Cubs history

I was intrigued by the recent ESPN article that proclaimed the 1968 Los Angeles Dodgers draft to be the best ever. The Dodgers picks that year were exceptional. All told across the various January and June drafts, the Dodgers drafted and signed EIGHT players that would go on to have successful major league careers. They are listed below with their career WAR according to Baseball Reference:

 

I found some old photos in a box.

Crappy, from an old point and shoot in the pre-digital days.

I asked a buddy if he thought that was crazy Mitch Williams on the mound for the Cubs, he said he thought it was Rod Beck.

And then I simply had to find out what the shots were from.

I scanned 'em at high resolution and you know what? Fuzzy shots scanned at high resolution still look pretty fuzzy. But blown way up you'll see two #30's (starting pitchers) in the shot of the scoreboard. That would be Geremi Gonzalez and Todd Stottlmyre. 

The batters, of course you'll remember Cardinal  #25 and Cub #21.

With Derrek Lee's departure to the South and front running Braves, the Cubs lost one of their finest players over the last 30 years. But just how fine was he?

I think we can agree that since 1980 (arbitrary cutoff by me, live with it) that Ryne Sandberg and Sammy Sosa are your top two Cubs depending on how much you want to dock Sosa for his alleged indiscretions. That leaves a quartet of Cubs vying for spots 3-7 among position players: Mark Grace, Andre Dawson, Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee.

Let's go to the HTML table:

Previous Reviews: 2001, 2000

Although the season ended in disappointment, the Cubs seemed to have something to build on after a mostly successful 2001 and a farm system rated as one of the best in the leagues with up and coming prospects like Corey Patterson, Carlos Zambrano, Juan Cruz, Hee Seop Choi, Mark Prior, Ben Christensen, Dave Kelton and Bobby Hill.

Previous Reviews: 2000

Coming off a second straight last place finish, Andy MacPhail had his first full offseason to try and rebuild the club after taking over for Ed Lynch.

The New Year is fast approaching which means it's time for everyone's year in review articles. This year we get the added bonus of the end of decade. Due to the baseball schedule and offseason, I'll be looking at each individual season from the end of the previous season to the end of that season. Let's travel through the looking glass together and remember simpler times.

As much as I dread the current All-Star break, I was a fan once upon a time. Back before interleague play, having kids and cable television, the Midsummer Classic was a guilty pleasure to get a chance to see how our Cubbies did against the best of the best.

So part of the glacially-paced Wiklifield project, I put together this page that slices and dices the Cubs All-Star appearances. Some fun facts after the jump...

Thursday's Chicago vs. Chicago showdown at Wrigley Field will be the first Major League game to be streamed live to mobile phones, specifically to iPhone and iPod Touch users who have installed the MLB.com At Bat 2009 app and the new Apple 3.0 operating software.

Beginning with the White Sox-Cubs Interleague Play matchup from Wrigley
Field at 2:20 p.m. ET, up to two live games per day, subject to
blackout restrictions, will be included in MLB.com At Bat 2009. The
other game scheduled for Thursday is Detroit at St. Louis at 8:15 p.m.
ET.

Those who have already installed the $9.99 At Bat app this season will be able to receive the video streaming at no additional charge. Otherwise you can purchase the app at the iTunes store and enjoy it, video included, for the rest of 2009 for $9.99.

Chad Evans of MLB Advanced Media puts the whole story into something resembling perspective:

"I'm hoping there will be a generation of kids that grew up saying, 'Oh
yeah, I got box scores and watched games on my phone -- it was just
part of the experience of baseball.'"

Yeah, "part of the experience." Sort of like when you heave your remote control across the room after the Cubs have failed to score another runner from third with less than two outs.

Ryan Theriot's grand slam on Friday put the Cubs ahead to stay, as did his first-inning home run on Saturday.

Friday's blast ended a string of 620 at-bats and 157 games in which Theriot had failed to homer. In terms of GP, Theriot's homerless string was the 15th longest among Cub non-pitchers since 1954.

The list of 15 follows:

I encountered a number of Cardinals fans heading for Chicago Union Station during this evening's rush hour. I thought about making a smart remark or two in their direction, but I held back.

It's the middle of April, there are two games left in this series, and they're still in first place.

Besides, those Saint Louis-bound fans were going to be dealing with Amtrak for the next five and a half hours.

A person should only be subjected to so much grief in a single day.

Freaky Stat of the Day: The four Cardinal pitchers—Walters, Miller, Boggs, and Perez— combined to fan 13 Cubs this afternoon. That's the highest number of strikeouts by Cub hitters in a nine-inning game in which they beat St. Louis going back to 1954, when Baseball-Reference's Play Index data begins.

As noted here and everywhere else yesterday, Lou Piniella has decided to give Carlos Zambrano the Opening Day assignment at Houston. It will be the fifth time Zambrano has had the honor; the Cubs have gone 2-2 in Z's previous Opening Day outings.

