Sure, you may hate Steve Goodman for writing the Chicago Cubs’ post-game ballad Go Cubs, Go. I’ve never been a fan of the song, and in some states I believe it’s even illegal to hum it.
But did you know that Goodman also wrote City of New Orleans — (Good morning America, how are ya …), made famous by both Arlo Guthrie and Willie Nelson? Also, possibly my favorite sports song ever, A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request.
Goodman died of leukemia in 1984, three decades before his beloved Cubs would finally make it back to the World Series for the first time in 71 years. Born in Chicago in 1948, Goodman was diagnosed with Leukemia at age 18, and finally succumbed to the disease at 36. But in between he forged a fantastic musical career, which included writing songs for Jimmy Buffet, and songs that were covered by Johnny Cash and Judy Collins.
In A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request, Goodman sings of the perennial loser in all of us, but especially those who love the Cubs. In the song, he wants his coffin to be carried around Wrigley Field, being called out at all four bases.
It’s a beautiful day for a funeral. Hey Ernie, let’s play two.
The story is that the Cubs’ general manager at the time, Dallas Green, hated the song so much that he wouldn’t let it be played in the stadium. That’s why it’s surprising that Cubs management later hired Goodman to write the team fight song, Go Cubs, Go. (Some say the song was a dig at Green).
If the Cubs manage to pull this off and win their first World Series since 1908, it would be doubly ironic. Goodman’s beloved Cubs would be world champs, and Hillary Clinton would (presumably) be President. Goodman, you see, was Clinton’s classmate at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, Illinois, Class of 1965.
So this week don’t forget to pour one out for Goodman, Cubs fans.
Thanks to Tahoe Onstage.