CHICAGO (CBS) — The Cubs announced Tuesday the winners of the Championship Ring Bearer Fan Contest, providing 20 fans the opportunity to present players and coaches their 2016 World Series rings.
The winners will present the rings at a ceremony during an April 12 game at Wrigley Field. WBBM’s Lisa Fielding reports.
Steve Teplinsky of Mundelein is one of 20 lucky fans chosen to be one of the Cubs ring bearers.
“My wife nominated me,” said Teplinsky, a lifelong Cubs fan. “My family found out I was chosen before me so my wife was screaming, you made it, you made it. My jaw just dropped, I was speechless.
“My earliest memory is from 1960. I remember going to the games with my dad and thought it was the coolest thing. I’d rush home from school every afternoon to watch the games.”
Teplinksy’s wife Sue nominated him. He said putting the video together was a team effort.
“My brother Howard and his wife Katie came over,” he said. “Howard was the cameraman, Katie was in charge of the lighting, Susan did the narrating and I stepped in for the last two seconds. It was a lot of fun,. Never in a million years did I think we’d have a chance.”
Teplinsky said he’s even been mistaken for Cubs manager Joe Maddon.
“I hear that all the time,” he laughed. “People see me at Wrigley Field and ask me why I’m not on the field.”
Telplinsky hopes to get a picture with his doppelganger when he’s on the field that day.
Melissa Hurd of Carol Stream is a seventh-grade teacher at Still Middle School in Aurora.
“I knew I was being nominated,” she said. “We found out last week, and it’s been difficult to keep it a secret.”
Hurd is a Cubs fan because of her dad, who passed away in 2003.
“Cubs love has been in our family forever,” she said. “In honor of my dad, I decided I’d continue his legacy and take on his passion. My entire classroom is in homage to the Cubs. Each year, I add new things.”
There were 1,500 video nominations submitted via Twitter. Fans were nominated by family members, co-workers and friends, and 20 lucky fans were chosen by the Cubs based on the submission, their loyalty, passion and creativity.
“I was in complete shock, in tears when I found out,” Hurd said. “To be able physically be on hand at the field, part of history, is an unbelievable and unthinkable experience. To hand history, a World Series ring that hasn’t been done in 108 years, to the players and coaches is just unbelievable.”
The winners range from 13 to 90 in age.
The list includes an eye doctor from Joliet, two teachers with Cubs-themed classrooms, a veteran, a cancer survivor and a young woman with spina bifida who plays baseball for her Miracle League Cubs.
The 20 individuals will be presenting Cubs players and coaches their World Series rings on the field during the team’s ring ceremony game on April 12.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity,” Hurd said. “I know a lot of Cubs fans are jealous, and I just hope I do them justice on the field. I’m doing it in honor of the living and the dead. I’m doing it in honor of everybody. I’m so lucky.”
More information on each winner can be found at www.cubs.com/cubsringbearer.
Below is a full list of the 20 winners:
Jeff Birtell, 58, from DeKalb, Ill.
Grace Davis, 20, from Jefferson City, Mo.
Alex Dorn, 29, from Chicago, Ill.
Paul “Crawly” Dzien, 40, from Bartlett, Ill.
Michael Folsom, 30, from Palos Hills, Ill.
Dennis Gieseke, 72, from Roselle, Ill.
Joanne Harrer, 76, from Naperville, Ill.
Melissa Hurd, 37, from Carol Stream, Ill.
Lauren Klein, 13, from Peru, Ill.
Amy Liss, 34, from Downers Grove, Ill.
Tom Magno, 50, from Chicago, Ill.
Jessie McGinn, 26, from Arlington Heights, Ill.
Doug Meyer, 60, from Deerfield, Ill.
David Morimoto, 55, from Joliet, Ill.
Bob O’Hara, 38, from Elkhart, Ind.
Erv Schreiber, 86, from Indianapolis, Ind.
Steven Teplinsky, 63, from Mundelein, Ill.
Jimmy Thurman, 90, from Kewanee, Ill.
Tom Wakefield, 48, from Brownsburg, Ind.
George Wiseman, 72, from Mount Prospect, Ill.