~Fred Baczewski 1926 (Cubs 1953)
Fred made the Cubs out of spring training in 1953 but was traded to the Reds in June for Bubba Church. Fred was a lefthanded pitcher. Can you guess what his nickname was? That’s right, they called him “Lefty”.
~Ed Baecht 1907 (Cubs 1931-1932)
Baecht was a pitcher who made it up to the Cubs for a brief stint in 1931. That was a year of great turmoil in the Cubs clubhouse. The manager (Rogers Hornsby) and slugger (Hack wilson) were hardly on speakng terms. Baecht kept his head down and pitched fairly well in 22 games. Ed’s problem was his command.
~Javier Baez 1992 (Cubs 2014-Present)
Baez was the 9th overall pick of the 2011 draft; the last first round pick of the Jim Hendry era. At each level of the minors, Baez was a superstar. He joined the Cubs in August 2014 and hit a game-winning homer in his first game. He hit nine homers for the season, but he also struck out more in than 40% of his at bats, and batted .169. In 2015 he wasn’t brought up to the big leagues until the end of the season, but he performed much better, playing second base primarily. In the 2015 playoffs, Baez hit a homer to help beat the Cardinals. Baez really became a stud in 2016. He hit 15 homers and stole 15 bases all while playing incredible defense at multiple positions in the infield. By the time the playoffs arrived, Javy was the every day second baseman. He responded by winning the NLCS MVP award. In 2017, Baez hit 23 homers and knocked in 75 runs. (Photo: Topps 2013 Baseball Card)
~Ed Bailey 1931 (Cubs 1965)
Ed was one of the best catchers in the National League in the late 50s and early 60s. He was a five-time All-Star, and a World Series hero during his time with the Cincinnati Reds and San Francisco Giants. One of his personal highlights during those years was when he caught his brother Jim (a pitcher for the Reds in 1959). The Cubs acquired him along with Harvey Kuehnn and Bob Hendley in 1965. He was near the end of his career when he came to the Cubs, but he still played well. He was clearly the best catcher on that 1965 team. The Cubs acquired Randy Hundley the following year, which made Ed expendable. He finished his career with the Angels.
~Sweetbread Bailey 1895 (Cubs 1919-1921)
His real name is Abraham Lincoln Bailey because he shares a birthday with the famous president. What is the origin of his nickname? Well, “sweetbreads” is defined as “the thymus or, sometimes, the pancreas of a young animal (usually a calf or lamb) used for food,” and though the origins of Bailey’s nickname have been lost to time, historians think it may have come from Bailey’s tendency to swerve his pitches right into the batter’s “sweetbreads”. He hit seven batters there. The Cubs signed him in 1917, but before he joined the team he served in the military with the 72nd field artillery. He was a reliever for the Cubs, winning four games and saving none. That was the extent of his big league career. After a few more seasons in the minors, he returned to his hometown of Joliet, and that’s where he died of pituitary cancer in 1939 at the way too young age of 44.
~Dusty Baker 1949 (Cubs manager 2003-2006)
His managing stint with the Cubs began in a promising fashion. He led the team to their first playoff appearance in five years, and then led them to their first playoff series win in 95 years. But he will forever be associated with their epic collapse in the 2003 NLCS. His critics claimed he should have gone out to calm down Mark Prior, who completely fell apart after the Bartman incident and ensuing error by Alex Gonzalez. Dusty was also blamed by many fans for overusing Prior and Wood, which they felt led to the two pitchers developing arm problems. By the time 2006 rolled along, Baker was incredibly unpopular in Chicago. After he was fired, Baker claimed that a fan somehow got into the dugout overnight, and left an excrement deposit on the dugout step Dusty liked to occupy.
~Gene Baker 1925 (Cubs 1953-1957)
After Jackie Robinson finally broke the color barrier in 1947, Cubs owner Phillip Wrigley still didn’t sign a black player for several more years. Wrigley was afraid of signing black players because his fan base was almost totally white and he worried how they would react. It wasn’t until the end of the 1953 season that Gene Baker was finally called up. He was 28 years old, and had hit well in the minor leagues, but the Cubs hadn’t called him up earlier despite having no one better on the major league roster. They were 40 games out of first place. Ernie Banks was signed shortly thereafter from the Kansas City Monarchs. They signed Ernie strictly because they needed another black player to room with Baker. If they didn’t have Baker, they wouldn’t have signed Banks. Banks just happened to play in a game first and is therefore remembered as the first black player in Cubs history, but Baker was also on the roster at the same time. His best season with the Cubs was in 1955, when he was named to the All-Star team. Baker was later traded to the Pirates and won a World Series ring with them in 1960. Baker broke a few color barriers with Pittsburgh. He became the first black manager in organized baseball in 1961 (Batavia Pirates), and the first black coach in 1962 (Triple A). He finished his baseball career as a scout. (Photo: Topps 1957 Baseball Card)
~Jeff Baker 1981 (Cubs 2009-2012)
The Cubs got Baker from the Rockies to back up second baseman Mike Fontenot and he got significant playing time in that capacity his first years with the team. He flirted with the starting job a few times, but never really seemed to claim the position. The Cubs traded him to the Tigers during the 2012 season.
~John Baker 1981 (Cubs 2014)
The highlight of Baker’s Cubs career was when he came in to pitch a scoreless inning during an extra inning game. That was mainly memorable because Baker was a catcher. As the backup to Wellington Castillo he hit only .192. He was granted free agency after the season.
~Scott Baker 1981 (Cubs 2013)
Baker was a former 15-game winner coming off arm surgery when the Cubs signed him. He rehabbed for an entire year on the Cubs dime, and came back at the end of the year for three appearances. The Cubs wanted to re-sign him, but Baker opted to go Texas instead. In 2014 he pitched mainly out of the bullpen for Texas.
~Tom Baker 1934 (Cubs 1963)
Baker was a left-handed pitcher who got a cup of coffee with the Cubs in 1963, pitching mainly out of the bullpen (although he did have one start). In ten appearances he posted a very respectable 3.00 ERA. Unfortunately for Baker, he was a 29-year-old rookie, and there isn’t a lot of call for 30-year-old pitchers with limited big league experience. He pitched a few more years in the minors before hanging up his spikes for good.
~Paul Bako 1972 (Cubs 2003-2004)
Bako was the backup catcher for the Cubs during their division winning 2003 season. In the NLCS that year he got quite a bit of playing time thanks to his lefthanded bat, and hit .250 in 17 plate appearances. He also caught for the Tigers, Astros, Marlins, Braves, Brewers, Dodgers, Royals, Orioles, Reds and Phillies in his twelve year big league career.
~Mark Baldwin 1863 (White Stockings 1887-1888)
Baldwin won 31 games over two seasons with the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings), but really came into his own after leaving the team. He started more than 50 games a season over the next four years, leading the league in innings pitched. One year he threw over 500 innings, struck out 368 men, walked 274, and threw 83 wild pitches. Those are the kind of numbers the game will never see again. Baldwin’s nickname was Fido.
~Jay Baller 1960 (Cubs 1985-1987)
He pitched out of the Cubs bullpen for three seasons (’85-’87) and got progressively worse each season (3.46 ERA, 5.37 ERA, 6.35 ERA), but his mustache got progressively better. After the ’87 season, the Cubs sent him packing. He later had a cup of coffee with the Royals and the Phillies, but by then the toll of hauling that mustache to and from the mound had affected his delivery. In his final season (1992), he gave up ten earned runs in eleven innings pitched. (Photo: Topps 1988 Baseball Card)
~Tony Balsamo 1937 (Cubs 1962)
Balsamo’s only big league season was with the woeful 1962 Cubs. That team was among the three or four worst teams in Cubs history, despite the presence of four Hall of Famers on the roster (Banks, Williams, Santo & Lou Brock). Tony was a righthanded reliever who pitched in 18 games the first few months of that season. He didn’t fare too well. His ERA was 6.44.
~Ernie Banks 1931 (Cubs 1953-1971)
Ernie is not only a Hall of Famer, he’s the first African American player to ever play for the Chicago Cubs. The way he became a Cub is almost a fluke. At the end of the 1953 season, Gene Baker was called up to be the first African-American Cubs player. Ernie was signed shortly thereafter from the Kansas City Monarchs. They signed Ernie strictly because they needed another black player to room with Baker. If they didn’t have Baker, they wouldn’t have signed Banks. They honestly had no idea what they were getting in Banks, either. One of the Cubs coaches, Ray Blades, gave Ernie a book called “How to play baseball” even though he had hit .380 for the Monarchs. Banks only got in the lineup first because Baker was hurt (he got into a game three days later). At the time, inserting Banks into the lineup was a very controversial move, because shortstop was considered a “thinking man’s” position, and Banks was the first African-American in Major League history to play shortstop on a regular basis. Needless to say, it worked out just fine. Why do they call Ernie Banks Mr. Cub? Ernie is among the top 5 all-time Cubs in games played (1st), at bats (1st), hits (2nd), runs (5th), doubles (3rd), home runs (2nd), and RBI (2nd). Unfortunately he also played in more losses than any other player in baseball history. In a little known bit of trivia, he also was the first African-American manager. When manager Whitey Lockman was kicked out of a game in 1974, Ernie was the acting manager for one inning. Frank Robinson became the first full-time African American manager just a few months later. Banks was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1977, and in 2008 Ernie became a part of Wrigley Field when the club unveiled his statue. It stands right in front of the main gate at Addison and Clark. Countless Cub fans take pictures in front of it every year. (Photo: Topps 1969 baseball card)
AUDIO: Ernie at the Hall of Fame…
Our tribute shirt to four beloved greats from Cubs lore. All are missed tremendously. A portion of the proceeds from every shirt will be donated to Cubs Charities in honor of Ernie, Ronnie, Jack, and Harry. Click here.
