It looks like the old cardboard pass worn around the neck is a thing of the past. As shown below, the weekend passes that have shipped are now in the form of a wristband that cannot be transferred once the original user puts it on. Seems like the Cubs conspire to make the convention less fan friendly each year.
If you have any questions, just ask - firstname.lastname@example.org. And be sure to send along your photos and experiences after the Convention so we can share!
Please visit the Cubs Convention Fans Subreddit to share your thoughts on the Cubs Convention, who you got to meet, what presentations you attended, what you got autographed, what players and features you would like to see at the Cubs Convention or to ask questions.
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Saturday, January 26, 2019
You might remember Jon Lieber as the last Cubs pitcher to compile a 20-win season (in his All-Star 2001 campaign) before Jake Arrieta reached the mark in 2015. Lieber pitched for the Cubs from 1999-2002 and again in 2008. He has retired from baseball and is now a budding real estate mogul and family man. (In fact, we had to work this interview around picking up his kids from school!) But his road to Major League stardom was not always so certain.
Lieber grew up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, across the river from Omaha, Nebraska. Although he attended some Omaha Royals (AAA) games at old Rosenblatt Field as a child, Lieber always felt that he would rather be playing baseball than watching it. His loyalty to a particular team also changed from year-to-year, as he followed the better teams throughout the seasons—the Twins, Mets, Royals, Cubs and Dodgers came to mind. His favorite players included Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and Cubs killer Steve Garvey.
He played baseball at Abraham Lincoln High School, mainly as a right fielder—he loved it to hit—and pitched only occasionally. He was not recruited out of high school and figured his baseball career was at its end.
He continued his education at Iowa Western Community College and decided to give a walk-on bid with the baseball team a shot. At the tryout, he discovered quickly that he was not as fast as he needed to be to outplay his outfield competitors. Fortuitously, however, one of the catchers noticed his strong throws and suggested that he try pitching from the mound. Well, as you might expect, Lieber impressed the coaches enough to earn a spot on the roster, eventually becoming an important arm in the team’s rotation.
After completing two years of community college, Lieber transferred to the University of South Alabama in Mobile. Heaping praise on his pitching coach there, Randy Powell, Lieber transformed into a dominant starter. He posted 12–5 records in both 1991 and 1992, leading the Jaguars to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and the 1992 Sun Belt Conference championship. As a senior, he posted a sparkling 2.04 ERA and was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.
|Jon Lieber and family with Ernie Banks. Photo courtesy Lieber family.|
Lieber was originally drafted by the Cubs after his junior year in 1991. The Cubs’ initial offer was much less than he expected, and he declined. To the Cubs credit, they ultimately agreed to Lieber’s requests; however, he had already committed to return to school for his senior year. He was subsequently drafted in 1992 by the Royals and signed, eventually making his Major League debut with the Pirates. After pitching for five seasons in Pittsburgh, Lieber came to the Cubs by way of a December 1998 trade for Brant (Nooooooo!!) Brown.
Although he would not necessarily admit it was his biggest career regret, Lieber never hit a Major League home run in nearly 700 plate appearances, claiming persistent back luck in hitting well-struck baseballs to the wrong parts of the park. In particular, he recalled absolutely tattooing a pitch from Tony Armas Jr. at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, only to have it hit off the top of the wall, some 400 plus feet from the dish. It fell for a double, just one of several times he was snake bit by howling winds or just-too-big park dimensions.
Lieber attended the Cubs Convention as an active player and always had a great time. Attendance by active players was appreciated but was not required by contract or otherwise. As an alum, he was first invited back a few years after his playing days ended and he has attended whenever possible since. The Cubs take care of all the arrangements, offering a first-class experience. And he—with a straight face—claimed that it was always nice to get a break from the weather in Mobile! (It was 72 degrees when they left this year—so no sympathy here!)
The Cubs typically contact the players in October or November to see whether they will be available to attend the Convention. If so, they are typically sent the weekend schedule in January. While at the Convention, he is assigned a handler who takes him from place to place so he does not even need to think about it. The Cubs schedule several breaks throughout the day and offer excellent food and beverage selections at the hotel. And even though he signs hundreds of autographs in one sitting, his hand has never cramped up or hurt as a result!
