71 years later WWII vet and Cubs fan is going back to the World Series

A 97-year-old Elgin resident has been granted his wish to see his second World Series featuring the Chicago Cubs.

Everett “Jim” Schlegel and his son, Bill, will be going to Game 3 of this year’s series Friday night at Wrigley Field when the Cubs take on the Cleveland Indians. Marcus Lemonis, CEO of Camping World who stars in the CNBC reality shows “The Profit” and the upcoming “The Partner,” donated the tickets.

When asked early Tuesday afternoon how he felt about going to the first World Series game at Wrigley since 1945, Schlegel said, “I don’t know yet. I haven’t been there. I’m excited, but right now I think I need a nap.”

Schlegel said he attended Games 6 and 7 at Wrigley Field 71 years ago when the Detroit Tigers took Major League Baseball’s title, topping the Cubs four games to three.

Schlegel said he had served in the Army during World War II and was stationed in Hawaii from 1941 to 1945 and was on base near Pearl Harbor when the Japanese attacked.

Home just a few weeks, in October 1945 he headed to Wrigley Field in the hopes of seeing a game. A box office clerk named Mabel wound up giving him tickets for four bleacher seats — each with a $1.20 face value — for the two deciding games.

With his story part of Schlegel family lore, Schlegel’s granddaughter, Helen Schlegel of Niles, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to buy a ticket for her grandfather.

Experts say this year’s World Series may be the most expensive event in recent sports history. Tickets are being listed for an average of $6,155 for the Cubs’ first home game Friday and $3,125 for Game 1 of the series Tuesday at Progressive Field in Cleveland on TicketIQ, an event ticket search engine.

After catching the attention on social and traditional media, the Schlegel campaign brought in more than $11,000. It also caught the attention of Lemonis, who contacted Helen Schlegel through Twitter to offer the two tickets.

Of his gift, “It was the right thing to do,” Lemonis said via a Twitter message.

Schlegel lives with his daughter, Beverly Capiga. Capiga said the family learned of Lemonis’ offer late Tuesday morning and would be working out the logistics of getting Schlegel to the game.

Tuesday, Helen Schlegel posted on the GoFundMe page that the money raised will be donated to the Purple Heart Foundation. She also Tweeted a video of her grandfather, in which he thanked Lemonis and those who gave to his cause.

“I appreciate your generosity and hope we bring in a winner,” Schlegel states in the video.



Chicago Tribune contributed.
(c)2016 The Daily Southtown (Tinley Park, Ill.)
Visit The Daily Southtown (Tinley Park, Ill.) at www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/daily-southtown
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.