~Willie Banks 1969 (Cubs 1994-1995)
He was a World Champion with the 1991 Twins and was brought to Chicago by his old general manager Andy McPhail, but Banks didn’t pitch well in Chicago. His two seasons with the Cubs were the strike years of 1994 and 1995. Before the strike he was hit hard as a starter. After the strike he was hit hard as a reliever. The Cubs traded him to the Dodgers in June of 1995.
~Steve Barber 1938 (1970)
Barber was a two-time All-Star pitcher for the Orioles in the 1960s. He was also a 20-game winner. But by the time he arrived in Chicago, he had endured less successful stints with both the Yankees and the Seattle Pilots. He was signed as a free agent by the Cubs in April of 1970 and was released by the end of June. His ERA in only five appearances (all in relief) was 9.63. After leaving the Cubs, Barber managed to stay in the big leagues until 1974, pitching in relief for the Braves, Angels, and Giants. (Photo: 1970 Topps Baseball Card–he never had one as a Cub)
~Turner Barber 1893 (Cubs 1917-1922)
Barber played six seasons in Chicago during the first few years in the new ballpark now known as Wrigley Field. He was a backup outfielder and first baseman for most of his time in Chicago (including the pennant winning season of 1918), but he did finally claim a starting outfield spot during the 1921 season. Unfortunately for Turner, he didn’t really have the power necessary to keep a corner outfield job. He hit only one homer. The Cubs decided his .314 average wasn’t enough to let him keep the spot. Barber played in the minor leagues until 1930.
~Bret Barberie 1967 (Cubs 1996)
Barberie was a backup infielder for Montreal, Florida and Baltimore before coming to the Cubs in 1996. He didn’t last the year in Chicago. By June he was sent back to Iowa, never to return to the big leagues.
~Richie Barker 1972 (Cubs 1999)
He was a 37th round draft choice of the Cubs who eventually made it all the way up to the big leagues for a cup of coffee in 1999. The righthander appeared in five games early in that season, and posted an ERA of 7.20 (probably in honor of the radio home of the Cubs at the time, 720 AM, WGN)
~Ross Barnes 1850 (White Stockings 1876-1877)
Barnes was an integral member of that first National League Cubs team (then known as the White Stockings). In 1876 he won the first ever NL batting title, hitting .429, and hit the first ever homer in National League history–on May 2, 1876. That year he also had the best OBP .462, the best slugging percentage .590, the best OPS 1.052, the most total bases (190), the most doubles (21), triples (14), walks (20), singles (102), and had the best fielding percentage of any 2B in the league. But Barnes got sick the following season (they called it ‘ague’, which was a fever of some sort), and he lost his explosiveness and strength. He was merely ordinary after that. Ross still finished his nine year career with a lifetime average of .360. (Photo: Upper Deck Baseball Card)
~Darwin Barney 1985 (Cubs 2011-2014)
Barney was the starting second baseman for the Cubs for three seasons, and performed pretty well the first two of those. In his rookie season he hit .276 and finished seventh in the Rookie of the Year voting thanks to his excellent glovework. His second season he won a Gold Glove. Unfortunately for Darwin, his hitting started to slide. By his third season at second base he hit only .208 in over 500 at bats. The Cubs traded him to the Dodgers in 2014.
~Cuno Barragan 1932 (Cubs 1961-1963)
Cuno Barragan’s real name, by the way, was Facundo Anthony Barragan. On September 1st, 1961, the Cubs catcher became one of the few players in baseball history to hit a home run in his first major league at bat. He did it at Wrigley Field in front of 5,427 fans against the San Francisco Giants in a 4-3 12-inning loss. The pitcher was Dick LeMay, who later became his teammate. Among the Cubs starters that day; centerfielder Richie Ashburn, second baseman Don Zimmer, shortstop Ernie Banks, and a few youngsters by the names of Williams and Santo. That home run turned out to be the only home run he would hit in the majors. He hung around with the Cubs for two more seasons as a backup catcher, and got a total of 163 at bats, before being traded to the Dodgers along with pitcher Jim Brewer in exchange for pitcher Dick Scott. Scott turned in a stellar 12.46 ERA in his 4 1/3 innings for the Cubs, while Jim Brewer became a star reliever. Cuno never played in the majors again. (Photo: Topps 1962 Baseball Card)
~Dick Barrett 1906 (Cubs 1943)
His nickname was “Kewpie Dick” and he was a righthanded pitcher. The 37-year-old appeared in fifteen games for the Cubs during the war year of 1943, and didn’t win a single game. He had been a big league pitcher in the early 1930s, and thought it would be a good time to make a comeback because so many players were in the military service. Barrett did get four more big league seasons thanks to the war, but even with slightly inferior competition, he had a rough go of it. His career record is 23 games below .500, and he lost 20 games in one season with the Phillies in 1945.
~Jumbo Barrett 1899 (Cubs 1923-1925)
Barrett was mainly a backup infielder in his three seasons with the Cubs, and he wasn’t a particularly big man. He stood at 5’11” and weighed 175 pounds, but his teammates all called him “Jumbo”. He may have been nicknamed after the grocery chain Holland & Barrett, which sold a Jumbo Roll.
~Michael Barrett 1976 (Cubs 2004-2007)
Barrett was the starting catcher for the Cubs for several seasons. He hit the ball well, clubbing 16 homers and knocking in more than 60 runs every year in Chicago, but he also had his difficulties defensively. Barrett is remembered most for three events. 1) He suffered a gruesome “twisted testicles” injury that made every man in Chicago grimace. 2) He and Carlos Zambrano got into a fistfight in the dugout/clubhouse, leading to a Barrett black eye. And most importantly 3) He earned the applause and respect of everyone in baseball when he punched taunting White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the face.
~Shad Barry 1878 (Cubs 1904-1905)
Barry was a super-utility man for the Cubs, playing every position except pitcher and catcher. He stole 17 bases over two seasons. He also played for Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Boston, St. Louis, and the Giants over a ten-year big league career.
~Dick Bartell 1907 (Cubs 1939)
Acquired in a trade with the Giants (for among others, starting shortstop Billy Jurges, and outfielder Frank Demaree), Dick was the starting shortstop for the Cubs in 1939. Bartell was accustomed to the hardscrabble New York media, and that didn’t serve him well during his time with the Cubs. His 1939 season started off badly in spring training when he made a blimp joke to a chubby sportswriter for the Chicago Tribune (Ed Burns). Imagine Bartell’s surprise when he discovered the Chicago media was a little more sensitive than New York’s, and that Burns just happened to be the writer who also served as the official scorer for the Cubs. That season Burns got revenge by giving Bartell an error at every opportunity, and taking away all borderline hits. Bartell hit only .238 for the Cubs after hitting over .300 seven times in the seasons before he joined the team. He also recorded the worst fielding percentage of his career. Ironically, Bartell was born in Chicago, and the worst season of his career was with the Cubs. The Cubs traded him after the season to the Tigers. He was Detroit’s starting shortstop in the 1940 World Series.
~Vince Barton 1908 (Cubs 1931-1932)
Vince was a Canadian who played outfield for the Cubs in the early 30s. As a rookie on the Rogers Hornbsy managed team in 1931, he hit 13 homers in a part-time role.
~Cliff Bartosh 1979 (Cubs 2005)
Bartosh was acquired from the Indians just before the 2005 season began, and the lefty made nineteen appearances before being sent to the minor leagues. That ended up being his final season in baseball.
~Charlie Bastian 1858 (White Stockings 1889)
Charlie was a backup infielder for the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) in 1889. He wasn’t on the roster because of his hitting ability. In 180 plate appearances, Charlie hit only .135. After the season, he joined some of his fellow teammates when they jumped to the upstart Players League.
~Johnny Bates 1882 (Cubs 1914)
Johnny had over a thousand big league hits, including a homer in his first big league at bat (for Boston), but only one of those hits came in a Cubs uniform. After the 1914 season was over he chose to jump to the Federal League for one more season. Bates had a knack for getting on base. He had four different seasons with on base percentages above .400.
