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How the Cubs' owner got a fan a scalp tattoo

  • Yep, those are tattoos, including Ron Santo's autograph.
Yep, those are tattoos, including Ron Santo's autograph. (Jack M Silverstein for RedEye )
January 22, 2013|By Jack M Silverstein, @readjack | For RedEye

David Eagan is just like you: He loves the Cubs.

David Eagan is not like you: He has Ron Santo's autograph tattooed on his head.

He has team owner Tom Ricketts to thank for that.

"The first one I got was on a dare," the 33-year-old Chicago Heights native said last week at the Cubs Convention about his first head tattoo, the Cubs' Cubby Bear logo. "Somebody said I didn't have the cojones to do it. They paid for it and I went and got it.

"The Ron Santo, how that came about was Tom Ricketts was walking around the ballpark passing out balls to the kids. My buddy walked up to him and said, 'Hey Mr. Ricketts, I know this huge Cubs fan. Can you come say 'Hi'?' He come over and he tried to give me a ball, and I said, 'Holy smoke, no, I don't want your ball, but you have to check this out.'

"I turned around and showed him the tattoo and he's like, 'Oh, my God!' "

"When David showed me his tattoo," Ricketts said in an email to RedEye, "I thought, 'Anyone this passionate about the Cubs deserves Ron Santo's autograph.'"

"The family had just bought the Cubs," Eagan said. "I said [to Ricketts], 'I've got a favor to ask you. I want an autograph from Ron Santo so I could tattoo it right above the Cubby Bear.' So he wrote down my name and address on the box of balls he was passing out. Everybody was like, 'You ain't gonna get it. You ain't gonna get it. He don't care.'

"Three weeks later I get like a 6-by-9 photo in the mail. 'To David. Go Cubs. Ron Santo.'"

That encounter was at the start of the 2010 season. When Santo passed away in December of that year (he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012), Eagan finally knew how he wanted to incorporate the autograph: He would put it above the Cubby Bear and Santo's No. 10 with a halo above the autograph. He got the tattoo done at the China Doll in Hammond, Ind. It took an hour and a half.

He has several other Cubs-related tattoos, including a hybrid Cubs-Blackhawks tatt on his left arm. But nothing attracts attention like his head.

"There have been some people who were wondering if they could one-up me," he said. "I'm like, 'Don't one-up me. Do it because you want to.' I do it because I love the Cubs. That's what I live, eat and breathe."

Before the convention ended, Eagan was able to track down Ricketts and show him the tattoo.

"It was great seeing David's updated tattoo," Ricketts said. "He's a superfan with a lot of passion for the Cubs."

Like many Cubs fans at the convention, Eagan spent the weekend on an autograph hunt. When it comes to future autograph tattoos, however, Eagan is sticking with Hall of Famers, or Mark Grace.

He also has a "major back piece" in the works but would not reveal the nature of the design as he does not want anyone to steal his idea.

"You'll have to find me at the Cubs Convention next year," he said.

Jack M Silverstein is a RedEye special contributor.

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