WRIGLEYVILLE — It's only Deanna Finch's fourth day as a mail carrier in Wrigleyville, but she's already entered Wrigley Field home run lore — Dioner Navarro's seventh-inning homer shattered the back window of her mail van Friday.
It was the first time Finch, 27, had parked the postal service minivan on Waveland Avenue as she delivered letters on Kenmore Avenue.
"I'm taking a picture myself," she declared when she returned to the van, joining a legion Cubs fans who snapped photos after a game against the Atlanta Braves.
The shattered blue glass of the window had already been cleaned up, leaving nothing but a frame for the van window — and a photo opportunity for eager fans.
Home run balls have broken windows of cars and apartments just a handful of times in the past 30 years, said Dave Davison, 45, a ballhawk who hangs out on Waveland.
Davison wasn't even paying attention when Navarro's ball sailed over the bleachers. Navarro's not much of a home run hitter, he said.
But when he heard the crowd, he looked up to see the ball nail the van's back window, create a "mini-explosion" and go back down.
He ran over and scooped up the ball and a bunch of the tinted glass from the van. The ball now rests on top the glass in a plastic cup.
"Navarro has surprising power for a guy his size," Davison said. "He swings hard."
Navarro's mail van blast can go into Wrigley Field home run lore. Other notable damaging dingers include:
- 2000: Glenallen Hill slammed a ball onto the rooftop of the yellow brick, Waveland Avenue apartment building beyond the left field line.
- 1996: Sammy Sosa smashed a homer that broke the glass of a second-floor window of the same Waveland building that Hill topped.
- 1976: Dave Kingman, then with the Mets, cracked one that sailed over the fence, over Waveland and hit a porch several addresses up Kenmore Avenue.
- 1952: Golfer Sam Snead, teeing off from home plate, banged a golf ball off the center field scoreboard in an Opening Day stunt.
The team will pay for damage incurred by home run balls, said spokesman Julian Green, but they're not sure how the van gained access to Waveland, since they do not manage traffic.
"Cars are not permitted on the adjacent streets around the ballpark when we're playing the game," he said in an email.
Finch, who started as a mail carrier last November before switching to the Wrigleyville route this week, laughed about the incident.
"Somebody should have given me the ball!" she said.
But Davison had no intention of handing it over. He said he had told her not to park on Waveland, and she looked at him "like I was an idiot."
"It's our playground," he said. "I didn't want her here."
Despite Navarro's seventh-inning home run, the Cubs ultimately lost to the Braves, 5-9.