I grew up as a Cubs fan in the 1960ís. My first memories of the Cubs were from 1960, but I didnít go to my first game at Wrigley Field until 1961. I learned to read in the Fall of 1960, so 1961 was my first year for sports sections (and there were FOUR newspapers in Chicago back then), box scores, baseball cards, and batting averages. The 1961 Cubs will always be near and dear to my heart. The College of Coaches! Brilliant! A ìrotatingî Head Coach! Ingenuius! An Athletic Director? OK. Whatever you say, P. K.
Unfortunately, the College of Coaches didnít help make the Cubs a better team. If anything, it made them worse. There were too many cooks in the kitchen, no strong leader, and if there was ever a team that was defined by its wallow, it was the Cubs of 1961-65.
But then in 1967, the Cubs suddenly got good. This Grand Improvement all seemed to coincide with the arrival of Leo ìThe Lipî Durocher as the Cubs manager in 1966. Leo was a complete jag-off, but was also a man who would not tolerate failure or accept excuses for losing. You got a losing team? Leoís answer was simple. ìBack Up the Truck.î Leo also grasped the basic premise that the most important element of a winning team is spelled ìP-I-T-C-H-I-N-G,î and for Leo, that meant four stud horses in the starting rotation.
As important as Leo Durocherís presence and personality might have been in turning around ìthe program,î the foundation for the success of the Cubs after Leo arrived was actually laid over the previous ten years or so, going back to when John Holland was appointed General Manager of the Cubs, on October 11, 1956...
John Holland was appointed Cubs GM after the conclusion of the 1956 season. He had previously been GM of the Los Angeles Angels (the Cubs AAA club in the PCL).
As GM of the PCL Angels, Holland had some experience signing ìfree-agentsî for his club, but these were usually players released by other organizations who were hoping to resurrect their careers at L. A.'s Wrigley Field. Hollandís first foray into signing amateur free-agents for the Cubs was in 1957, the last full year the old ìBonus Ruleî (1953-58) was in effect.
Any club that gave a signing bonus in excess of $4,000 to a high school, college, or foreign player, had to keep the ìbonus playerî in the major leagues on the clubís 25-man regular season roster for two full years (until the second anniversary date of the signing of the contract) or else place the player on special $1 irrevocable waivers. The "bonus rule" tended to stunt many bonus playerís development. (One bonus player who went straight to the majors out of high school in the years 1953-58 who did have success right out of the gate was Detroitís Al Kaline, who won the A. L. batting championship in 1955 at the age of 20).
The "bonus rule" was rescinded by MLB owners on January 25, 1958, and was made retoactive, so any "bonus" player signed prior to that date could be sent to the minors in 1958, even if he hadn't completed his two years on a major league 25-man regular season roster.
Hollandís predecesor as Cubs GM (Wid Matthews) had signed three ìbonusî players (RHP Don Kaiser, RHP Moe Drabowsky, and 2B Jerry Kindall) in the years 1955-56, but John Holland signed no ìbonus babiesî in 1957 or 1958. In addition to the three bonus players, Matthews had left the Cubs farm system stocked with the likes of OF Billy Williams and a slew of promising young pitchers, including Glen Hobbie, Dick Drott, Bob Anderson, John Buzhardt, Jack Curtis, and Jim Brewer, all signed in the years 1954-56. And then John Holland took over:
KEY AMATEUR FREE-AGENTS SIGNED BY THE ìHOLLANDî CUBS 1957-64
Dick Bertell, C (Iowa State)
Harvey Branch, LHP (Alabama State)
Jim Woods, IF (HS ñ Chicago)
COMMENT: Dick Bertell was pretty much the Cubs #1 catcher for four full seasons (1961-64), and was one of several talented youngsters the Cubs brought to the big leagues in 1961-62 with the hope that they would be helped by the ìCollege of Coaches.î
Dick Ellsworth, LHP (HS ñ Wyoming)
Ron Perranoski, LHP (Michigan State)
Jack Warner, RHP (HS ñ West Virginia)
COMMENT: Ellsworth was considered a ìblue chipper,î and although he won 22 games for the Cubs in 1963, he never seemed to quite meet the Cubs ultra-lofty expectations.
The Cubs traded Perranoski to the Dodgers (for Don Zimmer) before he ever reached the big leagues, and he had long career as one of the best lefty relievers in baseball, first in L. A., then in Minnesota, but (unfortunately) not with the Cubs.
Ron Campbell, IF (Tennessee Weslyan)
Ken Hubbs, IF (HS ñ California)
Nelson Mathews, OF (HS ñ Illinois)
Ron Santo, 3B (HS ñ Washington)
COMMENT: Both Hubbs and Santo rocketed through the Cubs farm system, and were rushed to the big leagues, Santo arriving in 1960 at the age of 20, and Hubbs arriving in September 1961 at age 19. One of the purposes of the ìCollege of Coachesî was to provide young players like Santo and Hubbs the same kind of instruction in the big leagues that they would have gotten if they had stayed longer in the minors. An interesting thing about Hubbs is that he won the N. L. Rookie of the Year Award in 1962, the same year he led the league in strikeouts AND grounding into DPs. Talk about a rally killer! Can you find any other player in MLB history who has done that? But he also did set a consecutive errorless fielding record in his rookie year, and he was only 20 at the time, so I guess I should cut him some slack.
