Ben is no longer my favorite Zobrist. That’s because 7-year-old Beckham, who’s actually related to the Cubs star (Ben’s Grandpa Zobrist and Beckham’s Great-Grandpa Zobrist were brothers*), is such an amazing cat. The little guy beat retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer, back in 2012 but it came at the cost of his right eye. As you might imagine, that led to some taunts from classmates and kids on his T-ball team.
Reading about Beckham, particularly about how he was called a “freak,” really struck me. I have a 7-year-old son of my own and we just finished up his rookie baseball season, so I had all kinds of emotions swirling around here. And then to see how this kid was able to take complete ownership of his uniqueness by getting a custom-made prosthetic eye with the Cubs logo in it…man. That’s just awesome.
He was given a personal tour of Wrigley Field by bench coach Davey Martinez and Kyle Schwarber gave him a bat. Fellow cancer survivor Anthony Rizzo met with Beckham as well. The Zobrist family went to Disney World through Make-A-Wish a couple years ago, but Beckham says getting to visit the Cubs was even better.
Digging through stats and trying to find explanations for why this hitter or that pitcher is doing what he’s doing can be a lot of fun, but this stuff is good for the heart. Check out the video for more on Beckham’s story.
*This information is courtesy of Beckham’s grandmother, per comment below. And that’s also the reason the text now reads “an amazing cat” instead of “a badass.” The original was totally a term of respect and endearment, but discretion is the better part of valor.