In baseball, players come and go and teams thrive or dive straight into oblivion, but one thing never changes: Fans will always show their pride in jersey form. OK, so there are other things that never change, too, but RedEye caught up with die-hards at Wrigley Field and let them tell their stories of why they chose their jerseys.
Logan Johnson, 22, Marengo
Ron Santo was an inspiration to me. He's probably one of the biggest heroes in my life, because he went through so much, from battling diabetes and stuff like that, and how he persevered through it. And also he's my favorite Cubs player of all-time.
Even though you didn't see him play.
Yeah. I did not see him play. But every chance I got I listened to the games he announced on WGN Radio.
Was it important to you to get the style of jersey that he wore?
Yeah it was. I really liked the 1969 jerseys. They're one of my favorites. I like the logo too, the Cubby bear. Right when he passed away I saw the Cubs were doing the patch in memory of Ron Santo. I had to get it for him. Like I said, he's one of my biggest heroes. He battled through so much and he never gave up. There could have been so many chances for him to give up. He lost his first leg, and then he lost his second leg. But he never gave up. And he never lost hope on the Cubs. He's obviously one of the biggest Cubs fans of all-time. It's so sad that they couldn't win it in his lifetime. It really is.
Kasey Ignarski, 56, Orland Park
It was a cheap buy at the Cubs Convention. I've had this for at least 7 or 8 years now. It was that point before they started pricing all the jerseys real high. I like authentic, game-used jerseys. This is a game-used jersey that they sold at the convention. And what I would do is find something that was basically my size, and look for the more obscure players. They were always the cheaper ones. I have this one, and I have my Mako Oliveras. For a jersey, a real game-used jersey, it only cost about 60 bucks. And they were selling the official replicas [for] 110, 120 bucks. And I go, "I can't beat this!" (Laughs.)
I'm kind of fascinated with numbers, too. I actually co-wrote a book on Cub numbers. It's called "Cubs By The Numbers." And every chapter is everyone who wore that number.
Mike Hubbard was a backup catcher in the late '90s. It was just a jersey that was cheap. It's just a random guy who I was able to get the jersey cheap. There's not a lot to the story, but that's the story. (Laughs.)
Daniel Jackson, 17, Lindenhurst, IL
I bought the Kosuke Fukudome jersey when he got big coming over. He was supposed to be the big guy coming in, and he didn't pan out. The second half of the season he didn't perform. First half he was a beast. Had a home run in his first game.
Do you have any other jerseys?
I have a Kerry Wood, but it's too small for me now.
Why is this your game jersey?
Because it's the only one I have.
What'd you spend on the Fukudome jersey?
So looking back, was it money well spent?
Who would you have gone with if you knew how this would turn out?
Probably Jeff Samardzija. That would have been a good investment.
Zach Bruckman, 21, Lowell, IN
I bought it from this Chinese website that me and my friends discovered at school. I think this logo's too big, so it was only 20 bucks. I really like the throwback V-neck jerseys, and I've actually met Andre Dawson in person. I met him in Florida at an autograph signing. He's a real cool guy. He's built like a brick house. Dude has some massive forearms.
What did you guys talk about?
I just told him he was a great player. It was kind of a lie, because I wasn't really around to see him, but some of my first words were Cubs players. My sister was a die-hard fan, and one of my first words was "Andre Dawson." She used to sit with me and we would watch the games together, and she would try to get me to say the words. The first couple words I said were "Sammy Sosa," "Andre Dawson," and "Mark Grace." She's like 12 years older than me. Big difference. I was like 2. It was legit my first words. I've been a Cubs fan my whole life because of my sister.
Have you seen clips of him play?
Yeah. I've seen a lot of stuff. He was always hustling. I always respect that in players. I think he's got a good personality. He had that commercial a couple years ago where they pulled him out of the ivy. I just think he's a real cool guy. And my sister is pretty much the main reason behind me liking him.
Hap Pugh, 27, Centralia, IL
You're not old enough to have really watched Sandberg that much.
Not much, yeah. I just always had much respect for him. He stayed in the organization. Led our Triple A team to a decent record. I was hoping we'd keep him. (Laughs.)
How many Cubs jerseys do you have?
I only have two Cubs jerseys. This, and I've got a Soriano.
You don't wear the Soriano?
Not very often. Probably going to give it away.
And why did you get this design?