The Chicago Cubs have given a 2016 World Series ring to Steve Bartman, the fan once severely blamed for costing the team a trip to the World Series.
In game six of the 2003 National League Championship Series, with the Cubs leading the Florida Marlins 3-0 with one out in the top of the eighth, Bartman reached for a foul ball off the bat of Luis Castillo that may have otherwise landed in the glove of left fielder Moises Alou. After that play, the Marlins rallied to score eight runs in the inning, ultimately forcing a game seven at Wrigley Field that ended with a Cubs’ defeat.
Bartman became subject to significant scrutiny as a result of the incident, receiving substantial blame for the fact that the Cubs–who at the time had not appeared in a World Series since 1945, and had not won a title since 1908–were once again missing out on the Fall Classic. He has stayed out of the public eye since, even in the immediate aftermath of the Cubs’ victory in the World Series last fall.
The team revealed on Monday that it had given Bartman a World Series ring. More from The Chicago Tribune:
“Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring,” Bartman said in a statement issued by the Cubs. “I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels. My family and I will cherish it for generations.”
Bartman said he appreciated the Ricketts family reaching out to him and welcoming him “back into the Cubs family.”
“I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over,” he said.
The Cubs also issued a statement: “On behalf of the entire Chicago Cubs organization, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series Championship Ring to Mr. Steve Bartman. We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series. While no gesture can fully lift the public burden he has endured for more than a decade, we felt it was important Steve knows he has been and continues to be fully embraced by this organization. After all he has sacrificed, we are proud to recognize Steve Bartman with this gift today.”