CHICAGO -- Sure, the thought has crossed Richard Savage's mind. How could it not? He was at the World Series in 1918, 1932, 1938 and 1945 and watched the Cubs lose each time. He has spent the past six decades waiting for them to get back.

So, of course, the man who has had 20 treatments for cancer in his eyelids and can't go much more than an hour between visits to the bathroom has wondered whether he will die before his beloved team wins the World Series.

"You know what the word fear is?" Savage asks as he leans forward on his front porch swing. "The Cubs have had several opportunities to have a team good enough to win the World Series and it hasn't happened. I truly fear that."

One of the oldest living Notre Dame alumni, Savage has memories of the Cubs that date back a decade before Babe Ruth's called shot and extend to a decade after Kerry Wood's 20 strikeouts, both games he says he attended. As a boy, Savage waited for his father to bring home the evening newspaper so he could check the score. As a teenager, he listened on the radio. And as the father of seven children, he watched on television. "I doubt there's anyone alive who has watched more Cub games than I have," Savage says.

These days, Savage doesn't live and die with every pitch like he did when he was younger. Physically, emotionally, he can't handle it anymore. And as much as he feels as though his life would be incomplete without the Cubs winning the World Series, "I've got a few more important things to worry about these days."

Like family. Savage is father to seven, grandfather to 30 and great-grandfather to 59. "And two more are in the oven," he says. Many of them share his love for Chicago's North Siders, including grandchildren Regan and Maddux, named after former Cubs pitchers Phil Regan and Greg Maddux.

Savage's memory is still as sharp as the break on a Kerry Wood slider. Born the year the Cubs last won the World Series, in 1908, Savage can just as easily share a story about Charlie Grimm or Hack Wilson as he can criticize players on this year's team. Kosuke Fukudome and Alfonso Soriano, in particular, are frequent targets.

On Fukudome: "He's always spinning around with this whirling nonsense. They have a batting coach. Why the hell can't they teach him to stop that?"

On Soriano: "He's had some big hits, he's a pretty good hitter, but he plays the field like a grammar school student."

Not surprisingly, a century of losing has taken its toll on Savage. Though the 2008 team appears to be one of the best teams in baseball, he isn't ready to crown the Cubs champions just yet. "If I go back to the beginning, my expectations were so high," Savage says. "But then as you mature, you become more realistic. I've realized, at this point, that we have a very good team. But we also have a bad schedule in front of us, just way too many away games.

"But hope springs eternal. I'm a nut on baseball. And the Cubs are my team. If you gave me one ticket for the Cubs and 10 for the Sox, I would take the one for the Cubs. That's just the way I've always been."

Wayne Drehs is a senior writer for He can be reached at