(Senate - November 15, 2016)

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[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 163 (Tuesday, November 15, 2016)]
[Pages S6329-S6330]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, for 16 years, broadcaster Harry Caray was 
the voice of the Chicago Cubs. He wasn't in Yogi Berra's league 
linguistically. Harry Caray could turn a phrase.
  ``Holy cow!'' was one of Harry Caray's signature lines. Another 
legendary Harry Caray line that made people jump for joy was this:

       It might be. It could be. It is! A home run!

  Harry Caray loved baseball. He loved Chicago. He loved the Cubs. But 
most of all, he loved the Cubs fans, those generations of fans who 
packed Wrigley Field every year, almost certain that their team would 
lose but hoping for a miracle. Harry Caray once said of the citizens of 
Cubs Nation:

       This has been the remarkable thing about the fans in 
     Chicago, they keep drawing an average of a million-three a 
     year, and when the season's over and they've won their usual 
     71 games, you feel that those fans deserve a medal.

  Well, Harry Caray passed away in 1998. But like every Cubs fan, he 
believed until his final breath that the Chicago Cubs, those loveable 
losers, would one day reclaim the title as Major League Baseball's 
World Series champions, a title they held and won in 1908.
  Well, Harry Caray was right. The day came. Miraculously, in the early 
morning hours of November 3, in the 10th inning of the 7th and deciding 
game against the gritty, formidable Cleveland Indians, the Chicago Cubs 
won the 2016 World Series. That heart-stopping game 7--in fact, the 
whole series--was a contest for the ages and one that Cubs fans will be 
talking about for generations.
  Let me say it again. The Cubs' improbable, come-from-behind World 
Series championship marks the first time since 1908 that the Cubs won 
the World Series. Their 108-year drought with our World Series trophy 
marked the longest losing streak of any team in any sport in the United 
States of America. But all those years of dashed hopes and deferred 
dreams are history.
  The curse of the billy goat and the omen of the black cat are all 
dead. Fly the W and hoist the trophy. The 2016 Chicago Cubs are the 
World Series champs, the very best in baseball. They posted the 
winningest record in Major League Baseball, with 103 victories to 58 
losses, and they finished 17\1/2\ games ahead in their division, ahead 
of the St. Louis Cardinals, always a formidable baseball team. It was 
the first time the Cubs had posted the most wins in baseball since 1945 
and the first time the Northsiders had won 100 games since 1935.
  In postseason play, the Cubs launched a ninth-inning comeback to take 
the National League division series against the Giants in four games. 
Then it was the Dodgers. After losing in back-to-back shutouts, 
trailing the Dodgers 2 to 1 in the series, the Cubs rallied to beat the 
Dodgers in six games and claimed their first National League 
championship in 17 years.
  For generations, the World Series has broken many a Cubs fan's heart. 
After winning the Fall Classic in 1907 and 1908, the Cubs went on to 
lose the World Series in 1910, 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1945, 
their last World Series appearance until this year.
  Yet, against history and against reason, as the 2016 World Series 
began, Cubs fans dared to believe. Maybe this was the year. Their faith 
was tested. The Cleveland Indians are a great and gutsy ball club. They 
took an early and commanding control of the Series, leading the Cubs 
three games to one in the best of seven.
  Then the magic started. With their backs to the wall, one defeat away 
from elimination, the Cubs roared back to win the final three games of 
the Series and brought the World Series trophy home to Chicago. They 
clinched the World Series in game 7 with an 8-to-7 win in extra 
innings. The game was tied 6 to 6 after nine innings. The suspense was 
heightened by a rain delay that was called just as the 10th inning was 
about to start. The rain stopped the game for 17 minutes. The Cubs 
scored 2 runs when they came back in the top of the 10th inning on a 
double by Ben Zobrist and a single by Miguel Montero.
  The Indians scored a run in the bottom of the 10th inning, but it 
wasn't enough. The final score: Cubs 8, Indians 7.
  Ben Zobrist was named World Series MVP. It was only the sixth time in 
World Series history that a team had come back from a deficit of three 
games to win a championship. The last team to pull it off was the 
Kansas City Royals in 1985.
  This World Series victory was truly a team victory. Every member of 
the team and organization deserves credit.
  Cubs General Manager Theo Epstein, destined for the National Baseball 
Hall of Fame, arrived in Chicago in 2011 with the challenge of 
rebuilding an organization that had tried everything to no avail. It 
took him five seasons, three managers, and dozens of trades, but he 
won. After game 7, he said he was just proud to bring the World Series 
trophy back to Chicago for Cubs legends Billy Williams and the late 
Ernie Banks and Ron Santo and for the generations of fans who never 
stopped hoping.
  What can we say about Cubs Manager Joe Maddon? He urged his players 
in spring training to ``Embrace the Target.'' When the chips were down, 
he had never doubted the Cubs were the finest team. While some may view 
his style as unorthodox, his confidence in his players carried over 
onto the field. The Cubs never panicked. They got their job done.
  Maddon spent decades in Major League Baseball before coming to the 
Cubs. With this Word Series trophy, he joins a small list of managers 
to win pennants in the American and National Leagues. He earned the 
2015 National League Manager of the Year, and I am betting he is going 
to claim the title again this year.
  I congratulate the players--the World Series champion Cubs.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
the names of the players.
  There being no objection, the names were ordered to be printed in the 
Record, as follows:

