He’s had to wait over 70 years to take in another World Series game at Wrigley Field.
In the past few days, sports fans have been bombarded with stories about how long it’s been since the Cubs played in (or won, for that matter) a World Series. But if you’re seeking a firsthand account, you might want to speak with 97-year-old Jim Schelgle. A lifelong Cubs fan, veteran, and survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Schelgle attended two of the Cubs’ last World Series games at Wrigley Field way back in 1945.
To get an idea of what the experience was like back then, here’s a retrospective on the matchup:
Not one to dwell in the past, Schelgle’s back in the news these days because he’s in the market for a ticket to the Cubs-Indians series this year. He lives in Elgin, Illinois and would like nothing more to round out almost a century on this Earth by taking in a Cubs win or two as they try to do what they couldn’t in 1945 – win the World Series.
In 1945, Jim was just out of the Army after WWII and strolled down to Wrigley Field to see if he could track down a ticket to Game 6 of the Cubs-Tigers series.
Jim recalls to WGN:
“A policeman came along and he said, ‘solider, what the hell are you doing here?’ and I said, ‘I’m going to go to a ball game’, [he said] ‘you don't have to stand in line, come on with me’. He said, ‘Maybel, I've got a solider here who wants to go the ball game,” Jim said. “She was all shook up, and she said ‘how many tickets do you want?’ and I came up with four, and she gave me four tickets.”
He was also fortunate enough to catch Game 7, though the result (Chicago lost the series 3 games to 4) wasn’t exactly in a Cubs fans’ favor. He remembers each ticket cost $1.20, a far cry from the $1,000 buy-in we’re seeing on StubHub in the days leading up to Game 3 at Wrigley.
Needless to say, the cost is a little high for a retired vet, so Jim’s granddaughter, Helen, created a GoFundMe page in the hopes that some sympathetic souls will help Jim get back to Wrigley for the World Series after a 71-year “hiatus.” So far, they’ve tallied up $2,000 in donations thanks to supportive tweets like these:
Helen said she wouldn’t have turned to crowdsourcing if the cause wasn’t so near and dear to her grandfather’s heart, stating, “All he talks about is Pearl Harbor and the Cubs; that is his life.”
As for Jim’s series prediction? He’s guessing it will be Cubs in 7, but he’s not going to be too picky about the circumstances. He says, “I don’t give a damn where it’s at, as long as they win.”