Northbrook's 'Cane Guy' gets a bobblehead
Really, he just had a bum knee. Now he's immortalized.
Northbrook resident Rob Holt, the "Cane Guy" who appeared to work magic during the White Sox's 12-6 victory over the Houston Astros in Game 3 of the 2021 American League Divisional Series, has his own bobblehead.
On National Bobblehead Day -- Jan. 7 -- the White Sox announced on Twitter a fan promotion for a "Cane Guy" bobblehead. A small figurine of a smiling, white-haired Holt, dressed in White Sox fan attire, extending his brown cane, with "Cane Guy -- 10/10/21" written on the base.
Holt, 72, joins the likes of Frank Thomas, Eloy Jimenez, organist Nancy Faust, announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, groundskeeper Roger "The Sodfather" Bossard and mascot Southpaw among White Sox players and personalities to have their own bobblehead.
A retired wealth management guy, Holt has a number of them in his collection. He will soon get "a handful" of his own, he said.
"It's a very, very sparse allotment; they didn't have a lot of them made," Holt said of a promotion that came about after a phone conversation between the team and his daughter, Lindsey.
"What they wanted to do is, instead of Soxfest, which was canceled, they wanted to do something for Sox fans to keep them happy, to keep them going," Rob Holt said.
A White Sox season ticket holder for 35 years -- he attended both home games of the 2005 World Series win -- Holt definitely got them going that October night.
Despite Houston being up two games to none and leading 5-1 early in Game 3, he felt conditions were indeed magical in the White Sox's first home game of the series.
"It was unique set of circumstances. With everything going on with the world -- with the political situation, with COVID, just with everything -- I think people were ready for a release, just ready to go outside and not think about it," Holt said.
"And somehow that encapsulated with me screwing around with a cane and that whole situation took on a life of its own."
From his seat in the third row just past the Houston dugout, Holt began his bewitching.
With the White Sox batting in the bottom of the third inning, a fan behind him complained that a struggling hitter should drive the ball to left field. Holt extended his cane toward the field, told the batter to hit the ball to left, and he did.
With cane extended Holt commanded the next batter to belt the ball into the outfield gap. He did.
"And the whole day turned around," Holt said.
The White Sox scored 5 runs to go up 6-5, as excited fans extolled the "magic" cane.
"The cane's not magic, he is," announced Holt's son, Chris, sitting with him at the game. "He's a wizard. He's Gandalf."
Rob Holt then turned his attention to the Astros' hitters, directing the cane's gnarled handle at them, twisting it, saying they had no strength. Houston went scoreless from the fifth through ninth innings.
For good measure, in the bottom of the eighth inning, Holt implored White Sox pinch hitter Andrew Vaughn to hit another gapper. The spell produced a run-scoring double.
The uproar in section 120 quickly drew the attention of television cameras and the White Sox organization, and multiple shots of Holt wielding his cane beamed on the big Guaranteed Rate Field video board and on television.
Just as quickly, it hit the internet.
"Dad, you are erupting on social media," Chris told his father.
"What's social media?" Rob asked.
By the time Game 3 ended, Holt and his cane, which was made from a sumac tree and purchased years ago in Door County, Holt's wife, retired physical therapist Priscilla, warned him to bring it to assist a sprained knee -- were stars.
Fans lined up for autographs and photos during and after the game. He met manager-turned-broadcaster Ozzie Guillen, did multiple interviews. Among the days' worth of text messages Holt scrolled through was one from a fan who said he and his buddies made a drinking game out of Holt's repeated Game 3 appearances.
The White Sox gave him tickets for Game 4, which the Astros won 10-1 to win the series. He didn't employ the cane.
"The next day was a different crowd," Holt said. "It became evident that it just wasn't the Sox's day."
After two days of celebrity things returned to normal, he said.
"It's like fame without fortune," Holt said.
Except now, with the "Cane Guy" bobblehead, his fame is everlasting.
"This was just a lighthearted moment that came at the right time," Holt said.