Thursday, November 3, 2016
In all of the hoopla following the Cubs World Series victory you could hear half of North America singing Go Cubs Go in celebration. It's a great song that Cub fans have howled since 1984, taking honest pleasure in a single victory. After all, to actually win the the World Series was beyond our wildest dreams. That's something that only happens for Cardinal Fans. But, I wonder how many Cub fans know the history of the song: Go Cubs Go.
The song was written by Singer/Songwriter, Steve Goodman. Steve wrote the hit songs The City of New Orleans and You Don't Have to Call Me Darlin'. He was a funny guy who stood on stage by himself and sang songs and told jokes. I first saw him when he opened up for Steve Martin's King Tut Tour when I was in college in Terre Haute. Steve talked about the pain and suffering of the Die Hard Cubs Fan and sang A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request. It could be the best baseball song ever written. It was funny, but in a nutshell, it described the love/hate/love relationship the die hards had with their Cubbies.
Before the 1984 season WGN asked Steve to write a new theme song for their radio broadcasts. Hence, Go Cubs Go was born. That was also the year the Cubs looked like they might go all the way. But as the Cubs stated to close in on the National League East title, Steve's health started to fail. He had been diagnosed with leukemia several years earlier, but never let it keep him from doing what he loved. Writing songs and going to Wrigley Field.
A Cub fan understands the harsh reality of disappointment, but in Steve's case, it goes beyond cruel. Steve Goodman died at the age of 36, eleven days before the Cubs played their first post season game in his lifetime. He was scheduled to sing the the National Anthem in Wrigley Field for game one. Appropriately, the Cubs, lost the series after a two game lead when a routine ground ball went though the legs of Leon Durham. Leon Durham was acquired in the trade that sent Hall of Famer, Bruce Sutter, to who else...the St. Louis Cardinals.
Three years after Steve Goodman's death, his brother bribed a grounds keeper with a twenty dollar bill stuck inside of a Playboy Magazine to sneak into Wrigley Field. He spread Steve Goodman's ashes in left field.
So when you celebrate and sing Go Cubs Go, take time to think about the origin of the song and all of the die hard Cub Fans who never lived to see this.
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