Two of the oldest living Chicago Cubs fans have both lived well past 100 years of age, but even they haven’t lived long enough to remember the last time Wrigley Field celebrated a World Series title.
MLB.com recently profiled Raymond Styrland, 105, and Mavis Bell, 107, as part of a Cubs fan base that just might see the long-beleaguered Major League Baseball franchise snap their 108-year long World Series championship drought this year when the Cubs battle the nearly equal title-hungry Cleveland Indians over the next week.
Bell, who currently lives at a retirement community and dons a Cubs jersey with No. 107 on the back, was born in 1909, one year after the Cubs last won the World Series, while Styrland was born in 1911.
Styrland told MLB.com that he usually goes to bed around 9 p.m., but he stayed up on Saturday to watch the Cubs defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 to clinch their first World Series berth since 1945.
"It was too exciting to go to sleep," Styrlund said on Sunday. "I'd kind of given up hope the way it was going over the years. That's why I stayed up. I had to find out if they could do this. I've been waiting a long time. I couldn't believe it.
"Then I was here all by myself, so I tried to go to sleep, but it took quite a while after going through all of that. It had to sink in."
However, Bell is technically the oldest living Cubs fan, her grandson told MLB.com, and she’s noticed how everyone seems to have jumped on Chicago’s bandwagon. She also remembers a far different era of the game, when it had an entirely different name.
“They called it ‘long base’ back then, when you hit the ball as hard as you could, then ran to a designated spot out in the field and tried to get back home before getting tagged. There was only one base out there, not three like today,” Bell told the DeKalb Daily Chronicle last month.
Neither Bell nor Styrland can be called super-fans from birth. Bell said she’s only been two games her entire life, while Styrland, who was born in Minnesota, didn’t move to Chicago until 1937 with his wife. Back then, the Cubs were just at the tail end of four World Series appearances over 10 seasons. Styrland moved back to Minnesota about three years later, but he’s remained a Cubs fan ever since.
He’s also confident that this might, finally, be the Cubs’ year.
"They're gonna win this time," Styrlund said. "They'd better, because I can't wait another 100 years."