PARKLAND, FLA. (WSVN) - For the first time since 1908, the Chicago Cubs can call themselves World Series champions. And two players who grew up in South Florida, Anthony Rizzo and Albert Almora Jr., helped break the team’s century-long drought.
The Chicago Cubs beat the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday night in Game Seven.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo caught the last out and is now being called a hometown hero in Parkland. Before he was an all-American at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he was a Little Leaguer. One picture showed Rizzo as a child in a Cubs uniform.
In his high school yearbook, his senior year goal was to win the MLB World Series. Hours after he made that happen, he thanked his coaches. “Every coach that’s helped me along the way, it’s been a huge part of this,” Rizzo said. “Everyone back home in Florida, in Parkland, it’s just, it’s what dreams are made of.”
One of his coaches was Elliott Bonner, who coached Rizzo for four years. “Fun-loving, just a great kid,” he said. “Always laughing and having fun. He’s just a great kid.”
Broward School’s Superintendent Robert Runcie, who’s a Cubs fan, stopped by Rizzo’s alma mater on Thursday to celebrate the win. “Extremely happy day for me having the Chicago connection, as well as Broward schools,” he said. “I’m enjoying it on both ends.”
Another South Florida connection is Albert Almora Jr., who pinch-ran and scored in the 10th inning. He grew up in Hialeah.
“I told him this doesn’t happen very often, many great athletes go through their careers and never get this opportunity,” said Eddie Gorriz, Almora’s former coach.
During the game, Rizzo couldn’t contain his excitement as the Cubs closed in on history. He fulfilled his life long dream. “That was his high school goal. A great dreamer,” Bonner said. “And sometimes you have to dream for it to come true.”
Before being a World Series champion, Rizzo was diagnosed with cancer in his arm when he was 18 years old, making his story that much more remarkable.
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