Six days after the Cubs made World Series history, 108-year-old Chicago fan Mabel Ball died. She was born in 1908, the same year the Cubs clinched their second championship title, and carried her fandom from childhood through the club’s triumphant 2016 run.
According to quotes from the Chicago Tribune’s Irv Leavitt, Ball did not watch the Cubs’ series-clinching Game 7 on November 2, and had not attended a game in person before or since her 90th birthday. When pressed for the reason, she replied that she was busy.
The significance of the year was not lost on Ball, though her son Rich confirmed that seeing her team secure another championship was not her first priority. Rather than making frequent trips to Wrigley Field or watching the Cubs’ broadcasts on TV, Mabel preferred to catch up with the team on the radio. Even then, she told Leavitt in an earlier interview, she missed many of the evening broadcasts due to a strict 7 p.m. bedtime.
After the Cubs mounted a historic comeback to overcome the Indians’ 3-1 lead, after the championship parade rolled through the city and the Chicago River was dyed a bright, brilliant blue, Ball suffered a heart attack. She later passed away in the Covenant Village of Northbrook.
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.