Nelson Mathews arrived in Chicago in 1960 at the age of 18 (and you think Corey Patterson was rushed?). He had one borderline-OK year with the Kansas City Aís in 1964 after he got traded. His son T. J. was a big league pitcher in the 1990ís.
Lou Brock, OF (Southern)
Paul Popovich, IF (West Virginia)
Danny Murphy, OF (HS- Massachusetts)
Billy Ott, OF (St. Johnís)
COMMENT: Buck OíNeill (the ex-Kansas City Monarchs manager who was hired as a Cubs scout in 1956 and then later appointed to the College of Coaches in 1963, thus becoming both the the first African American scout AND the first African American coach in MLB history) signed Brock to a Cub contract in 1960. Brock was a star at Southern U. in New Orleans, and OíNeill said watching Brock reminded him of Negro Leagues legend (and now Hall of Famer) ìCool Papaî Bell. Like Cool Papa, Brock combined raw speed with raw power (Brock was only the 2nd player in baseball history to hit a HR into the CF bleachers at the Polo Grounds), but the Cubs liked the power a lot more than they cared about the speed. On the negative side, Brock was a TERRIBLE defensive player his first few years in the majors, had zero plate discipline, and he struck out a LOT. (The year after Hubbs led the league in Ks and GIDP, Brock was 3rd in the N. L. in Ks... and they hit 1-2 in the batting order!). Fortunately, Cub managers donít hit guys like that 1-2 in the batting order anymore... But seriously, things got so bad with Brock and Hubbs batting at the top of the order in 1962, that RON SANTO (thatís right, one RONALD EDWARD SANTO) was put into the lead-off spot the last month of the season.
Danny Murphy got a big bonus and a ìMajor Leagueî contract to sign with the Cubs, and came up to the big leagues at the tender age of 17. He never made it as an outfielder, but he resurfaced as a PITCHER in 1969-70 in the White Sox bullpen.
Popovich was a switch-hitting utility infielder who had two separate tours of duty with the Cubs. He was Leo Durocherís favorite Cub pinch-hitter, even though he wasnít any good at it.
Billy Connors, RHP (Syracuse)
Billy Cowan, OF (Utah)
Hal Gilson, LHP (HS ñ California)
Calvin Koonce, RHP (Campbell)
Bobby Pfeil, IF (HS - New Jersey)
Jimmy Stewart, IF (Austin Peay)
COMMENT: Koonce got to the big leagues in a big hurry, but struggled with his control. The Cubs eventually ran out of patience with him (naturally), and so he ended up a member of the vaunted 1969 Mets pitching staff.
Connors was a mediocre pitcher, and he also ended up with the Mets. Connors later would become a much-in-demand major league pitching coach.
Cowan played CF for the Cubs in 1964 and did a nice job (19 HRs), earning him a trip to the Mets for George Altman redux.
Stewart became a very good utility player as he gained experience, most notably with the Big Red Machine of the early ë70ís.
P. K. Wrigley issues a one-year moratorium on signing amateur free-agents. Makes sense. The Cubs had PLENTY of young players. They didnít need any more, right?
John Boccabella, 1B (HS ñ San Francisco)
Jim Ellis (HS ñ California)
Sterling Slaughter, RHP (Arizona State)
COMMENT: Slaughter was the first in a long line of ASU Sun Devils to play in the big leagues, though (by far) not the best one.
Ellis was included in the deal that netted the Cubs Phil Regan and Jim Hickman from the Dodgers in 1968.
Along with Clarence Jones and Roe Skidmore, Boccabella was one of the guys seen as a potential replacement for Ernie Banks whenever Ernie was ready to retire, but Boccabella never made it as an everyday player. He eventually learned how to catch, and ultimately had a nice career as a back-up 1B-C-PH, mostly with the Montreal Expos in the 1970ís. Remember the Expos PA announcer? ìNow batting... John... Bawka-BELLLLLLLLLL-ah...î Always made me hungry for pasta.
Chuck Hartenstein, RHP (Texas)
Don Kessinger, SS (Mississippi)
Jim Qualls, IF (HS ñ California)
COMMENT: The side-arminí Longhorn Hartenstein got the Cubs ìfiremanî job pretty much by default in 1967, but was replaced by veteran Phil Regan (acquired from the Dodgers) in 1968.
Kessinger was a tall and lanky offensively-challenged slick-fielding shortstop from Ole Miss who learned how to switch-hit after he reached the big leagues, and it saved his career. He was the last of the ìplayer-managersî (with the White Sox in 1979). He was an excellent basketball player, and played in the ABA during the off-season. He also was named to the SEC "Decade of the 60's" first-team basketball squad (along with Pete Maravich, Louie Dampier, Dan Issel, and Neal Walk).