~Miguel Batista 1971 (Cubs 1997)
Miguel was a member of that horrible ’97 Cubs team, and he didn’t pitch particularly well either (5.70 ERA), but he did serve a very important role. He was the trade bait that convinced the Montreal Expos to trade Henry Rodriguez to the Cubs. Henry was a key part of the Cubs 1998 playoff team and helped stablize a position (left field) that had fielded eleven different opening day starters in the previous eleven seasons. Batista pitched for 18 seasons in the big leagues with the Pirates, Marlins, Expos, Royals, Blue Jays, Mariners, Nationals, Mets, Braves, and the 2001 World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks. (The team that broke the ex-Cub curse. Two other ex-Cubs were on that team–Mark Grace & Luis Gonzalez)
~Russ Bauers 1914 (Cubs 1946)
Bauers was a big right handed pitcher who had his best seasons with Pittsburgh before the war. He pitched mostly in relief with the Cubs in 1946, after a five year absence from the big leagues. He won two games and saved another. The Cubs sent back to the minors the following year, and he re-emerged for one final big league season with the St. Louis Browns in 1950.
~Frank Baumann 1933 (Cubs 1965)
Baumann had already pitched in the big leagues for ten years when he arrived on the north side of Chicago. He had a few very good years for the White Sox in the early 60s (leading the league in ERA), but by 1965, he was nearing the end of the line. He only made four appearances for the Cubs and was hit pretty hard. The Cubs cut him loose in May, and his major league career was over.
~Frank Baumholtz 1918 (Cubs 1949, 1951-1955)
Frank was the starting centerfielder with the Cubs, and he had his work cut out for him during most of those years. Leftfielder Ralph Kiner combined with the equally slow Hank Sauer in right, so the Cubs outfield might have been the worst fielding outfield the Cubs ever had. Kiner joked that both he and Sauer used to scream “You got it, Frankie” every time the ball was hit in the air. Frankie was alos a pretty good hitter. In 1952 his .325 average was second in the league.
~Jose Bautista 1964 (Cubs 1993-1994)
Not to be confused with the Jose Bautista currently slugging homers in the big leagues, this Jose Bautista was a relief pitcher from the Dominican Republic. He had a great season with the Cubs in 1993, going 10-3, with a 2.82 ERA. He had another good year in the strike-shortened 1994 season, and though he remained in the big leagues a few more seasons (with the Giants, Tigers, and Cardinals), he never again achieved the success that he had with the Cubs.
~Mike Baxter 1984 (Cubs 2015)
Baxter was a journeyman outfielder/first baseman who got a little bit of playing time when Cubs outfielders were injured during the summer of 2015. He previously played for the Padres, Mets, and Dodgers.
~Don Baylor 1949 (Cubs manager 2000-2002)
Baylor was a great player for the Orioles, A’s, Angels, Yankees, and Twins during his playing career—an all-star, MVP, and World Series champ, but never played for the Cubs.He was also previously NL manager of the year with the Rockies, but he only had one winning season (2001) in Chicago, and was fired with the Cubs mired in fifth place in 2002. Baylor passed away after a long struggle with cancer during the 2017 season.
~The Beach Boys (Cubs song)
The Beach Boys have no conceivable tie to Chicago. They are all from California, and their sound is classic Californian. Nevertheless in the 80s they did agree to record this Beach Boys song with new lyrics for the Cubs, and WGN used it on their broadcasts…
~Tommy Beals 1850 (White Stockings 1880)
Beals had played pro-ball in the days before the National League (in the National Association), but his only year in the NL came with the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) in 1880. He was already 30 years old at the time and hadn’t played professionally in five years. It showed. Tommy hit .152 in 13 games.
~Dave Beard 1959 (Cubs 1985)
Dave was one of the many arms that made it through the walking wounded Cubs pitching staff of 1985. The 6’5″ former Oakland reliever didn’t fare well in Chicago. In nine games he posted an ERA of 6.39. He didn’t make it back up to the big leagues until 1989 (with the Tigers).
~Ginger Beaumont 1876 (Cubs 1910)
Beaumont was a great hitter. The centerfielder’s lifetime average was .311, and that included a batting title with the 1902 Pirates. His last season in the big leagues was as a member of the pennant winning 1910 Cubs. The 33-year-old hit .267 in 76 games for the team that year, and batted three times in the 1910 World Series. He walked once and scored a run in that series. After it was over, so was his big league career.
~Clyde Beck 1900 (Cubs 1926-1930)
Beck was a backup infielder for the Cubs for most of his five year Cubs career. He started nearly 90 games for them in the 1928 season, and then went back to the bench for the pennant winning 1929 season. The highlight of his career was probably May 12, 1930. The Cubs hit four homers in the seventh inning that day and were only the second team in history to do it. Clyde Jersey Beck hit the record-tying HR. He hit a career-high six HR that season but batted only .213, 90 points below the league average. The Cubs shipped him off to Cincinnati after the season, and that’s where he played his final year in the big leagues. (Photo from the Woody English Website)
~Rod Beck 1968 (Cubs 1998-1999)
They called him “The Shooter” because he was like a gunslinger out there, and he didn’t waste any of his bullets. Rod Beck was the Cubs closer during the wild card season of 1998, saving 51 games in truly scary fashion. By the time he arrived with the Cubs, he was throwing junk—-his fastball was in the mid-80s at the very best—but he somehow still got the outs. Without him, they wouldn’t have made the playoffs that year. Cub fans embraced him and his blue collar attitude. But after more arm problems the following year, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox. He managed to stay in the majors until 2004, and had a few more good seasons in Boston and San Diego, but he died tragically in 2007 from an apparent drug overdose. He was only 38 years old. (Photo: Topps 1998 Baseball Card)
~Heinz Becker 1915 (Cubs 1943-1946)
Rollie Zeider, a player on the 1918 pennant winning Cubs, was famously nicknamed Bunions. But he wasn’t the only one. On the last pennant winning Cubs team (1945), another Bunions got significant playing time. His name was Heinz Becker. Becker had problems with his feet during his playing career, which is how he got the nickname. (Becker was referenced in Chicago columnist Mike Royko’s annual Cubs quiz on April 18, 1968: “Q: Which of these two players always had sore feet? Heinz Becker or the immortal Dominic Dallessandro? A: Becker had sore feet. Dallessandro had tiny feet. It used to take him twenty jumps to get out of the dugout.”) Born in Berlin, Germany in the midst of World War I, Becker got his chance to play in the big leagues because so many players were World War II draftees. Bunions spent most of his short career as a back up, but he did help the Cubs win the National League Pennant in 1945. He played in 3 games of the World Series against the Detroit Tigers, singling and walking in three at bats. The Cubs traded him to the Indians the following spring.
~Glenn Beckert 1940 (Cubs 1965-1973)
Glenn was a 4-time All-Star, a gold glove Second Baseman (1968), and for four seasons in a row, the toughest man to strike out in all of baseball. In 1971 he hit .342. Another season (1968), he led the league in runs scored. His scrappy play and willingness to do whatever it took to get on base is the reason he became a favorite of his manager, Leo Durocher. In his book Nice Guys Finish Last, Durocher, a man who rarely praised his players, said this about his second baseman: “I got a guy over here, Beckert, bustin’ his rear end. He works on his hitting. He works on his fielding. He works on all of his weaknesses. He’s made himself into a hell of a player.” That’s probably why Cub fans loved him too. (Photo: Topps 1970 Baseball Card)
In ’71, he was in this incredible all-star lineup…
~Fred Beebe 1879 (Cubs 1906)
Beebe was a local Chicago boy, having attended Hyde Park High School and the University of Illinois. The righthanded pitcher was off to a good start in his rookie season of 1906, going 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA, when the Cubs traded him to St. Louis for their former ace Jack Tayor. Despite a lifetime ERA of only 2.86, Beebe finished his career nearly 20 games under .500.
~Dallas Beeler 1989 (Cubs 2014-2015)
Beeler was called up for two emergency starts in 2014 and pitched well, although he lost both games. He got three emergency starts in 2015 and it went significantly worse. His ERA was a gaudy 9.42.
~Jeff Beliveau 1987 (Cubs 2012)
He pitched out of the bullpen for the Cubs in the 2012 season but couldn’t overcome his command issues. Jeff was released after the season.
~George Bell 1959 (Cubs 1991)
Bell was a three-time all-star and former MVP when the Cubs signed him to a big free agent contract before the 1991 season. He had a good year with the Cubs, slugging 25 homers and hitting .285, but his long-term value to the Cubs came during the following offseason. The Cubs traded Bell across town to the White Sox for a young outfielder named Sammy Sosa. Bell contributed to the White Sox division winning team of 1993, but Sosa went on to hit more homers in a Cubs uniform than any other player in history. (Photo: 1991 Ultra Fleer Baseball Card)
~Les Bell 1901 (Cubs 1930-1931)
Bell and Woody English shared the third base position for two seasons. Despite having a few big years with the Cardinals and Braves before coming to Chicago, Bell didn’t hit that well in the hitters years of 1930 and 1931. That ’31 season proved to be his last in the big leagues.
