The Road through Holland

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 1957: 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 1958: 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. 1959; 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. 1960: 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. 1961: 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. 1962: 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? 1963: 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. 1964: 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. 1956: 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. 1957: 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. 1960: Cuno Barragan, C (from MIL) COMMENT: A back-up catcher for a year or so. 1963: 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. 1964: 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: 1962 Glenn Beckert, SS-2B (BOS) COMMENT: Beckert was moved from SS to 2B after Ken Hubbs died in 1964. 1963 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 FALL 1956: 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! FALL 1956: 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. FALL 1956: 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. SPRING 1957: 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. SPRING 1957: 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. SPRING 1957: 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. SPRING 1957: 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. DECEMBER 1957: 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. SPRING 1958: 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. SPRING 1958: 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. SPRING 1958: 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. AUGUST 1958: 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. MAY 1959: Traded LHP Taylor Phillips to PHI for LHP Seth Morehead. COMMENT: One disappointment exchanged for another. FALL 1959: 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. FALL 1959 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. FALL 1959: 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. FALL 1959: 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. JANUARY 1960: 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. APRIL 1960: 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. APRIL 1960: 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! MAY 1960: 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. JUNE 1960: 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. MARCH 1961: 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. MARCH 1961: 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. MAY 1961: 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). OCTOBER 1961: 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. NOVEMBER 1961: 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. DECEMBER 1961: 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). APRIL 1962: 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. APRIL 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. APRIL 1962: 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. JUNE 1962: 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. SEPTEMBER 1962: 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. OCTOBER 1962: 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! NOVEMBER 1962: 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). DECEMBER 1962: 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. MARCH 1963: 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. JUNE 1963: 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. JUNE 1963 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. DECEMBER 1963: 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. DECEMBER 1963: 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. MAY 1964: Claimed LHP Jack Spring off waivers from LAA. COMMENT: Wait. Youíll see. JUNE 1964: 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. JUNE 1964: 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... JUNE 1964: 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. AUGUST 1964: 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. DECEMBER 1964: 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. DECEMBER 1964 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. JANUARY 1965: 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! MARCH 1965: 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. APRIL 1965: 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. APRIL 1965 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! MAY 1965: Signed FA LHP Billy Hoeft (released by DET in April). COMMENT: A nice acquisition, a decent veteran LOOGY. MAY 1965 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! MAY 1965 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).
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Comments

AZ Phil-
You have supposedly previously mentioned that Maddux has a no trade clause. Can you show me a link or give an explanation where you heard that? I don't believe he has one. thanks!!

Wow, what a treasure trove, Phil. I'm glad TCR is well-archived because this is going to be a useful reference!

I really look forward to your take on the Leo years.

This New Way was a submarine delivery (like Troy Bradfordís)

Chad Bradford?

Fascinating stuff.

Great work, Phil! I really enjoyed it.

You hit the nail on the head about Banks. The Cubs are sentimental fools. If they had traded Sammy a year earlier what could have been?

The Real Neal-
I hope you were able to watch the Bears game today and see what some of us Bears fans were saying about Orton. He put up a BIG 3 points today in 3 quarters and is now getting pulled for Jeff Blake. Yes, many of the starters are out, but still....3 points??? UGH!!!

Kyle Orton 6/14, 59 yards (0-3 in passes of 20+ yards), 0 TD, 0 INT.

Man, please Rex, just stay healthy for 3 more games....

Sorry for the Bears talk, but at least that Chicago team is going to the playoffs...

damn. being a person born in the mid-70s this is amazing stuff. yeah, its not an extrodinary narative or groundbreaking research, but its real and it even includes some reports on guys who would draw a "who?" from most fans (of course that means me, too).

that's nice lazy holiday reading.

"yeah, its not an extrodinary narative or groundbreaking research"

to clarify, im not calling this ordinary or simple or (most importantly) not time consuming. it looks like one hell of a time consuming piece that flows with the best of them.

thank you, phil. a trip down memory lane, fo sho.

while brock may have whiffed a ton, wasn't it also his inability to play center or right which got him packed off to st. louis? (since billy williams had left field already nailed down for the next decade?).

once again, thanks.

this is a neat article, and as always, you're a joy to read, phil. I'm anxious to see your take through frey and hendry...

#1 of 10: By mannytrillo (January 1, 2006 01:32 PM)
AZ Phil-
You have supposedly previously mentioned that Maddux has a no trade clause. Can you show me a link or give an explanation where you heard that? I don't believe he has one. thanks!!

--

MANNY T: Good question!

You know, I can't find such a link anywhere on the web, and I can't offer any explanation as to when or where I got that idea, although I must have heard about it somewhere.

It would seem a given that Scott Boras would have made sure that there was a "no trade" provision in Maddux's contract when he signed with the Cubs, but maybe Boras didn't think it was necessary, counting instead on Maddux's hefty contract numbers (for an old guy, anyway) making him unattractive to the Pirates, Royals, or Rockies.

