WRIGLEYVILLE — Steve Bartman, the infamous Cubs fan blamed by some for the collapse of the team in the 2003 playoffs, got a 2016 World Series championship ring from the team.
WGN-TV first reported the gift from the team to Bartman, who had stayed behind the scenes since he deflected a foul ball away from Cubs outfielder Moises Alou in 2003, the first of a series of plays that led to the team collapsing and losing to the Florida Marlins that year.
A photo provided by the Cubs shows they had the ring personalized for Bartman — displaying his name on the side, just like the rings made for players and coaches.
The Cubs said they hope the ring provides closure to Bartman.
“On behalf of the entire Chicago Cubs organization, we are honored to present a 2016 World Series Championship Ring to Mr. Steve Bartman. We hope this provides closure on an unfortunate chapter of the story that has perpetuated throughout our quest to win a long-awaited World Series. While no gesture can fully lift the public burden he has endured for more than a decade, we felt it was important Steve knows he has been and continues to be fully embraced by this organization. After all he has sacrificed, we are proud to recognize Steve Bartman with this gift today.”
Bartman issued a statement thanking the Cubs and saying he and his family will "cherish it for generations."
“Although I do not consider myself worthy of such an honor, I am deeply moved and sincerely grateful to receive an official Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Championship ring. I am fully aware of the historical significance and appreciate the symbolism the ring represents on multiple levels. My family and I will cherish it for generations.
Most meaningful is the genuine outreach from the Ricketts family, on behalf of the Cubs organization and fans, signifying to me that I am welcomed back into the Cubs family and have their support going forward. I am relieved and hopeful that the saga of the 2003 foul ball incident surrounding my family and me is finally over.
I humbly receive the ring not only as a symbol of one of the most historic achievements in sports, but as an important reminder for how we should treat each other in today’s society. My hope is that we all can learn from my experience to view sports as entertainment and prevent harsh scapegoating, and to challenge the media and opportunistic profiteers to conduct business ethically by respecting personal privacy rights and not exploit any individual to advance their own self-interest or economic gain.
Moreover, I am hopeful this ring gesture will be the start of an important healing and reconciliation process for all involved. To that end, I request the media please respect my privacy, and the privacy of my family. I will not participate in interviews or further public statements at this time.
Words alone cannot express my heartfelt thanks to the Ricketts family, Crane Kenney, Theo Epstein, and the entire Cubs organization for this extraordinary gift, and for providing the City of Chicago and Cubs fans everywhere an unforgettable World Championship in 2016. I am happy to be reunited with the Cubs family and positively moving forward with my life.”
The Cubs made a staggering 1,908 rings for players, coaches, scouts, administrative staffers and even ushers. The rings varied in levels of bling, with the top tier featuring 14-karat white gold with the Cubs logo crafted from 33 rubies, 72 diamonds and 46 blue sapphires. Another 108 white diamonds — signifying the 108-year championship drought — surround the top of the ring, which overall contains 5.5 carats of diamonds. The top rings cost an estimated $70,000 each.
The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by an entity controlled by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of DNAinfo.com. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the management of the iconic team.