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home : sports : e-sports April 12, 2021

10/23/2016 10:35:00 PM
Cubs vs Indians In World Series Beginning Tuesday
Die-Hard Cubs fan Bill Ward of Stanley says it's about time
Bill Ward of Stanley with his Ernie Banks signed baseball and a Die-Hard Cubs Fan membership certificate.
Bill Ward of Stanley with his Ernie Banks
signed baseball and a Die-Hard Cubs
Fan membership certificate.

What every Cubs fan needs...
What every Cubs fan needs...

+ view more photos
Photos Courtesy of Bill Ward Photography

Wayne Howard
Staff Writer

The last time the Chicago Cubs made it to the World Series, Harry Truman had just become President. The northside nine hasn't won a Series since 1908. But they beat perhaps the best pitcher in baseball, Clayton Kershaw, 5-0 Saturday night in the sixth game of the National League Championship Series.

There's no doubt that the Cubs are different. For longer than any other major league team, they played all their home games during the day. There were no lights at Wrigley Field until August 1988.

Their opponents in the Series will be the Cleveland Indians, who haven't been in a series since the late '90s, and haven't won one since 1948.

The Series begins Tuesday night. Because the All-Star game was won by the American League this year, the Indians will have the home field advantage; the first two games will be there, and the last two, if seven are necessary.

All the games will be telecast by the FOX network (channel 46).

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 25: Cubs at Indians, 8:08 PM
Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 26: Cubs at Indians, 8:08 PM
Game 3: Friday, Oct. 28: Indians at Cubs, 8:08 PM
Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 29: Indians at Cubs, 8:08 PM
Game 5*: Sunday, Oct. 30: Indians at Cubs, 8:15 PM
Game 6*: Tuesday, Nov. 1: Cubs at Indians, 8:08 PM
Game 7*: Wednesday, Nov. 2: Cubs at Indians, 8:08 PM
*if necessary

Thanks to WGN, the Chicago TV station that has long been a part of the cable TV industry's lineup, a lot of people have seen as many Cubs games as those of any other major league team. Harry Caray (Harry Christopher Carabina) may have spent more years calling games on radio for the St. Louis Cardinals and may have spent eleven years doing White Sox games, but the last 16 years of his career, he was the announcer for the Cubs games and most older readers will remember him from those years. Caray's famous seventh-inning stretch singing of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" began during his tenure with the White Sox and continued during his time calling Cubs games.

There are lots of Cubs fans all across the country, but perhaps no bigger fan than Bill Ward from Stanley. Ward recalls:

"I sat in front of a black & white TV as young as I can remember and cheered on Billy Williams, Randy Hundley, Don Kessinger, Ron Santo, Fergie Jenkins and later Ryne Sandberg, Mark Price, Greg Maddux, Kerry Woods, and Andre Dawson. I watched (almost) all the other teams play in the World Series--even the White Sox (ugh!).

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"When we played ball in the back yard, I was always my favorite Cubs player, nobody else ever from any other team. I can close my eyes at any time on any day and see the beautiful ivy on the homerun wall, hear the sounds and smell the aroma that are only that way at Wrigley. As a teenager we could buy the cheapest tickets in the 70's and sit basically anywhere in the park, because no one came. I listened and watched in 1984 as they blew that two games to none playoff series lead and lost game 5 at Wrigley. I sat in a New York hotel in 2003 with family, watching the game as the Bartman ball happened. They were one game away from the World Series then. I turned off the TV and said 'it's over.' A family member questioned emphatically, 'What are you talking about? That's one play, they're one game, four outs away.' I repeated: 'It's over,' and went to bed.

[For readers who are not familiar: In the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, with Chicago ahead 3–0 and holding a three games to two lead in the best of seven series, several spectators attempted to catch a foul ball off the bat of Marlins second baseman Luis Castillo. One of the fans – Steve Bartman – reached for the ball, deflecting it and disrupting a potential catch by Cubs outfielder Moises Alou. If Alou had caught the ball, it would have been the second out in the inning and the Cubs would have been just four outs away from winning their first pennant since 1945. Instead, the Cubs ended up surrendering eight runs in the inning and losing the game, 8–3. They were eliminated in the seventh game the next day.]

"No one ever told me how hard it would be to be a Cubs fan (I was literally born a Cubs fan in 1962 according to my mom). No one ever told me that I just needed to keep saying 'wait till next year'...for 53 years. I used to have a dedicated room when I lived in Illinois with over 300 Cubs items. For pete's sake, I own two seats that they sold for $50 a pair back in the 80's when they replaced the old wooden seats. I have autographs from Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, Kerry Woods, Greg Maddux, Fergie Jenkins, Harry Caray. I painted Cubs emblems on my cheeks for games and painted my whole face, hair and wore all Cubs stuff for Halloween as the original Chicago Cubs Fan Club Clown. I turned my 125' wedding runner into a banner which 12 of us unfurled at a Cubs game in 1984. Donna and I traveled to Chicago for one weekend, there on Friday and back on Saturday, just to see a Cubs game several years ago.

"I've been through it all and MORE. I can't explain this feeling, this mixture of feelings--but it feels great!!!!

"When they win it all, you'll probably have to mop me up off the floor.

"Some of you will never understand any of this...some of you may understand some of this if you're a Cubs fan under 40 OR have only been a Cubs fan for several years--the Die-Hards, YOU KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT...HEY, HEY! HOLY COW! LET'S GO CUBS!!!"


In fairness to Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, Sandy Alomar, Rocky Calvito, etc., if there's an Indians fan who has a similar story of team devotion, we'd love to hear from you, too.

The Indians may be an even bigger surprise getting to the Series. They lost two of their best pitchers in September--first Danny Salazar, then Carlos Carrasco. Salazar may be back for limited use in the Series.

The winner of the final game in the playoff series was a young man who won his first major league start just days earlier. Ryan Merritt wasn't listed as the winning pitcher of the win over the Blue Jays; he only went four-and-a-third innings, but he didn't give up any runs and struck out three while giving up only two hits.

That Cleveland is in the series may seem accidental; their season has been filled with a variety of setbacks that might have knocked them out of contention. For the Cubs, it may be destiny. They had the best regular season record in baseball this year. Cubs fans believe it's time to put the icing on the cake. 

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