CHICAGO — For nearly three decades Jerry Pritikin has been converting baseball fans to strict Cubs fans. On any given game day, you will find him walking the Friendly Confines wearing his signature propeller beanie and spreading the good word of baseball..
And his 10 Cub-mandments.
“I am thy fan of the Chicago Cubs. I shall not root for another team before thee,” he says. “Of course not take Ernie Banks name in vain, that’s common sense. Honor thy trinity of Tom Rickets, Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon.”
He is not just a lifelong fan. Jerry himself is arguably a Cubs institution.
It was the early ‘80s when he began preaching from the bleachers at Wrigley and was known at the ballpark for converting fans. Opposing teams knew him for his heckling.
His support for the team quickly caught on. Harry Caray called him the Cubs number one fan.
“When he introduced me at the 10th inning in 1985, he said I was John Q. Public, the fan and that’s what I always try to do; represent the fan who can’t be in Wrigley.”
Today every inch of his Chicago apartment is covered in Cubs and baseball memorabilia including pictures, street signs and his popular posters.
While the price of bleacher tickets has kept him out of the ball park in recent years, he still never misses an opportunity to soak in the excitement at Wrigley.
“There’s always someone arriving there for the first time or never been to the ballpark and I kind of enjoy talking to them and telling them, ‘You just got addicted,’” he says. “Everybody should get to Wrigley at least once in their lifetime.”
Jerry is hoping to get there at least once during the playoffs, but that would take a miracle from a Cubs angel. And even if he ends up watching the action from home, for him a 70-year-old prayer could finally be answered.
“I heard the expression, ‘Wait til next time,’ for the first time in 1946. So you can imagine, I got used to the fact it wasn’t going to happen. This year, since the first game, they have definitely showed this is the year and I really believe that.”
Tickets to Bleacher Bums available here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2600825