Watching my team win the NLDS on Tuesday night, made me think back to a time in July of 1955 when I was 15 years old. Our family visited my Dad's sister and her husband who lived on Long Island in NY.
I don't remember much about that trip, but one thing stands out -- one night we saw the Cubs play the Dodgers at Ebbets field. I was excited to see the Brooklyn Dodgers and all their stars that I'd only seen on baseball cards up till then, stars like Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Gil Hodges, Jackie Robinson, and Duke Snider. Campanella hit 32 home runs that year, and Hodges 27. Baseball's royalty, the Duke, hit 42. The Dodgers were in the middle of a great season in July of 1955, which culminated that fall in their winning the World Series against the New York Yankees.
I was pretty much a Yankee fan in those days (there was no southern major league team in those days and the Yankees got a lot of national press coverage -- I read about them daily in both the Tennessean and the Nashville Banner), but even the Nashville papers had plenty of stories about the Cubs new shortstop, Ernie Banks, who was Rookie of the Year runner up in 1954. He continued his slugging in '55 as well and ended up that year with 44 home runs.
I didn't become a Cubs fan at that point, but I did follow them some over the years. Beginning in the '70s, like lots of other Americans, I became a quasi fan of Ted Turners "America's Team," the Atlanta Braves. Most of the time the Braves weren't that good but you could watch most of their games on TV.
But in '93 I switched my allegiance to the Cubs. We had a big dish in those days and we got WGN. Many Cubs games were televised so I began to watch them. I remembered my trip to Ebbets Field in 1955 and became a loyal fan. I enjoyed watching players like Mark Grace, Sammy Sosa, and Ryan Sandberg, and WGN's colorful play by play announcer Harry Caray made the games fun. They finished 4th in the NL East that year.
So, I haven't been a suffering "lovable loser" Cubs fan my whole life, just for the past 22 years.
During those years, the city of Chicago itself has spiraled downward (they're 3 times deeper in debt than the city of Detroit was) and the whole state is so far in debt they can't pay their lottery winners.
But this post is about their financial woes. It's not a political post.
It's about baseball. And finally getting into the NL Championship Series feels great. "Hey Chicago, let's play two!" Two videos.
First, Eddie Vedder's tribute, "All the Way."
Now, The CrackerJack Music Video, an entrant in the Tribune contest.
THEY PLAY THE METS TONIGHT IN THE FIRST GAME OF THE NLCS. GO CUBS!