Constable: Never giving up is what true Cubs fans do

  • Expressing a sentiment shared by many Cubs fans, Dave and Carol Hamm of Glen Ellyn plead for the Cubs to defeat the New York Mets and make it to the World Series in honor of her father, Ray Lisching. This photograph is from Lisching's trip to Wrigley to celebrate his 75th birthday nine years ago. Now, health issues keep him from attending a game.

    Expressing a sentiment shared by many Cubs fans, Dave and Carol Hamm of Glen Ellyn plead for the Cubs to defeat the New York Mets and make it to the World Series in honor of her father, Ray Lisching. This photograph is from Lisching's trip to Wrigley to celebrate his 75th birthday nine years ago. Now, health issues keep him from attending a game. Burt Constable | Staff Photographer

  • Urging the Cubs to rally, defeat the New York Mets and win the World Series for the first time since 1908, Dave and Carol Hamm of Glen Ellyn pose under the statue of Ernie Banks outside Wrigley Field. Their handmade sign boasts a No. 14 to honor Banks, who died in January, and a photo of her father, whose health issues have kept him away from Wrigley Field since 2006.

    Urging the Cubs to rally, defeat the New York Mets and win the World Series for the first time since 1908, Dave and Carol Hamm of Glen Ellyn pose under the statue of Ernie Banks outside Wrigley Field. Their handmade sign boasts a No. 14 to honor Banks, who died in January, and a photo of her father, whose health issues have kept him away from Wrigley Field since 2006. Burt Constable | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/20/2015 11:53 PM

One corner of a handmade sign Dave and Carol Hamm of Glen Ellyn carry to Wrigley Field for Tuesday's playoff game cradles a photo of her dad, Ray Lisching. It was taken nine years ago, when Lisching celebrated his 75th birthday with a trip to Wrigley Field.

Shown stepping out of a car, Lisching is the picture of contentment. A caption written above his head reads, "Aah, the Cubs!!"

 

That will be the last photograph of Lisching at the Friendly Confines, as health problems keep the 84-year-old from going to games, Carol Hamm says.

Next to the photo of "Dad's last time at Wrigley," she has written a plea for the Cubs to rally, beat the New York Mets in this National League Championship Series and advance to the World Series for the first time since 1945. "For Dad," reads the note framed in red glitter. "Please."

The Cubs respond by losing a 5-2 heartbreaker, dropping to 0-3 in the best-of-seven series.

"It doesn't matter if the series is 1-2 or 0-3, we never give up," says Dave Hamm, 61, echoing a sentiment he has heard many times from his father-in-law. "As Ray would say, 'It's not over until the fat lady sings.'"

A first-inning Mets' run sucks some of the joy out of 42,231 fans at Wrigley. A homer by Cubs rookie Kyle Schwarber pumps it all back in. That scene repeats in the fourth inning, when Cubs rookie Jorge Soler knots the score with a home run.

When the Mets score the go-ahead run on a strike-three wild pitch in the sixth inning and add two more in the seventh inning, those white "W" towels waved by fans signal more "worry" than "win." A ninth-inning rain makes those towels useful.

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Growing up in Lombard, Carol Hamm, 58, remembers how her father "just doesn't give up, ever" on his Cubs. The sign inspired by her dad should encourage other Cubs fans to realize that the Cubs still can take this series by winning four straight.

"We're just going to share it today for good luck," Carol Hamm says, as she lets some fellow Cubs fans pose with her sign.

Tales of old people waiting to see the Cubs win a championship have been around for most of this past century.

"How many funerals do you go to where they say, 'He waited all his life'?" Dave Hamm says.

One of those disappointing years was in 1969, when the mighty Cubs faded in September and the New York Mets rallied to top Chicago and stage an amazing World Series championship.

"That's why I want to play the Mets," says Dave Hamm, who remembers that '69 Cubs team's collapse. Ernie Banks, who died in January, was one of four Hall-of-Famers on that team.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"I had Ernie Banks on a flight once," says Carol Hamm, a flight attendant for United Airlines. "We're sure missing him today."

The Hamms had another brush with a Cubs legend. "Billy Williams used to be our neighbor," says Dave Hamm.

"We had a similar phone number, so I got a lot of calls for him," Carol Hamm says.

When she told Williams about a distant relative, who was a Philadelphia Phillies fan and fighting cancer, the Cubs legend gave her a baseball signed by Phillies Hall-of-Famer Mike Schmidt.

Those warm feelings the Hamms have for the 1969 Cubs are the same ones generated by this year's Cubs team, the couple say.

"It's been wonderful. It's magical," Carol Hamm says.

She's expecting a Cubs win Wednesday night and again on Thursday night, and then a couple more in New York. When Boston broke that team's "curse" to win the 2004 World Series, the Red Sox were down 0-3 in the American League Championship Series before winning four straight against a powerful team from New York.

"There is," Hamm says, "still tomorrow."

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