The highlight of his weekend is typically Cubs bingo. His kids love to play bingo, their passion fueled by major jackpot wins ($10,000 and $5000!) on past Disney cruises. Although they have never come close to winning at the Convention, they still enjoy family time, meeting fans and making new friends. If you’re ever at Cubs Convention bingo look around, you might just be playing alongside an All-Star, 20-game winner for the Cubs!
Each year, Lieber is astonished and humbled by folks who have heartfelt memories of him giving them their first baseball or specific highlights of games they attended in which he reached a milestone or signed a cherished autograph. Because he played for the Cubs from 1999 to 2002, a lot of these kids who were eight years old at the time are now in their 20s and delight him with stories that just make him smile.
Some players that he would love to see return to the Convention include Mark Grace, Kevin Tapani, Henry Rodriguez and Sammy Sosa. He also would love to see Luis Gonzalez and Lance Johnson, who both played baseball at the University of South Alabama.
Throughout his 14-year Major League career, Lieber pitched for the Pirates, Cubs, Yankees and Phillies, compiling a career record of 131-124, a 4.27 ERA (4.02 FIP) and amassing 24.3 bWAR. He has been inducted into the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame, the University of South Alabama Hall of Fame, where the ballpark clubhouse named in his honor. Despite all his success, Jon Lieber is approachable, down-to-Earth and someone you should make a point of meeting, if you have not done so already. And keep an eye out for his son Justin, who just may be destined for the PBA tour!
Monday, January 14, 2019
This year's festivities kick off with the Opening Ceremony beginning Friday, January 18, at 6 p.m. followed by the wildly entertaining "Friday Night with Ryan Dempster," presented by Budweiser. Saturday's programming continues with the always popular "Joe Maddon & the Coaching Staff," "Baseball Operations Update" and "Business Operations Update" panels as well as the "Kids Only Press Conference," presented by Advocate Children's Hospital, and long-time Convention favorite "Cubs Bingo," presented by Budweiser.
- Opening Ceremony - 6-7 p.m. CST Friday, January 18
- "Friday Night with Ryan Dempster" - 7:30-10 p.m. CST Friday, January 18
- "In the Batter's Box" - 11 a.m.-noon CST Saturday, January 19
- "Cubs in Cooperstown" - 3-4 p.m. Saturday, January 19
CUBS CON GIVEAWAY: Win 2 passes to the 2019 @Cubs Convention at the Grand Sheraton Chicago. Just like AND RT this post to enter. One winner will be drawn between Facebook and Twitter, announced 1/17 at 12pm ET. Good luck to all! #CubsCon #CubsCon2019 pic.twitter.com/pdi4luIl4Z— South Bend Cubs (@SBCubs) January 14, 2019
I will be signing copies of "The 1969 Cubs" at the Cubs Convention in the #signaturestrengthorg Booth #37 -in the Wrigleyville Room located on level #sheratongrandchicago— Fergie Jenkins (@31fergiejenkins) January 14, 2019
FRIDAY 12:00 PM - 2:45 PM
SATURDAY 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM & 1:00 PM - 2:45 PM
SUNDAY 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM pic.twitter.com/jajQPeHqM4
Thursday, January 10, 2019
|Bob Dernier Union 76 mini-poster|
Based on inside sources, we have confirmed that Bob Dernier - 1984 Gold Glove winning center fielder - and 20-game winner Jon Lieber will be attending the Convention this year.
If you have never had the chance to meet either, you should really make it a point. Mr. Dernier has always been very friendly and can sometimes be found in the lobby bar on Friday and Saturday night. He loves to talk baseball and golf!
Mr. Lieber is always very approachable as well, and he will likely be happy to discuss the finer points of pitching.
We will certainly update when any further information is received or the Cubs finally announce the attendees. Stay tuned!
Friday, January 4, 2019
If the past announcement schedule is any clue, we should expect the Cubs to announce the 2019 Convention guests and general schedule information on January 14th or 15th.
We will post the information here as soon as it becomes available!