Many Chicago Cubs fans waited a lifetime to witness their team winning the World Series. Many others lived an entire lifetime without being so lucky. Then there are the select few who can say they waited 108 years and lived through not one, but two celebrations.
Mabel Ball was in the latter group. She was born in 1908, shortly before the last time the Cubs had won the World Series. And though she was not among the 40 million watching the Cubs win Game 7 on Nov. 2, she was happy the wait was finally over.
Sadly, it would prove to be one of the final milestones of her life.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Mabel Ball died six days later after suffering a heart attack. It was a “cruel irony,” her family says. But they’ve taken solace in that they were able to share and celebrate the moment with her before losing her.
“The cruel irony, the almost unbelievable irony, is that the person who waits and waits and waits, after it happens, says, ‘I’ve done what I’ve got to do, and I’m out of here,'” her son Rich, 75, of Oak Park, said. “It ain’t funny, but it’s funny.”
It’s impossible to understand the emotions her family must have gone through during those days. Baseball was obviously secondary, but it was still a big part of their lives. In fact, her longevity and loyalty to the Cubs had made her something close to a celebrity in her finals days, which was a bigger deal to her family than her.
As she rested in bed a few days after her heart attack, he said he told her, “Mom, you know, you’ve become a little bit of a low-level celebrity. Your story was in the newspaper, and it was on TV, coast-to-coast. A friend of mine even saw it in Berlin.
“What do you think about being a celebrity?” he asked her.
“It’s a lot of nonsense,” he said she told him.
Clearly, her longevity was only surpassed by her humility, which was echoed by son Don Ball.
“‘With malice toward none and charity toward all’ basically was the way she lived,” he said. “I was very fortunate to be her son and to know her.”
Much like the Cubs World Series victory was worthy of celebration, it’s clear Mabel Ball lived a life worth celebrating too.
We’re glad her story has been told, and we certainly encourage those who haven’t yet read the Chicago Tribune article to do so. There are several anecdotes that will further endear you, including the surprising story of when and why she attended her first game.
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