So maybe he doesn't have a "no trade," although I would be VERY surprised if he does NOT have one, at least a limited one.

But you ask a very good question. Hopefully somebody can verify this one way or the other.

I also want to say thanks for a great trip down memory lane. I started following the Cubs in '65. Jackson, Buhl, Ellsworth, Koonce. Faul with the self-hypnosis and (I believe) a #13 jersey. Abernaphy's submarine delivery. Humphrey, I believe, had what Brickhouse referred to as a "side-saddle" delivery. Hendley's lost gem to Koufax. The great trades with the Phils and Giants leading up to the magical '67 season. I, too, look forward to your upcoming stuff on Leo's era. Thanks again.

Phil,

I tip my cap to you again.

GO IRISH!!

AZ Phil,

Here's a page with detailed contract info for the Cubs:
http://www.mlb4u.com/chi.html

On that site, it says nothing about a no-trade clause in Maddux's deal, even though it does mention other no-trade clauses for Wood and Eyre. Does anyone know of Cubs that have no-trade clauses as a part of their contracts, other than Wood and Eyre? If so, then it would seem that this site doesn't always list the no-trade clause when its there. While absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, i think they probably would have the no-trade listed as part of the contract if they nailed all the others.

The only other possibilities are that the no-trade wasn't made public for some reason, or that Maddux somehow qualifies as a 10 and 5 player, since he has played 5 years with the Cubs and has 10 years MLB experience. I thought that the previous 5 seasons had to be spent with the current club to qualify as a "10 and 5 player," but i'm no expert, so...

not relevant to the maddux issue, but here's another decent mlb contract link.

http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/

Shawn-
From my records, I have only Eyre and Wood with no trades.

Also, I think it would be hard to have a no trade for a team/vesting option year, like Maddux had this year. Look at Wood. He has a no trade through 2006, but has an option for 2007, but no no-trade for that year.

I am pretty sure he doesn't have one. And both websites that Shawn and Crunch have put forth don't show one. Thanks guys...

crunch,

Thanks for that site! I like it much more - much smoother layout... the bulleted contract details are nice.

AZ Phil-

Ah, the memories! As for me, I became a Cubs fan while watching WGN TV one afternoon in the summer of 1970 when the Cubs smacked out 7 HRs. I haven't been able to shake it since then. Also, by being a history geek, I got to vicariously experience all of the agony of earlier failures by reading up on the history of the Chicago Nat'l League Ball Club (plus repeated listenings to the LP record "Great Moments in Chicago Cubs History" -- remember that one?). Your synopsis here is great. It also contains a couple of facts that show why the Cubs perenially turned in such sorry performances during most of the reign of P.K. Wrigley -- "1962:
P. K. Wrigley issues a one-year moratorium on signing amateur free-agents(??!!!)" and sticking with the galactically counter-productive 'College of Coaches' system for five frickin' years. Jeez...

Wrigely, WGN, Comisky, Mike McCasky, Reinsdorf (Bulls and Sox), Wertz.

Chicago has had the worst owners of any city in America.

A question for Phil:

What ended up happening to Holland? I assume he was fired, what, with the team finishing no higher than 6th in the standings in his tenure.

Looking at the list of moves he made, it looks like a mixed legacy, and perhaps Holland would have fared better in an organization run by someone else. Similar to what we can expect for Jim Hendry when all is said and done.

Great article and trip down memory lane. I recall the excitement of many of these trades only to be followed by the disappontment of realizing the stars we acquired were washed up. I always maintained that the Thomas/Roach trade was one of the 3 worst in Cubs history. I remember being at Sterling Slaugher's one hitter against the Braves. I believe he only won 3 or 4 games in his career, but that day we though we had a future star!

Thanks for the wonderful detailed roundup of the John Holland years. Except for Brock for Broglio, I had credited him with lots of great deals. But this shows his record was less than brilliant until Durocher came along.

#20 of 20: By David Geiser (January 2, 2006 05:51 AM)
A question for Phil:

What ended up happening to Holland? I assume he was fired, what, with the team finishing no higher than 6th in the standings in his tenure.

-

DAVID: John Holland was GM of the Cubs from 1956-1976, which included the Durocher years, when the Cubs had a winning record six years in a row and were a perennial contender for seven years running (1967-73). He retired in ill health in 1976, and was appointed to the Cubs Board of Directors. He died in 1979.

Durocher's relationship with Holland was kind of odd, because Leo was hired by Wrigley, not by Holland, and Leo had a lot more power in player personnel decisions (at the major level, anyway) than the average manager. Holland was still the GM, but Leo was more of a combination manager-player personnel director than just a manager, with Holland responsible for getting the players Leo wanted.

For instance, Leo was the one who identified and targeted Randy Hundley, Ferguson Jenkins, Bill Hands, and Adolfo Phillips as young players he absolutely HAD to have, and then it was Holland's job to make the deals happen (whatever the cost).

And then once he had built the Cubs into a contender, Leo did a complete "180." He no longer was interested in acquiring young players, and he also no longer "trusted" young pitchers.

