Wrigley Field's 'Pink Hat Guy' is alive and well

There have been some rumors about Jim Anixter's health, but they're not true.

Wrigley Field's 'Pink Hat Guy' is alive and well

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Reports of the Pink Hat Guy's death have been greatly exaggerated.

If you've been bopping around Cubs Twitter or various Facebook groups this season, there's a good chance you've seen rumors that one of the team's most visible fans went to the great club seats in the sky.

Hell, one person claiming to be a family friend even went as far to write a widely-shared eulogy post for Pink Hat Guy on Facebook.

The only problem with that report?

Jim Anixter is still alive and well.

"I'm 76 going on 12," he said when I called him for proof of life earlier this week. "I feel really good."

Anixter just hasn't been at Wrigley Field so far this season and his absence from his usual spots behind home plate has made Cubdom wonder about his whereabouts.

I have no idea that curiosity morphs into everyone just assuming he died, but social media has never been much for the truth.

So here's the real story, according to Anixter himself.

In November 2019, Anixter sought treatment for a massive blockage in his heart. A lung infection followed which sent him into the pandemic with two conditions that put him at risk (in addition to his age).

So Pink Hat Guy has thrown up a yellow flag for now.

"To put this into sports terms, I can't take a mulligan on my health," Anixter said. "I'm just going to listen to my doctors."

Anixter says both he and his wife have been vaccinated, but are waiting until rates drop so low that Wrigley Field is opened to full capacity.

Those were his doctors orders, he said.

Besides, Cubs season ticket holders can opt to have their money refunded for any game that isn't played to full capacity without losing their seats.

"I'm just going to wait until the right time," he said.

That doesn't mean Anixter hasn't missed the ballpark.

The lifelong Cubs fan said he'd been to every Cubs home opener since 1967 until last year's fan-free debut in late July.

He also missed this season's opener, which was "frustrating."

Anixter and his children run AZ Wire and Cable in Northbrook. The company is the longtime owners of four first-row seats and 12 others in a nearby prime location.

The origin story of "Pink Hat Guy" has been told a few times, particularly as the Cubs made their World Series run and his prominent cap got a lot of screen time.

Anixter got his original pink hat with thousands of others at the 1990 All-Star Game, held at Wrigley Field. He continued wearing it, he said, as a way for his wife to pick him out on television and know he was at the game.

Over the years, the pink hat took on a life of its own as Cubs fans looked for it game after game. When the original one wore out, he replaced it with his own version. He continues to send pink hats to any fans who contact him and promise to make at least a $25 donation to cancer charities.

Today, Anixter is one of a group of baseball fans who have achieved some level of notoriety simply for watching baseball games. He counts the White Sox's "M&M Jacket Guy" (Windy City Limousine owner George Jacobs) and "Marlins Man" Laurence Leavy as friends.

"We're the three crazy baseball fans," Anixter said. "We can't get enough baseball."

(Photo provided by Jim Anixter)

Anixter was watching Tuesday night's game with the Pirates as we talked, pausing to cheer a big play and fret over Nico Hoerner as he left with his hamstring injury.

"All we have to do is get into the playoffs through a division which I don't think is very good," he said. "And then anything can happen."

He could even be there in his usual seat, provided that COVID-19 numbers keep falling.

But until then, he'll watch from home and hope that the Cubs fans who do miss him get the right story.

"My grandson who's in school in Texas saw that (fake story) on the Internet and immediately called our house in a panic," Anixter said. "He said, 'Grandma, where's Grandpa?"

"I was fine of course, but we had to get things straightened out."

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Who were the starting pitchers for the 1990 All-Star Game?

Cubs 4, Pirates 1

Trevor Williams finally got on track against his old team, allowing only one run in six innings and singling twice. The bullpen kept its run going, too, with three scoreless innings and David Bote pitched in with a two-run homer.

  • The Cubs are 7-4 against Pittsburgh this season and remain a half-game behind St. Louis for first place.

Next: Kyle Hendricks (4-4, 4.74) pitches for the sweep against Tyler Anderson (3-4, 4.73). Hendricks has a 2.36 ERA over four starts in May.

Cardinals 4, Sox 0

Carlos Rodon pitched great, striking out 10 in six innings. But the Sox offense struggled to score, so Tommy Edman's home off Rodon and another off Aaron Bummer was all the Cards needed to avoid a sweep.

Next: Dylan Cease (2-1, 3.18) opens the four-game Baltimore series against Bruce Zimmermann (2-3, 5.59).

Red Stars 2, Kansas City 0

Kealia Watt and Makenzy Doniak scored as the Red Stars got their first three-point night of the season.

  1. Are the McCaskeys talking about selling the Bears? Bleacher Nation
  2. Larry Mayer on new Bears DC Sean Desai and the trail he's blazing for Indian-Americans. Chicago Bears
  3. Derrick Rose forever: 26 points over 39 minutes in the Knicks' big Game 2 comeback. Bleacher Report
  4. The Sox stepped into a big social media mess by renaming a dining area honoring a longtime park worker. CBS Chicago
  5. The story of an epic 216-mile bike ride to the Waffle House closest to Chicago. Chicago Reader

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Trivia answer: Oakland's Bob Welch and Cincinnati's Jack Armstrong