The ìAMATEUR DRAFTî (now the RULE 4 DRAFT) was instituted by MLB owners in 1965 in an attempt to help curb runaway signing bonuses. Only U. S. high school players (minimum age of 17) whose class has graduated and college players (any JUCO player, or for players at four-year schools, only after their Junior year or after they have turned 21) were eligible for the draft. Any U. S. high school or college player eligible for that yearís Amateur Draft who went undrafted could sign with any club. Foreign players were considered ìfree-agentsî and were not eligible to be selected.
X ñ denotes was drafted by Cubs, but did not sign.
FIRST CUBS AMATEUR DRAFT (1965) KEY PICKS:
Joe Decker, RHP (HS ñ California)
X ñ Darrell Evans, 3B (HS ñ California)
Ken Holtzman, LHP (Illinois)
X ñ Tom House, LHP (HS - California)
Garry Jestadt, IF (HS -California)
Ken Rudolph, C (Los Angeles CC)
COMMENT: Holtzman and Decker (especially Holtzman) had some fine years in the big leagues, but it would have been a lot better of a draft if the Cubs had signed Darrell Evans and Tom House (especially Evans).
Just as there is a RULE 5 DRAFT today, there was one 50 years ago. It was called the ìMajor League Draftî back then, so named because Major League teams were the ones doing the selecting. There was also another completely different draft called the ìMinor League Draft,î so named because Minor League clubs did the selecting in that one. But the drafts (together) were essentially what the Rule 5 Draft is today.
The only difference between then and now is that the quality of player available in the Major League Draft and the Minor League Draft of the 1950ís was a little better than whatís available in todayís Rule 5 Draft. So if they were essentially the same draft(s) as the Rule 5 Draft of today, what was it that made the Major League Draft and the Minor League Draft of that bygone era different (better)?
ANSWER: There was no such thing as a ìSix Year Minor League Free-Agent,î no free-agency for Major Leaguers with six years of MLB service time, and no salary arbitration (and thus no ìnon-tendersî). The only true ìfree-agentsî were high school and college kids, kids playing beisbol in Latin America, and professional players who had been given their ìoutright release.î And only players with ten or more seasons in the Major Leagues could refuse an assignment to the Minor Leagues (then known collectively as the ìNational Associationî). So good players (including some veteran major leaguers) could be found on AAA rosters every year.
KEY CUB ìMAJOR LEAGUE DRAFTî & ìMINOR LEAGUE DRAFTî SELECTIONS 1956-65:
NOTE: The MAJOR LEAGUE DRAFT allowed an MLB club to select players off AAA rosters, and the MINOR LEAGUE DRAFT allowed National Association (Minor League) clubs to select players off Class A and AA rosters.
Cal Neeman, C (from NYY)
COMMENT: Was the Cubs #1 catcher in 1957, and the platoon mate of Sammy Taylor in 1958-59. Good power.
Tony Taylor, 2B (from SF)
COMMENT: The Cubs lead-off man and 2B in 1958-59, Taylor was the main guy sent to Philadelphia in 1960 in the deal for Don Cardwell and Ed Bouchee, and he went on to be the Phillies 2B and lead-off hitter for a decade.
Cuno Barragan, C (from MIL)
COMMENT: A back-up catcher for a year or so.
Wayne Schur, RHP (from SF)
Vic Roznovsky, C (from SF MINOR LEAGUE - AA)
COMMENT: Schur did an OK job as a middle reliever for the Cubs in 1964, and Roznovsky was another in a long line of back-up catchers acquired by the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft.
Chris Krug, C (from STL MINOR LEAGUE ñ AA)
COMMENT: See? Another one.
After the ìBonus Ruleî was abolished in 1958, all players (U. S. high school, U. S. college, or foreign) signed as amateur free-agents during the years 1958-64 were eligible to be selected in the ìFirst Year Player Draftî (FYPD) for $12,000. To protect a player from being eligible for selection in the the FYPD, his club had to place the player on its 40-man roster prior to the first FYPD for which the player would be eligible (which would be the second FYPD after the player signed his first professional contract, usually after one partial season and one full season in the minor leagues).
Players selected in the FYPD did NOT have to be placed on the drafting clubís 40-man roster. To avoid later selection in the Major League Draft (Rule 5 Draft), however, the drafted player WOULD have to be added to the drafting clubís 40-man roster prior to the third Major League Draft (now Rule 5 Draft) after the player was first signed to a contract, but that was true for any player assigned to a club in the National Association (minor leagues).
KEY CUBS PICKS IN THE FIRST-YEAR PLAYER DRAFT 1959-66:
Glenn Beckert, SS-2B (BOS)
COMMENT: Beckert was moved from SS to 2B after Ken Hubbs died in 1964.
Byron Browne, OF (PIT)
COMMENT: Durocher liked him, so By Browne was the Cubs starting RF in 1966. He hit 16 HR in his rookie season, but unfortunately, he also led the National League in Ks. The Cubs traded him to Houston in 1968, but he ended up playing for several teams over the next few seasons, mainly the Phillies.
The Cubs lost no players of note in the course of this draft.