In fact, he was more than willing to have Holland trade the Cubs best prospects (Jim Ellis, Francisco Libran, Bill Plummer, Clarence Jones, Oscar Gamble, Randy Bobb, Dave Lemonds, Roger Metzger, and Earl Stephenson) and young pitchers (Gary Ross, Rich Nye, Joe Niekro, Archie Reynolds, and Jim Colborn) for veterans who could (hopefully) put the Cubs over the top, as well as allow the Cubs top pitching prospect (Bill Stoneman) to be made available in the 1968 Expansion Draft.

Holland's power in the area of player personnel increased back to pre-1966 levels when Durocher was fired (and Durocher was "relieved of his duties" by WRIGLEY, not by Holland) in 1972, and then Holland was tasked by Wrigley with dismantling the aging "Durocher Cubs" and rebuilding the club with younger players in 1973-5.

Holland was the one who traded Fergie Jenkins for Bill Madlock, Billy Williams for Manny Trillo, Glenn Beckert for Jerry Morales, Randy Hundley for George Mitterwald, Joe Pepitone for Andre Thornton, and Ron Santo for Steve Stone and Steve Swisher.

John Holland always impressed me as being the consumate "company man," someone who would follow orders and not rock the boat. Sort of like the Robert Duval character ("Tom Hagen") in "The Godfather."

Bill Veeck once said Phil Wrigley was the kind of guy who said he hated "yes" men, instead preferring subordinates with established conflicting views he knew he could "win over" once he finished presenting his newest Grand Scheme, invention, or radical idea. I'm not exactly sure what that type of person is called, but I strongly suspect John Holland was one of them.

While his father (William Wrigley) was a popular, gregarious, outgoing salesman, who built the chewing gum company on bluster and friendships and associations with people from all walks of life, P. K. was a private, introverted engineer, with no close personal friends.

P. K. fancied himself the lone genius inventor, and he was always tinkering with things (or f*cking with things, depending on your POV), trying to design the "better mousetrap." Sometimes the ideas were brilliant (like televising all home games when no other team would do that), sometimes the ideas were noble (like the All-American Girls Baseball League), sometimes the idea was progressive (like hiring Buck O'Neill as the first African American scout and then later the first African American coach in MLB history), sometimes the idea was pure genius (like leaving Wrigley Field without lights and emphasizing the "Friendly Confines," inviting us children of the 60's to get addicted to the Cubs at an early age), and sometimes the ideas were pure harebrained schemes (like hiring an Athletic Director and the College of Coaches).

But whatever the idea might be, P. K. would announce it, and then leave it to someone else (like John Holland, for example) to figure out the details and make it work in the Real World.

DAVID: John Holland was GM of the Cubs from 1956-1976, which included the Durocher years, when the Cubs had a winning record six years in a row and were a perennial contender for seven years running (1967-73).

I see that now and should have remembered that (in the sense that I heard it somewhere -- I was too young to be aware of such things at the time!).

He retired in ill health in 1976, and was appointed to the Cubs Board of Directors. He died in 1979, but remained on the board postHUMEROUSLY until September 9th, 1994 when the Cubs hired Andy McPhail away from the Minnesota Twins to become team president.

So we've basically had brain dead people running this organization for 25 years. (ta-da-boom)

Seriously, thanks AZ Phil. You are the greatest! I love reading Cub history. My personal Cub history started around 1960 with the Don Cardwell no-hitter.

I hope you (and other TCR readers) got a chance to look at another wonderful Cub history available online (much overlaps your John Holland era), if not you will really enjoy this. The difference in spin is that the focus was defined by the Williams-Santo era. Written by Hardball Times by Steve Treder.

Here is the link to TCR 2-22-05 then follow the links. It's a 3 part history with superb detail.

Part 1: The Williams-Santo Cubs, 1961-65
Part 2: The Williams-Santo Cubs, 1966-69
Part 3: The Williams-Santo Cubs, 1970-73

http://www.all-baseball.com/cubreporter/archi...

Tip of the "Phil" hat to my AZ brother, that was an outstanding article, thank you.

Incredible work Phil, great stuff!! Memory lane for me too, almost. My first Cub season was basically 1971, I recall snippets. 1972 is the first year I remember pretty much everything. Went to my first game. Collected all the cards. Memorized all the players and stats. Rushed home from school to catch the last few innings of games on WGN. Man, I miss that, 150+ games broadcast every year, for free.

What strikes me about the pre-Leo years is how good the Cubs ALMOST were. Brock and Hubbs, to go with Billy, Santo, Ernie and Kessinger. When the pitching was in place a few years later with Fergie, Holtzman and Hands, my goodness, that team would've won it all, I know it.

Just seen this:
The A's aren't looking for Matt Murton in the trade, but rather pitchers like Rich Hill, Angel Guzman, and Sean Marshall.

