The BIG EIGHT-O

Once again my childhood hero's birthday has rolled around and he's turned the calendar on quite a milestone.

Mr. Cub is Eighty Years Old today.

When one's childhood hero hits such a milestone it means that when this Cub fan looks in the mirror, that reflection isn't the young Cubster that used to be, but... well, I still feel like a kid when I think about Ernie Banks unique batting style, fingers wiggling and bat upright. Crack, ball hits bat, fantastic wrist action. Remembering just one more Jack Brickhouse Hey-Hey!  All baseball heros candles fade and real life takes over. But Eighty? That can't be correct.

So Ernie, here's my birthday toast to you: may your birthday cake with 80 candles be as GRAND the impact your Cub greatness had on me.

Return to Homepage

Comments

saw a headline yesterday about how Ernie took a spill at his bday party. Presumably he's okay.

According to Luis Arroyave, Chicago Tribune, Mr. Cub was ok after his fall. In fact, Jeff Garlin who was celebrating with him had some fun with it, quipping to Banks, "Let's fall twice."

http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/about-...

"Ata boy, Ernie!!"

Az Phil: I saw this writeup on Rob Whitenack in the CCO blog. Do we have a Burt Hooton "lite" in our system?

http://chicagocubsonline.com/archives/2011/02...

The Cubs drafted Rob Whitenack in the eighth round of the 2009 draft. Whitenack throws a knuckle-curve that rates as an 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale. The 6'5", 180-pound right-hander features a smooth arm delivery with no recoil and throws his fastball in the upper 80s to lower 90s with an average slider and changeup.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/play...

Submitted by Cubster on Tue, 02/01/2011 - 7:52am.
Az Phil: I saw this writeup on Rob Whitenack in the CCO blog. Do we have a Burt Hooton "lite" in our system?

===================================================================

CUBSTER: I saw Whitenack throw in a game only once, and that was (briefly) in a game at Minor League Camp last year.

Whitenack went directly to Boise when he signed with the Cubs in 2009, and he did not attend AZ Instructs either post-2009 or post-2010, so I haven't seen enough of him to talk about his stuff.

He did have a very strong second-half in 2010 that earned him a promotion to Daytona, and then he pitched even better at Daytona than he did at Peoria.

Whitenack has a shot at making AA Tennessee coming out of Minor League Camp, but he will more-likely begin the 2011 season back in the Daytona starting rotation (probably with some combination of Lopez, Struck, Searle, Wallach, Antigua, and/or Jung), but he could get moved up to AA at some point during 2011 if he continues to throw as well as he did during the second-half of the 2010 season. .

Mr. Cub was also my childhood hero. To those of you too young to remember, or not born, he was all we had in the late 1950's. Sure we had some journeymen that had a good year here or there, Dale Long, Bobby Thompson, Waly Moryn, Lee Walls, but Ernie was the only star. It wasn't until the early 60's that Santo, Williams and others came along. The late 50's teams were horrible, but Ernie kept hitting 40 HRs and 100+ RBI. He was usually our sole all star representative, when the all star games were exciting. Happy Birthday Mr. Cub, you gave me a lot of joy.

what kind of a shortstop was banks? he had moved to 1B by the time my memories kick in...back-to-back mvp's on an also-ran team will never happen again...banks & aaron were rookies together i believe; not a bad class!

My recollection is gold glove, few errors, not much range, never a web gem.

Looking at the fielding stats in BR, I see one Gold Glove in 1960, but 32 errors in 1958, the first MVP year.

The distinctive thing about Banks in the field was the extreme (almost submarinish) sidearm throw.

Aaron-last Negro league player to play in MLB.

Submitted by jacos on Tue, 02/01/2011 - 12:07pm.
Aaron-last Negro league player to play in MLB.

==================================================

JACOS: Technically Orestes "Minnie" Minoso was the last former Negro Leaguer to play in an MLB game (October 1980).

BTW, I went to high school with Orestes Minoso Jr (known as "Orestes Arrieta" at the time), and he was on our 30-1 Evanston Township HS State Championship basketball team in 1968 with future Marquette University star and New York Nets forward Bob Lackey, point guard Walt Perrin, and wide-body center Farrell Jones. Orestes Jr later was a member of the first class of the Kansas City Royals Baseball Academy in 1971, along with future Royals 2B Frank White and current Rangers manager Ron Washington.

