The Cubs are on a hot streak that could make even the Grim Reaper smile.
Cubs-themed caskets and cremation urns have surpassed the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, according to Wallace Popravsky, sales manager for BrandMemorials, a Michigan company that makes officially licensed Major League Baseball funeral containers.
For the past two or three weeks, the Cubs have been “running very hot, outstripping the Red Sox and the Yankees and way more than the Indians,” Popravsky said Monday. “Except for a 30-mile radius around Cleveland, I’ll bet the whole country is pulling for the Cubs. We’re even offering a special on Cubs products to Illinois funeral homes right now, so they can show some Cubs pride.”
The aluminum urns and steel caskets are decorated with the official Cubs logo — “a great way to cheer up and brighten up the funeral home,” Popravsky said.
For Cubs fanswho already have passed on to their eternal rest, relatives have been busy decking out their graves for the team’s World Series run. “W” flags are popping up at cemeteries all around Chicago.
Carole Vito stopped by All Saints Cemetery in Des Plaines on Monday to decorate the grave of her father, Frederick Marturano. He died in 2007 at 91.
“It’s so important because he waited so long for the Cubs to win a pennant, and he never, never gave up,” Vito said.
She said that, in the 1950s, “I remember going to the ballpark with him one time when Hank Sauer hit his record-breaking home run, and he had tears in his eyes. It was so beautiful.”
Some visitors to All Saints have been making a pilgrimage to the grave of longtime Cubs announcer Harry Caray, where, the other day, someone had left a baseball and a can of Old Style inscribed: “This is the Year.”
Lou Greifenstein, 77, has been seeing more and more Caray craziness when he visits his wife Kathleen’s grave nearby.
“You hear shouts of ‘Here it is,’ ’’ said Greifenstein, a retired pharmacist from Mount Prospect. “A lot of them take pictures from behind the stone.”
Near Wrigley Field, a growing stream of people has been heading to Graceland Cemetery on Clark Street north of the ballpark to pay their respects to Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, according to Michelle Crump, associate director of the cemetery.
At Bohemian National Cemetery, on North Pulaski Road, “W” flags have been popping up — not surprising, perhaps, given that the cemetery has a “Cubs Fans Forever” wall, created from ballpark bricks and bedecked with Wrigley Field ivy and inscribed, “Beyond the Vines.”
“The last two or three days, we’ve had visitors here all day long,” said Rob Charlemagne, Bohemian’s caretaker.
Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside also is seeing more Cubs paraphernalia.
Earl Medintz lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, so he hasn’t been able to make it to the grave of his father, Sydney Medintz, at Menorah Gardens Cemetery in Broadview since the Cubs began their run to the World Series.
The father had waited all his life for a big win for his beloved Cubs. Before he died in 2008 — a century after their most recent winning World Series —the 95-year-old Rogers Park man told his family: “I can’t wait much longer.” And he left behind a final message for the Cubs in his death notice: “Go Cubs. I waited as long as I could.”
Earl Medintz, 78, a retired adman, wears his dad’s Cubs jacket every time he watches the team play and thinks about him.
“It was the one thing that kind of brought us close together,” he said. “It was something to talk about.”