~Mark Bellhorn 1974 (Cubs 2002-2003)
Bellhorn was a utility man for the Cubs playoff team of 2003, and was lucky enough to be part of ending a couple of curses. Unfortunately, it wasn’t with the Cubs. In 2004, he was a key member of the Red Sox team that won the first World Series for Boston in 86 years. That team had three ex-Cubs, which also helped disprove the ridiculous ex-Cub curse theory of Mike Royko. (The 2001 Diamondbacks team was the first team to disprove it)
~Francis Beltran 1979 (Cubs 2002-2004)
Not to be confused with slugging outfielder Carlos Beltran (no relation), this Beltran was sent to the mound from the Cubs bullpen. He was mostly ineffective in his two years with the Cubs, and later experienced serious arm problems while pitching for the Expos and Tigers.
~Jim Belushi 1954 (Cubs fan 1954-present)
It’s no secret that Wheaton’s very own Jim Belushi was a big fan of the Chicago Cubs. Jim still comes to the ballpark every year to watch the beloved and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” But he’s also brought references to the Cubs to his work. In 1990’s “Taking Care of Business” he takes it to new heights–the Cubs go to the World Series. His character, Jimmy Dworski, gets out of prison to watch it. Here’s a little sample of the dialogue…
Jimmy Dworski: It’s the Cubs in the World Series – it’s a dream of mine, sir.
Warden Toolman: I know, I know,I know, I know, all right. I am not gonna stand in the way of anybody’s dream, Jimmy. I’ll tell you what:
Jimmy Dworski: What?
Warden Toolman: If I sink this put, you can go. What do you think of that? Hmmm?
Jimmy Dworski: I think you should keep your head down, arms straight, drop your shoulder, concentrate, focus, think of the hole, GET the ball in the hole!
Warden Toolman: Smell the hot dogs now, Jimmy. The crack of the bat; the roar of the crowd; you can order your tickets now, Jim.
Jim has made no secret of his love for the Cubs. When the Cubs win the division, he comes to the Daley Center and MCs the rallies. Even though the Cubs were playing his new hometown team in 2008 (the Dodgers), he never wavered over which team to root for. (The LA Times had a great article about a bet he made with columnist and former Chicagoan–now a turncoat Dodgers fan–TJ Simers) In his brother John’s lifetime the Cubs never appeared in the playoffs a single time. Jim lived to see the 1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2008 and 2015 playoff teams, but it wasn’t until 2016 that he finally got to live the dream of his character Jimmy Dworski.
~John Belushi 1949 (Cubs fan 1949-1982)
John also infused his work with references to the Cubs. On Saturday Night Live, he flipped “Cheesborgers” in a place eerily similar to the place that allegedly brought us the our World Series curse…the Billy Goat Tavern. Even more famously, in the classic film “The Blues Brothers,” Jake and Elwood say that their address is 1060 West Addison Street. When the band of moronic Nazis turn up at the brothers’ official address, they are none to pleased to discover what is really there…Wrigley Field. Just a few months before John died in 1982, the Tribune bought the Cubs. John called them “the fascist paper from Chicago.” A few months later, Harry Caray was named to replace the retiring Jack Brickhouse in the broadcast booth. Sporting News writer Bill Conlin wrote: “Harry Caray taking over for Brickhouse will have about the same shock value as John Belushi taking over the network news.” John Belushi never heard Harry broadcast a single Cubs game. He died on March 5, 1982 at the age of 33. (Clip below NSFW)
~Alan Benes 1972 (Cubs 2002-03)
His brother Andy was already a star MLB pitcher when Alan came to the big leagues. Alan had a few good years with the Cardinals before hurting his arm. He was never quite the same after that, including his two seasons with the Cubs.
~Butch Benton 1957 (Cubs 1982)
Butch was a first round draft choice of the Mets, but never blossomed into the starting catcher they envisioned he would be. The Cubs took a flier on him after the Mets gave up on him, and he did get up to the big leagues for a very brief cup of coffee in 1982. He appeared in four games and hit .143. After the season the Cubs traded him to the Expos for future White Sox manager Jerry Manuel, who never played a game for Chicago.
~Jason Bere 1971 (Cubs 2001-2002)
Bere came up as a rookie with the White Sox and made an immediate impact–winning 12 games and pitching in the ALCS in 1993. He was runner up for Rookie of the Year. The following year was even better, as Bere became an all-star. Unfortunately for the fireballer, he developed arm problems after that and struggled mightily. His one year resurgence came in his first year with the Cubs. He won 11 games and looked like he might be back. He wasn’t. His last year in Chicago was so bad, it was one for the ages. He went 1-10 with an ERA of 5.67. (Topps 2002 Heritage Baseball Card)
~Justin Berg 1984 (Cubs 2009-2011)
Berg was a reliever who pitched for the Cubs for parts of three seasons. His most extended time with the club was in 2010. That season he appeared in 41 games, but he struggled with his control, and his ERA was north of five. Berg got one more brief taste the following year, but hasn’t been back up in the big leagues since.
~Jason Berken 1983 (Cubs 2012)
The Cubs picked up the righthanded reliever from the Orioles at the end of the 2012 season and gave him a shot to make the club in spring training of 2013, but he was among the final cuts. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since.
~Jittery Joe Berry 1904 (Cubs 1942)
Jittery Joe was a fidgety righthander with a herky-jerky delivery who spent 18 years in the minors before debuting with the Cubs as a 37-year-old rookie. Jittery Joe didn’t do much for the Cubs (2 innings pitched, gave up 7 hits), so they traded him to the A’s, where he had two good seasons during the war years of 1944 and 1945 (as a 39 and 40 year old). He was a very thin man, tipping the scales at no more than 135 pounds. How thin was he? He was once blown off the mound by a gust of wind, which caused him to balk, and cost his team the game.
~Quinton Berry 1984 (Cubs 2015)
Berry was picked up off waivers at the end of August, and the outfielder was a part of the 2015 postseason roster as a potential pinch runner. He had never been thrown trying to steal in 25 stolen base attempts, but with the Cubs he was thrown out for the first time. Before joining the Cubs, Berry played for the Tigers, Orioles, and Red Sox.
~Damon Berryhill 1963 (Cubs 1987-1991)
Berryhill was the primary catcher for the surprising 1989 Cubs team that won their division, the Boys of Zimmer. He shared the position with fellow young catcher Joe Girardi. He was known for his toughness behind the plate and his clutch hitting, but he also proved to be injury prone. He missed that 1989 playoff series because of an injury. After a few more seasons of waiting for Berryhill to stay healthy for an entire season, he was traded to the Braves in the deal that brought Turk Wendell to Chicago. He played in the World Series for the 1992 Braves. (Photo: Topps 1989 Baseball Card)
~Dick Bertell 1935 (Cubs 1960-1964, 1967)
Bertell was a catcher for the Cubs during the College of Coaches era. He was in the starting lineup the day the Beatles played in Chicago for the very first time. Over his seven year big league career, Bertell hit ten homers, and batted .250.
~Oscar Bielaski 1847 (White Stockings 1875-1876)
Oscar was the right fielder of the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) the season before the National League was founded, and also played with them in the National League’s first season (1876). Bielaski’s lifetime batting average was .240. His baseball career might not have amounted to much, but he holds a special distinction among players that have worn the Chicago uniform. A decade before joining the team, Oscar served in the 11th Calvary Regiment of New York in 1864. That’s right, Oscar was a Civil War veteran. He is buried in Arlington Cemetery in Washington. Shortly after he died in 1911, his nephew Alexander was named the director of the FBI.
~Mike Bielecki 1959 (Cubs 1988-1991)
There was no way the Cubs could have anticipated that Bielecki was going to be an 18-game winner in 1989. He had won 12 total games in his previous five big league seasons. Something just clicked that division-winning year. Bielecki not only won 18 games, he pitched four complete games, three shutouts, and posted a sparkling 3.14 ERA. He started the only game the Cubs won in the NLCS that year. He came back down to earth the following season, but in 1991 he did it again, winning 13 games. The Cubs traded him to the Braves at the end of the season, giving Bielecki his only shot at the World Series. He pitched two perfect innings.
~Larry Biitner 1945 (Cubs 1977-1980)
Of all the Cubs players in history with two consecutive “i’s” in their last name, Larry Biitner was the greatest of them all. Unfortunately, he cost the Cubs a perennial power hitter, Andre Thornton. (Let’s not quibble that a 1B who hit over 250 home runs was too high a price to pay). As a regular who split time between 1B and LF, Biitner did manage to hit .298 with 12 homers in 1977, but after that season he was mostly an extra outfielder. He never had as many as 350 at-bats in his other Cubs seasons, and after 1980, the Cubs let him go. Still, when he was batting, he remains the only Cubs batter who ever heard “good eye, good eye” and wondered if someone was making fun of the spelling of hiis name.
~Steve Bilko 1928 (Cubs 1954-1957)
He arrived from the St. Louis Cardinals on April 30, 1954. Bilko looked like a ferocious slugger. He was 6’1 and weighed anywhere from 230 and 260 pounds, and most of it was solid muscle, but he didn’t do much for the Cubs in 1954. They gave him 92 at bats with the big club before sending him down to the minors. At the time, the Cubs minor league team was in Los Angeles California, and that’s where Bilko became a cult hero. In three minor league seasons for the minor league LA Angels, Bilko hit .330 and slugged 148 home runs. He became a huge box office attraction, and got the attention of Hollywood. One Hollywood star, Phil Silvers, even named a television sitcom character after him. The name Bilko is now most associated with that memorable character in the “Phil Silvers Show,” but to Cubs fans, Bilko was just another player who could do well at the minor league level, but never in the big leagues. They traded him to the Cincinnati Reds after the 1957 season.
