I know this from far too much personal experience. Cancer took my mother when I was just 11, and my sister when she was barely into her 40s, almost 15 years ago.
A couple of summers ago, I lost two dear friends to cancer, both women who led exemplary, health-conscious lives. Cancer, though, races right through those, it rips lives away far too soon.
John’s cancer first surfaced a year or so ago, and it seemed he had defeated it; when I saw him this spring in Mesa he appeared to be in remission and he was in fine spirits and looking forward to another good Cubs season.
But the disease returned, only a few weeks ago, and I knew John was undergoing more treatment; he wrote about it here and fully intended to beat it.
Cancer, though... damn it, it doesn’t care, it takes far too many good people from this Earth before their time.
John was an excellent writer; it was in his blood, as he wrote in this Father’s Day tribute to his dad just a few weeks ago. He moved from the Chicago area to Mesa a couple of years ago and began spending lots of time at the back fields at the Sloan Park complex. In so doing, he not only got to know many in Cubs management, but also the players in the organization, so much so that the team sent this out late Saturday:
The Chicago Cubs organization sends its condolences to the family and friends of John Arguello.@CubsDen, you will be missed.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) July 29, 2017
Other tributes from all over baseball:
So sad to hear of the passing of John Arguello (@CubsDen). He was a fixture on our back fields and will be missed. A good man. RIP John.— JasonMcLeod (@CamLaneyLogan1) July 29, 2017
John Arguello had such an incredible impact on so many people's lives. Rest In Peace John thank you for everything you did.— Dylan Cease (@DylanCease) July 30, 2017
That’s how much John touched everyone around him. In his days spent on the back fields in Mesa, he also took up photography and took some excellent photos of Cubs minor leaguers, which he graciously allowed Josh and me to use here at BCB, just for the credit and a link to Cubs Den.
That’s the kind of person John was: Generous and kind to everyone he knew. I’m glad to have gotten to know him over the last couple of springs when I, too, spent a fair amount of time at the Cubs’ spring complex. It was great to become his friend, though when that happens and someone dies so young, it creates hurt and loss, I feel that personally as well as the loss of John as a colleague.
To John’s wife Stacey, I cannot imagine what you must be going through at this moment. There’s not much I can say or do other than to send my heartfelt condolences for your loss of this wonderful man. It’s exactly the time when I need to find the right words to say, and I don’t know if I have them. My heart breaks for you.
To the readers of Cubs Den and all who enjoyed John’s writing, which of course includes all of us in the Cubs blogosphere, we have suffered a loss as well. To say “he’ll be missed” barely scratches the surface of the mark John left on the entire Cubs family.
When someone goes so young, way too soon, it’s a time to reflect on life and how short it can be, and I’ll always keep in mind the kindness that John showed to everyone he met and to try to do the same for the rest of my days.
John loved baseball, the Cubs, dogs and scotch (the latter, as you can see in Josh’s tweet), not necessarily in that order. I’m not a big fan of scotch, but I think I’ll have one to toast John sometime soon.
Rest in peace, John. Like the rest of us, you did get to see our beloved Cubs win the World Series. I wish you could have been around to celebrate more championships. I’ll always cherish the friendship we had, and will remember you forever.