I am not sure about you but I would do this today. GIve them any two but not all three. I see a great upside to Guzman, but if Zito would agree to a contract extension. WOW. We have Zambrano, Prior, Zito, MAddux and who cares. The Cubs have a good rotation. Especially if Prior fullfulls his potential. Screw Woods, leave him in the bullpen, trade him mid-year if he doesn't like the bullpen.

scooter

Now all we need is an outfielder. Can anyone say Craig Wilson? What will Pittsburgh take? Kory? And where will Todd Walker end up, because it is evident in current talks he is available.

scooterÆ

Read in a sporting article that the most asked for minor leaguer was Rich Hill. Everyone wants him, according to ESPN. Who will get him?

scooterÆ

Kap was talking about the Tejada thing tonight and here are some of the headlines:

* The possibiity of getting him is still "Very much alive"

* Tejada wants come here according to Kap's sources

* The BAL FO is divided. Angelos want a box office draw and Flanigan wants someone's best 4 prospects.

* He had the O's beat writter and that guy said that Manny-Clement deal is not a good trade for them.

Nomar Garciapparra signed a $6 million one year contract with the Dodgers today. He'll play 1B or OF.

He can collect another $4 million in performance bonuses once he reaches 400 AB's.

I don't know about you, but I'm relieved that he didn't pick the Astros, who were one of the four teams in the running. 'Cause this way he can only beat us 6 times with his bat.

Eric the Great: I'm a '72 guy as well. I'm 41 and naturally remember bits of Ernie Banks-from watching my brothers go nuts when he hit a homer, but the '72 year was when I went full boat into the Cubs. I remember coming home from school and catching the final game of that season. It was the middle of the week-they didn't finish on a Sunday back then. Billy Williams hit a single to clinch the batting title and they took him out for a pinch runner. The 2000 fans or so gave him a standing ovation and Williams went and sat in the bullpen. Brickhouse said "There he is folks-the 1972 Batting Champion". .333, 37 homers, 122 rbi's. He was my favorite Cub for sure.

"The BAL FO is divided. Angelos want a box office draw and Flanigan wants someone's best 4 prospects."

i cant see baltimore giving up 30+/30+ homer/doubles without replacing it. the team is already a hodgepodge of 10-25HR guys with a sketchy mix of power/ob%.

given toronto's zillion dollar commitment, the usual yanks "spend to cripple competition" crap, boston's 1/2 assed immitation of the yanks spending, and the bare FA market...i dunno how they could give up tejada for just some arms and/or a bat that's years from being productive and not even proven.

if furcal is worth 13m a year...surely tejada's worth 12m a year. hell, by those measures he's worth 20m a year... =p

baltimore's gonna want the world for tejada and it probally wont be a collection of fringe guys or kids that are years away.

Tejada's production didn't make the Orioles a contender, so why should they expect to improve by replacing him? Should a team give them more than Tejada is worth? I don't think so. Getting prospects and/or young players would give them the opportunity to fill more than one hole. Truthfully, Rich Hill, Ronnie Cedeno and Felix Pie would be an awesome deal for the Orioles. Angelos is way too concerned about losing market share to the Nationals, however. Much like the Cubs who feel more pressure than ever because of the Sox, the Orioles are losing fans the Nationals. Since they didn't really add anything at this point, I'd say they would be well served to make radical changes to their team. One thing you shouldn't do in business is base your decisions on what your competitors are doing. Do whats right. The Orioles should punt for '06, stock pile young talent and make their move in '07.

well, tejada's a top SS...and unfortunately one that's owed 12m in an offseason where furcal got paid 13m.

Rich Hill, Ronnie Cedeno and Felix Pie would be an awesome deal for the O's, but given the only guy they can use this year has very little power and is basically a glove-type that can be had for 2-3m off the FA market.

the other thing you gotta consider is the FA market. there's nothing to replace the power and when it comes to money, its a use-it-or-lose-it deal by the time the year is done. its cool to hang onto a few million of your budget if your owners have you on a strict budget, but when you're ditching 10m most people running the show would wanna "spend" that somewhere.

im not saying tejada to the cubs wont happen, but i think it'll probally take more than 1 team.

I have to agree with Shawn here if I were running the Orioles I would go to the Cubs and say I want Pie, Cedeno, Dopiriak, and Guzman and to the Red Sox and say I want Papelbon, Marte, Pedrioa, and Hansen. There not going to win in 06 and 07 Shoot for 08 if i am them.

I'm not saying they'll do it (the O's), I'm just saying thats what they should do. The Cubs have a chance to be highly competitive IF they get 200 innings from Prior, Wood and Zambrano. The Orioles really don't have the arms to compete in that division. Granted they have the money to spend, but they haven't signed one free agent-which is why Tejada is bitching in the first place. They're actually similar to the Cubs in that they've resisted the temptation to over pay for guys the past two years. I'm not upset that we didn't sign Magglio Ordonez or Troy Percival, etc...but at some point, people will realize that the market has shifted significantly. The Cubs will surely realize this when trying to sign Lee. If the O's would have signed Millwood this whole discussion wouldn't even be happening. Same for the Cubs with Furcal.

