Jose Can You See? Eddie Vedder at Wrigley

by John Reynolds on June 30, 2011

Jose Cardenal

Early this week, WGN Chicago reported that Eddie Vedder would appear with Jose Cardenal at the June 30th Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field. This day fell after two terrific nights at the Chicago Theater on Ed’s 2011 U.S. Tour. Yahoo! Ed and the Cubs, what could be better. Wait … Who’s this Jose Cardenal guy again?

Jose Can You See?

Jose Cardenal had an 18-year career as a Major League Baseball player for a number of teams, compiling a respectable .275 batting average and playing mostly the Outfield position. Clearly his best years were with the Chicago Cubs from 1972 to 1977 which included two nominations for NL Most Valuable Player (source BaseballReference.com.

But to Eddie Vedder, these numbers didn’t matter. Jose Cardenal was simply Ed’s favorite player on his hometown team. In 2008, we found out how much Jose meant to him growing up.

During the June 12, 2008 Show in Tampa, FL, “Wishlist” started the way it usually does. Known to have a bit of improv, Ed got to the line “I was I was as fortunate, as fortunate as me” and reworded it “I was I was as fortunate, as fortunate as J.C.“. After the song, Ed explains through a terrific story:

“I was gonna mention a little something about hope. When I was a kid, I got taken to the bleachers, so I can relate to these people (in the upper sections). I never got to be behind home plate like these people (in the front row). My uncle used to take me to Chicago to Wrigley Field. But the best thing about the bleachers … you were far away from home plate, but you were the closest to the guy who was my fav player, kinda the first hero I had as a young kid… he was in Right Field and I got to sit right in front of him, and I’d go to all these games and see him, this guy, his name was Jose Cardenal. And he wore the Number 1, he had a great Afro, he was Cuban – but i didn’t know if he was white, black, whatever – it didn’t matter. He was just the coolest fucking guy I had ever seen. Kinda reminds me of this Barack Obama guy – it doesn’t really matter, he’s just a cool (guy).

So I’d go to the game with my uncle, and I was maybe 4-5-6 (years old), and my uncle would tell me (Uncle-voice) ‘my favorite guy Jose, he’s going blind, he’s going blind and that’s why at the start of every game they say ‘Jose, can you see?” (For those outside the U.S., this is an old joke on the first words of the National Anthem “Oh say, can you see?”). (To sarcastic applause) Alright, that’s not that funny, it’s not really worth tellin’, but I didn’t know any better at 5! My hero was this Right Fielder with this huge Afro who was going blind and he played Right Field for the Chicago fucking Cubs and that gave me hope that I could do anything.

So, I met Jose a number of years ago, we’ve ended up being very very close friends, I’ve gotten to know his son a bit. I have to mention this too because for the very first time he gets to see us play tonight. He’s here, Jose Cardenal somewhere over there (pointing, then spotting) that’s Jose! Jose, Jesus, we play this one for you.” leading to “Given To Fly”.

Later, as another nod to Jose Cardenal, Ed sings “I am ahead, I am advanced, I am the first to wear ‘number one’ on my back.” in “Do The Evolution”.

June 30 At Wrigley

Vedhead011 on Twitter shared with us these great pics of Ed at the game today:

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder talks with @KerryWood, then cat... on Twitpic

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder talks with @KerryWood, then cat... on Twitpic

Twas the Past

Check out an article we posted on August 26, 2009 showcasing Ed’s previous appearances singing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”. Highlights include:

  • Coverage of all his previous Wrigley appearances
  • YouTube videos!

For more information, click here.

John Reynolds ( Twitter: @jjjrrr )
A New Jersey based programmer, John handles TFT’s programming and technical aspects. He also conceives and writes his share of TFT’s articles and sections. John’s first Pearl Jam show was at Lollapalooza on August 12, 1992.

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