The most infamous Chicago Cubs fan of all time has gotten a 2016 World Series ring from the team.
Steve Bartman – who famously interfered with a Cubs player trying to catch a fly ball, dashing the team’s hopes to make it to the World Series in 2003 – got a 2016 Fall Classic ring from Cubs owner Tom Ricketts.
Also attending the ceremony in Ricketts’ office at Wrigley Field: Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and President of Operations Crane Kenney.
“On behalf of the entire Chicago Cubs organization, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series Championship Ring to Mr. Steve Bartman,” the Cubs told WGN in a statement. “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.”
Fourteen years ago, in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins, Bartman tipped away a foul ball that Cubs left fielder Moises Alou was trying to catch near the Wrigley Field stands down the left field line.
Bartman, shown in a Chicago Tribune photo at the time wearing a Cubs hat and headphones after the misplay, left the ballpark after fans sitting nearby began to yell at him. The Cubs went on to unravel in the NLCS, losing that game 8-3 to tie the series at 3-3 and then falling 9-6 in a decisive Game 7 the next day.
“I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels,” Bartman said in a statement Monday. “My family and I will cherish it for generations.”
Until Monday, Bartman had not returned to Wrigley since Game 6 in 2003, but WGN reported he was given a tour of the ballpark by Ricketts to show off many of the changes since then.
The team said it would not release photos or video of the Bartman ring ceremony, citing his request for privacy.