Gone to the Eternal Confines: 2008 Cub Obits

Update: Loyal TCR reader Jacos points out my glaring omission of Bobby Murcer from the obit list. I think I scooted right past his name on the list of 2008 baseball deaths because I will always think of him as a New York Yankee despite his time with the Cubs and Giants, just like I will always think of Billy Williams as a Cub, despite his time with the Athletics. For the record, Murcer was acquired in trade from San Francisco for Bill Madlock in 1977 then traded back to the Yankees in June of 1979. In his two and a half years with the Cubs, Murcer had a couple of okay seasons--including 27 HR and 89 RBI in '77.


 

In the year just past, eight more men with various ties to our beloved Cubs left this world without seeing a World Series championship find its way to the North Side.

R.I.P. to you all, gentlemen...

 

John Buzhardt
(Died 6/15/08 at age 71 in Prosperity, South Carolina)

A right-hander signed by the Cubs as an amateur in 1954, Buzhardt pitched for the team in September of 1958 and all of 1959. In his two seasons in Cubbie blue, Buzhardt went 7-5, bouncing between starting and relief roles. The highlight of his Cub career was in June of '59, when Buzhardt threw a complete game, one-hit shutout at the Phillies. In addition to pitching for the Cubs, Buzhardt played for the Phillies, White Sox, Orioles, and Astros, ending his career in 1968 with a record of 71-96.

 

Don Cardwell (Died 1/14/08 at age 72 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina)

Two days after being traded to the Cubs by the Phillies in 1960, Cardwell no-hit the Cardinals at Wrigley Field. If you haven't seen the grainy black & white footage from the WGN broadcast that day, you should.

Cardwell won a career-high 15 games for the Cubs in 1961. Following the '62 season, he was traded to the Cardinals, who, a month later, traded him to the Pirates. By 1967, Cardwell was a Met, and though he was bumped from the post-season rotation during the Mets' run to a World Championship in the God-forsaken '69 season, he was a big contributor during the team's stretch run, going 4-0 from mid-August through mid-September while yielding just five runs in 45 innings.

Don Eaddy (Died 7/9/08 at age 74 in Laconia, New Hampshire)

A multi-sport star in college, Eaddy was signed by the Cubs out of the University of Michigan in 1955, when college men weren't all that common in professional baseball, and college men who happened to be African-Americans were even less common on the Major League scene.

Eaddy's Cub career--and his time as a big leaguer--consisted of one season, 1959, when he appeared in 15 games, almost exclusively as a pinch-runner. In fact, he only had one at-bat and played one inning in the field for the Cubs, in the same game, on 8/21/59 against the Reds. Eaddy struck out in his one at-bat and made an error in the field, thus validating the Cubs' decision to use him almost exclusively as a pinch-runner.

 

Kevin Foster (Died 10/11/08 at age 39 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

Kevin Foster experienced both the honor of playing Major League baseball and the joy of doing it for the team he had lived and died with as a kid.

The former Evanston High School star was originally drafted in 1987 by the Expos as an infielder. He was converted to a pitcher in '91 and by '93, he was pitching in the Majors for Philadelphia. The Cubs acquired Foster from the Phillies in 1994, in exchange for Shawn Boskie.

In 1995, Foster's first full year in the bigs, he went 12-11. In 1997, he enjoyed the distinction (if that's the word for it) of earning the Cubs' first victory after the team had dropped its first 14 games of the season.

Arm injuries shortened Foster's career and he last pitched professionally for the Rangers, though only briefly, in 2001.

Foster, who died from renal cell carcinoma, seems to have been a first-class guy, as these remembrances by people who knew him attest. (Hard to know if the note from Jim Riggelman really was from Foster's former Cub manager, but I would like to think so.)

 

Geremi (aka Jeremy, Jeremi) Gonzalez (Died 5/25/08 at age 33 in Punta Palma, Zulia, Venezuela)

Even by baseball standards, Gonzalez was a young man when he was killed by a lightning strike while on a beach in his native Venezuela.

Gonzalez won 11 games for the Cubs as a rookie in 1997 and 7 more games in '98, before injuries kept him out of the Majors until 2003, when he reappeared as a starter for Lou Piniella's Tampa Bay Devil Rays. On June 3rd of that year, Gonzalez was pitching in Wrigley Field for the Rays against the Cubs, when Sammy Sosa's bat exploded and all of that unsightly cork was exposed.

Said Piniella of Gonzalez, who was known as "Jeremy" while a Cub and then began to adhere to the Spanish spelling of his name later in his career:


"He was a nice young man...a competitive kid, really good natured...I liked him a lot."

