ALGONQUIN – Brad Imburgia can’t remember a time when the Cubs weren’t part of his life.
He grew up with radio or TV accounts of ballgames playing in the background, part of the household summer soundtrack. He remembers voting in an impromptu straw poll as a first-grader in Elgin, splitting his classmates between Chicago’s two professional baseball teams.
Imburgia’s loyalty has never wavered.
“I couldn’t believe there were Sox fans out there because I never even considered being a Sox fan,” the 29-year-old Algonquin resident said. “There was a kid in my class who said, ‘We all live on the North Side of Chicago, and we should all be Cubs fans.’
“That just made a lot of sense to me.”
Never in his wildest dreams, though, did Imburgia imagine that his love for the Cubs would turn into an official affiliation with the team. Imburgia is one of four finalists in a contest to design the logo the Cubs will use to celebrate Wrigley Field’s 100-year anniversary next year.
Imburgia, who works as the senior graphic designer for Thermos in Schaumburg, had his logo selected from more than 1,200 entries. Voting runs through April 23.
Although Imburgia grew up loving the Cubs, he didn’t make his first visit to Wrigley until he was 18, witnessing his first game with his future wife and another couple. And despite the controversial $500 million face-lift Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts is seeking to give the 99-year-old ballpark, Imburgia can’t help but get lost in Wrigley’s nostalgia.
“Wrigley is so special,” he said. “I remember not really knowing what to expect, but when you walk up those stairs and see the field ... every single time, you still get those butterflies in your stomach. You see the grass and the ivy and you feel those butterflies, you know the place is special.
“It’s not just a ballpark. It’s a piece of history.”
Wrigley’s history played a major role in his design choice. What started as sketches in a notebook soon became a clean, finished product that took nearly six hours to complete. The logo’s foundation is a home plate, signifying that the Cubs have called Wrigley home since the park was built in seven weeks in 1914.
Imburgia has always been captivated by the stadium’s facade, which hasn’t changed much over the years, adding to its appeal for baseball historians. Each of the four finalists included similar renderings of Wrigley’s exterior design with the differences coming more in the color scheme and font.
Imburgia was caught off guard when he learned he was a finalist. After not hearing anything officially from the Cubs for nearly a month after submitting his logo, Imburgia received news he was part of the contest’s finalists when a friend emailed him to tell him he had voted for Imburgia’s design.
Yet, Imburgia – who also has his own design and branding company – won’t allow himself to think too far ahead. He’s unwilling – at least yet – to think his handiwork could be part of Wrigley Field when the ballpark turns 100 in 2014.
“Even if this is as far as I get, just to know that I was a part of Wrigley history is really special for me,” Imburgia said. “But if I won the whole thing, it would be a dream come true. If I could see that logo on a patch on the shoulders of the players there, that would be amazing.”
Want to see the logo?
The Cubs’ Wrigley 100-year logo contest runs through April 23. To view the final four designs and vote, visit chicago.cubs.mlb.com/chc/fan_forum/logocontest.jsp