~Doug Bird 1950 (Cubs 1981-1982)
Bird was an important part of the Kansas City bullpen throughout most of the 1970s, but when he was acquired by the Cubs (from the Yankees) in 1981, they thought he would make a better starter. They were wrong. He started 45 games for the Cubs in 1981 and 1982, and allowed more home runs than any other pitcher in baseball (31). While it’s true they gave up their best pitcher (Rick Reuschel) to acquire Bird, they gained something that Reuschel never would have been able to provide. A world class mustache. (Photo: 1982 Topps Baseball Card)
~Bill Bishop 1864 (White Stockings 1889)
Bishop appeared in two games for Chicago in September of 1889 and was rocked for 13 runs in only three innings, but he also somehow recorded saves in both appearances. He never pitched in the big leagues again.
~Hiram Bithorn 1916 (Cubs 1942-1946)
Bithorn was from Puerto Rico, the first Puerto Rican to ever play Major League baseball. Known for his high leg kick, he had one great season with the Cubs in 1943, winning 18 games with seven shutouts, and an ERA of 2.60. Unfortunately, he was drafted into the military during World War II, and after he returned from the Navy he had gained 45 pounds. Bithorn tried to pitch for the Cubs in 1946, but didn’t have anything left in the tank. The two-year layoff was too much to overcome. His life took a tragic turn while he was trying to make a comeback in the Mexican League. On New Years Day in 1952, he was shot to death by a policeman in Mexico, in what is still considered a mysterious case. Bithorn is still a hero in Puerto Rico. The baseball stadium in San Juan is called Hiram Bithorn Stadium.
~Earl Blackburn 1892 (Cubs 1917)
Earl was a catcher who played in two games for the Cubs in July of 1917. They were the last two games of his five year big league career. Before coming to the Cubs Earl was a backup catcher for Boston, Cincinnati, and Pittsburgh.
~Tim Blackwell 1952 (Cubs 1978-1980)
Look at that shrubbery on his face! Now, that’s a mustache! With Blackwell on the roster from 1978-1980, the Cubs knew that they had someone who could hit against both lefties and righties (he was a switch hitter), and if necessary, an emergency understudy for any Wyatt Earp movie being filmed in the ballpark. Unfortunately for the Cubs, Blackwell wasn’t much of a hitter (he hit .223, .164, .272, and .234 in his four seasons), and he made quite a few errors in the one season he played the most (1980). (Photo: Topps 1981 Baseball Card)
~Rick Bladt 1946 (Cubs 1969)
The Cubs were looking for a centerfielder the whole year in 1969, and Rick was one of the guys brought up to play there. They hoped to catch lightning in a bottle. They didn’t. Rick only hit .154 and was sent back down to the minors. He didn’t make it back up to the big leagues until 1975 (with the Yankees).
~Rod Blagojevich 1956 (Cubs fan 1956-Present)
He was a Congressman, the Governor of Illinois, and a convicted felon–but through it all, he remained a Cubs fan. When Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano pitched a no-hitter Sept. 14, 2008, Blagojevich proclaimed Sept. 16 “Carlos Zambrano Day.” Before the 2008 playoff series against the Dodgers, Blagojevich helped lead a big rally in support of the Cubs. He got a little long-winded that day, and the fans eventually drowned him out with a chorus of “Go Cubs Go,” but still. He was pontificating about his love of the Cubs. He handled similar honors in 2007, getting a prime slot talking to the crowd at the lunchtime playoff push rally at Daley Plaza. Here’s what he said: “As the governor, I stopped asking myself first the question ‘Is it the right thing or the wrong thing?’ Now the first question I ask myself when I govern Illinois is, ‘What would Lou do?” I’ve got to tell you, speaking for me as a lifelong Cubs fan, this is a heck of a lot better than winning elections.” When Kerry Wood had his charity bowling benefit, Governor Blagojevich was there. In July 2005, he joined Cubs legend Ron Santo on a crusade to raise money for diabetes research, and signed legislation that cleared the way for even more money to be raised for Diabetes research. He idolized players like Santo. When he was boy, he said his dream was to play center field for the Cubs. In 2003, when Steve Bartman was excoriated by many fans, Governor Blagojevich was one of them, blaming him publicly for the loss. Granted, Rod has made Illinois the laughing stock of the nation, but he truly loves the Cubs. It’s ironic that one of the charges against him involved extorting the Tribune to fire editorial staff in exchange for the state securing the sale of Wrigley Field.
~Footsie Blair 1900 (Cubs 1929-1931)
His real name was Clarence Vick Blair, and he was primarily a backup second baseman (he also backed up 1B and 3B) with the Cubs from 1929-1931. In 1930, he became the regular second baseman after Rogers Hornsby broke his ankle. That 1930 team had five future Hall of Famers on the roster, but choked away the pennant in the closing weeks of the season. Clarence played his entire major league career with the Cubs (only three seasons), and he wasn’t a great player, but he’ll always be remembered for his great nickname. His teammates dubbed him “Footsie” because he was the only soccer star to make the majors, and he pioneered the “intentional boot” play, where he kicked grounders to proper base.
~Sheriff Blake 1899 (Cubs 1924-1931)
Sheriff was a pretty common nickname before the war—there have been 13 baseball players who went by the name, but Cubs pitcher Sheriff Blake was the best. His real name was John Frederick Blake, and he was a pretty good starting pitcher for the Cubs, winning over 80 games with the team. In 1928, he led the league in shutouts, but he was also a little wild. He led the league in walks too. Blake pitched in relief during the 1929 World Series against the A’s…and unfortunately for him, was the second (of three pitchers) in the seventh inning of the infamous 10-9 game where the Cubs blew an eight run lead. He was the losing pitcher.
~Andres Blanco 1984 (Cubs 2009)
Blanco was backup infielder for the Royals before joining the Cubs. He got quite a bit of playing time with the Cubs, filling in for the oft-injured Aramis Ramirez. The Cubs traded him to the Rangers during spring training of 2010, and he played the next two seasons for Texas.
~Henry Blanco 1971 (Cubs 2005-2008)
Affectionately called “Hank White” by the Cubs broadcasters (Blanco means White), Blanco was a backup catcher for the Cubs for some of their playoff years (2007-2008). The veteran served as a stabilizing force on the pitching staff, and also provided a little pop off the bench. He hit 15 homers in his time with the Cubs. Blanco was mentioned by his Braves/Cubs teammate Greg Maddux in his Hall of Fame induction speech in 2014. In 2015, the Cubs added him to their coaching staff. (Photo: 2006 Upper Deck Baseball Card)
~Kevin Blankenship 1963 (Cubs 1988-90)
Blankenship was acquired in the trade that sent fan favorite Jody Davis packing in 1988. He pitched a total of 23 innings over three seasons with the Cubs. Blankenship was a member of the division winning 1989 Cubs, although he only pitched 5 1/3 innings for them that season.
~Jeff Blauser 1965 (Cubs 1998-1999)
Stuart Shea, author of “Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines” identifies Blauser as one of his 10 Cubs to Forget. Here’s what he writes: “Following a huge season for the Atlanta Braves in 1990, in which he hit .308 with 17 home runs and 70 walks (numbers well above his career norms), the 32-year-old Blauser came to Chicago on a two-year, $8M contract. Unfortunately, he stunk up Wrigley Field for the entire run of his deal. Troubled by nagging injuries, he not only hit .226/.343/.342, but also established a reputation as a clubhouse problem. His playing career ended with the last paycheck he drew from the Cubs.”
~Cy Block 1919 (Cubs 1942-1946)
Cy played briefly for the Cubs during the 1942 season, but Uncle Sam stole him before the 1943 season began. Block returned to the roster before the end of the 1945 season, in September, just a few weeks before the World Series. He didn’t get a chance to bat in the Series, but he did come in as a defensive replacement. The Cubs sent him to the minors for the 1946 season when all of their war-time players returned, but in September Cy got one more shot at the bigs. He played his final four major league games that month. After his playing career was over, he became a successful businessman and philanthropist. Block died in September 2004 in the midst of that season’s notorious Cubs collapse.
~Randy Bobb 1948 (Catcher 1968 Cubs)
Randy got exactly one hit in the big leagues on August 21, 1968, a single against pitcher Ron Reed. He got into three more games in September the following season (during the epic 1969 collapse), and was traded to the Mets before the 1970 season for veteran catcher J.C. Martin. He never made it back to the big leagues. He was 21 years old at the time. Randy Bobb died in a car accident in 1982.