While it's fairly well-known that the Boston Red Sox were the last MLB team to integrate (with INF Elijah "Pumpsie" Green in July 1959), did you know that the Kansas City Ahtletics were the last MLB team to go a full season (actually more than a season-and-a-half) with no black players on their Active Roster (starting when they traded IF-OF Hector Lopez to the New York Yankees on 5-26-1959 all the way up until Opening Day 1961), and that the Baltimore Orioles were the last MLB club to play part of a season with no black players on their Active List (during a period of 80+ games in 1962, beginning when they sent INF Earl Robinson to AAA at the end of June up until they they brought C Nate Smith up from the minors in September)?

PHHHHHHIILLLLLLLLLL!!!

/screamed like Kirk in "Wrath of Kahn"
//correct again sir

Where do you place him all-time? I used to default to Banks as the greatest of all Cubs, but some fancy stats tell another story. For example, BR's WAR has him third all time. Cap Anson leads far and away, and Banks closely trails (surprise!) Ron Santo.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/CHC/l...

It's nice to see Ronnie so high on that list. I can't be very proud of Anson, however, given his role in establishing the color line.

Also on that link, you can see where Banks has 3 of the top 10 Cubs seasons all time (again by WAR). Even with that peak, I'd be hard to place him above Anson for Cubs career accomplishments. A shame. I'd prefer the good guy on top.

rob neyer...has he attended 100 major league games yet in his life or is he still catching them through the box scores?

sincerely,

ike ferrell.

btw...and proof neyer has some sense of humor even when he's using it for spiteful evil...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0026055/

"alibi" ike...har.

that joke

------------------

my head

anyone else get it?

he went on amazon.com a few years ago leaving a negative review for someone's book under an alias of "ike ferrell"...he was busted and had to publicly apologize.

Apologize - for using a pseudonym, or for giving someone a bad review? Either way, that's stupid.

from wikipedia:

One Day at Fenway

In September 2004, Neyer used a pseudonym ("Ike Farrell") on Amazon.com to write a negative customer review of One Day at Fenway, a then-new baseball book by Steve Kettmann.[15] Neyer subsequently took offense to positive reviews that he believed Kettmann’s friends and relatives had posted.[16]

"How did this project go so terribly wrong?" Farrell/Neyer wrote. "Presumably the author wound up with plenty of source material, and so I can only assume that he [Kettmann] lacked either the talent or the time (or both) to shape the material into a decent piece of non-fiction."

Matt Garza is really a #3 starter masquerading as a #2 behind a big park and an excellent defense. Chris Archer is likely to win several Cy Young awards pitching with the same advantages.

Do you have Cubs Tourettes? This is not relevant to anything discussed in this thread.

Joke

________________________

Newport's head.

Don't quit your day job.

The irony of your comment, especially after the use of the term "Tourettes" is lost on you.

You don't make sense.

The joke was about making irrelevant posts, like crunch did here, because he did the exact same thing the other day about Garza vs Archer.

Tourette's is a disorder that gives people nervous, usually facial, ticks. It's most commonly associated with people shouting out swearwords. You probably meant to say "autism". It wouldn't have been funny either, but it would have made a little more sense. I am just surprised that the PC crowd didn't jump on you.

You didn't get the joke, made a joke which was impossible to "get" because you used the wrong word, and then after that you used another "joke" to imply that I wasn't funny. That's the irony, you made two bad jokes, while telling me that my joke, which you didn't get was bad.

No.

If I could pay to make you invisible on here, I would. But then the comments wouldn't make sense as I would only be able to see one side if the idiotic arguments you like to engage in almost daily. Maybe instead of quit your day job, I should have said focus on your day job, you seem to spend way too much time here.

a joke about rob neyer in a rob neyer post is irrelevant.

okay. sure...

wait, no.

Ernie's career was long and eventful. As a shortstop, and through 1960, he might have been one of the very top players in baseball history. Bill James rated him as a top 100 player (#77, to be exact) ten years ago, not a top 50 player. If he'd been able to continue at short or to have another really good offensive year after 1960, that might have changed things.