On a semi related note, I still don't know why the Cubs never made a push for Brian Giles.

Baltimore has a semi-decent rotation. They could really use an Ace. But Cabrera, Lopez, Chen, Bedard will keep you in games.

The offense isnt that bad either with Lopez, Roberts, Mora, Tejada. What really dragged them down was the virtually non-existent production from the OF outside of Jay Gibbons who is more of a DH/1b than a OF.

What really hurts Baltimore is that division. While their rotation is decent it can't match Boston's, Yankees, and now the Toronto's rotation. Baltimore is a team that needs to get a stud Ace to just have a chance in that division and match up against the other teams best pitchers.

Rotoworld is saying Burnitz is going to Pit for the same deal he was going to BAL for. Also it is citing a Boston Herald report that BOS wants Markakis is a Manny-Miggy deal. Markakis is a top 5 prospect in all of MLB so that deal looks less likely now.

Also that Herald report says that Manny might only accept a trade to the O's if they guarntee two club options in 09 and 10 that pay him 20 mil a season. If this and the Markakis stuff is true put a fork in the Manny-Miggy trade.

Why the hell is Ryan Theriot on the 40 man roster?

the rule5 makes GMs do weird things with the 40-man. its not always about the most valuable as much as it is about getting something you can use no matter how small.

theriot's there cuz he's a good middle IF and has decent speed (not a trace of power, though)...a great gamble for a small market club in need of a backup middle IF...its the same reason the cubs are holding a buncha catchers right now...its not cuz they're mlb-ready, its cuz they could lose them to become someone's backup.

you see a lotta guys taken that clubs plan on using off the bench (esp. middle IF + C)and out of the pen. a lot get returned, but those are the types of guys who get shifted around.

Sun-Times says Cubs signed Marquis Grissom. Also that Walker looks like he'll be dealt. I don't care for either one of these moves. And that Prior may still be dealt. STOP! I would keep Walker, definitely keep Prior, and worked to get Cliff Floyd (if available)fairly cheap and Craig Wilson cheap to platoon with Murton(Floyd) and Jones(Wilson), thus adding some needed pop to the lineup while maintaining the focus on strong pitching. I would keep Pie and Guzman, move Corey in either the Floyd or Wilson deal, keep Hill, if possible. The moves I'm suggesting would not be earth-shattering but rather the kind that, I believe, solidify the roster to one that could go deep into the post-season.

Excellent article, Arizona Phil.

I liked the observation in #23 about P.K. essentially building the team tradition that was the reason I bet most of us on this board became Cub fans -- day games on TV every day (and available to millions nationwide also). That legacy is a huge asset for the Cubs -- basically a bunch of us in our peak earning years who will buy bricks in the new walkway, or those variable price "dugout seats" or other merchandise. That stuff is only possible because of what P.K. did.

My fear is that in 30 years, the Cubs will not have a similar fan asset base. Fewer and fewer games are on free TV and it is difficult for a now out-of-market fan like myself to watch more than 20 games a year without forking over $300 to DirecTV or MLB.com. Yeah, I do it anyway but some kid in Roanoke whose Dad is not into baseball is not going to be a Cub fan in 2005 when in 1975, the Cubs had a 50-50 shot at getting him.

P.K. was a weird owner, but I cannot call him "bad" when he sowed the seeds for 30 years growth of the Cub fan base.

AZ Phil,

Your historical musings were really good....thank you for that!!!!!!!!

I grew up in Souther Iowa....where the Cardinals are king....and still get warm fuzzies when I hear Mike Shannon on the radio. Jack Buck and he put me to sleep many nights while laying on the front porch cuz it was too hot to sleep inside. Of course I snuck out there cuz I was only 8 years old!!!!!

I still remember my 1st exposure to the Cubs. It was my 1st MLB game ever, and my dad had come back home (he moved away due to a divorce in the family) for a few days and took me and my brother to St Louis to watch the Cardinals/Cubs play a game. He left again shortly after that trip.

I instantly fell in love with George "The Baron" Mittwerwald and Ron Santo. Those damn Cardinal fans hated those guys, and it was where I discovered I had a soft spot for the underdog.......and when Mitterald got some chin music from...I think it was Rick Wise.....and he started jawing at Wise until a bench clearing brawl broke out...well, I was hooked. To an 8 year old boy living on the tough side of town, to see someone stand up for himself and his team like Mitterwald was simply the best.

I've been a die hard ever since. IN fact, the next year I began mowing yeard in town with the goal of getting cable TV......took me 5 yards a month to pay for it.......and I began a love affair with the Cubs and Jack Brickhouse that stands today. I cry, I laugh, I scream,....I cry (did I say that already?).......but above all they are my Cubs.

Good stuff,Phil. Hadn't thought about that in a long time..... puts a little perspective back in as to why I love this game, and my Cubbies!!!

