101-Year-Old Chicago Cubs Fan Hopes Beloved Team Grants Her Birthday Wish | KUOW News and Information

101-Year-Old Chicago Cubs Fan Hopes Beloved Team Grants Her Birthday Wish

Oct 21, 2016

It will be a night of tension and hope for baseball fans in Chicago when the Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers play Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday.

If the Cubs win, they will move on to the World Series to face the American League champion Cleveland Indians. It will be a step closer to fulfilling a wish of a faithful fan, 101-year-old Virginia Wood.

Wearing a Cubs T-shirt and surrounded by family, Wood was ready for baseball Thursday night when the Cubs and Dodgers took to the field. Her wheelchair not far from the television, the former physical education teacher knew what she wanted to see from her team.

"I just want to be sure they get the first run," Wood says. "I really do. I think it makes a difference."

And the Chicago Cubs did not disappoint — scoring in the first inning.

Wood attended her first Cubs game at Chicago's Wrigley Field in 1924. She was 10 years old. As an adult, she would go as often as she could, especially with friends after work on "Ladies Day" when they could attend free.

"When people didn't stay for the whole game, we'd all move ourselves down a little closer to the front as far as we could go," Wood says.

Wood saw lots of games but no championships. The Cubs last won a World Series in 1908, but Wood dismisses the idea of a curse holding the Cubs back. She says she knew a championship would come eventually, and she is convinced this is the year.

"Oh, I'm counting on them going all the way, absolutely," she says.

Wood says in the past, the Cubs didn't have all the parts they needed — good pitching and hitting at the same time. This year, they have Joe Maddon. Wood says Maddon is an excellent manager directing a very talented team.

"They've got all young kids now," Wood says. "It's wonderful. They're enthusiastic. They hustle a lot. They go after everything, and I think that's what the difference is."

Wood's son, Gary, says his mother hopes the Cubs grant her a favorite wish — a World Series title.

"She'll be 102 next month," he says. "That's what she wants for her birthday."

"Oh yeah, sure, I'd like to have that," Wood says. "Good birthday present. Oh yeah, that's the best."

But first, there's a game or two left before that can happen, and Wood says she'll be watching and cheering on her team.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It's been 108 years since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. And Virginia Wood has been alive for almost all of them. She's 101 years old, and she's a longtime faithful fan. Well, now that the Cubs are a game up on the Los Angeles Dodgers and one win away from the World Series, she's hoping that this just might be their year. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Wearing a Cubs T-shirt and surrounded by family, Virginia Wood was ready for baseball last night when the Cubs and Dodgers took to the field. Her wheelchair, not far from the television - the former physical education teacher knew what she wanted to see from her team.

VIRGINIA WOOD: I just want to be sure they get the first run, I really do. I think it makes a difference.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It does.

CORLEY: And the Chicago Cubs did not disappoint, scoring in the first inning.

GARY WOOD: How about that? Are you happy?

V WOOD: (Clapping) Oh, yeah. First run. First run. That's good.

CORLEY: Virginia Wood attended her first Cubs game at Chicago's Wrigley Field in 1924. She was 10. Later, as an adult, she'd go as often as she could, especially with friends after work on Ladies Day, when they could attend for free.

V WOOD: When people didn't stay for the whole game, we'd all move ourselves down a little closer to the front as far as we could go, yeah.

CORLEY: Lots of games, no championships. It was 1908 when the Cubs last won a World Series. But Wood dismisses the idea of a curse holding the Cubs back. She says she knew a championship would come eventually. And she's convinced this is the year.

V WOOD: Oh, I'm counting on them going all the way, absolutely.

CORLEY: Wood says in the past, the Cubs didn't have all the parts they needed - good pitching and hitting at the same time. This year, there's Joe Maddon, an excellent manager, says Wood, directing a very talented team.

V WOOD: They've got all young kids now. It's wonderful. They're enthusiastic, and they hustle a lot. You know, they really do. They go after everything. And I think that's what the difference is.

CORLEY: If the Cubs do beat the Dodgers, they'll play the Cleveland Indians. Wood's son, Gary, says his mother hopes the Cubs grant her a favored wish.

G WOOD: She'll be 102 next month. That's what she wants for her birthday.

V WOOD: Oh, yeah, sure. I'd like to have that. Good birthday present. Oh, yeah, that's the best.

CORLEY: But first, there is a game or two left before that can happen. And Wood says she'll be watching and cheering on her team. Cheryl Corley, NPR News, Chicago. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.