It has been an October unlike any other for Northside Chicago baseball fans – at least, those under the age of 108. In 2016, our beloved Cubbies have flipped a century-old switch, and brought this city wildly to their feet time and again since Opening Day. Gone are the Lovable Losers of decades past. Here to (hopefully) stay are Madden’s Marauders, restoring the faith of an entire fan base, and striking a blow for cursed sports teams everywhere.
Yeah, it’s easy to see why so many feel the team is cursed. All because of that #$@&%*! billy goat. Then there was the black cat in ’69. Bartman in ’03. And most recently, Daniel Murphy in ’15 (name of the original cursed goat? Murphy!). Time after time, the more talented rosters for our Boys in Blue have been tripped up by what seems like a rather cosmic form of good old-fashioned rotten luck.
But what if it’s not a curse at all? What if there is something far more nefarious, and dare we say, supernatural at work here? Could it be that neither the team, the organization, or the players themselves are cursed – but that their home is? What if Wrigley Field, one of the most beloved, iconic sports venues in the history of everything, is actually…haunted?
DUM DUM DUM!!!!
Sure, go ahead and laugh. But over the years, countless staff members and visitors alike have reported ghostly sightings, and more than a fair share of macabre moments. In fact, the tales became so widespread that at one point Cubs ownership eventually hired paranormal researcher/author Ursula Bielski and her team, Chicago Hauntings, Inc., to complete a thorough investigation of the ballpark. And Mickey Bradley and Dan Gordon, authors of Haunted Baseball and Field of Screams, named Wrigley Field the most haunted ballpark in the country.
So just who are these horribly restless spirits? Why do they frighten and torment the hallowed hallways of our cherished ‘Friendly Confines’? Well, actually, you might just recognize a few of them.
Former Cubs Player & Manager, Charlie Grimm
Grimm, who managed the Cubbies during that fateful, goat-ridden season in 1945, is rumored to have had his ashes buried in a box in left-center field. Numerous security guards have reported hearing ‘ole Charlie’s booming voice calling out their names in an otherwise vacant stadium. And the janitorial staff may hear the telephone ringing from the player’s empty bullpen in the middle of the night, where rumor has it a ghostly Grimm is still trying to make a pitching change to this day.
Don’t recognize the name? The Chicago born folk singer-songwriter is perhaps best known today for writing “Go, Cubs, Go” – a fan favorite tune that still breaks out in Wrigley’s parking lot after every Cubs win. After his untimely death from leukemia, Goodman – a lifelong fan and season ticket holder – requested that his ashes be scattered near his seats at Wrigley Field. He apparently doesn’t like to deal with Lakeview traffic though, as many people have reportedly witnessed his ghostly figure still sitting in the stands behind home plate.
Now if that name is unfamiliar to you…then why in the name of Santo are you still reading this? One of Chicago’s most beloved and recognizable voices, quintessential Cubs broadcaster Caray passed away back in February of 1998. The rumors of his haunting ways stem from numerous fan reports of unexplained mists in the press box. Is it his ghostly presence, still trying to call the play-by-play from the afterlife? Is it the spray of countless Budweisers as he delightfully slurs his way through an endless version of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”? The city may never know.
If you take a minute to think about it, these sporting specters seem far more good-natured than ghastly. Not since Casper The Friendly have a group of ghouls come off as harmless and cheerful as Wrigley’s resident wraiths. So maybe they’re not here to haunt, after all. Maybe they simply represent the ‘never give up’ attitude of Cubs fans themselves, whose entire life (or death) would be forever altered by witnessing their treasured Northsiders pop the champagne.
So this year could bring more than just a championship. Maybe, just maybe, these incredibly loyal souls can finally leave behind the iconic ivy of Wrigley Field, and rise toward eternal peace on a chilly November evening, with a grateful smile on their face, and a familiar song in their hearts.