Joey from Newton

I think it's right to say that Wrigley locked up a generation or two of new fans by televising a lot of games, but he also had help from the White Sox, who, tired of splitting time with the Cubs on WGN, decided to head off to the fuzzy-reception frontier of UHF. Once just the domain of bullfights and pro wrestling, the Sox made their move and have never quite been the same since. It didn't help that the Sox were terrible in those years while the Cubs were riding the crest of the Williams/Santo/jenkins years. The Sox subsequent move to SportsChannel alienated even more fans.

And I was also thinking back to the Blackhawks of those days and Wirtz's refusal, which continues today, to televise home games. Hard to say how many more Hawk fans there might be. Of course, in the Hull/Makita days, Wirtz never could have forseen how far his franchise would fall. He even made extra money showing home games at theaters on closed circuit TV. I remember my dad and I watching the heartbreaking game 7 of the Finals against the Canadians at the Ritz Theater in Berwyn. People I talk to who didn't live here then or weren't born yet can't believe that the Hawks were once the big team in town. If you asked kids in the early seventies which team they'd most like a ticket for, 9 out of 10 would have said the Blackhawks.

TBone...typo correction: Stan Mikita (those were the days)

and for all you who weren't around then:

http://www.hockey-fans.com/players/mikita.php

Cubs sign Grissom to minorleague deal.

http://www.suntimes.com/output/cubs/cst-spt-c...

Cubster,

Right you are on Mikita. When I was little I used to see him mowing his lawn in Bermuda shorts with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Little guy but a hell of a player.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/baseball/b...

This article suggest that the o's Burnitz signing was just a sham. I guess Ive been too involved in football the past few days.

the o's Burnitz signing was just a sham.
--

or a Mulligan...

can we have a do-over with the JJones signing?

Great call on the Jarry Park announcer. My dad never watched much baseball with me (he immigrated as an adult), but he and I would always get a kick out of Boccabella. And Ron "Hoont."

I found this bit of trivia linking Leo Durocher and Stan Mikita (well, at least the Blackhawks). So I'm circling the hawkey talk back to cub-land. I love Leo Durocher anecdotes, the most famous Cub related one is his being AWOL (to visit his wife's son) on a trip to a boys summer camp in Eagle River, Wisconsin during the summer of 69.

Also most post 60-70 era Chicago fans know Stan Mikita from the donut shop in Wayne's World (a parody on Tim Horton's Canadian chain).
-
During the 1971 Stanley Cup finals, the Chicago Cubs were playing the Montreal Expos in Montreal at the same time the Hawks and Canadiens were battling for the Stanley Cup. Cubs manager Leo Durocher intentionally got himself ejected from the baseball game in the first inning so he could attend the hockey game.

http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/3815/diduk...

The large statue of Stan Mikita that stood atop the fictional Stan Mikita's Donuts in the movie Wayne's World now sits at the end of MacGyver star Richard Dean Anderson's driveway. The statue was offered to Mikita, but he said, "It's a nice likeness, but what the hell would I do with it?"

Before joining other goaltenders in wearing a mask full-time, former Minnesota North Star goalie Cesare Maniago only wore a mask when he faced Bobby Hull's blazing slapshot. Maniago said that Hull could have killed somebody with the power of his shot.

When the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 1961, Bobby Hull never got the chance to drink from the Cup. For some reason, he was drinking beer from Michael Wirtz's (the team owner's son) hat and he became ill. He went home early and was in bed as the rest of the team celebrated.

The tuning fork used on the legendary organ from Chicago Stadium rests in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

scooter--#28, it's "Wood", jackass. And not "screw him", he's been the face of this team, for better or worse, and pitched his heart out, often times hurt, for the last 8 or so years. If they want to let him walk after this year, I won't agree, but that's their choice. (Besides, leaving my feelings out of it, which is hard to do, objectively, you won't get anything for Kerry right now anyway)

Stan Mikita is one of the greats of all time and he does not get his do and never complains about it. Bobby Hull received all the acolades and Stan never exhibited any jealosy. A true gentleman in every sense and a class act. I remember during a Stanley Cup game in the late 60's or early 70's a shot of his in overtime just missed that would have won the game and afterwards a reporter asked him how he felt about the tragedy of the missed shot. His reply was that it was just a game and the true tragedy was the boys dying every day in Vietnam. For those of you too young to know of Stan Mikita he was an intense competitor, but truly put everything in its proper perspective.

Hey Tbone -

BER-WYNN??!?!??!?

Disturbing news...

The Cubs continue to have trade talks about outfielder Corey Patterson. Their other backup outfielders are John Mabry and Jerry Hairston, also a reserve at second base to projected starter Neifi Perez.

Neifi better not be starting anywhere to begin the season. Our organization can not be that dumb can they?

And boy do our back-up OFer's suck. Which pretty much is a given Grissom is going to make this team because he.....

is considered a character guy in the clubhouse

He is old, he sucks, chronic injuries, and makes Dusty laugh. The perfect guy for Dusty to get 300+ AB's to, Matt Murton be damned!