John Holland made a number of significant trades during the years 1956-65 that (through various degrees of separation) directly or indirectly impacted the ìDurocher Cubsî of 1966-72.
KEY IMPACT TRADES EXECUTED BY CUBS GM JOHN HOLLAND 1956-65
Traded 3B Don Hoak, RHP Warren Hacker, and OF Pete Whisenant to CIN for LHP Elmer Singleton and 3B Ray Jablonski.
COMMENT: Hollandís first trade, and it was a bad one. Hoak went on to have some fine years in Cincinnati and in Pittsburgh, while long-time minor leaguer Singleton did nothing with his ìlast-chance to make itî opportunity with the Cubs. Although he was a decent 3B, Jablonski got traded (in Spring Training 1957) before he ever played one game for the Cubs!
Traded LHP ìToothpick Samî Jones, IF-OF Eddie Miksis, LHP Jim Davis, and C Hobie Landrith to STL for RHP Tom Poholsky, LHP Jackie Collum, and C Ray Katt.
COMMENT: Another VERY bad trade. Jones had several very good years as a starting pitcher ahead of him, and Landrith was a decent lefty-hitting platoon-catcher in the 1960ís with the Giants, Mets, Baltimore and Washington. Poholsky was a big-time pitching prospect in the Cardinal organization at the time of this trade (thatís why Holland made the deal), but he failed to make the grade. None of the players the Cubs got back in this trade contributed anything worthwhile, other than to be used in subsequent deals.
Purchased LHP Bill Henry from BOS
COMMENT: Good pick-up. Henry turned out to be a very fine lefty reliever. Except the Cubs didnít keep him very long.
Traded 3B Ray Jablonski and C Ray Katt to NYG for LHP Dick Littlefield and OF Bob Lennon.
COMMENT: Jablonski was better than what the Cubs had at 3B at that time, and Littlefield was washed-up by the time the Cubs got him in this deal. Lennon was useless.
Traded OF Jim King to STL for OF Bobby Del Greco and P Ed Mayer.
COMMENT: King was acquired by GM Wid Matthews from the Cardinals in the 1954 Major League Draft (Rule 5 Draft), and the Cubs would have done well to hang onto King. He had some decent years playing RF for the expansion Washington Senators in the 1960ís.
Traded 1B Dee Fondy and 2B Gene Baker to PIT for 1B Dale Long and OF Lee Walls.
COMMENT: Hollandís first really good trade, and it was a VERY good trade for the Cubs. Both Walls and Long had excellent power years in í57 and ë58, while Baker was used as a utility INF by the Pirates, and Dee Fondy (who was an early version of Mark Grace) had just one more decent year left (1957) before crashing & burning in 1958.
Traded LHP Jackie Collum to BRK for RHP Don Elston and LHP Vito Valentinetti.
COMMENT: Cubs got Elston back in this deal (he was traded to Brooklyn in 1955 in the deal for Moose Moryn). He had some nice years as the Cubs bullpen ìfiremanî before Lindy McDaniel arrived in 1963.
Traded RHP Bob Rush and RHP Don Kaiser and IF Eddie Haas to MIL for LHP Taylor Phillips and C Sammy Taylor.
COMMENT: Former Cubs ace Rush pitched three seasons for the Braves (mostly out of the bulpen), and Kaiser was a ìbonus babyî bust. Sammy Taylor had some good years (1958-61) as the Cubs left-handed hitting platoon catcher.
Traded OF Bob Speake to SF for OF Bobby Thomson.
COMMENT: Although he was getting a bit ìlong in the tooth,î Thomson (the man who hit ìThe shot heard ëround the worldî in the 1951 N. L. playoff) played CF and had a renaissance year in the power department for the 1958 Cubs offense that finished second in the N. L. in runs scored.
Traded RHP Turk Lown to CIN for RHP Hersh Freeman.
COMMENT: Bad trade. Lown was a mainstay in the í59 White Sox bullpen. Cubs could have used him.
Traded RHP Jim Brosnan to STL for 3B Alvin Dark.
COMMENT: Brosnan was a professional writer, so he got traded a lot, but he was also a good relief pitcher for several years (he was Bill Henryís partner in the Reds bullpen for several seasons).
Dark (like Bobby Thomson, a key member of the í51 New York Giants ìMiracle of Cooganís Bluffî surprise pennant-winner) played 3B and hit 2nd in the order for the Cubs in 1958 and 1959, and did a nice job.
Good trade for both clubs, although the Cubs sure could have used Brosnan's arm in the pen.
Claimed 1B Jim Marshall off waivers from BAL.
COMMENT: Future Cubs manager, whose main claim to fame was that he was one of the first Americans to have a lengthy and successful career playing baseball in Japan.
Traded LHP Taylor Phillips to PHI for LHP Seth Morehead.
COMMENT: One disappointment exchanged for another.
A two-stage deal where the Cubs traded OF Bobby Thomson, 1B Jim Marshall, and RHP Dave Hillman to BOS for 1B Dick Gernert and RHP Al Schroll.
