David Ross achieved folk hero status in his final season as a Major Leaguer, helping the Chicago Cubs win the 2016 World Series, and earning the nickname "Grandpa" as an elder statesman on the team.
Ross brought his first offseason of retirement to Rockford Sunday, speaking to the congregation at City First Church, formerly Rockford First. He was blown away by the community's support.
"The love you receive from fans and these people take time out of their day to come and show you that love and appreciation and listen to you tell stories about your faith and the team, it's pretty overwhelming," Ross said in an interview with 13 Sports. "The city of Rockford has been really cool to me, showing me tons of love and that never gets old."
Ross brought a positive message to those at services, as the auditorium was packed with attendees of all ages.
"The goal is to be the best you can everyday, right? We're always striving to be the best," Ross said. "Some people are motivated by money, some are motivated by status or whatever your motivation may be. When you get money and status as a Major League Baseball player, you realize there's not a whole lot there to that. It's about being comfortable with yourself and your beliefs and who you are. That's what makes you the best person. I wanted to share about being on that journey, and going through ups and downs."
Ross will stay with the Cubs in 2017 as a special assistant to baseball operations, joining Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer in the Chicago front office.