Close Encounters With Mr. Cub

Happy 77th Birthday Mr. Cub. My close encounter with Ernie was well after his hall of fame career was over. Take the "wayback machine" with me to May 19th, 1979. A group of my University of Chicago Med School classmates went with me to see a Cubs game that crisp May afternoon. Some of you might remember that unmemorable team...Buckner, Kingman, DeJesus, Ontiveros and Foote.

We sat behind home plate but about half way up the grandstands and the group had an entire row. About the 2nd inning one of my friends gets up and has this weird grin on his face as he moved down the row. Then out of the corner of my eye I noticed, coming up the aisle...Mr. Cub. That was cool enough, but he procedes to sit down next to me in the recently vacated seat from my friend. My classmates knew I was getting married in June and so I have to tell you that this was IMHO the worlds greatest batchelor party geeky me could have ever hoped for (although the Palomino Club in North Vegas would have been my 2nd choice). Ernie stayed there with me talking baseball for about 7 innings. Honest. I have a picture (that's me in the Cub hat) on my office wall to prove it. What does one talk about to his childhood hero? I don't remember much other than it was a very surreal experience. I do remember hearing him tell me his favorite number was 9 (not 14), as in 9 innings and 9 players on the field. Ernie philosophising Baseball Kaballah? Ernie was still under the Cubs employ for PR functions in that era and my med school pals had set this up, hence the goofy grins when the group knew he was on the way up to us. The Cubs were 3-hit and lost 3-0 that day to the Pirates. Jim Rooker over Mike Krukow. So much for surrealism.

To throw in my orthopedic two cents worth, Mr. Cub has had two total knee replacements (not by me, but I do know his orthopod) and they are working just fine. When the Ortho Academy meeting was in Chicago March 2006, Ernie was guest appearing in a promotion called "Champions for Patient Education" and was as bubbly as ever. Drumroll...and You Tube tributes to good ol' #14. May you have many more very happy birthdays. 

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  • I love winning! It's, like, better than losing?

    billybucks 9 hours 22 min ago view
  • LOLLYGAGGERS!

    Dusty Baylor 10 hours 45 min ago view
  • You lollygag the ball around the infield. You lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout. You know what that makes you? Larry!

    Jackstraw 13 hours 30 min ago view
  • Its too bad Warren didnt get to pitch. He would have saved us.

    The E-Man 13 hours 47 min ago view
  • Whoa -- that Contreras play in the 8th looked too much like a "Schwarber" -- nearly crashed into the wall going full speed, with Heyward doing the same.

    New rule: if you are a catcher playing LF, and find yourself sprinting after a fly ball in the gap -- stop, let the CF go after it and get ready to play it off the wall.

    billybucks 13 hours 58 min ago view
  • Cubs have no spark and no life. Pretty boring to watch these days.

    billybucks 15 hours 31 min ago view
  • I thought trips to Miami were supposed to be fun. This one sucked.

    The bottom half of the bullpen now turns close games into blowout losses. Not good.

    Once Fowler went to the DL, the team went into the tank. Wonder if he'll get any love this offseason? Probably not.

    billybucks 15 hours 35 min ago view
  • 6IP, 2ER. The last one scored because of another botched Zobrist DP turn.

    And now, a bad throw by KB. Sloppy.

    billybucks 16 hours 17 min ago view
  • What is it with Hammel always starting well and sucking after a couple months?

    The E-Man 17 hours 51 min ago view
  • Ahhh...sad. Lke a few of you here, I saw him play during the '69-'71 seasons. He was the "hot Zobrist" for the club in August/September of '69 while everyone else was fizzling out...

    The E-Man 18 hours 30 min ago view
  • I predict: "They will play hard and if they give the same effort every day, they'll win a lot of games."

    The E-Man 18 hours 33 min ago view
  • OK, boys -- find a way to win today.

    billybucks 19 hours 27 min ago view
  • There's some BA is missing too, here's all signing bonus BA doesn't have some:

    -6 Hockin $241,000 (slot price), 7 Cruz $75,000 (saved $110,00), 8 Ridlings $120,000 (saved $53,800), 9 Robinson $30,000 (saved $132,300), so far the Cubs have saved an extra $297,100

    cubbies.4ever 21 hours 17 min ago view
  • per Muscat...
    Zobrist (2B), Hayward (CF), Bryant (3B), Rizzo, Contreras (LF), Montero, Russell, Coghlan (RF), Hammel

    Cubster 21 hours 26 min ago view
  • Also -- despite losing 6 of their last 10, the Cubs picked up a game on both STL and PIT during that period. Weird, given that they swept PIT and were swept by STL.

    billybucks 21 hours 26 min ago view
  • Also, I'd like to know if there are numbers to back up my suspicion that there are a lot more fast starts than late June romps. This seems like a time where everybody not named Willson Contreras is looking a little tired and/or banged up a bit.

    For once, the Cubs got off to a fast start. Seems like I've been waiting for that for 50 years.Everybody is really gunning for this team, too. It's their playoffs.

    Old and Blue 22 hours 51 min ago view