James regarded Banks as an "adequate" shortstop. He disregarded the Gold Glove, saying that some years, somebody has to win it. He also disregards the fact that Banks led NL shortstops in assists in 1959 and 1960, due to the fact that Cubs had a ground ball staff and Banks played more inninbgs at short than anyone else. I never saw him play short, and my memories of him playing first come from when I was six.

In addition to aging, I recall that Banks had a severe illness in 1963, which led to a very bad year.

Banks set the MLB record for fielding percentage in 1959 - did James also disregard that?

Errors were a lot easier to come by during that era, I guess it was the condition of the fields, but probably a big part of it was a change in scorer habits. Today if you get a bad hop, no error.

He doesn't mention that. In the prior version of the Historical Baseball Abstract, he rated Banks as the 40th best player of all time. He says he revised his rating based on overrating Banks' defense and underweighting park effects.

He found Banks' range, in terms of the percentage of plays made by him as shortstop (in terms of total defensive plays by the team), to be only average.

I think James likes Banks. 77th is not up there with Stan Musial, but it's not bad.

Ernie really had two careers in one: (i) the first phase as an outstanding offensive shortstop and (ii) the second as a somewhat above average, but declining, first baseman. Had he been able to continue the first phase longer than he did, he could have made it higher on the list. As it is, he's still (deservedly) a hall of famer, and is one of the most famous Cubs of all time.

Really nice job for those pitchers. I bet at least a handful for each of those position players successful "sacrifices" were actual failed hit attempts.

Az Phil-

I know that occasionally you post the "expected" rosters for each of the minor league teams. With the new influx of talent from the Gorz trade, the Garza trade, and the signing of the new Cuban players, what would you say the rosters will look like? I was trying to do it in my head and such, but I couldn't find your last update. Thanks in advance

This is very much subject to change (surprise perfomances in Spring Training and injuries being the main causes of alteration), but here is what I would project the Cubs full-sesonteams minor league rosters to look like on Opening Day 2011 -- AS THINGS STAND RIGHT NOW:

* bats or throws left
# bats both

IOWA (24-man roster)

PITCHERS:
Justin Berg
Esmailin Caridad
Chris Carpenter
Casey Coleman
Thomas Diamond
* John Gaub
Jay Jackson
* Scott Maine
Marcos Mateo
* James Russell
Jeff Stevens
* Luke Sommer

CATCHERS:
Welington Castillo
* Steve Clevenger

INFIELDERS:
* Matt Camp
* Bryan Lahair
* Scott Moore
# Augie Ojeda
# Bobby Scales (inactive player-coach)
Marquez Smith
Tony Thomas

OUTFIELDERS:
* James Adduci
* Tony Campana
* Brad Snyder
Ty Wright

TENNESSEE (24-man roster)

PITCHERS:
* Jeffrey Beliveau
* Ryan Buchter
Alberto Cabrera
David Cales
Rafael Dolis
Ty'Relle Harris
Trey McNutt
A. J. Morris
* Brooks Raley
* Chris Rusin
Aaron Shafer
Kyle Smit

CATCHERS:
Michael Brenly
* Blake Lalli (inactive player-coach)
Chris Robinson

INFIELDERS:
* Ryan Flaherty
# Marwin Gonzalez
D. J. Lemahieu
Rebel Ridling
Nate Samson
Josh Vitters

OUTFIELDERS:
* Michael Burgess
Evan Crawford
* Brett Jackson
* Matt Spencer

DAYTONA (25-man roster)

PITCHERS:
* Jeffry Antigua
Yohan Gonzalez
Su-Min Jung
Robinson Lopez
Aaron Kurcz
* James Leverton
* Jeff Lorick
Oswaldo Martinez
Dae-Eun Rhee
Ryan Searle
Nick Struck
Brett Wallach
Rob Whitenack

CATCHERS:
Luis Flores
Jose Guevara

INFIELDERS:
* Justin Bour
* Matt Cerda
Junior Lake
Jonathan Mota
Greg Rohan
* Logan Watkins

OUTFIELDERS:
* Kyler Burke
D. J. Fitzgerald
Jae-Hoon Ha
* Nelson Perez

PEORIA (25-man roster)