COMMENT: The power hitting Gernert had been the Red Sox everyday 1B for several years, and was (understandably) initially handed the starting 1B job with the Cubs, but he did not hold the job very long. However, he WAS the right-handed platoon at 1B (with Gordy Coleman the lefty) on the 1961 Reds N. L. pennant winning club. Thomson was at the end of the line at this point. Hillman later surfaced with the 1962 Amaziní Mets.
Traded OF Lee Walls, OF Lou Jackson, and LHP Bill Henry to CIN for 3B-OF Frank Thomas.
COMMENT: Thomas was a power-hitter DE-luxe who could play 1B-3B-LF-RF (though not particularly well), so it probably seemed like a good trade at the time, except Thomas only lasted only a year with the Cubs, while Henry was a nifty lefty reliever for the 1961 N. L. champion Reds.
Purchased OF Al Heist from MIL.
COMMENT: Useful player who platooned with Richie Ashburn in CF in 1961, he was one of the Cubs players selected by the Houston Colt .45s in the 1961 N. L. expansion draft.
Purchased RHP Barney Schultz from DET.
COMMENT: Excellent acquistion. Schultz was a knuckleballer, and made a nice complement and contrast with Don Elstonís heater in the Cubs bullpen.
Traded RHP John Buzhardt, 3B Alvin Dark, and INF Jim Woods to PHI for OF Richie Ashburn.
COMMENT: The veteran Ashburn was a member of the 1950 N. L. pennant winning Phillies ìWhiz Kidsî club, and was a perennial league BB leader (116 BB for the Cubs in 1960) and .400+ OBP lead-off hitter, but he only lasted two years with the Cubs, who decided to ìgo youngî with phenom Lou Brock in CF in 1962. Buzhardt was a rotation starter in Philly, and then later was a prominemt member of the White Sox "tough-as-nails" staff in the mid-60ís.
Sold 1B Dale Long to SF.
COMMENT: Long had the good power years for the Cubs in 1957-58, then went into a prolonged slump in 1959 that never ended.
Acquired 3B Don Zimmer from LA for LHP Ron Perranoski, INF Johnny Goryl, OF Lee Handley, and $25,000 ca$h.
COMMENT: Perranoski turned out to be a superlative lefty reliever with a long big league career, while Zimmer played regularly with the Cubs for only a couple of years before drifting from team-to-team (he was even a BACK-UP CATCHER at one point with the Senators!) and then on to Japan. Zimmer was one of many Dodgers in the 1950ís who were perceived as potential stars if only they could just go someplace where they could get a chance to play regularly (and the Cubs fell for THAT one several times!). Zim of course is best known by Cubs fans as manager of the 1989 N. L. East Champion Cubs team, known to even occsasionally call for a hit & run with the bases loaded!
Traded 2B Tony Taylor and C Cal Neeman to PHI for RHP Don Cardwell and 1B Ed Bouchee.
COMMENT: After the Cubs got snowed-out of several early season games at Wrigley and were further buried with a 3-13 start, Holland decided he needed pitching more than a lead-off hitting 2B. But it actually was a good trade for both teams, and probably gave Holland the confidence to make the Altman & Cardwell-for-Jackson & McDaniel deal in 1962 and Brock-for-Broglio trade in í64. Taylor was the Phillies 2B and lead-off hitter for a decade, and Cardwell was the Cubs #1 starter for about three years before being used as the bait used to land Lindy McDaniel and Larry Jackson from the Cards. Cardwell threw a no-hitter (with the famous final-out game-saving catch by the defensively-challenged Moose Moryn in LF) versus the Cardinals at Wrigley Field (the second game of a Sunday double-header) in his very first Cubs start after the trade.
Traded OF Walt ìMooseî Moryn to STL for IF-OF Jim McKnight.
COMMENT: A month after saving Cardwellís no-hitter with his glove (and Moose was NOT known for his defense!), Moryn was sent to St. Louis for a utilty infielder-outfielder of little or no value.
Traded RHP Moe Drabowsky and LHP Seth Morehead to MIL for INF Andre Rodgers and SS Daryl Robertson.
COMMENT: Although Drabowsky would later have some fine years pitching out of the bullpen in Kansas City and Baltimore (he set a World Series record for most Ks by a relief pitcher in a World Series game in Game #1 of the 1966 WS), Andre Rodgers was the Cubs starting shortstop (and did a nice job) 1962-64.
Traded OF Lou Johnson to LAA for OF Jim McAnany.
COMMENT: After having some fine years with the N. L. champion Dodgers in the mid-60ís, the Cubs reacquired ìSweet Louî (who had an odd habit of clapping his hands as he ran around the bases) to be their #1 RF in 1968. Acquiring Johnson was thought at the time to be the final piece to the puzzle (RF was the one weak-link in the Cub line-up in 1967), but Lou was a MAJOR disappointment, and more than a few Cub fans were observed applauding as he boarded a plane for Cleveland.
Traded OF Frank Thomas to MIL for IF-OF Mel Roach.
