CHICAGO — A recent tradition continued for the Cubs on Thursday as another former member of the team made his way back to Wrigley Field.
This time, it was Jason Heyward who was able to get his due from fans after his time with the team came to an end.
The Dodgers outfielder, who spent seven seasons with the Cubs, was welcomed back to Wrigley Field before his team’s game with a tribute on the video board in left field.
Once it was done, Heyward emerged from the dugout to a standing ovation from the fans, who greeted him warmly upon his return to the “Friendly Confines” as the Cubs and Dodgers start a four-game series.
For the Cubs, this has become a tradition over the last few years as a few of the core players from the 2016 World Series championship return to face their former team.
Willson Contreras, who signed with the Cardinals this past offseason after being unable to reach a long-term deal with the Cubs, returns for the first time with St. Louis on May 8.
What makes Heyward’s return a bit different is that he had the chance to say goodbye while still in a Cubs’ uniform.
In August 2022, the Cubs announced that the outfielder would be released at the end of the season, allowing him to be honored by the club during the final home series in October.
Lauded for his leadership and his defense, Heyward was one of the key leaders in the clubhouse for a club that made the playoffs five times in six years from 2015-2020. A Gold Glove winner with the team in 2016 & 2017, he delivered the now famous rain delay speech in Game 7 of the World Series against Cleveland on November 3, 2016.
The Cubs went on to score two runs in the tenth inning to win 8-7 to end the franchise’s 108-year championship drought.