Why the Songwriter Behind 'Go, Cubs, Go' Has an Eternal Tie to Wrigley Field
Singer-songwriter Steve Goodman died in 1984, but he is still present at every Chicago Cubs home game. That’s because he’s one of a select few people who have been able to achieve the ultimate fan honor: scoring Wrigley Field as a final resting place.
Goodman was diagnosed with leukemia when he was in college, and though it went into remission, he seemed to know that he needed to make the most out of life while he could. After the diagnosis, Goodman pursued a career in music with a fervor. And he was successful—though you may not know him by name, you probably know some of his songs, such as "City of New Orleans," which was made famous by Arlo Guthrie and also recorded by Johnny Cash, John Denver, and Willie Nelson. He also penned the David Allan Coe bar favorite "You Never Even Call Me By My Name."
In 1984, months before he died at the age of 36, WGN radio asked Goodman to write a little radio jingle that would kick off their broadcast. He wrote a catchy tune, they played it, and that could have been the end of “Go, Cubs, Go.” But in 2007, someone in the Cubs organization decided that it would be a great celebratory song to play every time the Cubs chalked up a W.
Whether it was the nostalgia for the old tune that started off the WGN broadcasts, or Chicago’s undying love for Goodman, the local boy gone too soon, the love for “Go, Cubs, Go” was instantly re-ignited. If you’ve never seen or heard more than 40,000 people singing in pure glee, it’s a sight to behold:
But little do most fans know that when they're singing along with Goodman, they're actually singing along with Goodman. In 1988, some of the songwriter's friends and family talked a friend of a friend into letting them into the stadium to honor Goodman’s wishes of having his ashes scattered at Wrigley Field. Though they had intended to leave at least part of him at home plate, they ended up going up to the bleachers and releasing his ashes there.
“One problem, the wind was blowing in that day and instead of coming to rest on Waveland Avenue, Stevie landed jus’ a little short, (on the) warning track under the 368 sign,” Steve’s brother, David, later wrote.
But how did Goodman's loved ones know where he wanted to reside for all eternity? Because he wrote a song about it, of course. Check out “A Dying Cubs Fan’s Last Request”: