South Elgin youth, now 11, pleased his letter sits at the New York state grave of the Great Bambino
His name is Jake Curzon.
Jake, 11, is a New York Yankees devotee morphed into a big time Cubs fan.
Stay with me.
Last April, 2020, when Jake was 9, he sent a letter to Yankees legend Babe Ruth to save baseball from a virus attack.
In early June 2020, Jake’s letter made its way into a Sunday morning brief on national TV.
The story is now a prayer finally answered … well, the way Jake now sees it anyway.
So let’s head back to home plate.
On April 3, 2020, Jake, who lives in South Elgin, Illinois, wrote a letter to Babe Ruth in hopes the king of swing would help save last year’s baseball season — and lend an assist in a COVID-19 cure.
Jake’s letter was dispatched via hand delivery by his aunt to the Gate of Heaven cemetery in Hawthorne, New York, where baseball’s Goliath is buried under a massive memorial ringed by a necklace of baseballs and a mountain of memorabilia.
The cemetery was COVID closed, so Jake’s aunt handed a custodian his letter, a written request in a chatty note to the sultan of swat.
Jake’s letter wound up placed at the foot of Ruth’s headstone.
“Hi, Mr. Babe Ruth,” began the letter.
“Would you ever imagined this would happen?” wrote Jake. “The sport you loved is canceled for the spring and maybe the summer.
“We all have (been) praying for this to end.
“My family loves the Yankees. My Papa (grandfather) worked at the Polo Grounds when he was young. Maybe you have met him in Heaven? His name is Ed Curzon and he was born in The Bronx – He loved the Yankees!
“And, he loved watching you play. We hope this virus ends soon.”
Two months later, in early June 2020, after someone spotted Jake’s letter near the base of Ruth’s memorial, a tip resulted in a small CBS Sunday segment on national TV and was picked up in a local Elgin press commentary that July.
Last week, a close Sneed pal visited Ruth’s gravesite and spotted Jake’s letter, now encased in a protective covering sitting on a wire stand in a place of prominence next to the memorial.
A photo was taken.
“Hmmm. Might be a good follow-up story seeing the letter is local; still there; in pretty good shape and in a prominent spot,” said my friend.
So I called Jake, who is looking forward to playing baseball this year.
“Oh, boy. Oh, boy. My letter is still there,” said Jake. “It must be dirty now. Is it really on a stand?”
Jake was watching the NFL draft on TV when I called.
“Well, last year was pretty messed up,” chirped Jake, now a fifth grader at Corron Elementary School.
“But I always figured Babe Ruth had to be an angel in heaven and talking to my grandpa, who loved the Yankees and was from New York and was his biggest fan,” said Jake.
“I figure they’d have a lot to discuss about their days on the old Polo Grounds.”
So Sneed asked: “Did the letter work?
“Yes,” said Jack. “I feel my prayer has finally been answered.
“Baseball is back on track now! And someday I may get to finally see a Yankees game —although dad says probably when they play the Chicago White Sox. I’d rather see it at Yankee Stadium.
“But right now I’m hoping to go to a game of my other most favorite team — the Chicago Cubs!”
“My dad’s family are big Yankees fans, but my mom’s family are big Cubs fans so I have both teams in my blood!”
But, hark! Jake, who sounds like the beloved “The Beaver” character on the hit 1950s “Leave it to be Beaver” TV show, began to opine like Howard Cosell:
“And I really think he [Ruth] helped the Cubs by opening up the season for the Yankees, which had an effect on the rest of the MLB.”
Jake, who would soon put on a Cubs cap following the interview, launched into a studied reflection on how Ruth is a life lesson for all of us.
“I read a book about Babe Ruth,” said Jake.
“I learned when he was my age, he was a big trouble maker. But when he got introduced to baseball, it enabled him to let all that bad stuff go and start all over. A second chance.
“And if you don’t win the first time, there’s always another game in baseball.”
Then … Hey! Hey! Jake, who also looks like a kid in a Norman Rockwell painting, threw one out of left field.
“Remember Babe Ruth struck out twice before he hit his famous home run — the one where he pointed his bat in the right direction before he hit that ball into history,” said Jake.
“The Babe didn’t give up.”
Jake’s dad, Dan, reflected: “Sometimes Jake sounds like an old soul.”
Jake’s mom, Jolene, decided to add a little levity.
“He may love baseball and thrilled the game is basically back on track, but Jake still puts ketchup on his hot dog — preferring not to eat it Chicago style.”
Pass the mustard!
Sneedlings . . .
Attention: Cindy McCain will be the guest speaker at the 26th Annual Rush University Woman’s Board Spring Luncheon taking place virtually on at 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, May, 11. McCain has become a superstratum speaker. . . . Saturday birthdays: Tim McGraw, 54; Jamie Dornan, 39; and Tina Campbell, 47. . . . Sunday birthdays: David Beckham, 46; Dwayne Johnson, 49; and Donatella Versace, 66.