Don Soderquist faithfully suffered through many losing seasons of the Chicago Cubs. His hometown team, and his favorite team.
“Soderquist was obsessed with the Cubs,” recalled Soderquist’s friend and former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. colleague, David Glass. “There is something in the water in Chicago, and they never get it out of their system.”
Glass, 80, joined Walmart in 1976 and was the retailer’s CEO from 1988 until his retirement in 2000. He has been the owner of the Kansas City Royals since April 2000, when he bought the club for $96 million.
Suffice it to say, both Glass and Soderquist loved baseball, which is evidenced by a photograph that accompanies a story about Soderquist’s life on Page 12 of this issue.
The photo, retrieved from the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal archives, shows Soderquist and Glass warming up before a benefit softball game, and Soderquist is wearing a Royals jersey.
Why a Royals jersey? Whispers caught up with Glass recently in Bentonville. We’ll let him take the story from there.
“That was in 2008 in Bentonville, and it was some Walmart-related game; I think maybe we were playing another company,” Glass said. “Don was the shortstop, and I was the second baseman. We had a little bet, and he was wearing the Royals uniform because of how the Cubs had been performing.”
Glass said the two men were always talking baseball, and he noted that the year the photo was taken was the 100th anniversary of the last time the Cubs won the World Series.
“Soderquist’s response to me was, ‘Anybody can have a bad century,’” Glass said. “The next time we got together at one of our speaking events, he brought me a framed picture of the 1908 Chicago Cubs. I may be the only person in the world that still has a picture of that team.”
Glass’ Royals, of course, won the World Series in 2015. He said during spring training, Soderquist was optimistic about the Cubs’ chances of doing the same in 2016.
“He believed the Cubs were going to win the National League, and he wanted a Cubs-Royals World Series,” Glass told Whispers. “We had been talking most of the season about that, and we were talking about going to Wrigley Field to see a game. Then, all of a sudden, he’s gone.
“Don and I always had a great time. He is one of the most outstanding individuals I’ve ever been around.”