Chicago's alligator catcher throws out 1st pitch


Frank Robb, who became an overnight celebrity in Chicago when he caught the elusive alligator roaming the Humboldt Park lagoon, threw out the first pitch at Wrigley Field on Tuesday and got a huge hand from the crowd.

Robb, with all his fingers intact, threw a perfect strike.

The Cubs said that when they heard Robb was planning to go to the game against the Cincinnati Reds, they asked him to do first-pitch honors.

Much earlier in the day, Robb caught “Chance the Snapper,” the rogue alligator that captured the imagination of the city for the past week. The gator was given the moniker in an homage to Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper.

The Cubs tweeted a photo of Robb throwing out the first pitch, using some of Chance the Rapper’s lyrics.

Robb, who said he has been hunting alligators for 24 years, came in from St. Augustine, Florida, on Sunday and caught Chance using something that even cartoon alligators know to avoid: a fishing pole.

“I brought my fishing rod, and it went down pretty fast,” Robb said at a news conference Tuesday morning.

At about 1:30 a.m. — about 36 hours into the hunt — Robb said he “saw his eye shine and caught him on the fishing rod. One cast … and it was done.”

Chance is a male measuring more than 5 feet and weighing 40 pounds. “Wherever he came from or however he got here, he’s a very healthy animal,” Robb said.

City officials staged a news conference at the park Tuesday morning for a reveal. Robb opened a big plastic tub and lifted Chance by his tail so the crowd could get a good look. The gator was given a red bow tie collar, which a city official placed around his neck. A thick band of electrical tape held his jaw shut.

Chance was a daily news story from the day he was spotted and photos started popping up online. Investigators don’t know why the animal was in the lagoon, but they knew they had to capture it.

That’s when Robb came to the rescue.

“Everybody’s got different blessings. This is my blessing,” Robb said.

As for Chance the Snapper, he was safely taken to the Chicago Dept. of Animal Care and Control, where he will stay until he is taken to an alligator sanctuary.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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