~John Boccabella 1941 (Cubs 1963-1968)
Boccabella was considered one of the brightest prospects in the Cubs organization. He was so highly touted that Cubs manager Leo Durocher couldn’t wait to play him at first base and send Ernie Banks out to pasture. In the only season Boccabella got over 200 plate appearances with the Cubs, however, he hit only .228. The Cubs left him unprotected in the 1968 expansion draft, and he was chosen by the Expos. His playing time increased in Montreal. In 1973 he became the team’s starting catcher. He was later replaced by a gentleman named Gary Carter. (Photo: Topps 1967 Baseball Card)
~Humphrey Bogart 1900 (Baseball Fan)
He may not have been a Cubs fan, but he sums up the joys of baseball pretty well in this video…
~Brian Bogusevic 1984 (Cubs 2013)
He was drafted as a pitcher by the Astros, but converted to outfield. The Cubs signed him as a free agent before the 2013 season, and Brian would have had a decent chance to log significant playing time on that team, but he kept getting hurt. After the season he was traded to the Marlins for Justin Ruggiano.
~Bruce Bohrer (Cubs Usher/Cubs author)
Bruce Bohrer was born and raised on the North Side of Chicago where he became an avid Cubs fan. He attended his first game at Wrigley Field at a very young age. Having spent most of his life in the Chicago area, he has witnessed hundreds of games at Wrigley, first as a fan, and then as an usher, and during that time he saw it all. Brushes with greatness, marriage proposals, creative signs and cheers, unique crowd control issues, and the sheer awe and excitement of Wrigley patrons are captured beautifully in the pages of this book. Maybe you’ll even recognize yourself, because after all, the real stars of “Best Seat in the House: Diary of a Wrigley Field Usher” are not the players on the field. They are the people who come to the shrine called Wrigley; everyday fans who bleed blue for their beloved Cubs. It’s available right here at Just One Bad Century.
~Jim Bolger 1932 (Cubs 1955-1959)
Bolger backed up all three outfield positions for the Cubs in the late 50s. His best season was 1957, when he got the most extensive playing time of his career. He hit .275 in 273 at bats, and knocked in 33 runs. He also played for the Reds, Indians, and A’s in his big league career. His nickname was Dutch. (Photo: 1955 Topps Baseball Card)
~Bobby Bonds 1946 (Cubs 1981)
Bobby Bonds was one of the most exciting players of his era. Unfortunately, his era came long before he became a member of the Chicago Cubs. He was already 36 years old when the Cubs got him from the Rangers in June of 1981, and he was nowhere near the dynamic superstar he was with the Giants, Yankees and Angels. In his first game with the Cubs he broke a finger trying to catch a fly ball, and didn’t even get up to bat. He did eventually get over a hundred at bats with the Cubs in the last season of his career, but he looked lost in the outfield. It was difficult to watch because this once electrifying outfielder was obviously no longer a major league player. He couldn’t field anymore, and he also couldn’t hit. Of his 332 career home runs, only six came for the Cubs. Of his 461 career stolen bases, only five came for the Cubs. He struck out 44 times in 163 at bats, and batted .215. Although Bonds was a borderline Hall of Famer, he never got the number of votes needed to make it. Certainly his last season with the Cubs didn’t leave a good taste in the mouths of HOF voters.
~Julio Bonetti 1911 (Cubs 1940)
Julio was one of the rare big leaguers who was born in Italy. He pitched briefly for the Browns before coming to the Cubs, and didn’t get much of a shot with Chicago. He only pitched in one game before he was shipped out. Bonetti was later quietly banned from the game for associating with gamblers.
~Bill Bonham 1948 (Cubs 1971-1977)
Bonham won 53 games for the Cubs during his time in Chicago, and even showed some flashes of promise. Unfortunately, he also once lost 22 games in a season (1974), and led the league in earned runs allowed in 1975. On July 31, 1974, Bonham became one of the few pitchers to strike out four men in one inning. His catcher dropped the third strike against Expos pitcher Mike Torrez, allowing Torrez to get on base, but Bill then struck out Ron Hunt, Tom Foli, and Willie Davis. A few years later Bonham was traded to the Reds for Bill Caudill and Woody Fryman. Bonham pitched in the big leagues until 1980.
~Emilio Bonifacio 1985 (Cubs 2014)
The veteran utility man was brought in to lead off and play centerfield for the Cubs, and he got off to a good start before getting injured. After he came back from injury, he wasn’t quite as effective. By the time he was traded to the Braves at the trading deadline, his average was down to .279.
~Zeke Bonura 1908 (Cubs 1940)
Bonura was a track and field star as a teen, setting a record for the javelin throw. Zeke started off his baseball career with a bang too; averaging 20 homers and 100+ RBIs four seasons in a row for the White Sox. After going to the Senators and Giants, Bonura returned to Chicago to play for the Cubs in 1940. He longer had it, hitting only four homers and drving in 20 over the last few months of the season. During the war he served in Algeria and helped organize a baseball league there for soldiers. He’s in the Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame.
~Julio Borbon, 1986 (Cubs 2013)
He stole 19 bases in only 46 games as a rookie with the Rangers in 2009, and it appeared he was going to be a big star. But Borbon was undisciplined at the plate and couldn’t get on base enough to take advantage of his speed. The Cubs claimed him off waivers in 2013 and he had a few good moments, but he was abruptly released in August when he angered manager Dale Sveum with a boneheaded play on the basepaths.
~George Borchers 1869 (White Stockings 1888)
George was a pitcher for the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) for one season (1888), and went 4-4 in ten starts for the second place finishers. His teammates called him “Chief”, which would leave you to believe he had some American Indian blood in him. However, he’s not listed on the Baseball Almanac list of Native American players.
~Rich Bordi 1959 (Cubs 1983-1984)
Bordi was an important part of the bullpen during the division winning season of 1984. He started, pitched middle relief, was a setup man, and even closed a few times. The 6’7″ Bordi was traded after the season to the New York Yankees and pitched in the big leagues for another four seasons.
~Bob Borkowski 1926 (Cubs 1950-51)
The son of Cubs scout was an umpire in an Army pickup game during the war and recommended Borkowski to his pop. Bob played quite a bit as a reserve outfielder in his rookie season of 1950, and was traded to the Reds along with Smoky Burgess in 1951. The Cubs lived to regret that trade. Burgess played in the big leagues until the late 60s.
~Steve Boros 1936 (Cubs 1963)
The Cubs acquired Boros from the Tigers (for Bob Anderson) before the 1963 season. He was a third baseman, and the Cubs had a young star named Ron Santo manning the position, so Boros didn’t get a lot of playing time. The Cubs sold him to the Reds the following year.
~Joe Borowski 1971 (Cubs 2001-2005)
Joe was the ultimate blue collar player–a New Jersey kid who got into the big leagues thanks to his hard work and moxie. In 2003 the fell into the closer role and kept the job the rest of the season. His 33 saves were key to winning the division that year. He hurt his arm the following year, however, and struggled over his last few seasons in Chicago. Joe had one more turn as a closer a few years later. He saved 36 games for the Marlins in 2006 and 45 games for the Indians in 2007. Joe’s luck ran out the next year…his last one in the big leagues. (Photo: 2004 Topps Baseball Card)
~Hank Borowy 1916 (Cubs 1945-1948)
He had won 17, 14, and 15 games in his three previous seasons with Yankees, and had already won 10 games in 1945 when the Cubs acquired Hank. He was 29 years old and in the prime of his career. People thought the Yankees had lost their minds. After Borowy joined the Cubs he became even better. For the rest of 1945 he was absolutely unhittable. He went 11-2 the rest of 1945, with an ERA of 2.13. He also shut out the Tigers in Game 1 of the 1945 World Series, and won Game 6 with a heroic effort in relief. Don’t ask what happened in Game 7, when he volunteered to start despite pitching several innings the day before. Let’s just say he didn’t pull a Josh Beckett. After 1945, when all the players returned from the war, Borowy was exposed as an average pitcher. By the time he left the Cubs after the 1948 season, he was only two games over .500 for the team (36-34), which means he went 25-32 after his amazing 1945 season. (Bowman 1949 Baseball Card)
~J.C. Boscan 1979 (Cubs 2013)
The Venezuelan catcher played in the minor leagues for 18 seasons, but he did get a few tastes of action in the big leagues with the Braves and the Cubs. He caught six games for the Cubs in 2013.
~Shawn Boskie 1967 (Cubs 1990-1994)
Boskie was a first round draft pick by the Cubs (10th overall) and pitched in the big leagues for nine years, but never really reached the stardom that was predicted for him. He showed flashes during his years with the Cubs, but didn’t really contribute out of the rotation or the bullpen. His lifetime ERA was over 5.
~Thad Bosley 1956 (Cubs 1983-1986)
Bosley was a fourth outfielder for the Cubs, and a clutch pinch hitter. One year he hit .328 in that limited role. Unfortunately for the Cubs, when they used him as a pinch hitter during the 1984 playoffs, he struck out both times. Bosley was also a member of a funk band along with fellow ex-Cub Lenny Randle. After his playing career he went into coaching, and is currently the head coach of a small college in Nebraska.
