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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  • Cubs record for last 3 months of regular season baseball: 59 - 23. (Aug, Sept/Oct and April, with one still to go).

    That's a .720 winning percentage and projects to 117 wins over 162 games.

    That's a lot of dance parties.

  • So where does Warren G rank in the list of terrible "Take me out to the ballgame" renditions? It's gotta be near the top.

  • They only need to win 18 more in a row to match the 1984 start of the Detroit Tigers.

  • I agree that it is frustrating and baffling and I am surprised more teams don't try and take advantage of it. However, in the end, I would rather have a pitcher that has 4-5 outs innings versus 4-5 runs innings.

  • 17-5!

  • .464 obp play him over Mr june-august

    And he can play the field

  • I don't have any problem being "reminded" of it -- but anything more than a short sentence about it makes my eyes glaze over and skip to the bottom.

  • per Len: Not Wrigley Field Friendly confines today, it's Szczur's Palace

  • It's kinda neat seeing guys with such little experience doing so well off the bench. Usually it's guys with a bit more time. How many major league at bats do those two have between them?

  • It's really not any more newsworthy than a pitcher who runs up and misses it with his glove, walks the batter instead, or throws it into right field where some runs score. Holding the ball was brilliant. He knew he didn't have the throw eyed. And then he follows up with a gutsy performance. The guy rocks.

  • Hail Szczur!

  • Of course it's noteworthy. I was going to make a post about it if you hadn't. But per Robs point the headline should be "Lester pitches 7 innings with only 1 ER and and 10ks" with "he got himself into a jam by not throwing on a fielded bunt which he was able to pitch out of." As a paragraph in the article and not the headline.

    Or as I write this the headline should be Szczur hits a grand slam but Lester kept them in it the whole game which can be a sub headline.

  • Szczur szlam!

  • Bones!!

  • between him and lastella there's a R/L combo that seems to be comfortable + productive off the bench.

    handy stuff for a playoff contending team.

  • Well, he's consistent at that then.