 

Jerome Holtzman (Died 7/25/08 at age 82 in Evanston)

You'll find a brief audio recap of Holtzman's more than 50-year career as a Chicago sportswriter and official MLB historian at the NPR Web site right here. Also Bruce Miles of the Daily Herald offered a personal reminiscence at the time of Holtzman's death.

 

Al Montreuil (Died 1/18/08 at age 64 in New Orleans)

Montreuil was signed as an amateur free agent by the Red Sox in 1963, was acquired by the Cubs organization prior to the 1969 season, and finally made his Major League debut late in 1972, when the Cubs needed a warm body to replace injured second baseman Glenn Beckert and the usual backup, veteran Paul Popovich, who was also hurt. (The Cubs were so desperate that before Montreuil got the call-up, Ron Santo was actually pressed into some duty at second base.) In 11 September at-bats for the Cubs, Montreuil produced just one hit, a single off the Padres' Bill Greif in Montreuil's first game on September 1st.

 

Lou Stringer (Died 10/19/08 at age 91 in Lake Forest, California)

Stringer, whose three seasons as a Cub second baseman were interrupted by his service in the Air Force during World War II, owed his place in the Cubs starting lineup to one of the worst trades in team history.

In May, 1941, as the story goes, Dodgers chief exec Larry MacPhail (Andy's granpda) got Cubs GM Jim Gallagher and Cubs manager Jimmie Wilson in a New York hotel room and after five and a half hours of "conferencing" over a variety of alcoholic beverages, the three emerged to announce the trade of eventual Hall of Famer Billy Herman from the Cubs to the Dodgers for two journeymen and $35,000.

The trade opened a job for Stringer, who, over the course of the '41, '42, and '46 seasons, appeared in 346 games for the Cubs, hitting .246, .236, and .244. Herman, meanwhile, had several more productive seasons and two All-Star appearances for Brooklyn before his playing career ended in 1947.

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Comments

Nice article, Cubnut. Much appreciated.

Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.I stumbled across the Baseball Death List on the baseball-reference wiki page and was reminded of the fact that both Foster and Gonzalez had died this year, and it got me started.

Anyway, thanks again.

Watch it.

...C'MON MOOSE.

Oh, Brother...what a catch he made.

Thanks Cubnut. Brickhouse at his best.

No love for Bobby Murcer?

Good catch. I totally missed him.

I just realized after I got my year end SI today.

Good post though.

Thanks.

This offseason sucks. Really really sucks.

Rob, trade me A-Rod for Holliday.

I'll think about it...

 

no

 

I'm sure it just got cut-off, but it was suppose to read, "Rob, trade me A-rod for Holliday and Sizemore", right?

you need some pitchers, I have some available...

Nah, GilgaMeche will be there in the draft when I need him.

I feel alot better knowing that John Buzhardt was successful after he left the game of baseball.

I know this an obvious question, but, me being old and fucking blue as hell, what about the Cubs themselves? Ah, see? They're never dead in our eyes, are they? Shit. I should write a book about it. I've written books about other stuff (yes, published ones). Why not about Cubs fans and their eternal joy with a team that always sucks?

I think Cubs can help Marlins with CFer and pitching for Hanley.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/baseball/mlb...

Unfortunately, we gave up all our good prospects when we traded for Peavy.

ROOM FOR ONE MORE: RHP Dave Smith (12-17-08).

Smith is best-remembered for having blown the 9th inning save in the infamous Game from Cubbie Hell at Pittsburgh in 1991, the one where the Cubs somehow found a way to blow a five-run lead in the bottom of the 11th inning, which turned out to be the largest blown extra-inning lead in MLB history.  

Ugh! Another one I missed. It's looking like I'm not going to have a future in necrology after all.

is it just me or is CHC and TB the only teams mentioned for bradley...and none recently.

dunn/manny/abreu's name i keep hearing, but no bradley.

Texas offered Bradley arbitration. So I can see him going back there if he doesn't get a substantial offer form someone.

http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/8980832/Angels-...

The Cubs are confident of signing free-agent designated hitter Milton Bradley, but a number of teams remain interested in the free-agent designated hitter, including the Rays, Yankees and Nationals. The Yankees, as is their custom, are touching base with virtually every available offensive player.

apparently the Angels also made some inquiries, but if they're passing on Manny Ramirez on attitude issues, can't see them going for Bradley.

same article has some Peavy/Cubs talk as well....

felix pie is part of the cubs caravan.

gathright and gregg, too.

What about Marquis?

http://www.wifr.com/sports/headlines/36896654.html

different stops have different players, traditionally. two tour groups.

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20081218&c...

here's the peoria stop on the caravan.

