Illinois Republican Gubernatorial Bill Brady acknowledges applause during a debate between the Illinois Republican candidates for Governor in Springfield, Ill., Monday, Dec. 14, 2009. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Charles Henry Widegren died in January, at the age of 104. Widegren, the son of Swedish immigrants, was nicknamed “Mr. Lake View,” because he lived his entire life in the neighborhood, beginning in 1907. As a child, Widegren played on the dirt mounds during the construction of the Cubs’ stadium. His family attended the opening series in the park, and he later got a job picking up trash in exchange for free tickets.
“Back then the ballpark was rarely locked so on non-game days, Mr. Widegren and his siblings would play inside and race down the concrete ramps on their bikes and roller skates,” according to his obituary.
Although it happened while he was an infant, in 1908, Widegren was probably the last Cubs fan who was alive when the team won a World Series.
Widegren was also probably the last living Chicagoan who was eligible to vote for an incumbent Republican mayor -- William Hale Thomspon, in 1931. That the Cubs can’t win a World Series and the Republicans can’t win an election are totems of futility that are not only taken for granted for Chicagoans, but contribute to the city’s image. But is it more frustrating to be a Cubs fan, or a Chicago Republican? Let’s compare.
Cubs last World Series win: 1908
Republicans’ last mayoral win: 1927
Percentage of games Cubs won last season: 43.8
Percentage of votes Republican won in last presidential election: 13.7
How often Cub fans get their hearts stomped on: Every year.
How often Republicans get their hearts stomped on: Every four years.
Former Cub who went on to have huge success with other team: Greg Maddux.
Former Chicago Republican who went on to have huge success with another team: Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Worst part of Opening Day: Sitting next to suburbanites who only come to the city for baseball games.
Worst part of Election Day: Canvassing alongside suburbanites who only come to city for political activities.
Cub fans’ favorite drink: Old Style
Republicans’ favorite drink: Wine
Cubs’ TV network: WGN
Republicans’ TV network: Fox News
How often Cubs’ intra-city rivals win it all: Once in last 95 years.
How often Republicans’ intra-city rivals win it all: Every four years.
Frequency of Cub fans’ delusions of victory: Annual.
Frequency of Republicans’ delusions of victory: Never.
As Harry Caray would have said, “Cubs win!”