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From ONU to MVP: Ben Zobrist

Posted: May 16, 2017

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Huge shout out to Ben Zobrist, Olivet Nazarene University alumnus, member of the World Champion Chicago Cubs and Most Valuable Player of the 2016 World Series. Way to go, Ben!

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Chicago's Wrigley Field, home of the Cubs, where Olivet alumnus Ben Zobrist plays the game he loves.

Tiger Nation humbly appreciates Olivet Nazarene University’s footnote in the 2016 World Series Game 7 that’s now in the history books as one of the great baseball games of all time.

Olivetians everywhere celebrated when alumnus Ben Zobrist ’04 hit the RBI double that put the Chicago Cubs ahead of the Cleveland Indians in the 10th inning. Each team would score one more run before Zobrist and the Cubs celebrated the end of the longest drought in professional sports — 108 seasons without a championship.

The euphoria was contagious. Fans went wild. Media from all over the world captured every facet of the Cubs’ long-coveted jewel. At the celebratory parade and rally in Chicago, millions cheered.

The night after the Greatest Game in Baseball History, there was a much quieter, unscripted scene playing out in a neighborhood on Chicago’s north side. Zobrist, holding his infant daughter, had wandered out of his house, famously located about a mile’s bike ride from Wrigley Field. As the World Series MVP chatted casually with a few neighbors, a crowd gathered. Kids wanted autographs. Everyone snapped photos. Word spread. The crowd swelled.

What started as a moment to get a breath of air turned into several hours of Zobrist’s obliging fans of all ages in an impromptu celebration with their hero. He appeared to enjoy himself as much as the fans, conversing, laughing, showing his appreciation, making the fans feel like they were the celebrities.

Now that’s a champion. We’re proud to call you one of our own, Zo, an ambassador for Christ and for Olivet.

“College is a stepping stone to get where you want to get in your life,” he says. “Olivet was that time for me. It was a time to discover who I was and what I wanted to be.”

Zobrist helped lead Olivet to three CCAC championships and Tiger baseball’s first two NAIA World Series appearances, in 2002 and 2003. He was a utility player and closing pitcher, wearing number 12 in the purple and gold. Zobristʼs ONU jersey was retired in 2014, the year he was inducted into the ONU Hall of Fame and the NAIA Hall of Fame.

He adds: “Olivet was a place where I felt like I could grow, where I could become the man that I am today.”
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Olivet's School of Education is among the top six largest producers of teachers among all Illinois colleges and universities.