I can’t find the baseball that Randy Hundley autographed. I went looking for it the other day to show that my silent support of the Cubs had deep roots. I got the ball in the late sixties, when Hudley was the catcher for the Cubs and I was a new fan.
In 1968, our family moved from Minneapolis to Carol Stream, Illinois. I had been a Twins fan, and still was during the summers when we vacationed in northern Wisconsin. But we couldn’t receive WCCO in Illinois, and dad listened to WGN while we did chores on weekends. There was no way I would have supported the White Sox, but the Cubs were in another league. They were safe. I learned their names. I slowly became as much of a sports fan as I ever am.
But the baseball wasn’t a big deal because of the Cubs. It was because of the other team Randy Hundley was part of.
I got the autograph the night that Hundley spoke at a church banquet. He was identified as a Christian, and a personal-salvation-through-Jesus one. And I was looking for examples of cool people, competent people, who were also Christians. It probably would have been cooler if Ron Santo were the signer, or Ernie Banks. But I was happy that night. And I kept the baseball for decades.
But I was as quiet about my Cubs faith as my other faith. Maybe I was always concerned that if I was too public about either one, when the season fell apart I’d have to make explanations. Why did the Cubs do so poorly after I believed so much? Why did that person die after we prayed so much? Why did we always lose to the Mets? Why did we always sound so culturally out of touch?
I might have tossed the ball out a couple years ago in the cleaning I’ve been doing. So I won’t argue that I’m a huge fan, not like other parts of my family. But I’ve made some progress on being a little more public about my other faith. A few hundred words a day.
And now I’ve told you about both.