Hines displays Monti Cubs history at Heritage Center

Several mementos from the history of the Monticello Cubs semi-pro baseball team are on display at the Monticello Heritage Center. The items are courtesy of local baseball fan Bob Hines. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The weather is warming up. And last week marked opening day of the 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) season.

     (Fun fact: March 28, 2019 marked the earliest opening day of MLB in its history.)

     Baseball season wouldn’t be the same locally without the Monticello Cubs semi-pro baseball team. The Cubs’ season kicks off in early May.

     To commemorate the Cubs’ local history, long-time baseball fan, coach and player Bob Hines temporarily donated several of his Monticello Cubs memorabilia to the Monticello Heritage and Cultural Center.

     Among the items is the first baseball glove Hines ever used. “I got that glove when I 8 years old,” he said. “I used it playing Pee-Wee, Babe Ruth, and in high school.”

     There is also a Cubs jersey with the number nine on it. The jersey was worn by Hines’ son, Mike, who also played for the semi-pro team. Mike chose the number in honor of his grandfather, George Hines.

     Hines always wore a Cubs jersey with the number one on it, from his first year with the Cubs until his last.

     “I was always number one,” he joked.

     Hines played with the Cubs for 16 years.

     “I played until I was 50 years old, all year, every year,” he said. “I didn’t want to quit, but my body said yes even though my spirit and heart said no.”

     Hines two biggest thrills in his baseball career were playing on the team with his own father, and playing with his son.

     “Mike played after high school for a few years,” he said.

     George Hines joined the Cubs after returning home from World War II, and played with them from 1947-67.

     “He managed (the team) in his last few years,” said Hines.

     There is also a Cubs team photo on display at the Heritage Center from 1907. Hines said he heard someone has a postcard with a team photo of the Cubs from 1900, but hasn’t gotten his hands on it.

     Hines also brought in a photo of John Ferring, who some might remember as the Cubs bat boy for almost 30 years. Hines shared that Ferring had special needs, so the Cubs made him feel like part of the team.

     “We grew up together,” he recalled.

     Ferring’s jersey number was #00, and after he passed away, Ferring’s sister gave his Cubs jacket to Hines to remember his friend by.

     “Teams from all over knew John,” Hines said of his personality.

     Hines has spent several years and many hours putting together “A Lifetime of Baseball in Monticello,” a book of personal photos, team pictures, stories, newspaper articles, and commentary on baseball in Monticello.

     The book is available at the Heritage Center as well for reading/viewing.

     “The more we talk about the past, the better we are,” Hines said of sharing his passion with the public via the Heritage Center. “It was a different era compared to now.”

     Hines still enjoys baseball. He regularly attends MHS, Parks and Rec league, and Cubs games. His grandsons also play the sport, too.

     “My biggest reward (playing with the Cubs) are the people I met and friends I made,” shared Hines.

     The Heritage Center is located at 211 N. Sycamore St.


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