Historical Events  TV
Steve Bartman

Steve Bartman caught the ball

Steve Bartman did not catch the ball

Cubs v Martins, October 2003

Some people remember in 2003 Steve Bartman caught a ball that was still in play, ruining the game for the Chicago cubs. Steve Bartman was just a fan, an ordinary spectator in the crowd enjoying the game when the ball came his way. They recall he had to be escorted by police out of the stadium and remember he got a lot of threats. People at the time questioned whether he kept the ball.

The problem is now they find he never caught the ball, but instead deflected it from the catcher's glove while trying to catch it, causing it to be a foul ball. This is so strange to them because they remember hearing a lot about it when it happened and talking about it with others. They are sure he caught it.

Right place, right time?

The controversy at the time was whether Bartman's actions directly influenced the eventual outcome of the game is still being debated today. Fans were so outraged that his home details were published online and police protection was needed at his property. He became the scapegoat for the Cub's failure, which stretched back decades.

A documentary was produced in 2011 called Catching Hell. Even the seat he was in at the game became a tourist attraction.

The club issued a statement:

The Chicago Cubs would like to thank our fans for their tremendous outpouring of support this year. We are very grateful.

We would also like to remind everyone that games are decided by what happens on the playing field—not in the stands. It is inaccurate and unfair to suggest that an individual fan is responsible for the events that transpired in Game 6. He did what every fan who comes to the ballpark tries to do—catch a foul ball in the stands. That's one of the things that makes baseball the special sport that it is.

This was an exciting season and we're looking forward to working towards an extended run of October baseball at Wrigley Field.

-- Chicago Cubs