PITCHERS:
Frank Batista
* Cam Greathouse
* Graham Hicks
Jin-Yeong Kim
* Austin Kirk
Matt Loosen
* Marcos Perez
Austin Reed
Kevin Rhoderick
* Zac Rosscup
Juan Yasser Serrano
Hayden Simpson
Ben Wells

CATCHERS:
# Micah Gibbs
Chad Noble

INFIELDERS:
# Arismendy Alcantara
* Ryan Cuneo
* Richard Jones
Pierre LePage
Brandon May
Elliot Soto

OUTFIELDERS:
Reggie Golden
Jesus Morelli
* Rubi Silva
Matt Szczur

AZ PHIL: IS Scott Maine the heir-apparent lefty to Gorzo? Or, if he makes the MLB squad will his time be spent primarily in the pen?

How is his pitch repertoire, anyway?

What say ye PHIL?

Submitted by The E-Man on Tue, 02/01/2011 - 6:36pm.
AZ PHIL: IS Scott Maine the heir-apparent lefty to Gorzo? Or, if he makes the MLB squad will his time be spent primarily in the pen?

How is his pitch repertoire, anyway?

What say ye PHIL?

======================================

E-MAN: Scott Maine throws a 93-95 MPH fastball and a hard slider, and he really improved a lot the second half of 2010.

I don't think there is much chance of Maine ever being a starting pitcher (he's a two-pitch pitcher who has never started a game in pro ball), but he is the heir-apparent to John Grabow as the #2 lefty in the Cubs bullpen, and in fact he could be the #1 lefty in the pen at some piont if the Cubs were to decide to move Sean Marshall to the starting rotation.

Otherwise, James Russell will apparently be stretched-out as a starter at Spring Training and will likely be in the starting rotation at Iowa (where he will be the I-Cubs only lefty starter), in case the Cubs need or want a lefty starter at some point in 2011 (again, that's if they want to keep Marshall in the pen).

And then LHPs Chris Rusin and Brooks Raley will very likely be in the starting rotation at AA Tennessee, and either could get called up if they are pitching well and the Cubs want or need a lefty starter and they don't want to call up Russell from AAA or move Marshall to the starting rotation from the bullpen.

Cam Greathouse? Really?

Nice job of distributing the talent, Phil. I particularly like that outfield at Peoria, with Szczur, Golden and Silva.

Could use a little more shortstop talent at the upper levels. Matt Camp, a doubtful prospect, should not be the only Iowa SS. Maybe Marwin Gonzalez, after his strong showing in the Venezuelan Winter League, can go to Iowa. Then Junior Lake can play shortstop for Tennessee. Lake has already done Daytona, and should not be held back. Watkins and Mota at Daytona, as you say, etc.

David Cales finished the season at Iowa and did okay, then performed well in the AFL. I don't see him dropping back, either.

I understand that you (and the Cubs) have a lot of bodies to accommodate at Iowa, but we still have to keep the conveyor belt moving for real prospects like Lake and Cales.

I had thought for most of the off-season that Junior Lake would be the #1 SS at Tenmnessee, but that was because I figured Hak-Ju Lee was a lock to be the #1 SS at Daytona and that the Cubs wouldn't have wanted both Lake and Lee on the same team.

Also, there was an empty hole for a #1 SS at Iowa (figuring that Matt Camp would be used as a utiluity IF-OF) that I thought would have to be filled by either Nate Samson or Marwin Gonzalez, but with the Cubs signing Augie Ojeda, I now believe either Ojeda or Darwin Barney (most-likely Ojeda) will be the #1 SS at Iowa.

These two developments (trading Lee and signing Ojeda) should push Samson and M. Gonzalez back to Tennessee and open up the #1 SS job at Daytona for Lake. There really isn't any pressure from below (Elliot Soto and Arismendy Alcanatara will both likely be assigned to Peoria, and Wes Darvill will probably be at EXST in April-May and then at Boise), and while Lake could probably play at AA in 2011 (and he still might), he doesn't turn 21 until March, and so repeating Daytona (at least to start the season) wouldn't be out of line.