"PEORIA, IL- The Chicago Cubs and Peoria Chiefs have announced the players and coaches who will make up the Peoria stop of the Cubs Caravan which is scheduled for the RiverPlex on Thursday, January 15 at 5:00 PM. Possible closer-in-waiting Carlos Marmol along with rookie sensation Jeff Samrardzija highlight the panel which also consists of pitchers Sean Marshall and Kevin Hart and 2008 Chiefs outfielder Brandon Guyer."

GATHRIGHT! is part of the Cubs caravan

I wouldn't expect anything less of our new starting right fielder.

http://www.amazon.com/s/qid=1230670172/ref=sr_pg_2...

cheap replica jerseys...multiple teams...should go fast-ish.

I put the Cubs gear that is available in the TCR store if anyone is going to buy them. Kicks a few bucks our way and doesn't cost you anything extra.

http://www.thecubreporter.com/tcr-approved

 

LOL. Juan Pierre jersey tops the price list at $99.95

Steve Phillips says the Cubs are close to dealing Marquis to COL for Luis Vizcaino. Didn't mention anything regarding money however.

I hereby dub this rumor Vizmarquis.

The rockies supposedly said

"You....You got what I nee-eed."(off key)

Hahahahahaha, Hall of Fame post!

is there a link?

that would be awesome, imo.

...I'd rather have Jose Vizcaino (is he still around? Didn't see his obit either)

He had such expressionistic eyebrows!

Vizcaino is owed $3.5m for 2009 and a $4m option in 2010 with a $500k buyout.

So, assuming it's a stright-up deal and the Cubs exercise the 2010 buy-out, the Cubs eat nearly $6m of Marquis' deal.

He would certainly provide the veteran bullpen presence that they had been seeking. As Harry would say, he's modeled a few uniforms...

I'll assume the Cubs are giving them $$

http://blogs.denverpost.com/rockies/2008/12/29/tur...

The Rockies, meanwhile, continue to monitor Jason Marquis’ situation
with the Cubs. Colorado would like to trade for the right-hander, but
can’t absorb hardly any of his $9.8 million salary this season.
Redding, based on what Daniel Cabrera signed for earlier this month, is
line for roughly $2.6 to $3 million.

my guess is the Cubs would still kick in a $1-2M at least...

Maybe the Cubs should trade for Hanley Ramirez and tell the Marlins they can't exorb hardly any of his salary. What the hell is this? If they don't want him, then don't trade for him. To paraphrase crunch, 'It's not like he's garbage'.

my guess being they didn't have more than $3, maybe $4M for a starter in their budget. Moving Vizcaino and getting some cash from the Cubs might make it work.

Saving $4-$5M for the Cubs wouldn't hurt them, although unless they still plan on pursuing Peavy, I don't get the point now. Unless they need the money for the RFer....

OK, but $3 to $4 million isn't "hardly any". There's no point in trading Marquis if we don't get significant payroll relief, throwing in no more than $3 million. If we have to take a bad contract back, than there shouldn't be any cash going their way at all.

I wonder if the A's would be interested, they seem ready to spend some cash, and keep missing on targets.

well maybe less than half of his contract constitutes "hardly any" to the Rockies or the writer of that article. It doesn't seem like a big deal, poor word choice if anything.

Jason Marquis is neither young or good at striking out hitters, so I don't see the A's having any interest. When does Billy Beane trade for average players with a bad contract?

He seems to either trade for a load of prospects or surprise everyone and get in on a big name.

Per Rosenthal;

The move, which is not expected to be announced until next week, would save the Cubs between $5-6 million -- money they could devote to the pursuit of a left-handed hitting outfielder such as their primary target, free agent Milton Bradley, a switch-hitter.

The cash going from the Cubs to the Rockies would be less than $1 million, sources say. The Rockies would take on Marquis' $9.875 million salary for next season while the Cubs would assume Vizcaino's $3.5 million obligation.

http://rays.scout.com/a.z?s=322&p=2&c=824871&Reque...

Four different Cubs scouts got reads on Patton this past season. Some believed the pitch, which registered anywhere from 79 to 84 mph, was more of a hard curve while others lauded it as a slider.
In any case, the scouts were impressed.
“The way the breaking ball is today, much like a couple of guys in our system now with their breaking balls, some are calling it a curve, some are calling it a slider,” said Wilken. “That’s a product of amateur ball and guys having an in-between (arm) slot where it’s more of a slurve, but at times resembles a power curveball.

and

“Everyone had a plus breaking ball on this guy for the future, so does it happen this year? In the Rule Five, it seems it’s always the following year. Clubs identify those guys and it seems to happen one year later. That’s because most organizations don’t think it’s going to happen in that year period.”

91-94 mph fastball, third pitch is a change...

is there a link or was it on ESPN News? Sportscenter?

nevermind, rumor guy saw it as well

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2008/12/marquis-for-...

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