If you are a Cubs fan and currently in the Phoenix/Mesa metro area, you probably know about the Cubs Rally that is going on at Sloan Park today. It gets underway at noon to 4pm. However, if you want to be one of 1,000 folks to get your photo taken with the Cubs World Series Trophy, you should get there early to get a wrist band. The parking lot opens at 8 a.m. The gates to Sloan Park open at 10 a.m. The concession stands, team shop and music open at 11 a.m. Here is more info on the event, in which Joe Maddon and some of the Cubs players will also say a few words on stage at about noon.
Wednesday I was at the Cactus League Luncheon where the Arizona Spring Training Experience inducted Ernie Banks, Larry Doby, Monte Irvin, and Willie Mays into the Cactus League Hall of Fame. You can read about the event and see photos here. What a thrill to meet and chat with Willie Mays! I also had conversations with Hall of Famers Gaylord Perry and Fergie Jenkins. Fergie accepted the induction plaque for his former roommate Ernie Banks.
The Cactus League Hall of Fame isn’t about inducting a bunch of former players, in fact this was the first time in the four year history that any players have been inducted. The Cactus League HOF concept is about recognizing people who have built and made the Cactus League what it is today.
The induction of these players was a convergence of the 70 year anniversary of the Cactus League and the 70 year anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier. These four players were all African-American pioneers in baseball and the early days of the Cactus League. If you want to read a great article about the inductees time in the Cactus League, my friend and baseball historian/writer Charlie Vascellaro wrote this in-depth piece.
I had a game run-through at Sloan Park yesterday in preparation for tomorrow’s Cubs spring opener at Sloan, going over all the public address copy, video, and music materials. I was also able to get my photo taken with the Cubs World Series Trophy!
I’m off to the rally at Sloan Park! Here are some Cubs photos from the past few days taken by BOS’s John Antonoff.