Win or Lose, Everyone Loves the Cubs on Polish Heritage Night





CHICAGO-  Pepsi and ‘Chicago Cubs Charities’ helped the Chicago based Polish American Association to raise over  $12,500 at the first Polish Heritage Night at Wrigley Field.  A great crowd turned out to enjoy the pregame festivities which included performance by the high energy violin trio ALIZMA and jazz vocalist Agnieszka Iwanska.


(L – R):  Jerry Furby, Executive Vice President at PNC; Consul General of the Republic of Poland.  Zygmunt Matynia ;  Wszolek and Aleksandra Krystek confer before the game at Wrigley Field on Polish Heritage Night.

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The PAA sold Cub’s baseball caps with the Polish flag on the side for $5.  The PAA provides social services in the Chicago area.  PNC Bank was also a keynote sponsor for the evening.

The Cub’s lost a heartbreaker, 1-0 to the San Diego Padres.  The crowd stayed to the end.  It has been a rough year for the loveable ‘Cubbies’.  They have 10 rookies on the roster and after the game they traded slugger Derek Lee to the Atlanta Braves.  It looks as if the rebuilding has started.

Everyone seemed to join in the celebration.  The San Diego Padre broadcast team of Dick Enberg and Mark Grant highlighted their telecast back to California with Polish American baseball anecdotes.  “Stan Musial was the first inductee into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame,” said Enberg.   Grant was impressed with Enberg’s history recall.  “I try and vote every year,” added Enberg.  It should not be surprising as Enberg is a baseball history authority.  The Central Michigan University alumnus (1957) bragged on former CMU quarterback Dan LaFevour.

Grant, a former pitcher, fondly told stories about Danny Qzqrk, when he was his manager in San Francisco in 1984.  The deceased Ozark was a NPASHF inductee this year.

Before the game, Cub’s Coach Allan Trammell was impressed with the entertainment and reminisced about Polish night at old Tiger Stadium in Detroit.  “We used to tease Dick Tracewski our longtime coach. I have Polish-Philadelphia roots and this brings back memories of my mom’s cooking.  It is hard to find good stuffed cabbage in California,” said Trammell.

Chicago Black Hawk broadcaster Ed Olczyk sang the traditional Wrigley Field, ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ during the 7th inning stretch.   

Students from the Polish Saturday School in Chicago were the honor guard for the pregame anthems. .

ALIZMA ran long but no one complained as they boot-scooted and energized both Polish pop songs and American Country favorites.  The Polish triplets Aleksandra, Izabela and Monika, were a big-big hit.

The Chicago Sun-Times highlighted all the Polish-American baseball players in the NPASHF, including Jenny Romatowski.  She is another Polish-American Wrigley Field baseball connection. 


(Raymond Rolak is a Michigan based sports broadcaster)

Photos from Polish Heritage Night at Wrigley Field at: