ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
It's been 108 years since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. And Virginia Wood has been alive for almost all of them. She's 101 years old, and she's a longtime faithful fan. Well, now that the Cubs are a game up on the Los Angeles Dodgers and one win away from the World Series, she's hoping that this just might be their year. NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.
CHERYL CORLEY, BYLINE: Wearing a Cubs T-shirt and surrounded by family, Virginia Wood was ready for baseball last night when the Cubs and Dodgers took to the field. Her wheelchair, not far from the television - the former physical education teacher knew what she wanted to see from her team.
VIRGINIA WOOD: I just want to be sure they get the first run, I really do. I think it makes a difference.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It does.
CORLEY: And the Chicago Cubs did not disappoint, scoring in the first inning.
GARY WOOD: How about that? Are you happy?
V WOOD: (Clapping) Oh, yeah. First run. First run. That's good.
CORLEY: Virginia Wood attended her first Cubs game at Chicago's Wrigley Field in 1924. She was 10. Later, as an adult, she'd go as often as she could, especially with friends after work on Ladies Day, when they could attend for free.
V WOOD: When people didn't stay for the whole game, we'd all move ourselves down a little closer to the front as far as we could go, yeah.
CORLEY: Lots of games, no championships. It was 1908 when the Cubs last won a World Series. But Wood dismisses the idea of a curse holding the Cubs back. She says she knew a championship would come eventually. And she's convinced this is the year.
V WOOD: Oh, I'm counting on them going all the way, absolutely.
CORLEY: Wood says in the past, the Cubs didn't have all the parts they needed - good pitching and hitting at the same time. This year, there's Joe Maddon, an excellent manager, says Wood, directing a very talented team.
V WOOD: They've got all young kids now. It's wonderful. They're enthusiastic, and they hustle a lot. You know, they really do. They go after everything. And I think that's what the difference is.
CORLEY: If the Cubs do beat the Dodgers, they'll play the Cleveland Indians. Wood's son, Gary, says his mother hopes the Cubs grant her a favored wish.
G WOOD: She'll be 102 next month. That's what she wants for her birthday.
V WOOD: Oh, yeah, sure. I'd like to have that. Good birthday present. Oh, yeah, that's the best.
CORLEY: But first, there is a game or two left before that can happen. And Wood says she'll be watching and cheering on her team. Cheryl Corley, NPR News, Chicago.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.