Man finally opens beer he saved since Cubs collapse in 1984
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In 1984, Thomas Johnson bought a six pack of Coors beer to watch the Cubs play the Padres.
The Cubs lost. San Diego went to the World Series.
And Johnson, not much of a drinker, had one beer left over.
“I put sixth can in the fridge and just kind of forgot about it until my son came home from college in 1991 and he just couldn’t believe it. I told him I was kind of saving it for a World Series celebration and he started telling his friends and it just snowballed,” said Johnson, 73, of southwest suburban Wilmington.
“Every time I’d come home to mom and dad’s house I’d check on that beer,” said Johnson’s son, also named Thomas. “And it just became like a legendary thing in my family.
“Dad had that sucker all polished up and ready to go in ’03 and then Bartman happened and he had to shove it behind the pickles and the leftovers again,” he said.
Over the past week, Johnson removed the beer from his fridge and set it by the television during World Series games — for good luck.
On Wednesday night he went to his son’s home in nearby Morris to watch Game 7.
The beer came, too.
“When the Indians tied it up again in the eighth inning I thought ‘Oh, no. They’re going to disappoint us again. And I was tempted to say ‘This is it, we’re going to get rid of this beer tonight one way or the other.'”
The can of suds survived the life cycles of two refrigerators, countless fridge cleanings and grocery shuffles.
“It could have dropped and exploded,” the elder Johnson said.
But it didn’t. And about 10 minutes after the Cubs won, exhausted and with damp eyes, the family headed into the kitchen and got a mug that said Cubs on it and set it on the kitchen counter.
Johnson tore the old school pull tab lid off the can, and poured the flat beer into the mug.
“Granddad you’re not drinking that! You’ll die,” shouted Johnson’s granddaughter, Tessa, a sixth grader.
Did he drink it?
“Absolutely not,” said Johnson, a retired ComEd worker.
“The beer didn’t really look all that bad. I was kind of surprised,” he said.
“But it didn’t smell too good,” he added. “Everyone wanted to look at it and smell it.”
Then, down the kitchen drain it went.
“I thought, ‘I better keep the can,'” chuckled Johnson.
His granddaughter, Grace Johnson, a junior at Morris Community High School, recorded a video of the scene and posted it to Twitter. By Thursday afternoon it had been retweeted more than 27,000 times and liked more than 51,000 times.