Mey mikey c -- what is your source for those crap-ass quotes? Suntimes?

Neifi better not be starting anywhere to begin the season. Our organization can not be that dumb can they?

How about in Iowa....or West Tenn!!!

Yeah Suntimes.

You guys are shocked that Neifi is a being listed as a starter? That's been all but a guarentee since he signed his contract that pays him as much - if not more - than Todd Walker.

Since Walker is still around, there's been reason to hope we'd see Cedeno/Walker at ss/2b, but seeing Neifi almost everyday with Cedeno and Walker in a platoon is situation is much more likely.

Great moves by Littlefield in Pittsburgh to add Casey and Burnitz essentially for Dave Williams. That's a very short right-field porch and those two have the potential to light it up. I wouldn't be surprised if each hit 20 HRs at home.

They still need starters if they want to win, but they're closer now than they've been in forever.

Another Pirates comment. With Bay, Burnitz, Randa and Casey locked in, looks like Craig Wilson is the odd man out. Go fetch Jindry.

Thaks for the memories, Ariz. Phil! I too became a Cub fan in 1960. I too attended my 1st game in '61. (Zimmer homered in the 10th to win it). I've always had a soft spot for the '63 Cubs. It was the first time I saw them actually able to compete with the good teams in the league. I remember Brock as a horrible fielder as well. Once saw him in RF get hit in the head with a flyball! Once read somewhere that the Cubs wanted Gibson for Brock. (our erratic youngster for theirs). Just think how history might have been altered! Fergie, Holtz, Hands & Gibby! What a staff!

Does Burnitz signing with the Pirates instead of the Orioles make Tejada feel better or worse about the Orioles not trying to improve?

yes hendry GO GET CRAIG WILSON

the pirates have 4 corner guys that will all start. bay is a star in the making and they just got the other three guys this offseason and they're all pretty good.

wilson is the odd man out. good catch WPZ.

he would be a great guy to play RF against lefties, get some starts in LF as well and we would finally have a decent backup for DLee.

if you think that it won't happen bc you're paying too much for jones to be a platoon guy, well, the pirates aren't going to have a burnitz/wilson platoon for a combined 10 mill. the cubs have a lot of money, and while platooning jones would seemingly be expensive, you have yourself a nice little RFer by mutating jones and wilson together.

it makes sense. the pirates will deal him. GO GET WILSON! this team needs on base and he can do it, and he also has power. this almost makes too much sense not to have it happen.

it also will mean that grissom only makes the team if someone gets hurt in march, which is how it should be.

the real question is how the Chicago Cubs (with 100 million payroll and 3,000,000 fans yearly pouring through the gates) have managed to get themselves in a position where they are scrambling to platoon a bunch of yayhoos while overpaying for these guys who likely will not get in a groove with the Dust-ass managing them erratically. Seems like the $8 mil to $11 mil we are gonna shell out for the platoon guys could have lended a decent player . . . especially when you consider how amazing the draw of playing for Dusty is.

note sarcasm about Dusty being a big DRAW for players wanting to play in Chicago. . .

http://www.all-baseball.com/cubreporter/archi...

I suggested the WIlson thing in early Dec, fwiw. Hasn't yet showed up on the Cubs radar so I'm assuming they're not interested. Why would you be when you can sign Marquis Grissom as an NRI?

Don't know if anyones seen or mentioned it but ESPN has a list of Roster/starters up here:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=2...
Just noticed that sanely they have Walker starting at 2nd but insanely have Z a #3 starter.

Sorry should clarify, the list is "projected" of course.

m.kiley wrote the sun-times article saying neifi's the 2nd baseman...he's also the guy who puts t.walker at 3rd on the depth chart for the cubs at 2nd in an earlier article.

he's not full of crap, but i'd like to know where he gets his info from and why he's leaning toward neifi when very few other are.

im ready for hendry to settle patterson and the 2nd base depth situation...whoever's gonna get traded or not traded...something.

kiley's said a few weeks backs that although the Cubs won't go out and officially say it that they're not going into the season with walker at 2nd cause of his defense, which does jive with the whole "I like guys who catch the ball" hendry mentality.

a quote from hendry right after the pierre trade..
"What I'm OK with is that we are going to catch the ball well,'' Hendry said. "We're very happy about Ronny, Neifi played great [last year], Hairston can play second and Walker's still here.

Not really a ringing endorsement of Walker, fwiw

the thing is i see no real point of upgrade for the cubs to package walker in for another team.

so far his name has popped up in the bigger trade proposals the cubs have been suposedly involved in...mench/bradley/etc...he's a capable 2nd/1st.

it really looks like he's on his way out, but i got no idea what hendry wants to do with him.

btw, kiley also reports k.wood should begin throwing this month. given that he should have started throwing weeks ago he might miss a chunk of april barring any further setbacks...well, unless his arm progresses fast enough to make up for lost time. this isnt really suprising, though. m.morris didnt start throwing til january, himself.

really glad we kept wood in the bullpen in august, really helped us out on so many levels. :)

I know this has been mentioned before, but now with Marquis Grissom it looks like the Cubs are trying to make a case for the Frech National team in the WBC. Vive La France! Down with Frech-Haters!

really glad we kept wood in the bullpen in august, really helped us out on so many levels. :)
-

I really don't understand this. Why? We need him to start for all of next year not hang on to a dying season (last) with us fans.

you know I was being sarcastic right? The :) is usaully a giveaway.