COMMENT: A VERY bad trade for the Cubs. Roach was a one-time Milwaukee Braves ìbonus babyî who never recovered from a knee injury suffered in 1959, while Thomas still had a couple or three good years left in him (most notably as the one ìbig bopperî on the truly terrible 1962 Amaziní Mets).
NATIONAL LEAGUE EXPANSION DRAFT:
NYM selected 1B Ed Bouchee, IF Don Zimmer, and OF Sammy Drake, and HOU selected OF Al Heist and RHP Dick Drott.
(Also IF J. C. Hartman and IF Ron Campbell were sold to HOU).
COMMENT: The Cubs had already decided to move Ernie Banks to 1B in 1962, so Bouchee was ìodd man out.î Same goes for Zim at 2B (Ken Hubbs took his place), and Heist in CF (where Lou Brock was already penciled into the lineup).
Drott was never able to fully recover from shoulder problems that had plagued him since his rookie season (1957), when he was that yearís Kerry Wood.
Traded 2B Jerry Kindall and IF-OF Mel Roach to CLE for RHP Bobby Locke.
COMMENT: By this point in time, Ken Hubbs had passed Kindall as the Cubs 2B of the immediate future, so it was no surprise that Kindall would get moved. Kindall was a one-time Cub ìbonus babyî signed off the campus of the University of Minnesota (NCAA CWS Champs in 1956) whose career was probably adversely affected by not being able to play in the minor leagues his first two years of pro ball due to the ìbonus ruleî in effect at the time. Kindall later would serve as the the Head Baseball Coach at the University of Arizona for many years, and currently is a commentator-analyst for ESPNís college baseball broadcasts. He went to our church while he was with the Cubs, so I was a big Jerry Kindall fan.
Sold OF Richie Ashburn to NYM.
COMMENT: No Room at the Wrigleville Inn for Ash with Brock set to take-over CF in 1962. In their first few years of abject failure, the Mets had a peculiar habit of acquiring aging stars of the 1950ís at the very end of their careers. (Besides acquiring Asburn from the Cubs, the Mets also provided a farewell tour for one-time All-Stars Frank Thomas, Gil Hodges, Duke Snider, Warren Spahn, Yogi Berra, Ken Boyer, and Roy McMillan).
Traded C Sammy Taylor to NYM for OF Bobby Gene Smith.
COMMENT: B. G. Smith was considered a top prospect at one point when he was first coming up with the Phillies, but he never really developed beyond that. I remember when the Cubs made this deal, they thought they got something really special in Bobby Gene Smith. I guess he was what scouts today might call a ìtoolsyî guy. Sammy Taylor had had some decent years as the Cubs lefty-hitting platoon catcher, but had lost his part-time backstop gig (to Cuno Barragan) by 1962.
Traded RHP Bobby Locke to STL for OF Al Herring.
COMMENT: Locke for Herring? Cubs probably should have just kept Locke, a decent middle reliever for Cleveland in í61.
Traded LHP Jack Curtis to MIL for RHP Bob Buhl.
COMMENT: EXCELLENT trade. Curtis was a promising lefty starter, and was eight years younger than Buhl, but Buhl had plenty left and gave the Cubs four VERY good years, before going to Philly in the deal for Ferguson Jenkins. Buhl used to sweat like a pig when he pitched. He looked like he had stepped into the shower (with his clothes on) after each half-inning. Heíd get absolutely, totally drenched on the days he pitched, even on a cold day in April.
Traded OF Bobby Gene Smith and SS Daryl Robertson to STL for OF Don Landrum and IF Alex Grammas.
COMMENT: Landrum was one of several defensive-oriented OFs who got a chance to play CF for the Cubs after Lou Brock was traded. Landrum was probably the best defensive CF I have seen play for the Cubs. He was REALY good. But he didnít hit much (he had no power, but he made up for it by not hitting for average, either). He was the other player sent to the Giants (along with Lindy McDaniel) for Giants top prospects Randy Hundley and Bill Hands after the 1965 season.
Traded LHP Harvey Branch to STL for RHP Paul Toth.
COMMENT: Toth had one pretty decent year (1963) as the Cubs #5 starter, then got included in the Brock-Broglio deal, after which he went into the Witness Protection Program.
Traded OF George Altman, RHP Don Cardwell, and C Moe Thacker to STL for RHP Lindy McDaniel, RHP Larry Jackson, and C Jimmie Schaffer.
COMMENT: The single most important positive trade made by John Holland pre-Durocher, as it relates directly to the Cubs eventually acquiring Ferguson Jenkins, Bill Hands, Randy Hundley, and Adolfo Phillips.
McDaniel was named N. L. ìFireman of the Yearî for his relief work with the Cubs in 1963, and Jackson won 24 games in 1964. McDaniel would later serve as the centerpiece in the trade with the Giants for Randy Hundley and Bill Hands in 1965, and Larry Jackson was the main guy in the deal with the Philles in 1966 for Ferguson Jenkins and Adolfo Philips.
