The 2016 Chicago Cubs finally won the World Series after 108 years. Obviously this is a huge landmark in baseball history, however there is another landmark that not many people are talking about but we at Chicago Jazz Magazine thought it was very important to point out.
In addition to the Cubs winning it has been 71 years since anyone has sung the National Anthem or God Bless America for a World Series Game in Wrigley Field. That's right, 1945 was the last time the Cubs were in the World Series and they played in Wrigley Field.
We were lucky enough to catch up with vocalist Wayne Messmer, who not only sang the National Anthem and God Bless America for the World Series Games in Wrigley Field, but who also rode on one of the buses in the victory parade and sang the National Anthem at the victory rally in front of 5 million people!
Messmer was nice enough to provide us with some insight into the experience and some great photos!
Chicago Jazz Magazine: When did you know you were going to be performing at the World Series Games?
Wayne Messmer: The decision on who will sing at the World Series came, only after the Cubs had beaten the LA Dodgers in Game 6 of the NLCS.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: Did you know it was going to be at two of the three games?
Wayne Messmer: When I was told about the WS schedule, I was informed that I would sing God Bless America at Game 3 and God Bless America and the Star Spangled Banner before Game 5.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: You have walked on the field at Wrigley hundreds of times to perform the National Anthem and God Bless America, how was the energy different for the World Series Games?
Wayne Messmer: Amazingly, the moment of walking onto the field for Game 5 that struck me, was when I looked at Home Plate that had the World Series logo prominently between displayed. As I took my position between the plate and the pitcher’s mound, it was unlike any other Opening Day, First Night Game, Post Season games of 1998, 2003, 2007, 2008, or any special event that I had ever sung among the estimated 1,200 plus opportunities that I have been honored to perform over the 32 years of my tenure at beautiful Wrigley Field.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: On top of the World Series Games you then sang to over 5 million people at the victory rally and parade. Can you put that experience into words?
Wayne Messmer: If Hollywood had produced a motion picture about the phenomenon of “what it would be like… IF the Cubs won the World Series,” I think that even in their most over-the-top manner, they would have grossly underestimated the enormity of the celebration. From Wrigleyville’s shoulder to shoulder crowds on virtually every street in the neighborhood, along Addison Street to Lake Shore Drive and the 6-plus miles to downtown, the crowds were deep, civil, well-behaved and respectful. The level of energy and pure joy that filled the air was nothing short of overwhelming. The City of Chicago declared a vacation day to come together in showing of civic pride that will provide memories for a lifetime.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: You were able to take photos with the trophy and some of the players at the rally. Are you friendly with some of the players or members of the coaching staff of the Cubs?
Wayne Messmer: The 2016 World Champion Chicago Cubs are made up of a cast of characters who embody the spirit of hope, the genuine enthusiasm for the grand old game of baseball and the true sense of fraternity. I have some particular favorite guys, both as a fan and as people. It starts
Wayne with his wife Kathleen on one of the buses
at the victory parade
from the top with the leadership of Joe Maddon, who instilled a common theme of “team first" and that attitude propelled them throughout the entire championship season. Joe’s montra of never letting the pressure exceed the pleasure is something that
was very apparent in how they all went about their business.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: Do you get a World Series Ring?
Wayne Messmer: I hope so.
Chicago Jazz Magazine: Can you share a story or two about being in the stadium for the games and also at the rally?
Wayne Messmer: The trolley ride to Grant Park was an experience that was almost too much to believe. Once we arrived the stage, I positioned myself to get ready to sing before the massive crowd and waited for Pat Hughes to introduce me for the National Anthem.
Wayne with catcher David Ross backstage at the Rally.
When the moment came, it was living yet another dream. After singing, I took a position on the stage by the stairs where the players entered one at a time to get their personal moment. It was a photo opp bonanza! I now have a collection of personal photos of every player as they stepped up to take the stage for their introduction. Someday, years from now, when I think back about this day, I’m glad that I will have a scrapbook that I may very well need to convince myself that it really happened and it wasn’t just a dream.
For more information on Wayne Messmer's appearances and recordings Visit WayneMessmer.com
To Purchase Wayne's latest release So Lucky to Be Loving You featuring pianist Judy Roberts Visit CDBaby.com