Chicago Cubs: The Heroes of Wrigley Series presents Wayne Messmer

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(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Chicago Cubs: After an incredible comeback, a grateful Messmer still awes the crowds of rallying fans.

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Amazingly, defying all expectations after extensive surgery, Messmer not only regained his voice but was able to make it back in time for an emotional return, singing the National Anthem for the Chicago Wolves’ inaugural game in October ’94, just six months after the shooting.

This past Monday was Messmer’s 35th straight Cubs Opening Day performance and seeing him there again was like a breath of fresh air for this Cub fan.

Every time I return to Wrigley Field, it never fails to take my breath away.  Once I make that initial walk up the steps and first look upon the greenest green that is surrounded by a sea of like-minded people, it awakens a feeling of the past and the present, child and adult, pure awe.

Messmer opening up Cubs games with his stirring rendition of the National Anthem is always an integral part of the Wrigley experience.  Nostalgic chills are sent down your spine when he concludes his final verse, hitting his trademark emphasis on the last “brave” the exact way he did when you saw your first Cubs game, immediately transporting you back in time.

Timeless, Wayne Messmer is.

On the anniversary of the shooting, 25 years to the day, Messmer reflected on the life-threating incident, grateful and blessed not only to be alive but to come back from his injuries.  Most of all, he was overjoyed by being back at Wrigley Field for Opening Day.

"“I’m trying to remember a better day and I can’t.”"

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Whether it’s at Blackhawks games, Wolves games, Game 5 of the World Series, or even Little League games in River’s Grove, with over 5,000 opening performances across various sporting events, Wayne Messmer always captivates capacity crowds, rallying behind his voice, invigorating the start of something special.

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