David Ross went out a winner.
Already a champion with Cubs fans and teammates for his engaging personality and uncanny leadership skills off the field, the veteran catcher finished his career as a champion on it.
After playing his last game at Wrigley Field over the weekend, the veteran catcher called his final season in the major leagues "a storybook year" and during Game 7 of the World Series against the Indians on Wednesday night in Cleveland, Ross wrote the final chapter.
It included thrills, chills and some spilled tears as the 39-year-old cemented his place in Cubs lore by becoming the oldest player to hit a home run in a Game 7 of the World Series during the Cubs' 8-7 victory over the Indians in 10 innings.
"I'll have plenty of time to reflect on my career," Ross said afterward. "This is the World Series, Game 7. I'm trying to soak it all in and try to support my teammates and help cheer them on."
Ross, who announced his plans to retire last offseason, became known as much for his quips and hugs this season as his contributions on the field — though those cannot be dismissed as his solo home run in the sixth inning in Game 7 displayed. With the Cubs reeling a bit after seeing their 5-1 lead trimmed to 5-3 in the top of the fifth — aided by a Ross throwing error and later his inability to corral a wild pitch from Jon Lester that scored two Indians runs — Ross showed a flair for the dramatic when he belted a fastball from Andrew Miller over the wall in center field to give the Cubs a 6-3 lead.
"Just coming into the game and giving up two runs I felt like I was letting the team down," Ross said. "That's not how I scripted it. I made an error so to get one back on the board in our favor was nice for me."
So 883 regular-season and 25 postseason games later, Ross will ride off into the sunset and focus on a career of spending more time with his family after playing 14 seasons in the big leagues.
That whole retiring thing is still happening, right?
"How do you come back after this?" Ross said with a hearty laugh. "I would kick my own you know what if I came back after this. My family my wife, what a treat. I'm so, so, so lucky. I'm going to come back but I'm just going to come back to get that ring and come back and heckle (Anthony) Rizzo from the seats by first base."