Friday, July 18, 2008
Tribute to a fallen Cubs fan
First Cubs fan to sing during the 7th-inning stretch at Wrigley dies of cancer, Dustin Eglseder performed at 2007 game against Pittsburgh
Tribune staff report
GUTTENBERG, Iowa—An eastern Iowa man who won a contest to become the first Chicago Cubs fan to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley Field has died from bone cancer.
Dustin Eglseder, 23, died Wednesday, July 16, in his Guttenberg home.
Mr. Eglseder was chosen from thousands of entrants in a contest to sing the song during the seventh-inning stretch against Pittsburgh on Sept. 21, 2007. He played third base in high school, but he also nurtured his voice in high school chorus and chamber choir.
"He stood up in front of 41,000 people and just nailed it," Cubs broadcaster Bob Brenly said at the time.
The Cubs organization then invited Mr. Eglseder and his family to a convention in Chicago in January. He again sang the classic baseball tune, this time to thousands of fans, coaches and players at the opening ceremony.
Mr. Eglseder also was invited by Cubs TV broadcasters to their Wrigley Field booth for an interview in April.
Mr. Eglseder was diagnosed with bone cancer in the spring of 2007, and he had surgery that May to have a bone removed from his right arm. Despite the surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and chemotherapy at University Hospitals in Iowa City, the cancer returned. His arm was amputated in November.
Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot was one of three Cubs players who called Mr. Eglseder before his surgery and stayed in touch with him afterward.
In a statement Thursday, Cubs spokesman Peter Chase said: "The Cubs were deeply saddened Wednesday to learn of the passing of Dustin Eglseder. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers are with Dustin's family and friends.
"Throughout his courageous battle with cancer, Dustin repeatedly told us watching the Cubs gave him great joy," Chase added.
"Dustin was an inspiration to thousands of people. He will live on in our hearts and continue to watch over and root for his Chicago Cubs."
God bless you and all your family and friends.