One of five ex-Kansas City Monarchs (NAL) players acquired by the Cubs in the 1950's (thanks to Wrigley's friendship with Buck O'Neill), Altman had been an offensive force with the Cubs in 1961-62 (he led the N. L. in triples in '61, and hit 49 HR combined in '61-62), but for some reason, he was never the same player after the Cubs traded him. The Cardinals acquired Altman specifically to replace Stan Musial in LF (Stan the Man retired after the 1962 season), and if Altman had played as well for the Cardinals as he had played for the Cubs, the Cardinals probably never would have had any interest in acquiring Lou Brock!
The Cardinals flipped Cardwell to Pittsburgh for SS Dick Groat a month after this deal with the Cubs, and Groat would help lead the Cards to the World Series championship in 1964. So it wasnít necessarily a bad trade for the Cardinals... just a bit of a BETTER one for the Cubs!
Traded RHP Bob Anderson to DET for IF Steve Boros.
COMMENT: Anderson had been a member of the Cubs Kiddie Korps starting rotation (Hobbie, Drott, Buzhardt, Anderson, and Drabowsky) circa 1959, but by this time he was just a struggling journeyman middle-reliever. Boros was a failed Tiger ìbonus babyî who was didnít get much of a chance to play for the Cubs before moviní on down the road to Cincinnati in 1964, where he finally got a chance to play 3B everyday (albeit for only one year).
Traded IF-OF Jim McKnight to MIL for IF Ken Apromonte.
COMMENT: Ken Aspromonte was the older brother of Houstonís young stud 3B Bob Aspromonte. K-Aspro had been a starting 2B at one time in the A. L. (for the Angels and the Indians), but he was just a utility INF for the Cubs.
Traded RHP Dave Gerard and OF Danny Murphy to HOU for C Merritt Ranew, RHP Hal Haydel, and LHP Dick LeMay.
COMMENT: A left-handed hitting platoon catcher and PH, Ranew hit the ground like hell-on-wheels for the Cubs in í63 (batting .338), then lost the magic in '64. Murphy was a failed ìbonusî player (he debuted in the big leagues at age 17!) who later became a pitcher, and he was good enough at it to be a member of the White Sox bullpen in 1969-70.
Gerard had been a passable middle-reliever for the Cubs in 1962, but did nothing for Houston.
Purchased OF Ellis Burton from CLE.
COMMENT: Another ìround up the usual suspectsî attempt to find a CF who could both play defense AND hit. Burton did OK with power-wise, but was not a good hitter, and he was gone a year later.
Traded RHP Barney Schultz to STL for IF Leo Burke.
COMMENT: In a test to see if they could make a stupid trade with the Cardinals, the Cubs succeeded by trading Schultz and his mysterious knuckler for still another totally useless utility player.
Traded LHP Jim Brewer and C Cuno Barragan to LAD for RHP Dick Scott.
COMMENT: Like Ron Perranoski before him, Brewer would later use his screwball to achieve success pitching out of the Dodgers bullpen. The Cubs just would not wait for him to put it together. Brewerís main claim-to-fame at the time of this deal was that he had had his jaw broken by a Billy Martin haymaker sucker-punch in an on-field brawl at Wrigley Field in 1960.
Traded OF Nelson Mathews to KC for LHP Fred Norman.
COMMENT: This would have been a VERY good trade for the Cubs if they would have just had the patience to wait for Norman to develop (of course, they would have had to wait about seven years, but still...). The prototypical "late-bloomimg lefty," he was one of the best lefty starters in the National League in the 1970ís (first with SD, then with CIN).
SPRING TRAINING 1964:
1. 2B Ken Hubbs was killed in a plane crash in Utah while en route to
Spring Training in Arizona.
2. Purchased IF Joey Amalfitano from SF.
COMMENT: A veteran stop-gap replacement for Hubbs, Amalfitano was yet another future Cubs manager.
3. Claimed OF Don Young off waivers from STL.
COMMENT: It took a few years, but the ìgood field/no hitî Young finally got his Big Chance to be the Cubs everyday CF with Durocherís í69 Cubs. All Leo asked of him was to play defense and ìcatch the ball.î A funny thing happened, though. See, there was this big game in New York, and... aw, I donít want to talk about it.
Claimed LHP Jack Spring off waivers from LAA.
COMMENT: Wait. Youíll see.
Traded RHP Glen Hobbie to STL for RHP Lew Burdette.
COMMENT: Hobbie had been the Cubs provisional #1 starter before Don Cardwell arrived, and he was OK after that, too, but by ë64 he was struggling. Lew Burdette had been one of the Braves îBig Twoî starters (with Warren Spahn) in the late 50ís, when Milwaukee went to the World Series two years in a row (1957-58, with a World Series championship in ë57), and almost went a third time (but lost a three-game playoff with the Dodgers) in 1959. By 1964, Lew was probably best-suited to pitch out of the bullpen, so naturally the Cubs used him mainly as a starter. Although he didnít show much with the Cubs, he did pitch VERY well out of the bullpen for the California Angels in 1966.
Acquired OF Len Gabrielson from MIL for C Merritt Ranew and $40,000.
COMMENT: Ranew was in a slump, and Gabrielson always hit well against the Cubs in Wrigley Field, so...
