Passions Project: Nick Scarpelli

Chicago Cubs fan

Photographed at Central Baptist Village, Norridge

Nick Scarpelli grew up on the North Side, cheering for the Chicago Cubs. He’s a lifelong, passionate fan who traces his love of baseball and the Cubs back to his father.

Scarpelli fondly remembers how his dad would take him, his four brothers and his sister to Cubs games as often as possible. They’d walk to Wrigley Field, and the siblings could predict their father’s mood by whether the game was a W or an L.

“He was always in a good mood walking to the ballpark,” Scarpelli recalls. “He would whistle and have a spring in his step. But if the Cubs lost, on the walk home he would be silent and only walk in the back alleys.”

Scarpelli has been to hundreds of games at Wrigley Field and religiously watches the Cubs on TV at his home in Central Baptist Village. On many days, you’ll see him proudly wearing his Ernie Banks T-shirt and one of his favorite Cubs hats.

Scarpelli is proud to be a North Sider and a Cubs fan. He and his brother Joe owned the Original Joe’s sandwich shop on the Northwest Side of Chicago, which was famous for its Italian beef sandwich. Scarpelli’s son would often joke that Italian beef put him through college. When you ask Scarpelli what made the sandwich so good, he says, “The secret is in the sauce.”

Of course, one of greatest moments for Scarpelli was seeing the Cubs win the World Series in 2016. “I never thought it would happen in my lifetime, but I am so glad it did,” he says. “It feels great, especially after all those years of disappointment.”

Photos and Words by Heidi Wagner

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