Once-loathed Bartman gets Cubs championship ring

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 01 2017 09:38 AM

Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman (C) who tried to catch a foul ball hit by Florida Marlins Luis Castillo sits in the stands in the eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series in Chicago, Illinois, October 14, 2003. File. Allen Fredrickson, Reuters

CHICAGO -- Steve Bartman, the Chicago Cubs supporter ostracized after a 2003 playoff incident interfering with a potential catch, received a World Series championship ring Monday from the Major League Baseball club.

Bartman was loathed for years as part of the "cursed" Cubs, his botched attempt to grab a foul ball while in a front-row seat at Wrigley Field foiling Cubs outfielder Moises Alou's attempt to get to it in the eighth inning of the sixth game of the 2003 National League Championship Series.

The tale became epic in American sports lore when the Cubs, who led the game 3-0 and the best-of-seven series 3-2, went on to surrender eight runs in the inning and lost the game to Florida 8-3 and dropped the series to the Marlins in seven games.

Last year, the Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908, ending the longest championship drought in North American sports history by defeating the Cleveland Indians in the dramatic seventh game of the World Series, ending the "curse."

That provided the chance for the Cubs to repay Bartman in some measure for the suffering he underwent for his actions in the playoff game 14 years ago.

"I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over," Bartman said in a statement.

"Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series championship ring.

"I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels. My family and I will cherish it for generations."

Chicago Cubs baseball fan Steve Bartman reaches for the ball as Chicago Cubs left fielder Moises Alou comes down during eighth inning action in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series in Chicago, October 14, 2003. File. Allen Fredrickson, Reuters

Bartman was presented with the ring in the offices of Cubs owner Tom Ricketts.

"We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series," Ricketts said.

Bartman also received a tour of Wrigley Field, where his seat has become a mini-tourist attraction as his saga is recalled.

Bartman rose to try and catch a foul ball hit by Luis Castillo, not realizing Alou was racing over to make a leaping attempt to grab the ball for what would have been a crucial out.

After Bartman deflected the ball from Alou's glove, the frustrated left-fielder took off his glove and hurled it to the ground, yelling at several fans.

As the game continued and the Cubs collapse came, Bartman had to be escorted by security out of the ballpark, one fan dumping a beer upon him in anger. Police guarded his home and he changed his phone number while rejecting appearance requests.

© Agence France-Presse

For more sports coverage, visit the ABS-CBN Sports website.