6 Home Runs, 6 Stories From Record-Breaking Night At Wrigley

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If you were on the internet at all on Wednesday, then you’re likely aware that Kyle Schwarber’s monstrous home run that landed on top of the right-field scoreboard has been enclosed in glass as somewhat of a symbol for the Cubs’ win to clinch the NLDS, but what happened to the baseballs that left the park on Monday night when the Cubs hit a postseason record six home runs? Well, let me tell you.

1Kyle Schwarber/Jeff Baum

46-year-old Jeff Baum made the trip to Chicago from Lubbock, Texas this past weekend to run in the Chicago Marathon, but stayed in town an extra day to catch Game 3. He’s been a Cubs fan for over 30 years, and sometimes uses his days off as a school administrator to make at least one trip per year to the Friendly Confines.

“I was the fat kid that every summer instead of being outside in the heat would be inside on the couch watching the cubs on tv.”

He bought his ticket for Monday night’s game and made his way to section 305 of the newly-renovated bleachers, and calmly reached down to grab Kyle Schwarber’s second-inning home run, well, after it hit him in the arm, broke his watch, and fell into the basket. That seems like a small price to pay for a piece of history.

“This is the happiest spot in the world for me.”

2Starlin Castro/Nick Jarecki

17-year-old Nick Jarecki, a first baseman and pitcher at Deerfield High School, got his choice of which playoff game he wanted to attend. His father is a season ticket holder, and Nick chose Game 3 to watch Jake Arrieta. He’s a pitcher. It makes sense. Yet, Jarecki didn’t need his pitching skills as Starlin Castro’s fourth-inning home run came his way. He needed sure hands, and he had them, catching the second Cubs long ball of the night on the fly.

“I had to catch it. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

3Kris Bryant/Jim Gatto

Jim Gatto grew up on the South Side, which usually translates into becoming a White Sox fan, but for the 46-year-old doctor, he’s always bled Cubbie blue. His uncle, George Gatto, actually played six years in the Cubs’ farm system. His practice is in Wisconsin, but he still owns season tickets, giving away some and selling some others. Gatto himself makes it to a handful of games each season, and certainly wasn’t missing out on the first playoff game at Wrigley Field in seven years. You can imagine Gatto’s excitement when Kris Bryant’s fifth-inning blast ended up in his hands.

“I didn’t miss it. Two hands. No glove.”

Gatto wouldn’t have the ball for long. Although fans around him told him to try and trade the ball for something, he handed it over when a Cubs security employee asked for it, likely on Bryant’s behalf. It was Bryant’s first postseason home run, and Gatto gave an easy explanation on why he gave it up so quickly.

“He should have the ball.”

4Anthony Rizzo/Paul Fromm

When Paul Fromm was 18, he made the trip back home to Chicago from the University of Virginia, where he was a freshman. What was the reason? He wanted to watch the Cubs attempt to go to the World Series. That was October 14, 2003. Game 6. Yes, that game.

“I cried on the way home.”

Who didn’t Paul? He joined the waiting list for season tickets soon after, and would spend the next dozen years living in New York and Michigan before returning to Chicago earlier this year.

“So the year I move back is the year I got off the waiting list and the year the Cubs got good. And the year I got Anthony Rizzo’s Home run in the playoffs.”

He didn’t make the clean kind of catch that Jarecki and Gatto had, but instead ended up with the ball after a scramble two rows in front of him where the ball originally landed. The tussle sent the ball squirting out and Fromm just grabbed it. However, much like Gatto, he also gave up the ball to a Cubs employee.

5Jorge Soler/Tony Killeen

30-year-old Tony Killeen grew up 30 miles south of Wrigley Field and now lives in Dyer, Indiana, but still shares season tickets with his brother, Mike, who chose to use his share for Game 4. That left Tony in the bleachers to catch Jorge Soler’s sixth-inning home run, and he made sure to hold the ball up where his brother could see it on TV.

“He texted me already. he said he hates me.”

Soler’s home run gave the Cubs five for the night, tying them for the postseason record. As for Killeen, he held onto his ball, but said that he would take it down to the clubhouse after the game to give to Soler.

6Dexter Fowler/Gary Patterson

The record-breaking home run came in the eighth inning off the bat of center fielder Dexter Fowler. As the ball headed towards the right field stands where Gary Patterson was sitting, the Oak Park resident got ready, played the bounce off the chair in front of him, and nabbed the sixth and final Cubs long ball of the night.

“This is what a Cubs home game is, you know? Home Cubs playoff game. This is what it’s all about.”

Monday night was a special night for every Chicago Cubs fan, but for these six, they became a small part of the history that was made.