Sneed: Cubs have 108-year-old lifetime fan running on adrenaline
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Are there angels in the outfield?
Pull up a bleacher.
Hazel Rueckhardt Nilson, 108, who was born in Chicago 54 days before the Cubs won the World Series in 1908, hopes so.
A die-hard Cubs fan who often quips, “The angels that came for me must have gotten lost,” is now counting on angels navigating her beloved Cubbies to a championship.
“I couldn’t sleep at all last night,” said Hazel, who now lives in an assisted-living facility in New Hampshire. “My adrenaline was really running after that game Wednesday night.
“You tell the Cubs there’s a bunch of old people rooting for them here at the home, cheering for them.
“I went to my first Cubs game alone and walked over to Wrigley Field because we lived nearby,” said Hazel, who grew up above her father’s bakery shop.
“I had to watch them all the time.
“Then I married a guy from the South Side and he was a big Sox fan!”
Hazel, who graduated from Lake View High School, met her husband, Herbert, at Indiana University — and eventually became a teacher. During the depression years, they followed jobs to New York.
In 1928, they bought a used Ford for $28 and drove to Chicago to see a Cubs game, her husband’s first.
“That’s when Herbert became a Cubs fan!”
Hazel, who is nicknamed “dynamite” by her friends, claims her favorite players were Gabby Hartnett and Andy Pafko. “I also was a fan of Lou Boudreau [a former Cleveland Indians shortstop who became a Cubs radio announcer.]”
“You couldn’t help but to love him,” she added.
“Those were the days.
“Right now, I’d have to say my favorite player on the team is [Anthony] Rizzo.
“I have been a fan of the Cubs, win or lose, my whole life. For years and years. I am 108 years old, ya know. When I thought they were going to win years ago, it broke my heart.
“When that fan [Steve Bartman] grabbed the ball, it was a heartbreaking moment for me. I never forgot about that.
“The Cubs are so lovable. They’re always in my memories. I can see the whole team and what they do still. They [Cubs] make you feel like you know them personally. Like you are part of the team, you know them and they know you. Over all these years and teams.”
Then Hazel added: “I would love to be at the field to see them play in the World Series. They have been my number one team for all these years, win or lose.
“I love them all. And I haven’t forgotten any of these players.”
Sneed is told Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office reached out to Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson’s office over the weekend to place a friendly wager on the World Series, only to find out he has a strict policy against them.
“We offered a strong wager, but they declined,” said mayoral spokesman Adam Collins. “Apparently, the mayor there is really superstitious and thinks it’s bad luck for him to wager on sports games. That’s okay, though. The only thing we really want from Cleveland is a trophy anyway.”
The numbers game . . .
Sports impresario Grant DePorter is now a prognosticator.
• Translation: If the number 108 is the Cubs’ magic mojo number — as DePorter predicts — as of Wednesday night’s game, the Cubs had played 105 postseason games in the history of the franchise. And if they win the next three games at Wrigley Field, it would mean that the Cubs will have won the World Series on their 108th postseason game ever played.
Daley dash . . .
Former mayor Richard M. Daley, a huge White Sox fan born and bred in the bastion of Bridgeport, has never been a Cubs fan.
Or even close.
But Daley, who is in China celebrating the fifth anniversary of his Katten Muchin Rosenman law firm’s practice in Shanghai, sends this word back about the World Series coming to Chicago: “This is absolutely great news for Chicago and all Chicagoans. This is obviously a great young ballclub. It’s just a very proud moment for the city.”
[Launching the firm’s China practice was one of his first acts after leaving office and as a new member of the law firm.]
Daley claims he’s been getting a lot of thumbs-ups from Americans in China about the World Series coming to “his city.”
Sneedlings . . .
I spy: Actor Michael Madsen spotted at Rosebud Prime on Wednesday with Kathy Hart of Mix’s “Eric and Kathy Show” . . . Musician John Mellencamp at Chicago Cut on Monday night. . . . Today’s birthdays: Bill Gates, 61; Julia Roberts, 49, and Frank Ocean, 29.Tweets by @sneedlings