       Anthony Rizzo;
       Kris Bryant;
       Javier Baez;
       Addison Russell;
       Miguel Montero;
       Willson Contreras;
       Jon Lester;
       Jake Arrieta;
       Kyle Hendricks;
       John Lackey;
       Aroldis Chapman;
       Jason Heyward;
       Dexter Fowler;
       Jorge Soler;
       Chris Coghlan;
       Albert Almora, Jr.;
       Mike Montgomery;
       Carl Edwards, Jr.;
       Pedro Strop;
       Hector Rondon;
       Travis Wood; and
       Justin Grimm.

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I am going to wrap up. I see the majority 
leader is on the floor, but I know he is a big sports fan.
  Catcher David Ross, playing in the final game of his career, made 
history when he hit a home run in the fifth inning of game 7 to give 
the Chicago Cubs a 6-to-3 lead. At 39 years of age, almost 40--a senior 
by baseball standards--Ross became the oldest player ever to hit a home 
run in World Series game 7.
  Kyle Schwarber--what a comeback--tore his ACL in the third game of 
the season and worked his whole season in physical rehab to try to come 
back. He made it just in time to play in the World Series. He ignited 
the Cubs' 10th inning rally in game 7 with a lead-off single and 
finished the Series with a .412 average and two RBIs.
  And then there is Ben Zobrist, the pride of Eureka, IL, and the MVP 
of 2016.

[[Page S6330]]

  I want to also congratulate the Cleveland Indians' manager Terry 
Francona and their entire organization and one of their best and most 
loyal fans, Senator Sherrod Brown. As Terry Francona said after game 7, 
they tried until there was nothing left.
  The epicenter of Cubs Nation is on the North Side of Chicago, but it 
is much bigger. It reaches across America. The Cubs Nation has fans in 
every city. Probably the most amazing parade I have ever attended--and 
I have been to hundreds--was the Cubs' victory parade. They estimated 
the crowd at 5 million. I tell you what, I think they are right. The 
population of the city of Chicago is 2\1/2\ million, just to give an 
idea of how many they drew.
  I will close with a short story. Although that 108 years between 
World Series victories brought much heartache to the Cubs Nation, there 
was joy after the drought. Quite a bit of that joy was listening to the 
legendary broadcaster who preceded Harry Caray as the voice of the 
Cubs. His name was Jack Brickhouse--or just ``Brick'' to his friends. 
He was born in Peoria and he was the first voice of the Cubs. He was 
the play-by-play announcer from 1948 until 1981. He called games for 
the White Sox, the Bears, and the Bulls. No wonder he is in both the 
Baseball and the Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
  On May 12, 1970, he was in the broadcaster's booth when ``Mr. Cub,'' 
the great Ernie Banks, reached a milestone few players ever achieve. 
Pat Jarvis was pitching for the Braves, and this is how Brickhouse 
called the play:

       Jarvis fires away. That's a fly ball, deep to left, back . 
     . . Hey! Hey! Ernie Banks got number 500! Everybody on your 
     feet. This . . . is . . . it!

  And then Jack Brickhouse added his signature refrain: ``Wheeeeee!''
  When the Cubs won this World Series, I suspect that up in Heaven 
Brickhouse, Caray, Banks, Santo, and countless other Cubs' players 
joined those fans who had been waiting for that World Series for 108 
years. At long last, the Cubs are baseball's real champions.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority leader.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, before my friend from Illinois leaves 
the floor, among the fascinating stories connected with the Cubs' great 
victory, was it not the case they found three 108-year-old women? I 
believe one lived in New Hampshire. I read a story about her. And then 
I guess the other two were still in Chicago; is that correct?
  Mr. DURBIN. That is how I remember it, yes. I don't know if you read 
the epilogue, but one of those 108-year-old women passed away within a 
few days of the Cubs' win of the World Series.
  Mr. McCONNELL. Satisfied, I am sure, and ready to finally go on.
  Mr. DURBIN. Died with a smile.
  Mr. McCONNELL. It was a great, great story. Congratulations.