THE DREAM JOB: ONE PHOTOGRAPHER'S SHOT OF THE WIN OVER A 108 YEAR LOSING STREAK

by Andrew Hancock
Advertising and Editorial Photographer

Every once in a while, an assignment comes along that you absolutely can’t refuse. Even if that means having to bring family in from across the state and across the country (thanks everyone!) to help with the kids while the wife was sidelined for over six weeks and unable to walk/drive thanks to a broken foot and the ensuing surgery, you find a way to make things happen. Such was the case for me this summer. But first, a little history.

Despite being from Texas and growing up with my Texas teams  …I was also a fan of Chicago’s professional baseball team.  In the afternoon, when I would get off the bus and get a snack, I would turn on the small television we had in the kitchen and watch them because they were always on and I would rather watch baseball than play video games before it was time to go to either soccer or baseball practice. I listened to the sportscasters , watched with interest the craziness that was the bleachers, the ball hawks on Waveland Avenue chasing down every ball hit out of the stadium. Each afternoon I was always curious as to whether or not the wind was blowing out or in off the lake. I felt close but at the same time, Chicago felt like a million miles away.

In 2003,  when I graduated from college,  I had never been north of the Mason-Dixon or east of the Mississippi River. I was offered a job at a small paper in northeast Indiana and took it blind over the phone because there was no budget for me to come visit and I knew that this is what I was meant to do. I found myself near Chicago and in the region of Cubbie blue.

I also met my wife, Maria, soon after I moved to Indiana. Our first trip together after dating a couple of months was to Chicago. It was my first trip to Chicago and Wrigley Field was still a mythical place to me. We bought tickets from a scalper as soon as we got off the red line at the Addison stop. It was one of the most memorable trips I have ever had with Maria. I still have a photo from that trip on my nightstand next to the bed. I still have the ticket stub from that game.

We married in 2005. Soon after we got our first dog. Her name? Wrigley.

In 2012 when we were expecting our first child, Maria finally was starting to feel better and wanted to have a weekend trip with just the two of us and asked me to skip shooting the Kentucky's notable race track that year. I complied. Where did we end up? In Chicago watching my favorite baseball team.

Despite all of that, I only covered two games in my career at Wrigley Field…both were while I was working for my first paper. In my years shooting assignment for professional sports publications, I never covered a game on the north side, but multiple games with professional teams on the south side. Fast forward to 2016. It was June and I was in Galveston with the family, Maria sidelined at the beach house with a foot and ankle she managed to break the night before we left. The phone rings with a number from Bristol, CT and despite chasing both girls around the beach house, I knew I had to answer.

It was a call from a major sports network, who brought me into the fold last fall.

I would shoot at least one game a week (sometimes seven games in a week) for the duration of the season. A rare opportunity to create a large body of work in covering one of the most talented, deep and fun baseball teams that has been assembled. It has been written that it has been over a half a century since baseball has seen a team this loaded with talent.

My first game was on July 5 and since that time I have amassed 3TB worth of photos in covering the team and the Wrigleyville community. As the Cubs continued rolling, so did my coverage, all the way to the biggest game in baseball; the World Series.

 

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