Great-grandson of Cubs Hall of Famer catches home run ball at NLDS game

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CHICAGO -- It was a night Markus Hartnett will be talking about for the rest of his life.

"It was like no Cubs game I've probably ever been to," he said.

His cousin came through with a bleacher ticket at 1 p.m. Monday afternoon. Markus, a grade school teacher, told his students and they told him what they expected.

"They were like, 'You've got to catch a ball, you got to catch one,' and I was like 'I've been going to Cubs games for 33 years and I've never even come close to catching a ball," he said.

But with the wind blowing out that night, Markus was in the right place at the right time.

"I just kind of stuck my hand up. It couldn't have been hit more perfectly to me," he said. "I'm really excited about the clean catch. I'm glad it wasn't a bobbled catch, do my blood lines right."

And it's a rich Cubs bloodline. Markus' great-grandfather was Gabby Hartnett.

Hartnett was a Hall of Fame catcher who came to the Cubs in 1922 and played close to 20 years on the North Side. He's listed as one of the best catchers in the history of the game.

Gabby was the behind the plate the day Babe Ruth allegedly called his shot. He was an All-Star and NL MVP. Even took time out to sign an autograph for Al Capone, something Major League Baseball asked him never to do again.

There is no question Markus truly bleeds Cubby blue, so blue in fact he doesn't have the ball he caught. He doesn't have it because a Cub didn't hit.

"I threw it back, man! It was a St. Louis Cardinal home run. I feel like if I would have brought that home, my great-grandfather would be rolling over in his grave," Markus said.

So the ball is gone, the Cubs have moved on, but that night in October, Markus will never forget.


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