Blogger’s note: This is a short feature I wrote for the Roy Hobbs Baseball World Series newsletter. After filing them to Roy Hobbs I’ve been posting them here since last week.
DuPage Indians manager Lonnie Samples was born Sept. 25, 1948 in Akron, Ohio. That was 16 days before the Cleveland Indians beat the Boston Braves 4-3 in Game 7 of the World Series.
It was the team’s last World Series title. But the Indians went into Sunday night’s Game 5 of the 2016 World Series leading the Chicago Cubs 3-1 in games. The title drought didn’t end last night. The Series goes back to Cleveland with the Indians ahead 3-2.
Although Samples has lived in Chicago since his sophomore year of high school his baseball loyalty this fall has remained true to his boyhood team.
“It’s been marvelous,” Samples said of watching the Indians march through the post-season.
Although the name of his Roy Hobbs team is Indians it is based in Chicago and his players are rooting for a team not named the Indians.
“They’re Cubs fans,” Samples said of his DuPage Indians players.
Samples’ 94-year-old mom, Audrey, was at the DuPage Indians’ afternoon game Sunday at a JetBlue Park backfield. Like many people with roots in both Chicago and northern Ohio she roots for both teams.
But which team is Audrey rooting for in the World Series?
“I’m going to have to root for the Cubs,” Audrey said.
But she was also rooting for Lonnie.
“Bless his heart,” Audrey said. “Over 60 years old and still playing.”
The DuPage Indians weren’t the only team sporting the Indians’ nickname on Sunday at JetBlue, the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox.
The Maine Indians also played there on Sunday. Although called the Indians the team is comprised mainly of players from New England and the Northeast.
The Maine Indians started World Series play with a 10-run victory over Jersey Shore Baseball. And far away from JetBlue, the Cleveland Indians were a game away from winning that other World Series when they arrived at Wrigley Field on Sunday.
“I think it’s a good omen,” Maine Indians manager Ed Simmons said of the success of his team’s MLB counterpart.
But it’s been tough on Tony Gonatas, a Cubs fan playing for the Maine Indians.
“It’s unbelievable how they can’t score at all,” Gonatas said. “I thought they’d roll.”
Instead, it’s been the Cleveland team that has rolled. That’s team that last won the World Series when Lonnie Samples was 16 days old.