~Tom Bosley 1927 (Cubs fan 1927-2010)
While growing up in Chicago, Tom Bosley dreamed of becoming the star left-fielder for the Cubs. He was 11 when the Cubs faced the Yankees during the 1938 World Series. That series featured Dizzy Dean’s last stand, Lou Gehrig’s last game, and Joe DiMaggio’s dagger home run into the Wrigley Field stands. Bosely was in the Navy when the Cubs faced the Tigers during the 1945 World Series. By then he knew his baseball dream would never come true (He told TV Guide in 1976 that his dream was ended simply by being “too short, too heavy, and not very good at sports”). As it turned out, the closest Bosley got to organized athletics was a sportscasting class at DePaul University after the war. After additional training at the Radio Institute of Chicago and two years’ practical experience in various dramatic radio programs and stock companies, he left for New York in 1950. But he never lost his love of the Cubs. Even during the glory years of Happy Days when he lived in Los Angeles and had season tickets to the Dodgers, he always rooted for the Cubs. “Tommy Lasorda still gives me grief and yells at me for being a Cubs fan,” he told People Magazine in 1979. He also put his name where his mouth was by becoming a member of the board of directors for the Die Hard Cubs Fan Club.
~Derek Botelho 1956 (Cubs 1985)
Derek was called up during the 1985 season when all five Cubs starters spent time on the disabled list. He made seven starts at the end of the season and went 1-3, with a 5.12 ERA. He never pitched in the big leagues again. He pitched in the minor league system of Kansas City, Cincinnati, and St. Louis before hanging up his spikes for good after the 1988 season. He has worked as a minor league pitching coach ever since.
~John Bottarini 1908 (Cubs 1937)
Bottarini was a minor league catcher for a whopping 18 seasons, and a big leaguer for one. He was 29 years old when he served as a backup for Gabby Hartnett during the 1937 season. He appeared in 26 games and hit one homer.
~Kent Bottenfield 1968 (Cubs 1996-1997)
Kent pitched for eight different clubs in his nine-year big league career, switching between the starting rotation and the bullpen. With the Cubs he was a reliever, and appeared in 112 games over two seasons. Two years later the Cardinals put him in the starting rotation, and Bottenfield responded with an 18-win season and an all-star appearance.
~Ed Bouchee 1933 (Cubs 1960-1961)
Bouchee had a couple of decent years with the Phillies in the 1950s, but he was also arrested and pled guilty to exposing himself to young girls. He was still on probation when the Cubs inexplicably traded for him in 1960. They thought they didn’t have a first baseman on their roster, but discovered in 1961 that there was someone named Ernie Banks who could play the position. Bouchee’s time in Chicago was uneventful. He hit 17 homers over two seasons and was left unprotected in the 1962 expansion draft. The Mets took him and he played on the worst team in history that year.
~Lou Boudreau (Cubs manager 1960, Cubs announcer 1958-1987)
Lou had a Hall of Fame playing career with the Cleveland Indians, winning the World Series as a player/manager in 1948 (the last time Cleveland won it), but he spent many more years in his hometown of Chicago, covering the Chicago Cubs. Lou’s only season wearing a Cubs uniform was 1960. He took over the managing job from Charlie Grimm and led the team to a 7th place finish, 29 games under .500. After the season he asked for his radio job back, and was replaced as manager by the ridiculous College of Coaches experiment. A whole generation of Cub fans grew up listening to Lou on the radio. His interviews with Cubs manager Leo Durocher were the stuff of legend. Because of Durocher’s unique personality, the show (Durocher in the Dugout) was often entertaining, but the outtakes let you know just how challenging that job really was (unbleeped example below). Lou passed away in 2001 at the age of 84.
~Pat Bourque 1947 (Cubs 1971-1973)
The 33th round draft choice, and 770th overall pick in 1969, was a long shot to make it to the big leagues (to say the least), but the first baseman managed to slug his way to the big club in 1971. Once he got up to the big leagues, Bourque could never quite find a fulltime slot. He did hang on for a few years as a reserve for the Cubs, A’s and Twins. His best season was 1973 when he combined to hit 9 homers for the Cubs and the A’s.
~Larry Bowa 1945 (Cubs 1982-1985)
Bowa was known as “Gnat” because he was one of the peskiest little players of his era. The all-star gold-glove shortstop had his best years with the Phillies, including the year they won the World Series in 1980. When Dallas Green came over from Philadelphia to run the Cubs in 1982, he immediately traded for his former team’s leader. The idea was for Bowa to groom the young superstar in training (Shawon Dunston), work with the young infielder that was thrown in on the deal (Ryne Sandberg), and provide some veteran leadership. Bowa did the second two pretty well. He formed an excellent double play combination with Sandberg, and he did help lead the Cubs to their division championship in 1984. On the other hand, the following season the shortstop position was handed over to Dunston, and Bowa’s fiery competitiveness had a hard time dealing with that. They released him in August of that year. Bowa later managed in the big leagues for the Padres and the Phillies.
~Michael Bowden 1986 (Cubs 2012-2013)
The Cubs acquired Bowden in the deal that sent Marlon Byrd to the Red Sox. Bowden was a local boy who grew up in nearby Aurora. He became a valuable member of the bullpen for two seasons, appearing in 64 games. After the 2013 season, Bowden left via free agency, and signed a contract to pitch in Japan.
~Rob Bowen 1981 (Cubs 2007)
The Cubs got him from the Padres in the Michael Barrett trade in June of 2007, and Bowen was expected to become their regular catcher. After going 2 for 31, the Cubs traded him to the A’s a month later for Jason Kendall.
~Micah Bowie 1974 (Cubs 1999)
Bowie was one of the highly touted pitching prospects the Cubs got in a trade with the Atlanta Braves (for Terry Mulholland and Jose Hernandez), but they quickly discovered that he wasn’t much of a pitcher. Bowie was absolutely torched in eleven starts. His ERA was 9.96. He gave up 73 hits (including 8 homers) and 30 walks in only 47 innings pitched. The Cubs released him after he had similar results in the minors the next few seasons. Bowie did eventually come back and pitch in the big leagues for the A’s, Nationals and Rockies.
~Bill Bowman 1867 (Colts 1891)
He was a 24-year-old catcher in his one big league season (1891). Though he was considered good defensively, he hit only .089 in more than 50 at bats.
~Bob Bowman 1910 (Cubs 1942)
Bowman pitched in exactly one game as a Cub. It happened on May 25, 1942; a Monday afternoon game at Wrigley Field. Bowman came in to pitch the top of the ninth in a blowout 10-2 loss to the Cardinals. He gave up one hit and no runs. Johnny Schmitz was the loser that day, failing to record a single out in the first inning.
~Bill Bradley 1878 (Orphans 1899-1900)
Chicago signed him as a shortstop, but he made eight errors in his first five games, so they moved him over to 3B. When his career ended 14 years later, he was considered one of the top third basemen in baseball history. He jumped to the American League in a contract dispute in 1901 (urged to do so by another ex-Chicago star Clark Griffith), and over the next three seasons he was in the top ten in batting average, runs, hits, doubles, triples, homers and slugging percentage. He was also the best fielding third baseman in the league. How much was the difference between the Cubs offer in 1901 and the offer from Cleveland? $3100. Doesn’t sound like much, but it was 3/4 of his yearly salary.
~George Bradley 1852 (White Stockings 1877)
One of the Chicago players who was named after a president (George Washington), Bradley pitched for the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) in their second National League season. He won 18 games…but he also lost 23, and led the league in earned runs allowed. His nickname was Grin. Before coming to the Cubs he pitched the first no-hitter in big league history when he was with St. Louis.
~Milton Bradley 1978 (Cubs 2009)
It’s not that Milton Bradley wasn’t a good player. He was an all-star and led the entire American League in on-base percentage with a .436 on base percentage the year before he joined the Cubs. But Milton was troubled, and his time in Chicago was a mess. He was suspended in the first week of the season for bumping an umpire. He later threw a ball into the stands thinking it was the third out…allowing two runs to score. He got into a near-fight with manager Lou Piniella in the dugout. In September he ripped the organization and said “I can see why they’ve gone a hundred years without winning.” The Cubs suspended him for the rest of the season, and traded him to the Mariners for Carlos Silva in the off-season.
~Kitty Bransfield 1875 (1911 Cubs)
Kitty Bransfield played for the Cubs in his last season in the big leagues. He was a great first baseman for the Pirates before coming to the Cubs, and they called him Kitty there. The reason for the nickname, according to the Baseball Biography Project: “His original nickname was “Kid,” but a reporter with bad hearing heard it as “Kitty” and the name stuck.”
~Danny Breeden 1942 (Cubs 1971)
Danny and his brother Hal both played for the Cubs. Danny was a backup catcher who got limited opportunities behind starter Randy Hundley, but one of those games just happened to be a no-hitter. Breeden caught Ken Holtzman’s no-hitter against the Reds on June 3, 1971.
~Hal Breeden 1944 (Cubs 1971)
Hal got his start with the Cubs in 1971–the same year his brother Danny was on the Cubs roster. Breeden was mainly a first baseman, and got very few chances in Chicago. He later played more extensively for the Montreal Expos.
