WAIW Salute: Leo Hildebrand

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

WAIW Salute: Leo Hildebrand

. Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I hope I'm still going to games when I'm 104 - imagine the cost of a beer ... or space beer, as it may be

Leo Hildebrand is a lifelong Cubs fan who wanted to throw out the first pitch at the Friendly Confines. So do I, so do you - so what's the point? Well, that would be because old Leo's "lifetime" consists of an astonishing 104 years. So really, he's got to be one of maybe a handful of people, if not the only person, alive the last time the Cubs were champs.

"Catchers wear masks now, you say? What a world!"

He and his family expressed the desire for Leo to rocket his 15mph fastball plateward prior to a Cubs game. Preferably this season, as the man might not be around all that much longer. They were rebuffed by whatever department is in charge of breaking 104 year old hearts. The Hildebrands, in a savvy move, tried this case in the press. I caught it on Deadspin and in the Sun-Times, which loves a good "evil corporation" story. The Cubs, perhaps not wanting yet another curse, told him that they couldn't have Leo throw out he first pitch anytime soon, but they would allow him and his family to come into the dugout and meet the players before a Cubs/Cards game. That game happened to be last Saturday, when we clinched.

For the first time in WAIW history, we'll forgive the custom jersey

Then some really funny stuff happened. Turns out, the Cubs were not heartless gypsies, and indeed planned to give Methusula Hildebrand his lifelong wish. But they decided to surprise him right before he was slated to take the mound. Kerry Wood apparently drew the short straw on this one, as it was he who was tasked with delivering a sudden surprise to a 104 year old man. That just seems ... dangerous.

Still a better first pitch than Mariah Carey

Happily, Leo took the news like the champ he is, and delivered a ball at least as good as anything Michael Wuertz has offered up this season. For that, WAIW would be foolish not to salute Leo. He's the picture of a Cubs fan - faithful, loyal, and really damn patient with hs team. So here's to you, Leo. I SAID, HERE'S TO YOU, LEO.


Anonymous said...

Leo Hildebrand 1903-2009

We are sad to inform you of the death of our beloved Leo Hildebrand, who passed away Friday morning August 14, 2009.

Visitation for Leo will be on Sunday, August 16, from 3 to 8 p.m. at Steuerle Funeral Home, 350 S Ardmore Avenue in Villa Park. The funeral service will be at St. Paul on Monday, August 17 at 10 a.m.

A luncheon will be held at St. Paul following the service. If you can help with the luncheon, please contact Nell Shallcross at 630-833-6783.