ELGIN, Ill. — A man who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor during WWII is hoping to survive the long Cubs World Series victory drought.
Cubs fans who actually saw their team play in a world series aren’t easy to come by these days. But even at 97 years old, Everrit Schelgle – Jim to his friends – can still name the starters on the 1945 World Series team.
That year he was fresh out of the army and thought he’d wander down to Wrigley to see if could get some tickets. It was the day of Game 6, and he was wearing his army uniform as he joined other Cubs fans in line trying to get tickets at the bleacher box office.
“A policeman came along and he said, ‘solider, what the hell are you doing here?’ and I said, I’m going to go to a ball game,” [he said] ‘you don’t have to stand in line, come on with me,’” Jim recalls.
The officer took Jim straight to the front of the line.
“He said, Maybel, I’ve got a solider here who wants to go the ball game,” Jim said. “She was all shook up, and she said ‘how many tickets do you want?’ and I came up with four, and she gave me four tickets.”
Jim saw both Games 6 and 7 with three buddies. The Cubs lost the series but he hasn’t lost his stubs. Each ticket to the World Series games cost just $1.20. It’s a little different this year – but he’d still like to catch a game.
His granddaughter Helen Schelgle , along with her dad, are trying to get Jim to Wrigley for a game, and they’re raising money on a GoFundMe page.
Besides being a lifelong Cubs fan, Jim is also a Pearl Harbor survivor. He just got out of boot camp when the Japanese attacked. He was on patrol when he says when a Japanese plane came so close he could see the pilot wave to him.
“When it happened, you do what you are told to do; I wasn’t much of soldier yet, but I was there,” he said.
Needless to say the experience stuck with him.
“All he talks about is Pearl Harbor and the Cubs; that is his life,” Helen said.
Jim grew up on Chicago’s North Side and now lives in Elgin. If he doesn’t make it to the game he’ll be sitting right in his chair, watching it on TV. He’s predicting the cubs will win, but it’ll take 7 games, and the celebration will be in Cleveland instead of at Wrigley.
“I don’t give a damn where it’s at, as long as they win,” he joked.
Jim’s prediction for game one: cubs 6, Indians 0.