On Wednesday night, as the Chicago Cubs secured their first World Series in 108 years, a North Carolina man named Wayne Williams was listening to the game outside, in the dark, in the middle of a military cemetery in Greenwood, Indiana.
Decades earlier, Williams and his father had agreed that when — not if! — the Cubs reached the World Series, they would watch the game together.
His father, a Navy veteran, died in 1980. But that didn’t stop Williams from driving all day Wednesday to the cemetery, setting up a small camp, and playing the radio broadcast on his iPhone beside his father’s grave.
“I talked it out with my boys forever. I let them know that I told my dad — we had a pact. When the Cubs — not if, when — the Cubs got into the World Series, we would make sure we listen to the games together,” Williams told WTHR on Wednesday night.
Williams’ father, also named Wayne, became a Cubs fan during bootcamp prior to World War II.
“I think it was because when he was at boot camp at Great Lakes. He probably went to some games, because Wrigley’s brought the guys out there for these things and it was the closest thing to big-time baseball he’d ever seen,” Williams said.
From there, his father went off to the war. He was not yet 18.
“World War II, he was a signalman,” Williams said. “He was at Normandy, D-Day +8. He had not turned 18 yet.”
Like so many Cubs fans, Williams and his father endured more baseball suffering than anyone deserves.
“’69 broke his heart,” he said. “If he hadn’t been dead in (1984), that would have done it for him.”
Game 7 on Wednesday night might have done it, too. The Cubs had a three-run lead and were just four outs away from victory when the Indians mounted a stunning comeback, and then before the game could go to extra innings a tarp was placed on the field because of a rain shower.
But the Cubs rallied in the 10th, and held on for the 8-7 victory.
Back at the cemetery, Williams joked and said that wherever his father was, he didn’t know for certain that he was watching.
Knowing him, no. He was a hell raiser, baby. He was a hell raiser.”
Watch the video clip of Williams below:
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