Easter Rabbits

    By Rick Kaempfer
    In News
    Apr 16th, 2017
    0 Comments
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    There haven’t been any Easter Bunnies that played for the Cubs, but there have been a few rabbits…

    ~Rabbit Maranville 1891 (Cubs 1925)
    Nicknamed for his speed and rabbit-like leaps, Rabbit Maranville was always a great fielder, but he was even better known for his partying. One time when he was on the Pirates, there was a ‘no drinking’ rule on the team (which was understandable considering it was against the law at the time). A teammate, Moses Yellowhorse, wouldn’t pitch unless he got something to drink. Maranville summoned the infield around, pulled a flask out of his pocket, and gave the pitcher a snort. He once took a pair of glasses out of his pocket, polished them, and handed them to an umpire. Another time (with the Cubs in spring training 1925) he was goofing around on the golf course with Charlie Grimm, who laid on his back and put a tee in his mouth with a ball on it, as a joke. Maranville hit the ball with a driver, scaring the hell out of Grimm. Another time he dove into a fishpond at the Buckingham hotel in St. Louis, and came out of the water with a goldfish in his mouth. Once when he was in New York, he arranged for pitcher Jack Scott to chase him through Times Square shouting”Stop Thief!” Another time his teammates heard wild noises coming from within his locked hotel room; screams, gunfire, breaking glass…..the Rabbit moaning “Eddie, your killing me!” It sounded like a murder in progress! When the door was finally broken down, the Rabbit and two accomplices paraded right by his shocked teammates as if nothing happened, with the Rabbit greeting them with a “Hiya fellas!” The first night after he became Cubs manager, he barged into the players Pullman cars and threw cold water on their faces, saying “there will be no sleeping under Maranville management”. That same night he got into a fight with a cab driver in New York after the Cubs arrived there over the cabbie grumbling about his tip. He had to be separated from the cabbie by the cops. After they separated him, he went after the cops and was arrested along with two of his players. He had no set rules for the team except that they couldn’t go to bed before him. Another time he held the Cubs traveling secretary out of a hotel window by his feet. Yet another time, and as it turns out, the final incident, he ran through the train throwing the contents of a spittoon at his players. With Rabbit as manager, the Cubs finished in last place for the first time in franchise history. He was fired after eight weeks. Rabbit played for another ten years (with Brooklyn, St. Louis and Boston), and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1954. His real name was Walter.

    ~Rabbit Warstler 1903 (Cubs 1940)
    His real name was Harold Burton Warstler, but they called him Rabbit because of his quickness in the field. He was a backup infielder for 11 seasons, and his last team was the Cubs in 1940. When Rabbit was in the American League, Connie Mack called him “the best defensive infielder in the American League.” Babe Ruth complained that Warstler played so deep and had such a strong arm that he stole hits from him. But Rabbit could never hit much, and that’s why he never claimed a starting job. And though he was nicknamed Rabbit because of his quickness, he never stole more than 9 bases in a season.

    ~Jimmy Slagle 1873 (Cubs 1902-1908)
    One of the wily old veterans on the last Cubs team to win the World Series (1908), Slagle was 35 when the Cubs won their last championship. He was known as Rabbit (because of his speed), and Shorty (because of his height—5’7″), but most of his teammates referred to him as the “Human Mosquito” because he was such a pest. Slagle was the starting centerfielder for the entire Cubs dynasty. He took over the job in 1902, and was the first player in World Series history to accomplish a straight steal of home plate (1907), but by 1908, Jimmy was just hanging on. When the 1908 World Series began, Solly Hofman had claimed the starting job. Slagle played his last game for the Cubs on October 3, 1908. He retired after the last out was recorded in the last World Series clinching game in Chicago history. (Photo: 1909 Tobacco Card)

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