Sports Legend Meets Pearl Jam, Doesn’t Think ‘Little’ Eddie Vedder Is Lead Singer

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MLB.com has up a new article about Chicago Cubs legend Jose Cardenal and his relationship with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder. There is a hilarious story in the article about Cardenal meeting Pearl Jam in 2002 when he was a coach with the Cincinnati Reds. A boy boy came to get Cardenal from the visitor’s clubhouse, and hilarity ensued!

“He said, ‘Mr. Cardenal, Eddie Vedder is here, he’d like to see you and he’d like to talk to you,'” Cardenal said. “I asked him, ‘Who’s Eddie Vedder?’ He told me, ‘He’s a big singer — blah, blah, blah.'”

So, Cardenal went to see this mysterious singer.

“I went downstairs and there were three big guys and one little guy,” Cardenal said. “I figured one of the big guys had to be the singer. I went to one of the big guys, and he was a bass player. I said, ‘Hi, Eddie,’ and Eddie starts to laugh. The big guy says, ‘He’s Eddie.’ And then Eddie hugged me.”

Vedder explained to Cardenal how they met at Wrigley, and thus began a beautiful friendship. Vedder, now 53, calls Cardenal often, has invited him on stage at Pearl Jam concerts, and sat with him during the Cubs’ playoff games. Vedder has worn Cardenal’s No. 1 jersey when he performs at Wrigley Field.

In 2015, Vedder told the Chicago Tribune: “He was No. 1. He had this great Afro. He was always smiling, he was colorful. … We’ve become really close. I talk to him a couple of times a week, especially lately. Just an amazing guy. His knowledge of baseball is just incredible.”

How much of a Cubs fan is Vedder? He wrote “All the Way” at the encouragement of Ernie Banks.

“When he was [performing] in Florida, he took me on stage,” said Cardenal, who was in Chicago earlier this month for the Cubs Convention. “In Chicago, when he came here, he flew me to Chicago. I ride in the bus with him.”

The lesson, Cardenal said, is that you should be nice to whoever you meet because you never know who it is — or who that person will become.

“It’s a great relationship,” Cardenal said. “I’ve known him since he was a kid. You never know.”