Grant DePorter

Grant DePorter

Grant DePorter
Born (1964-11-07) November 7, 1964
Seattle, Washington
Residence Chicago, Illinois, United States
Alma mater Duke University Fuqua School of Business (MBA)
Cornell University
Occupation CEO of Harry Caray's Restaurant Group
Spouse(s) Joanna DePorter
Children Hannah DePorter (1995)
Margo DePorter (1995)
Parent(s) Donald DePorter (1942-1996), Bobbi DePorter (1944)

Grant M. DePorter (born November 7, 1964) is a restaurateur from Chicago, U.S., who came to prominence in 2004 after he paid US$113,824.16 for a baseball which had played a role in the Chicago Cubs defeat in the 2003 National League Championship Series, and had the ball destroyed in a nationally televised event. The event was an attempt to end the "Curse of the Billy Goat" – which has supposedly prevented the Cubs from winning the National League since 1945 – and also helped raise a substantial amount of money for diabetes research.

DePorter graduated from the Latin School of Chicago in 1983. He then graduated from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, and also holds an MBA from Duke University. He has worked in, managed or owned over thirty restaurants. He is the President and Managing Partner of Harry Caray's Restaurant Group, which owns seven restaurants, the best-known being Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouses in the Chicago area (named after the late Hall of Fame baseball announcer Harry Caray). The restaurants have won several awards, including been voted the best steakhouse in Chicago and the best sports restaurant in the United States.

In October 2003, the Chicago Cubs had a built up a commanding lead in the NLCS for the National League title against the Florida Marlins. But during Game 6 of the series, with the Cubs leading 3-0, a home fan, Steve Bartman, unwittingly deflected a vital catch out of the hand of Cubs outfielder Moisés Alou. Following this the Marlins rallied, winning not only the game but the league and, eventually, the 2003 World Series. Many Cubs fans viewed this as a continuation of the "Curse of the Billy Goat", which had hung over the team since 1945, when the owner of the local Billy Goat Tavern was prevented from bringing his beloved pet goat into the Cubs' home stadium, Wrigley Field, and thus swore that the Cubs would never again win the National League Championship. DePorter paid $113,824.16 for the infamous "foul ball" in order to destroy it, and thus hopefully to put an end to the curse.

The destruction of the ball took place outside Harry Caray's restaurant on February 26, 2004. During its final days, the condemned ball was guarded by a team of 13 security men. It was given a massage and a final meal of steak, lobster and beer. Academy Award-winning special effects expert Michael Lantieri was drafted in as executioner to make the sure that ball went out with a bang. On the night of February 26, when a final reprieve failed to arrive from the governor, an explosive charge reduced the ball to a pile of string. The event was covered live on CNN, ESPN and MSNBC. MythBusters hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman provided commentary for Keith Olberman's coverage of the event. The story made front page news in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times and USA Today. Worldwide, there were over 4,000 newspaper stories and 2,000 TV stories about the event. Sales of mementoes from the ball's execution were used to raise funds for diabetes research. A year later, DePorter still trying to end the curse, used the remnants, infused in vodka and beer, to flavor a special "Foul Ball Spaghetti" then sold to some 4000 diners, Cubs fans all.

In addition to acquiring the Bartman Ball, DePorter has also bought at auction the 2005 World Series "last out" bat which gave the White Sox their first championship in 88 years, Elvis Presley's Sunglasses and Sammy Sosa's corked bat. He put out a $50,000 reward for the missing 2010 Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup winning puck. The FBI aided DePorter in analyzing a puck that was turned in for the reward money. The FBI was able to prove the puck was not the correct puck. After DePorter's work with the FBI made the front page of the Chicago Tribune fans came forward with photos and home videos which showed NHL Linesman Steve Miller #89 picked up the puck. Steve Miller, in an ESPN interview, denied ever seeing or touching the puck. Canadian CBC Sports and TSN then aired the never seen before footage from the Net Cam that showed in high definition Steve Miller taking the puck. Steve Miller has declined all press interviews and the NHL has stated that the matter is closed.

At the start of the Cubs' 2008 baseball season, DePorter revived the Cubs first noted fan club called the West Side Rooters Social Club which was founded in 1908 by Cubs shortstop Joe Tinker. The fan club's official war cry is "Oof Wah!". DePorter is president of the 2008 West Side Rooters Social Club. Cubs' Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks is chairman, Dutchie Caray, Harry Caray's widow, is treasurer and Cubs' Hall-of-Famer Ryne Sandberg is secretary. The fan club was dismantled by unpopular Cubs' owner Charles Murphy after the Cubs had won the World Series in 1908 and the Cubs have not won the World Series since. Cub fans hope that by bringing back the West Side Rooters Social Club, the Chicago Cubs will finally win the World Series. During the same week in which the Cubs clinched the 2008 central division title, DePorter released a book that he co-authored called Hoodoo: Unraveling the 100 Year Mystery of the Chicago Cubs, an entertaining account of the events contributing to Cubs World Series drought.

DePorter has serves on the committees of several civic organizations in the Chicago area. He is Chairman of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association and served as past Chairman of the Illinois Restaurant Association, the Illinois Tourism Alliance (formerly Visit Illinois), and the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival. He also serves on the board of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce.

Grant's father was Bobbi DePorter, who founded the SuperCamp program and the Quantum Learning Network (QLN). Grant attended the very first SuperCamp in 1982 as a student, and has served as a Director of the QLN. Grant and his wife Joanna have two twin daughters named Hannah and Margo.

External links

  • Illinois Tourism News article about Grant DePorter
  • BBC article
  • Chicago Gateway Green website