Mabel Ball waited her whole life to see the Chicago Cubs win the World Series. As it happened, she lived just long enough.
Ball — who was born in 1908, the year the Cubs last won Major League Baseball's ultimate prize — died Tuesday at her home in Northbrook, Ill. Her 75-year-old son, Rich Ball, told the Chicago Tribune that his mother had suffered a heart attack.
"The cruel irony, the almost unbelievable irony, is that the person who waits and waits and waits, after it happens, says, 'I've done what I've got to do, and I'm out of here,'" Rich Ball told the paper. "It ain't funny, but it's funny.
Mabel Ball passed away six days after the Cubs won the World Series, defeating the Cleveland Indians in seven games. The series was capped by a dramatic Game 7, which the Cubs won in 10 innings.
Rich Ball said his mother didn't get to see the Cubs' clinching victory. He told the Tribune she listened to the team's games on the radio, but had only made to Wrigley Field once, on her 96th birthday.
Ball's story attracted local media attention during the Cubs' playoff run and she was interviewed by the Tribune and Chicago's WLS-TV, stories that brought her national attention.
"Mom, you know, you've become a little bit of a low-level celebrity. Your story was in the newspaper, and it was on TV, coast-to-coast. A friend of mine even saw it in Berlin," Rich Ball said he told his mother after the stories appeared. "What do you think about being a celebrity?"
"It's a lot of nonsense," was Mabel's response.
"That was her, all over," Rich Ball told the Tribune. "She was already a great person. You couldn't make her bigger by calling her a celebrity."