With the Cubs poised to clinch a postseason berth, Chicago checked in with a few lifelong fans to see how they came under the Cubs’ spell.
The Public Servant
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White has a more storied relationship with the Chicago Cubs than most fans. White, 82, grew up across the river from St. Louis, in Alton, Illinois, in a family of St. Louis Cardinals fans.
It wasn’t until he was 7 and his family moved to Chicago that he became a Cubs fan.
White started a baseball career in 1959, playing mostly minor league baseball in the Cubs’ farm system. During his time in baseball he got to know Cubs greats like Ron Santo, Fergie Jenkins and Ernie Banks.
“Ernie would hold court at a restaurant or somewhere social after a game,” White says. “He’d talk to us, younger players and veterans, too, about how we should conduct ourselves on and off the field.”
White says his exposure to Banks influenced his path toward government, and he continues to look to the Cubs every day for excitement and inspiration.
“Today the Cubs have the right managers, the right players,” he says. “Maddon is a magician, and a genius. … Pretty soon, no one will be saying ‘Wait til next year.’”
Anupy Singla says that from the moment her husband’s family settled in Chicago, his father, Krishan, became a Cubs diehard.
“My husband and I were both born in India,” says cookbook author Anupy Singla, 47, “and his parents were part of the first wave of Indians to become Indian-Americans in Chicago.”
Krishan passed away this June, at age 80.
“We’re a little heartbroken that he won’t be able to see it when the Cubs do win the World Series,” Singla says, “but we’re happy it was such a big part of his life.”
Earlier in her career, Singla was a general assignment reporter for CLTV, she got to cover some big games during the Sammy Sosa era.
“My husband was a bit jealous of my TV days, getting close contact with players,” Singla jokes. “He and his brother are always texting and talking about the Cubs.”
“When I was little, we were completely surrounded in southern Illinois by Cardinals fans,” says Candace Jordan, a Tribune society columnist and former Playboy playmate from downstate Dupo, Illinois.
After Jordan’s parents split up, Saturday afternoons with her dad, a Cubs fan, often included tuning into games.
“My dad was a mailman who lived over in East St. Louis. When we spent weekends together at his home, he would mow the lawn, then grill out,” Jordan recalls. “I would sit with him in the sun. He would be at his barbecue, and we’d listen to the Cubs on this little transistor radio.
“I was a fan in part because of my dad. But also because of the way listening made me feel—warm feelings and the patter of Jack Brickhouse in the background.”
Best known for his work with Rage Against The Machine and Audioslave, Tom Morello is letting neither recording nor touring stops him from tuning into Cubs games.
“Sometimes we’re at sound check and I have the game on my phone, just playing on the amplifier,” says Morello, 52, who is currently touring with his band Prophets of Rage. “I watch every game on my phone.”
Like Jordan’s, Morello’s fandom stems from family.
“I didn’t grow up with a dad in my household, so a lot of my male role models were Chicago Cubs,” says Morello, who was raised in Libertyville. “I first went to Wrigley Field when I was 3 years old, and I was brought there by my mom and my aunt Isabel.”
He says his aunt was probably the biggest Cubs fan he’s ever known, one who would take him to the bleachers and talk about noteworthy Cubs games and historic plays. And almost 50 years after that first home game, it’s not uncommon for Morello’s own songs to be played over the Wrigley speakers.
“I’ve been there through a lot of important Cubs moments. I was there for the Burt Hooton no-hitter [in April 1972]. I was also there at the Bartman Game,” Morello says. “I’ve been there through all the highs and the lows—bleed Cubbie blue.”
Just this month, Morello, a proud owner of an Addison Russell jersey, brought Prophets band mate Chuck D to a game. “What I have always done in my music and political work is stand up for the underdog,” Morello says. ” I don’t think that it’s an accident that the team I have chosen as my beloved sports team is the quintessential underdog.”
And it’s no accident his band’s current tour ends in October, just days before the World Series is scheduled to start.
“My Aunt Isabel lived her 82 years without seeing a Cubs [World Series] victory. If they won it all, I would certainly visit Aunt Isabel’s grave Marseilles, Illinois, wearing whatever hat I wore at the game, soaked in champagne, and lay it on her tombstone.”
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