I just posted this to my Facebook. I figured it would be appropriate here too.
So as everyone knows, the Chicago Cubs play Game 1 of their first World Series they've been in since 1945 tonight. There are plenty of people and even emotions that I could write about, but I'm going to focus on someone I never got the chance to meet.
For about a decade now, I've been a regular poster and follower of a Cubs-related message board called northsidebaseball.com. The community there is filled with Cubs fans who embraced the statistical revolution in baseball rapidly and often discuss all things Cubs and most things MLB from that aspect. This site has actually had a massive influence on how I think about both sports and the world. I would think about WAR in baseball, PER or basketball, or about xG in soccer if I never discovered the site (look those up if you have to, and get more educated about modern pro sports in the process). I wouldn't even have the degree in economics that I got from OU. I definitely wouldn't have the job I currently have right now if it weren't for northsidebaseball.com either.
On this site was by far the die-hardest Cubs fan ever. During the Cubs bad seasons while NSBB existed, this guy would be the only one caring to keep track of any obscure statistic, or even trying to say anything about the Cubs while other fans had moved onto following more exciting teams. It got really lonely for him during 2012 and 2013 while the Cubs were trying to lose to get a high draft pick.
Sometime during this year, this man was diagnosed with late stage cancer and passed away from it in September. Those of us on the board knew that the Cubs we're good enough to finally get to the World Series and maybe even win it this year. Every one of us were devastated to hear of his passing, knowing that the Cubs were going to get to where they are today, and knowing that this was the best Cubs team of his lifetime.
RIP Fred Hornkohl 1951-2016. We all know you're enjoying watching this with Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, and all the other Cubs fans that never got to see the Chicago Cubs play in a World Series.
(Also, if you get so choked up by this story that you want to donate a few bucks to charity, his family requests that you donate to the Rizzo Family Foundation. Anthony Rizzo is a cancer survivor, and his foundation raises money for cancer research. It's not shady like the Clinton or Trump foundations.)