Fergie Jenkins started seven openers for the Cubs, while Rick Sutcliffe started five, and Rick Reuschel, four. The real fun in looking over this list at Baseball-Reference.com is noting which Cub pitchers got to go in Game #1 once, but never again. Here are the last ten such Cub pitchers:

As part of this Cubs history kick that started with Wiklifield, I had this idea of trying to figure out what was the best individual season by a member of the Cubs. As I started pouring through the research I decided that the burden of annointing the best Cubs' season ever was too much for this humble Cubs fan. Now I realize as a blogger and top 10 list-maker, I'm suppose to just present my opinion as fact and not accept any other arguments, but I decided for this instance to enlist the rest of the TCR writers.

I put together a list of 27 great Cubs seasons and put it to a vote and would weigh it MVP-style (10 pts for a first place vote, 9 for a second place vote, etc). The criteria for this list were all the Cubs' NL MVP seasons and Cy Young winners and then the best of the rest based on sabermetric dominance in either WARP-3 or Win Shares (Lee in 2005) , historical signifcance  (Wilson's RBI record in 1930) or place in Cubs history (Sutcliffe in 1984). Now there may have been a few names that deserved to be in that
original top 27 list over some other names, but I'm sure I didn't miss
the top season. As I mentioned in the poll, just think of it as the
NCAA tournament...there's a lot of arguments on who deserved to be in
the original 65 picks, but those that are left out never really had a
chance to win the whole thing. 

The only instruction I laid out for their votes was to use whatever
criteria each writer saw fit. Some of us have a sabermetric slant to
the world, some like MVP trophies, some just remember what we saw and
its impact at the time and so forth and so on. Transmission, Cubnut, Dr. Hecht and myself ended up participating and our ballots are listed at the end of the post. The final results for the readers voting is also at the end. We by no means believe this is the list to rule all lists, but it was an interesting exercise nonetheless. I mean if Arizona Phil or Christian had submitted their ballots, the final results could have been very different. Also, we tend to believe with our eyes and hearts and I don't think any of us saw much baseball before 1950 - and for some of us - not much before 1980. Speaking for myself, I had a hard time giving double credit for a player, generally focusing on what I felt to be their best season, even if they had a second or third great season that deserved to be recognized. But this is more art than science and the final results certainly are skewed by a small sample size.

As expected, the Cubs field general Geovany Soto took home the NL Rookie of the Year honors. He's the 5th Cub to win the honor and first catcher since Mike Piazza in 1993. He did it on the strength of a 285/364/504 batting line with 23 HR's, 86 RBI's and 66 Runs in the traditional baseball categories. He also created 6.6 Runs per game, had a 7.0 WARP-1 value and was 5 runs above average on defense, those last two numbers courtesy of Baseball Prospectus. That's quite a nice little season that was good enough to get 31 of the 32 possible first place votes, with one yokel probably from Cincinnati voting for Joey Votto.

Game Chat | Press Pass | BR Preview

SP Rich Harden SP Pedro Martinez
(NL) 5-1, 1.66, 85 K, 25 BB, 65 IP
5-6, 5.50, 78 K, 40 BB, 103 IP
       
LF *Felix Pie SS #Jose Reyes
SS Ryan Theriot LF *Daniel Murphy
1B *Micah Hoffpauir 3B David Wright
CF *Jim Edmonds 1B *Carlos Delgado
2B *Mike Fontenot CF #Carlos Beltran
3B Casey McGehee RF *Ryan Church
RF *Kosuke Fukudome 2B Ramon Martinez
C #Koyie Hill C Robinson Cancel
P *Rich Harden P Pedro Martinez

 

The Cubs play their last-ever regular season game at The House That Jesse Gonder Built. In 44 years of play at Shea (the Mets played their first two years in the Polo Grounds), the Cubs have a 146-164 record.

Mark DeRosa and his strained calf muscle will enjoy tonight's game from the bench. Rich Harden makes his first-ever start against the Mets and Pedro Martinez, who is making his first start against the Cubs in 11 years, when he was still with the Expos.

A Cub win will give the team 97 wins for the first time since 1945.

WIth last night's extra-inning battle taxing the Mets' bullpen, Jerry Manuel has said he would consider using starter John Maine out of the pen tonight if/when he has to lift Pedro, who has only won twice in his last 11 starts.

I can't wait for all of these exhibition games to end so we can get down to real baseball.

Dan Fox offers a historical perspective on the Brewers' firing of Ned Yost while in the thick of the race for the post-season.

Turns out the 1932 Cubs were the first team to change managers mid-season (Rogers Hornsby out; Charlie Grimm in) and then go on to win the pennant. The 1938 Cubs repeated the maneuver (Grimm out; Gabby Hartnett in) and again, the result was a National League championship.

Cub-related names are all over this phenomenon:

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