With Major League Baseball still firmly entrenched in a lockout, and an offseason consisting of just one Hall of Fame induction and a video of a World Series champion assaulting his wife, it is important to remind ourselves about why we we still root for "America's Favorite Pastime". In particular, the story of the songwriter from Chicago who epitomized the heart and spirit of the Chicago Cubs. His name was Steve Goodman.
The Story Behind Steve Goodman And His 'Go Cubs Go' Anthem Legacy
His 'Darlin' Cubs
If you have never had the unique experience to sit in Wrigley Field and watch the Chicago Cubs win, then you have not experienced one of the greatest traditions in all of sports. After the final out seals the victory for Chicago, a song roars out of the PA season, and a chorus of Cubs, young and old alike, can be heard echoing this immortal line by Steve Goodman, "Go Cubs Go! Go Cubs Go! Hey Chicago, what do you say? The Cubs are going to win today!"
While you may not have sang or heard that stanza before, you most likely have heard some of Goodman's other works. Along with many other hits including the "City of New Orleans", Goodman is known for the legendary line "You don't have to call me darlin, darlin" from the "You Never Even Called By Name" country classic, a co-write with legendary songwriter, friend, and fellow Illinois native John Prine.
A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request
Being diagnosed with leukemia at the age of 21, Goodman knew he had precious time to achieve his dreams. While writing hit songs and extensively touring, Goodman never failed to forget his precious Cubs. Ever the faithful fan, Goodman was critical of the play he saw (often in attendance) from behind the ivy walls. "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request" was a song instructing how Goodman (in real life, a dying Cubs fan) desired to be laid to rest at Wrigley while chiding the Cubs for all their mishaps and struggles. "It's a beautiful day for a funeral. Hey, Ernie, let's play two....."
Goodman passed away at the age of 36 in 1984.
October 30, 2016, the Chicago Cubs celebrated a 3-2 Game 5 victory against then Cleveland Indians (now Cleveland Guardians) in Chicago. The series now stood at 3-2 in favor of Cleveland, with the next two games to be played in Cleveland. The Cubs would go on to win the series, but on that 50 degree night of the 30th, the Cubs fans were hopeful. They still had a chance to break the championship drought from 1908. So after Aroldis Champman recorded the final out of that Game 5, the familiar voice of Steve Goodman echoed out. And once again, the question was asked by Goodman, "Hey Chicago what do you say?" And once again, Wrigley answered.