Wasn't thrilled about it at the time, less thrilled now about the delay in surgery, especially if it costs him PT next year.

DaKrone

Too bad M. Dubois was traded

RobG, yeah, I knew you were being sarcastic. I was also lamenting the situation we are in now, maybe a month without a key starter.

Simpsons episode where Groundskeeper Willie is teaching French at the school.
"Say Bonjour! You cheese eating surrender monkeys!!" Classic.

Yes I remember saying using Wood like that would lead to Ken Lasper saying in May 2006 "Well it looks like Kerry Wood had a very successful simulated game in Mesa today, where he threw 3 innings with 3 walks, and 3 three strike outs."

And what I get from Kiley is that he is a bit of an apologist for Dusty never really calling him out on anything. Did you see where Sun Times reporter Carol Slezak predicted 55 homeruns by Bonds in 2006? Always with her finger on the pulse of the game. She must not heard about Barry's "new diet" where he is shedding 45 lbs.

Neifi will be opening day-
a)second baseman
b)shortstop
c)guest conductor in the seventh inning
d)Ronnie Woo-woo's back up woo wooer

Wood should of went in for surgery earlier but still he has had 3-4 extra months than Matt Morris had for the same type of surgery. I really don't expect Wood to miss any time to start the season. He has had double the time to recover.

The track record of our training staff isn't exactly inspiring though. They can turn the simpliest injury into a major one. So it is really no surprise they are bringing along Wood slowly. Our training/medical staff bring every injury along slowly. They are just the most incompetent group of people I have ever seen take care of baseball players.

I believe the Reds doctor is actually supervising the rehab, at least he did the surgery and subsequent follow-ups. I assume he's laid out the rehab program.

I'm sure at some point this off-season Wood will realize he's playing for a new contract, that should jumpstart the process.

Chicago tribune reporting Cubs agree to minor leaguge deal with Grissom. .. sorry cant find it online yet

The Cubs signed Marquis Grissom, Augie Ojeda and Mike Restovich to minor league contracts Tuesday, and invited all three to training camp.

http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sport...

The Grissom signing is up on the Trib website now. That's not the real news though...wait for it...they've also signed Augie Ojeda to a minor league contract. Oh, and Michael Restovich as well, but I assume that it's the return of Augie that will spark the most excitement around here...

Thank God, I was worried Ojeda was going to sign with someone else

auggie "jesus on stilts" ojeda...

he's like ryan theroit...only with amazingly even less power and about 3' shorter.

AUGIE, AUGIE, AUGIE

Maybe he'll be the backup 3rd base coach. I hear he does a wonderful Wendell Kim impersonation.

MRestovich's 3yr splits vs LHP (129AB's):
.264 .321 .434 .755

...hmmm, doesn't remind one of Craig Wilson's splits.

Astros get Preston Wilson...

whoa boy, that will put them over the top.

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/356...

Burnitz deal with the Pirates is a 1yr contract with an option (which won't get picked up, you'd think his agent would be wiser this time around and take that 2 yr deal from the O's)...deja vu?

http://pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/tr...

MORE IMPORTANTLY...Craig Wilson's status:

If the Pirates finalize the Burnitz contract, they must decide what to do with Craig Wilson, the 29-year-old outfielder-first baseman who hit a club-high 29 homers for them in 2004. Wilson missed most of last season with two hand injuries and was limited to 5 homers in 197 at-bats.

The Pirates have offered a contract to Wilson, who made $3 million last year and is eligible for salary arbitration. Since Wilson would likely get about $4 million in arbitration, the low-budget Pirates must decided if they can afford to play him that much money to be a part-time player.

I'm guessing the O's backed out, not Burntiz. The Ramirez thing might be heating up and they probably decided to hold off on signing Burnitz.

I've been wanting Wilson for awhile, but not even a remote inkling from anything that the Cubs are interested. Probably dislike him for all the reasons that the Pitt brass do, I suppose they revolve around his lack of defensive prowess and that he doesn't mind taking a walk. Considering our lack of offense at the moment though, you'd think Hendry would be all over that.

Let's hope...

I know there's been lots of talk about Wilson all offseason. But now it seems to make sense. Pittsburgh won't want him on the bench, and as a platoon/backup player he can help the Cubs more than almost anyone in baseball.

Should a $100 million team have more platoons than a half-trillion-dollar army? No, but you go to battle with the Cubs you have, not the Cubs you want.

AZ Phil,
I can't wait until your piece on immortal Cubs GM Salty Saltwell

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