Our Favorite Story from 2016: Mabel Ball

Mabel Ball will always be the only Cbs fan to have seen her club win two World Series during her 108 years and two month life span.

Mabel Ball will always be the only Cubs fan to have seen her club win two World Series during her 108 years and two months long life span.

Mabel Ball was born two months prior to the date that the 1908 Chicago Cubs won the World Series. She grew up in the Chicago area as a Cubs fan, but, as you know already, even if you’ve never heard of Mabel Ball, she never saw her Cubbies win in her first century of life on this earth. In fact, she never saw the Cubs win in her first 107 years. By then, in fact, the quiet discussion among family and friends about what kept Mabel breathing into the ages may have centered around which of these questions was most important in her case: Was Mabel’s life being extended because of the Cubs’ inability to win another World Series since 1908? Or was Mabel simply waiting the Cubs out so she could become the only living person to have seen the Cubs win a World Series in her single lifetime? Either way, prior to the coming of monied ownership and Theo Epstein to the Cubs, was it also possible to consider that Mabel Bell may have been on her way to becoming the world’s first immortal?

Well, it all came together in early November 2016, didn’t it? The Cubs won that exciting come-from-3-1-down-in-games-won to a dramatic 7th game World Series victory over the Cleveland Indians. Here at the Eagle, we consider that Game 7 to have been the most exciting conclusion of any World Series we ever have watched over the past 65 years.

Mabel Ball’s story came to the media’s attention during the 2016 World Series, but we somehow missed it until this New Years Day weekend, when we saw a brief network clip of this incredible lady and most devout of Cub fans.

WOW!

The research on Mabel is easy from an off-the-top level. Simply Google “108 year old Cubs fan” and take your pick.

What we also didn’t get from the weekend TV report is this soul-chilling conclusion to the story: Six days after the Cubs won the 2016 World Series, making Mabel Bell, at age 108, and 2 months, the only living fan to have seen the Cubs win two World Series in her lifetime, she died. Yes.You heard that right. Yes. Mabel Carter’s life simply, or nor so simply, apparently had fulfilled its purpose after a little more than 108 years and she was freed to go.

“I’ve done what I’ve got to do, and I’m out of here,” Mabel told her family. Her 75-year old son Rich Ball, 75, commented. “It ain’t funny, but it’s funny,” he said as he pondered her long-life and the irony of her birth and death coming right before – and right after – her beloved Cubbies’ last two Series wins of 1908 and 2016.

Another powerful factor here is the mighty impact of radio baseball upon earlier fans prior to the inclusion of television. Writer Stephanie Petit expressed it this way in an article she wrote for People magazine on November 13, 2016. It is the most powerful example we ever have read of the connection that exists between the spiritual power of words spoken by broadcasters and the imaginative minds of fans who hear them floating in on unseeable radio waves: “Although Mabel didn’t see a game at Wrigley Field until her 90th birthday, she listened to the Cubs on the radio and taught her family to love them as well.”

Mabel Ball, may you now Rest in Peace with the hope that most of us baseball fans carry with us to the grave – and that’s the dream of going to sleep at night thinking about the last play of the Series that won it all for our club. In your case, you only had to wait 108 years to see the final 5-3 putout that broke the spells of “billy goat curses” and “not since 1908” forever.

We just hope that you took your radio with you.

____________________

eagle-0range
 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

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One Response to “Our Favorite Story from 2016: Mabel Ball”

  1. bhick6 Says:

    Great story. Thanks, Bill.

    Bill Hickman

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