I know what you are saying about David Cales, but it's just a matter of not having enough slots available at Iowa. It's possible that the Cubs could put Cales at Iowa and drop either Gaub or Sommers to AA, but the fact that the Cubs did not give Cales an NRI to ST might be an indication that he is still fairly low on the bullpen depth chart.

A lot of the tentative assignments I projected will change if any Cubs MLB or AAA pitcher or player starts the season on the DL, and/or if the Cubs trade or release a player and/or pitcher or two presently ticketed for Chicago or Iowa during or at the end of ST.

Phil, not as a prognosticator but as a fan, I really don't like the idea of non-prospects like Ojeda, Camp and Samson getting significant starts at the shortstop position. There are three teams at high-A and above, and there must be more than three viable shortstop prospects in this organization who can fill those positions.

Here are four names: Watkins, Lake, LeMahieu and Gonzalez. Watkins played second last year, but there was no choice, he was Lee's teammate. Maybe this year he plays shortstop at Daytona. That would push Lake up to Tennessee, where he belongs anyway.

Last year, Lake played 107 games at short, but LeMahieu played 25, and both played some third. That's good: anybody who still projects as a major-league shortstop (whether with the Cubs or not) should get opportunities there, because it enhances his value. Shortstop at Tennessee could go to Lake and LeMahieu.

That still leaves Marwin Gonzalez, who is a month shy of 22 but just had a very solid season as shortstop and number-two hitter for a good Caracas team. He had 86 games at Tennessee last year (81 at short) and could be promotable. Makes more sense to me than squandering starts at a key position on marginal players.

You've also got to factor in that Barney may well be the I-Cubs SS this year. His bat is worse than the Cubs three middle infield starters, but there may be some hope that it will improve with more seasoning. You're not going to PH him unless he's the last option and Ojeda will probably be a similar defensive player. Organizationally it would be better to try and make like Barney is a real prospect who is blocked by Castro, than to just slot him into the last slot on the bench.

I just don't see this Baker-DeWitt thing at all. Neither one of them is really a middle infielder. Both were third basemen in the minors. Whereas Barney is a natural shortstop who hits about as well as DeWitt. If Baker has more pop than Barney, that's true of most third basemen in relation to most shortstops. But we're talking about second base, and also backing up Castro at shortstop.

I don't like this second-base situation right now, especially if it's DeWitt-Baker-Ojeda.

Won't Max Ramirez be at Iowa to catch with Castillo?

The last I heard, Ryan Flaherty was going to be moved to the OF, that would seem to be the case with Rebel Ridling moved up to AA now.

And speaking of AA, don't you think one of Watkins or Lake will be put at starting SS for Tennessee? You have both listed at Daytona right now.

Submitted by Jim Hickmans Bat on Wed, 02/02/2011 - 2:41pm.
Won't Max Ramirez be at Iowa to catch with Castillo?

The last I heard, Ryan Flaherty was going to be moved to the OF, that would seem to be the case with Rebel Ridling moved up to AA now.

And speaking of AA, don't you think one of Watkins or Lake will be put at starting SS for Tennessee? You have both listed at Daytona right now.

========================================

JIM H: Max Ramirez is out of minor league options, and I don't think he will get through waivers if he does not make the Cubs 25-man Opening Day roster. If Ramirez does not make the Cubs 25-man Opening Day roster and then gets through waivers, I would project him to be the #2 catcher at Iowa (behind W. Castillo), with Clevenger nmoving down to Tennessee, and Brenly moving back to Daytona.

Ryan Flaherty will be an "everyday" player at Tennessee, but he will be moved around, playing 1B-2B-3B-LF-RF.

Unless Junior Lake forces his way onto the Tennesssee roster, I think Marwin Gonzalez and Nate Samson will be the two shortstops at Tennessee (with Samson also playing some 2B and M. Gonzalez also playing 1B-2B-3B-LF-CF-RF), and Lake would be the #1 SS at Daytona with Logan Watkins the #1 2B, although Watkins and Mota can also play some SS, and Cerda and Mota can play 2B. (Mota would also be used as a catcher from time-to-time).

Well this is boring...

what are everyone's thoughts on Michael Barrett's defense?

http://deadspin.com/5748972/the-worst-men-in-...

