For The Love of the Cubs
CHM curator Petra Slinkard writes about an artifact that celebrated the Cubs’ 2016 World Series win before they actually won.
Juan Ceballos of Joliet, Illinois, about forty miles southwest of Chicago, is a die hard Chicago Cubs fan. In fact, he was so confident the Cubs would win the 2016 World Series, he was inspired to make a sign to commemorate their win even before they did so. “I was certain that the Cubs would win the World Series,” remarked Ceballos. He and his seventeen-year-old niece Alexis started their project after the Cubs beat the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the National League Championship Series on October 22, 2016.
Ceballos wanted to create something that would properly honor his team and stand out among the ubiquitous “W” flags hung throughout the city. Not to say there is anything wrong with the “W” sign—Ceballos commented that he had a one as early as 2007, before it was immensely popular—but he wanted something “different.” So like many creative and driven individuals, he took out a paper napkin and sketched out his idea.
Napkin with sketch for sign. Photograph by CHM staff
“Thank You God / 2016 World’s Series Champions.” Once Ceballos was satisfied with his design, he asked Alexis to create the banner using a bed sheet. She explained to me that she had a few failed attempts stating, “Everything that could go wrong did. The markers bled on the floor.” So, she turned to paint.
The signature of Ceballos’s niece on the banner. Photograph by CHM staff
During the World Series, Ceballos carried his banner to all of the Cubs games in and around Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood. He remarked that it was a hit with fans and after the win, people were clamoring to pose with him. Ceballos also pointed out that the paint of the Cubs logos began to run due to the beer and champagne sprayed at the sign. After the Cubs won, Ceballos asked Alexis to sign her artwork.
Ceballos with the banner after the Cubs won. Image courtesy of Juan Ceballos
A close-up showing where the paint was running. Photograph by CHM staff
The Chicago History Museum is honored to add the Ceballos’ Cubs banner to our collection. Not only does this object represent a pivotal point in Chicago sports history, but it also reflects the loyalty of Cubs fans all around the globe.
The banner in the Museum lobby at the time of its donation with (from left) Mr. Ceballos’s two nieces, CHM curator Petra Slinkard, his mother. Image courtesy of Juan Ceballos