2015 rookies bond with fans at Cubs Convention

2015 rookies bond with fans at Cubs Convention

CHICAGO -- Kris Bryant, not surprisingly, made a young woman swoon. Kyle Schwarber persuaded a former Indiana University baseball player to shift his loyalty from the White Sox to the Cubs.

But it was Addison Russell who made an impression on a couple of youngsters Saturday at the Cubs Convention. During a question-and-answer session with that 2015 rookie trio, as well as Javier Baez, a young boy approached the microphone wearing a jersey with No. 27, Russell's new number.

"I love this little dude," Russell said. "He's been at my table all morning."

The boy was, indeed, memorable -- he had Russell's face buzzed into the hair on the back of his head and was invited on stage to get a picture with his favorite player.

Cubs fan sports Russell haircut

Another young Russell admirer asked the 21-year-old shortstop an important question.

"Now that you decided to give your number [22] to Jason Heyward, when are you buying new jerseys for me and all the other kids?" he asked.

The crowed erupted in laughter, to which Russell could only respond: "Just leave it to kids to put you on the spot. … I'm sorry."

It turns out Russell had always worn No. 27 while growing up -- in honor of his favorite football player, Eddie George -- and gladly switched to it after hearing that Heyward wears No. 22 to honor his late high school teammate, Andrew Wilmot, who was killed in a car accident in 2007.

Schwarber, Baez and Bryant can't wear the numbers they prefer, either. Schwarber was No. 10 in college, but that is retired in honor of Hall of Famer Ron Santo. Likewise, Baez and Bryant always wore No. 23, which is retired for Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg.

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"Seventeen was my dad's number and he taught me a lot along the way," Bryant said of his current number.

The 2015 rookies also talked about key veterans who made their first season in the Majors a success. Veteran catcher David Ross, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, hitting consultant Manny Ramirez and former Cubs Starlin Castro and Dexter Fowler were mentioned.

More than anything, the youngsters said they appreciated being accepted -- even with occasional rookie hazing such as dressing up as Disney princesses on a road trip.

"We have some guys in our clubhouse who have some pretty good ideas for rookie hazing," Bryant said, "but they went easy on us and just let us do our thing."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.