The spirit of 1908: Group of fans go full zombie to cheer on Cubs and give back to Chicago
The Chicago Cubs have no shortage of famous fans – Bill Murray, Eddie Vedder and Jeff Garlin, just to name a few.
However, there are certain fans that are celebrities in other ways, like dressing up as the 1908 Cubs – zombie style.
Tim Rennels, John Kosmach, Jake Kosmach, Michael Kosmach and Scott Loschiavo – a group of friends from Wauconda, Il. – did just that back in 2015, a tradition now six years in the making.
“It was the 2015 season at the end of the year when the Cubs were in the playoffs,” John Kosmach said.
“If they got past the Mets, they would have had a home game on Halloween during the World Series. Unfortunately, Tim and I couldn’t get to go, but we wanted to go hang outside Wrigley. So I said, ‘Oh, let’s go as the 1908 Cubs.’ Tim said ‘Let’s go as the 1908 Cubs zombies.’ I said ‘Yeah, perfect.’”
They even decided to dress in proper attire depending on which player they portrayed. Rennels played Joe Tinker, John Kosmach as Frank Chance, Jake Kosmach as Johnny Evers, Loschiavo as Johnny Kling, and Michael Kosmach as Orval Overall.
“It was stunning even to us that most of the heads were turning,” Rennels said. “A lot of people had comments and all of a sudden everyone wanted to take a picture with us. That’s just become something that we do. At that time, it was new to us.”
So during the 2015 offseason, they went to work.
“We wanted to be as authentic as we could,” John said. “We looked at old pictures of the Cubs to match their uniforms and their hats and socks. My sister is a talented seamstress, and she made the uniforms for us, made the hats with the short brims. We found a place that makes socks online that made the socks for us.
“We went on eBay and looked for antique mitts, and we all got some from the early 1900s. I went to an optometrist who happened to be a big Cub fan. He was so excited at the idea that he spent 30 minutes with me, looking at the computer for zombie contacts to get the most live-looking zombie contacts. Just put it all together in the offseason to be ready for the big 2016 season to come.”
“We actually made a couple practice appearances at local establishments,” Michael said. “Even then, we were starting to build up a fan base of people that just really enjoyed seeing us and looking so authentic and also playing the part of the 1908 Cubs with the mannerisms and personalities that baseball players from that era would have had.”
When the 2016 season came around, they attended Opening Day and multiple games that season at Wrigley, always in the left field bleachers. They also traveled with the team up to Milwaukee, to the All-Star game and several other road games throughout the season.
As the season progressed, this became something more than just dressing up as zombie Cubs players. They take pictures with anyone who asks. They won’t accept any money for pictures, but if someone persists, all money collected is given back to the homeless around Wrigley Field.
They walk around the Friendly Confines, sing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” by the Harry Caray statue, make a quick trip to Murphy’s to refresh before first pitch and also give back to young fans.
“Tim has thousands of baseball card collections. So, he always gets packets ready for every game and hands them out to the kids,” John said. “Parents always want to take pictures. It brings smiles to so many faces, and that’s always fun to do.”
“It was just so much excitement seeing people just become really friendly with us. It was so great,” Loschiavo said. “The reason why we decided to do this is because we needed to get back out of the graves to get the Cubs a championship.”
Guess they added some extra energy to the 2016 season, and they were just as ecstatic when the final out happened on Nov. 2, 2016.
“Pure joy,” Jake Kosmach said. “I was happy. Tears of joy thinking of my grandma too, but I was also glad that I got to enjoy the whole season with my dad and see the Cubs win the World Series with him. It was pretty awesome.”
Six years later, they still continue this tradition, attending some games as their zombie counterparts and others as regular Cubs fans. Through it all, win or lose, they’ll always bleed Cubbie blue.
“No matter what happens on the field, the action’s in the stands. It’s the fans at Wrigley that will always be there,” Rennels said.