years old).
It was the fourth game of the series. The Philadelphia A’s were up 2 games to 1. But the Cubs were looking good to even the series at two games each with an eight run lead in the seventh inning.
But the A’s scored ten runs in that seventh inning, aided by Hack Wilson’s failure to catch two fly balls that he lost in the sun. Twice in the same inning!! Wilson was the star of the team, hitting 39 home runs and driving in 159 runs while batting .345 that year, so it was doubly painful that he contributed so much to the bad inning.
The A’s won the game and went on to win the series. Dad couldn’t take it. He abandoned the Cubs and became a White Sox fan.
As it turned out, he had made a good decision. It took thirty years, but the White Sox won the World Series in 1959.
The Cubs looked good to get to the post season in 1969 and I was right there keeping a scrapbook since January. Every word the Chicago Tribune printed on the Cubs was in my scrapbook. The Cubs blew it in the end and the Mets beat them out. I threw my scrapbook away in disgust, but I was still a Cubs fan.
Two weeks ago, the Cubs were mired in a slump and they were playing Minnesota. The Twins had men at first and third with one out. A fly ball was hit to medium deep right field. Milton Bradley, a high profile acquisition prior to the season who hasn’t played well, caught the fly ball. Then he tossed it into the stands.
At that moment, I had an understanding of what my Dad might have felt back in 1929.
I’m still a Cubs fan (and I’ve enjoyed the last few games!) but it got me to wondering. If I had switched allegiance to the Sox after 1969, I would have only had to wait 36 years for a World Series win. As it is, I’m still waiting.