God, it was inevitable that George Will and Tony La Russa would find each other, wasn't it?

Situations are shaped in innumerable ways by managers, by what they do to prepare for a game and what they do during a game. La Russa says, with a fine sense of semantic tidiness, that what are called baseball "instincts" involve much more than instinctual behavior. These instincts are actually the result, he says, "of an accumulation of baseball information." [...]

The accumulated information is evident when La Russa examines elements of strategy, such as playing for the big inning. It is an old baseball joke that big-inning baseball is affirmed in the Book of Genesis: "In the big inning, God created...." La Russa knows well the key to creating big innings: "First and third, nobody out—you're talking about a big inning," he says. "To me, the secret of scoring a lot of runs is getting guys into scoring position as many times as you can."

That's stupid. Shit, Tim McCarver thinks that's stupid. That's like saying, "The secret of scoring touchdowns in getting close to the end zone." It isn't the slightest bit profound, and yet George Will starts humping that quote as if Disraeli had said it.

There are few things in baseball worse than the cult of the manager, and there no manager cults more head-slappingly pretentious than the one that has sprung up around Tony La Russa. I have a theory that La Russa is so exalted by the George Wills of the world because he is more or less one of them — an observer who has little to no impact on what's transpiring in front of him, who spends his nine innings investing tiny fluke moments with galactic significance and stamping them with the mark of his own genius. Will and La Russa are perfect for one another — where Will has a bow tie to evoke a sort of out-of-step erudition, La Russa has a ballet t-shirt — and it was only natural that they'd spend a few happy days wiggling their toy intellect at each other:

A wit once said it was not true that Gladstone lacked a sense of humor, Gladstone just was not often in a mood to be amused. La Russa is no stranger to laughter, but he does not often laugh when he is within a fly ball's distance of a ballpark. He has ample dark hair and thick eyebrows and wears his cap with the bill pulled low, keeping his eyes in perpetual shadow. His watchfulness has an aspect of brooding. La Russa spends the hours of each game giving signs in response to what he sees on the field, and in response to what he sees—or thinks he sees or thinks he would see if he could decipher the evidence—in the dugout across the field.

La Russa is a guy playing Chutes and Ladders who thinks it's actually chess. He is a manager, nothing more, and he has been blessed with a lot of great players over the years, and he has been smart enough and sober enough not to fuck them up too horribly. That's it. That's his genius. This constant need on La Russa's part to prove it's somehow more than that is entirely a function of baseball's epic self-mythologizing. And it is with a fine sense of semantic tidiness that I say, "Fuck that." (Tommy Craggs)

I WANT 500 WORDS WITH ABSOLUTELY NO INSIGHT OR EVEN LOGIC, BUT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF, GO!!

Nice.

http://www.cubworld.com/category/a_cubworld_cam/

you can see a piece of the roped off section behind that miserable snowstorm.

and poetically, standing alone in the middle of the snowarmagaddon is the Ernie Banks statue.

Or is it Ernie himself?

CSN video of roof debris in front of Wrigley...

http://www.csnchicago.com/02/01/11/Wrigley-Fi...

Piniella to join Giants front office as Tampa-based buddah. Apparently Giants GM Sabean and Lou have been buddies since their Yankee days. I thought Lou would be brought in by the Yankees in similar capacity but it seems they spent their last dollar on Bartolo Colon.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/giants/de...

Piniella, 67, is joining the Giants' front office to consult in a variety of ways, whether it's evaluating or advising on player movement or scouting or . . . well, whatever a baseball lifer of 48 years can provide.

http://twitter.com/PWSullivan

Sully says Cubs passed on giving Lou the Golden Buddah consultant position.

Warm thoughts from Snowmageddon....

Pitchers and Catchers report: 19 days

Cactus League Opener: 25 days (Oakland vs Cubs at Mesa on 2-27)

I thought we were down to 11 days on pitchers and catchers.

"2011 Spring Training, beginning on Feb. 13, when pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, Ariz. Their first workout comes on Feb. 14, with position players reporting to camp on Feb. 18 and the first full workout of the Mike Quade era taking place on Feb. 19."

yep, my bad....11 days: Feb 13th (per Cubs.com)

X
  • Sign in with Twitter