The pink-hatted—but apparently not always green-shirted—Cubs fan whom the I-Team was tasked with finding has been identified. His name's Jim Anixter, and many, many of you know something about him. For instance, that his hat says, "The Pink Hat Guy."
According to two links we received, Anixter was part of a group that included former Cub Billy Williams that put in a bid for the team during its recent sale. Anixter made his first attempt to purchase the Cubs from the Wrigley family in 1981, along with other rich Chicagoland types. Evidently, he and his partners routinely sent letters of interest to the Tribune Co. throughout the company's 28-year reign over the team.
More fun facts: Anixter is the co-founder and president of A-Z Industries, an industrial wiring and cable supplier. A quick glance at the company's website and "contact us" section reveals that several other Anixters are employed by the firm, as is a person named Icie. More business-related information was found here, including such facts as: The family-owned Anixter Brothers wire and cable company was sold in 1986 to Sam Zell, eventual chairman and CEO of the Tribune Co., and is now the biggest wire and cable supplier for the electrical industry. (Anixter's brother Scott—who ended up starting his own wire and cable company—was indicted on fraud charges in federal court in 2003 but never saw trial after being diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma.) The family sold its company to the man who wouldn't sell them the Cubs! Fascinating! What's the story there? Did they get screwed over by Zell after a handshake agreement was made? Some other wildly unfounded scenario?
Now, for the real fun: Your stories about him and why you, the readers, do not like him.
Pink Hat guy does indeed sit there for every game. He also calls into the post-game show on WGN (Cubs flagship radio station) on a regular basis as "The Pink Hat Guy", so he clearly enjoys the attention. He also thinks that he is a better manager than Lou Piniella for what it's worth.
Tim doesn't like Anixter for the same reason, but thought it necessary to clarify part of the original email that started this investigation:
I can clarify that Fred is incorrect in his assumption that these seats are given out by lottery for every game. Those are the CBOE seats, and if you look at the seating chart, they are auctioned and in a different location. They are the red section on this seating chart:
Aaron explains the genesis of the pink hat and green shirt combo:
The Pink hat is a promotional hat handed out at the 1990 All-Star Game that was held at Wrigley Field, and I believe the green shirt is from the Randy Hundley fantasy basbeball camp if my memory is serving m correctly. The man is absolutely a delight to watch during games though. He is often more entertaining than the shit the team puts on the field every day. I have seen him absolutely tear into umps during 15-0 games and also have watched him remain seated for the entirety of a 3 run walkoff homer during a pennant race two years ago.
Michelle ran into him at a recent game and didn't have anything good to report:
I had the misfortune of sitting in the row in front of the Pink Hat Guy (who actually has a hat that says "Pink Hat Guy") and he was a loud mouth braggart that would not shut up for the entire game. It sounded like he owned some kind of contractor/construction type company perhaps. I am not sure because I was trying to tune him out. Regardless, he was saying (to anyone who would listen) that he had two sets of season tickets, and had given the ones behind me (I was between the on deck circle and visitors' dugout a couple of rows back) to some guys that were visiting in town that he had done business with and decided to sit with them, instead of the other seats, presumably so that he could brag about how he got the tickets, among other things.
According to him, he used to have season tickets in the front row. But, when the cubs added three rows of premium seats (to take advantage of cubs fans that will pay anything) - they were in front of what had been row 1 (now rows A, B and C). He took great pride in the manner in which he pitched a royal fit to the cubs about this until they after a battle of magnificent proportions agreed to give him seats in the front row of the new section that would normally not be sold as season tickets. I don't think he has them for every game but a certain chunk of games. He's also very proud of his stupid pink hat and thinks that he knows every great restaurant in town.
So, the reader that complained that these should be seats available for separate sale or auction is correct - they are except for the few seats given to this obnoxious prick by the Cubs, presumably just so that he would shut up. I had to listen to him instead.
Ryan writes in to play contrarian:
While I don't claim I know the guy, I have noticed him at Wrigley in the same spot for quite a few years now. From my recollection he was honored a few years back and threw out the 1st pitch at a game. He walked from wherever he lived at the time to Wrigley Field and came through the right field entrance to throw out the 1st pitch. All his proceeds from the walk benefited the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), something that Ron Santo is a big part of. So I think Santo and him became friends and my guess is Santo is getting the tickets for him. I have noticed that he isn't there for the bigger games or during some of the playoff games throughout the last couple of seasons that they were in the postseason. I remember him from that damn pink hat!!
Oh and he doesn't always wear a green golf shirt just the damn pink hat!
An anonymous tipster makes a case for the "he's a jerk" crowd:
The story behind the pink hat, is that back in 1989, the All Star game was at Wrigley and the hats that were either given out or sold over the home run derby and game were these awful neon pink hats, since it was, you know, 1989. So he's had the prime seats for quite some time now and used to always wear that hat since it was a Cubs hat. At some point, the cubs added 3 rows of seats closer to home plate, which is why they come out equal with the dugout now, and our pink hatted hero who used to have front row seats, now had fourth row seats. So naturally, after a couple years out of the front row, he complained enough to get his front row seats back and sits there, in the same outfit, every game. The trick is, his beloved 1989 all star game hat, at some point had met it's maker and went up to hat heaven, so what did he do? He went and bought another pink hat, and put on his hat, "The Pink Hat Guy," so that's what his hat reads now. Now I have had minimal interaction with him, and he might be a great guy, although self promoting yourself as "the pink hat guy" seems lame as hell. Also, a few weeks ago, he put on this I'm better than all of you display at Wrigley, but it wasn't during a game. The Cubs put on an event exclusively for season ticket holders where they could come in and walk around Wrigley and the owner Tom Ricketts said a few words to the season ticket holders. Well this guy walks in, pink hat and all, about 5 minutes late, Tom Ricketts is about to start talking and this guy walks right up to Tom to say his hellos and acts big time instead of sitting down like the rest of us. As far as who he actually is, or what he does, I have no idea, but I did sit behind him once last year while at a game, and like many other Cubs fans he seemed angry and bitter, complaining about contracts and losing and not having a very good time or enjoying himself at all with the best seats in the house. That's the best info I can give you and you all can make your judgments from there, I've already made mine.
Linda provided some solid information but ended with a request:
While you're at it, please find out who the guy is that wears the M&M's jacket behind home plate at White Sox games (even when it is above 80 degrees).
Why not just Google it, Linda?
So there you have it — our fairly comprehensive dossier of Cubs superfan Jim Anixter. Thanks to all the commenters and email tipsters—especially the young man who claimed to be pals with his daughter and traded anonymity for some extremely routine information. Way to go, I-Team.