Traded OF Lou Brock, LHP Jack Spring, and RHP Paul Toth to STL for RHP Ernie Broglio, LHP Bobby Shantz, and OF Doug Clemens.
COMMENT: Whatever happened to that Brock fella?
Broglio was a 27-year old top-of-the-rotation starter (before he hurt his arm), and if he hadnít blown out his elbow, it MIGHT have been a more even deal.
What the Cubs really needed to do at this point was move Brock from RF to LF, Billy Williams from LF to 1B, and trade Ernie Banks for a CF and/or a RF (like maybe to Washington for Chuck Hinton and Jim King, or to the Mets for Jim Hickman and Joe Christopheróor at least those are the trades I would have proposed if there had been a TCR back then), but Phil Wrigley NEVER, EVER would have allowed Holland to trade Ernie Banks. Noah way, Jose.
Sold LHP Bobby Shantz to PHI.
COMMENT: Already the Cubs portion of the Brock-Broglio deal was collapsing. Shantz arrived in Philadelphia just in time to be a part of one of the biggest chokes in baseball history.
Traded C Jimmie Schaffer to CHW for LHP Frank Baumann.
COMMENT: Baumann was the A. L. ERA champion while with the White Sox in 1960, but he had hit some hard times (and a sore arm) by the time this deal was made. Coming across town to the Cubs didnít help, either. He was toast. Schaffer was a decent back-up catcher with the Cards and the Cubs, but an injury cut-short his career.
Traded SS Andre Rodgers to PIT for SS Roberto Pena.
COMMENT: The Cubs went ìyoung,î trading their veteran SS with known average skills for a flashy kid who started off the í65 season like a house afire, and then went into a deep, deep slump he probably is still in to this very day.
Traded OF Billy Cowan to NYM for OF George Altman.
COMMENT: Perhaps the Cubs thought Altman might get some of that old Kansas City Monarchs/Negro Leagues mojo back by returning to the Cubs and old mentor Buck OíNeill (who was a member of the Cubs ìCollege of Coachesî by this time), but he did not. And Cowan lost HIS Utah mojo (well, there IS a Utah Jazz, isnít there?) by going to the Mets. Oh, the humanity!
Purchased RHP Bill Faul from DET.
COMMENT: Faul was considered a ìflakeî because he would hypnotize himself before each start. Whatís so goofy about that? I hypnotize MY-self before I post something at TCR.
Acquired RHP Bob Humphreys from STL for INF Bobby Pheil and P Hal Gilson.
COMMENT: Itís good to know that the Brock-Broglio fiasco didnít stop the Cubs from making another deal with the Cardinals. That Bobby Pheil kid coulda been something special! But seriously, Humphreys did a nice job working out of the Cub bullpen with Lindy McDaniel and Ted Abernathy in 1965, and he continued to pitch well for the Washington Senators and Milwaukee Brewers 1966-70 when the Cubs could have really used him. Except they traded Humphreys to Washington for OF Ken Hunt in early 1966, and Hunt never even played for the Cubs (he went from the Senators AAA club to the Cubs AAA club, and never played again the big leagues!).
If there was any one move that had under-the-radar negative effects on the Cubs success (or lack of complete success) in 1967-70, it was the unnecessary trashing of Bob Humphreys.
Purchased RHP Ted Abernathy from CLE.
COMMENT: Abernathy had been a young hard-throwiní over-the-top drop & drive fastballer back in the 1950ís before he hurt his shoulder, which caused him to find A New Way. This New Way was a submarine delivery (like Chad Bradfordís) that deceived hitters and brought a lot of success to Ab. Unfortunately, the Cubs traded him not once, but TWICE, and each time he went on to pitch well with other teams. Abernathy was the guy Durocher wouldnít use as his #1 reliever late in the 1969 season, even as Phil Regan was imploding on a daily basis. After the season was over, Durocher said his one regret about the 1969 season was not using Abernathy as his #1 reliever the last two months of the season. And you know what? Duh, Leo was right. He indeed SHOULD have been using Abernathy instead of Regan. Only every Cub fan in the world knew it, thatís all. If there had been a TCR back then, this place woulda gone CRAZY on a daily basis, man! Like, it woulda ex-PLODED!
Signed FA LHP Billy Hoeft (released by DET in April).
COMMENT: A nice acquisition, a decent veteran LOOGY.
Traded C Dick Bertell and OF Len Gabrielson to SF for LHP Bob Hendley, OF Harvey Kuenn, and C Ed Bailey.
COMMENT: Hendley was a GREAT pick-up for the Cubs. He did a nice job working out of both the starting rotation AND the bullpen in í65 and í66. The night Sandy Koufax pitched his ìPerfect Gameî versus the Cubs, Hendley threw a ONE-hitter back at the Dodgers... and lost!
Sold RHP Lew Burdette to PHI.
COMMENT: The Cubs had a peculiar habit in the mid-60ís of acquiring big name 1950ís era starting pitchers at the very end of their careers. Robin Roberts and Curt Simmons were a couple of others who went directly from the Cubs starting rotation to Social Security.
And then along came Leo!...
(To be continued).