We usually stand near the left field line elevator, at the last ramp that leads directly down to Gate K and Waveland Avenue. During this second-to-last home stand we returned because we always have the most fun in SRO at the top of aisle 206. Always find someone interesting. Here’s who was there this week …
We didn’t get his name, but noted that in spite of the cheery pink color of his sign, he didn’t look too happy. Why should he? He’s been alive for 102 of the 104 years of the Cubs’ rebuilding program. Do we believe in the most current edition? Why should we? We remember Leo the Lip, Jim Frey, 1989, 1998, “In Dusty We Trusty” (watch out Cincinnati!), and Sweet Lou.
When this poor guy was born, the Cubs played here:
They couldn’t be accused of being a North Side team because this field was located at what is now Polk, Wood, Taylor, and Wolcott (at the time called Lincoln), on the West Side, well south of Madison. A psychiatric institute was located just beyond the left field wall. The West Side Grounds didn’t have lights. Neither did any other ballpark in the Major Leagues, which weren’t called MLB at the time. No game had been televised or even broadcast on the radio. The first radio broadcast of a baseball game was eleven years in the future.
This guy was president of the United States …
Legend has it that he got stuck in the White House bathtub and so had a new one installed that could fit four normal sized men. The part about getting stuck is maybe legend. The big bathtub part of the story is true.
There have been seventeen more Presidents since Taft and since our 102-year-old fan was born.
There have been two World Wars and countless other wars, police actions, and interventions; and countless euphemisms coined to describe wars when politicians don’t want to use the word.
The Titanic sunk two years after his birth.
No currently existing ballpark was built yet.
Talking movies were more than a decade and a half away. The film-making capital of America was arguably … Chicago! But Charlie Chaplin would not make his first film at Essanay on Argyle near Clark on the North Side for five more years!
The NFL didn’t exist, and wouldn’t for ten more years. The “Monsters of the Midway” were the football teams of the University of Chicago. They were disbanded twenty-nine years later.
Their abandoned stadium, Stagg Field, was used as a laboratory and was the site of the first sustained nuclear reaction, which led to the creation of the atomic bomb. Now THERE’s a Monster of the Midway!
The population of the world in 1910 was about 1.7 billion. Today it’s about 7 billion. Cubs attendance in 1910 was 526,152. In 2012 it will be somewhere between 2,800,00 and 2,900,000 (below 3,000,000 for the first time since 2003).
But you get the point. Wait ’til next year.
One more thing. Our 102-year-old fan stayed for the whole game. Here we see him waiting for the elevator as Steve Goodman’s “Go Cubs Go” echoed through the long empty stands.