Chicago Cubs: Kobe Bryant demise recalls Cub Ken Hubbs death

Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Saying goodbye and wondering what could have been

Several days after the wreckage was located, Hubbs’s funeral was held in his hometown of Colton. In Colton High School, where Hubbs was a four-sport athlete just four years prior, services were held in the school’s auditorium because of the enormous crowds that wanted to view Hubbs’s casket and pay their final respects to their hometown star athlete.

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The procession to Hubbs burial site at Montecito Memorial Park in Colton was over two miles long at the end of which were fellow Chicago Cubs Ron Santo, Ernie Banks, Glen Hobbie and Don Elston serving as pallbearers, said goodbye to their friend and teammate.

Hubbs’s death left a hole in the Chicago Cubs lineup that was never fully filled through the Cubs run in 1969 when they were in first place for 155 days until losing 17 out of 25 games in mid-September, finishing 92-70, just eight games behind the New York Mets.

Many fans believe Hubbs would have had an All-Star performance that season, and the Cubs would’ve finished in front of the New York “Miracle Mets” and won the World Series had Hubbs lived. The curse of the black cat would never have meant anything, except a loose cat on the field.

But there are a lot of ‘ifs’ in Cubs history.

Kobe Bryant was a legend to his fans in Los Angeles and around the world for the magic he brought to the court and people’s lives outside of basketball. He was a statesman of the game of basketball and the NBA, but never gave up who he was as an individual. The lives he touched not only in Los Angeles but around the world are too many to be known.

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Both Bryant and Hubbs will always be known for their athletic deeds and their tragic, untimely deaths, taken away before all their dreams and ours, could be recognized. Somewhere out there, Hubbs is still 22 years-old, running and hitting balls, throwing touchdowns, and shooting baskets at the buzzer. I know when Bryant gets there, there will be one helluva game of one-on-one.