~Lin Brehmer (Cubs fan)
Lin didn’t grow up in Chicago, but the WXRT morning man has become a huge Cubs fan since he arrived in our fair city a few decades ago. Every year he does a live broadcast from Wrigley Field on Opening Day, and he refers to the Cubs on the radio quite often. In this conversation with Cubs broadcaster Len Kasper (a frequent contributor to the show), Lin and Len talk about the legacy of Ernie Banks, and how much they loved him.
~Thom Brennaman 1963 (Cubs announcer 1990-1995)
Brennaman worked in the Cubs broadcast booth during the early 90s alongside the likes of Harry Caray and Steve Stone, but he left to pursue a career with the network. He is now one of the top announcers for Fox in both baseball and football. His father Marty is the Hall of Fame Reds announcer who famously called Cubs fans the most obnoxious fans in baseball.
~William Brennan 1963 (Cubs 1993)
Obviously he’s not the movie, television, and recording star from a bygone age, he’s a pitcher. In 1993 he got a cup of coffe with the Cubs, and pitched respectably in his eight appearances. Trouble was, he was already 30 years old. His appearance on October 2, 1993 was his final one in the big leagues. He pitched two innings against the Padres and gave up a homer to Melvin Nieves.
~Bob Brenly 1954 (Cubs announcer 2005-2012)
He was a former big league ballplayer (Giants, Blue Jays) and World Series winning manager (Diamondbacks) before joining the Cubs television booth. Brenly and Len Kasper formed a great team during their years together. Brenly was known for his tough criticism of certain players (especially Alfonso Soriano), and he and Kasper often also riffed about rock and roll (and even played together on stage at the House of Blues every year before the Cubs convention). He left the Cubs booth after the 2012 season when the Arizona Diamondbacks offered him a chance to broadcast the games of the team he took to the championship.
~Roger Bresnahan 1879 (Cubs 1913-1915)
Roger Bresnahan was a proud Irishman. So proud, in fact, that he told everyone that he was actually born in the Irish city of Tralee. That led to the nickname, the Duke of Tralee. Turns out, he wasn’t from Ireland at all. He was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio. But Bresnahan was one of the all-time great catchers. He was Christy Mathewson’s catcher with the New York Giants, and was involved in that infamous Merkle Boner game in 1908. It wasn’t until his last three years in the big leagues that he came to Chicago. He wasn’t the same player by then, but was still revered for his smarts and moxie. So much so, the Cubs eventually hired him to manage the team. He was their player/manager for the 1915 season and led them to a fourth place finish. That was the final season in West Side Grounds. The next year the Cubs moved into what is now known as Wrigley Field. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945, just a few months after his death.
~Duke Brett 1900 (Cubs 1924-1925)
Duke pitched two seasons for the Cubs, appearing a grand total of eleven big league games. The Virginia native went 1-1, with a 3.97 ERA. After his playing career ended, Duke was a minor league manager for more than twenty years.
~Jim Brewer 1937 (Cubs 1960-1963)
Jim Brewer was a rookie pitcher for an unbelievably bad Cubs team in 1960. He was a little bit wild, and was having trouble controlling his pitches, and on one very unfortunate August day (8/4/60), he threw a fastball behind Cincinnati Red infielder Billy Martin’s head (yes, that Billy Martin). Martin didn’t do anything immediately. Instead he waited for the next pitch and “accidentally” lost control of his bat, which went sailing right at Brewer. Brewer stepped down from the mound and said: “You little dago son of a bitch.” That led Martin to charge the mound. It wasn’t a lengthy fight, but Martin did get one good punch into Brewer’s face, shattering his cheekbone and putting him in the hospital for two weeks. Brewer later sued Martin for a million dollars. When Martin heard about the lawsuit, he laughed and said “Does he want a check or cash?” Martin was suspended and fined, and the lawsuit went all the way to a jury trial. Jim Brewer was awarded $10,000. It took Billy Martin several years to pay it off. The Cubs traded Brewer in 1963 to the Dodgers (for Dick Scott), and he later pitched in three World Series for them. (Photo: Topps 1961 Baseball Card)
~Charlie Brewster 1916 (Cubs 1944)
Charlie played 17 seasons in the minors, but also got a few tastes of the big time, including a ten game stint with the Cubs in 1944. The shortstop hit .250 as the replacement for Lennie Merullo, and then was shipped back down to the minors.
~Jack Brickhouse 1916 (Cubs Announcer from the 1940s until 1981)
Jack was the man that had to describe the play of play of a Cubs team that went twenty seasons in a row without being in the upper division. In 1949, there were three television stations covering the Cubs. Whispering Joe Wilson on WBKB-TV, Jack Brickhouse on WGN, and Rogers Hornsby on WENR. (WGN didn’t get exclusive rights until 1952). There were afternoons when those stations were the only three television stations on the air in Chicago, and the Cubs were broadcast on all three. The Cubs lost the first game broadcast on all three channels, 1-0. On July 23rd, 1962, Jack Brickhouse and the Cubs made television history. Their game against the Philadelphia Phillies in Wrigley Field was beamed into Europe by the Telstar, the first communications satellite. This was the first live sporting event from America ever beamed into Europe. The Cubs lost 5-3. At first only the home games were broadcast on television. It wasn’t until 1958 that a road game was, and only five road games were televised each year until 1967. Beginning in 1968, however, the Cubs expanded the schedule to include all home games, and most of the Cubs road games. The White Sox made a fatal mistake that same season. They moved away from WGN to WFLD, a station with a much worse signal. In so doing, they also lost Jack Brickhouse (who did both teams on WGN). It was the beginning of the end of their dominance in Chicago (1951-1967). The Cubs have been Chicago’s #1 team ever since. And it’s due, in no small part, to the power of television. Television showed off the beauty of Wrigley Field. It certainly wasn’t the team playing on that field. There were bright spots, though, and Jack was always able to find them. He is a member of baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Our tribute shirt to four beloved greats from Cubs lore. All are missed tremendously. A portion of the proceeds from every shirt will be donated to Cubs Charities in honor of Ernie, Ronnie, Jack, and Harry. Click here.
~Al Bridwell 1884 (Shortstop, Cubs 1913)
Al played very briefly for the Cubs, but he had a long career with the Giants before that, and was involved in the most controversial moment in Giants & Cubs history. Bridwell hit the ball that led to the famous Merkle boner.
~Buttons Briggs 1875 (Colts/Orphans 1896-1898, Cubs 1904-1905)
Buttons was a pitcher who had a pretty good rookie season for Chicago in 1896, and then struggled for several years. Between 1899-1903 he wasn’t even in the big leagues, but when he got his second chance in 1904, he responded with 19 wins and a 2.05 ERA. He won 8 more games in 1905. Aftet that he season, Buttons was part of the trade bait used to lure Jimmy Sheckard from Brooklyn. Sheckard was a key contributor to the Cubs dynasty of 1906-1910. Buttons never pitched for Brooklyn.
~Dan Briggs 1952 (Cubs 1982)
The Cubs acquired the first baseman/outfielder from the Expos before the 1982 season, but he didn’t have much of an impact. He played his final big league game in a Cubs uniform in July of that year. Briggs finished his seven-season big league career as a .195 hitter.
~John Briggs 1934 (Cubs 1956-58)
He was a righthanded pitcher for the Cubs who saw limited duty over three seasons in the 1950s. His best year was ’58 when he won 5 games in 17 starts.
~Harry Bright 1929 (Cubs 1965)
The Cubs always liked Harry Bright. He was in their farm system three different times before he made it to the big leagues with the Pirates in 1958. He was with the Pirates the year they won the World Series, the starting first baseman for the Senators in 1962, and made the postseason roster for the 1963 Yankees (striking out in both World Series at bats). But he didn’t make it to the big leagues with the team that owned him three times in his youth, the Cubs, until his last season as a player. The 35-year-old was strictly a pinch hitter in Chicago, and batted .280.
~Jim Brillheart 1903 (Cubs 1927)
Brillheart was a 30-year veteran of professional baseball (1921-1951), but only had occasional tastes of the big time. One of those came with the Cubs in 1927. The lefty won 4 games in 12 starts and posted an ERA of 4.31. His last taste of the big leagues came with the 1931 Boston Red Sox. He was 48 years old when he finally hung up his spikes in 1951.
~Leon Brinkopf 1926 (Cubs 1952)
Leon started the season with the Cubs in 1952 as a backup infielder (shortstop) and pinch hitter. He only lasted until May 5th. After the game that day, Leon was sent back to the minor leagues, never to return. He had a couple of excellent seasons in the minors with the Cubs minor league team in Los Angeles, but wasn’t given another chance at the big time.
~Pete Broberg 1950 (Cubs 1977)
Pete was a first round pick of the Washington Senators in 1971, but could never quite harness his control. He led the American league in hit batsmen in two different seasons before the Cubs acquired him. Broberg pitched only 36 innings for the Cubs in 1977. He was a little wild for the Cubs too (18 walks in 36 innings) and a little hittable (8 home runs allowed in 36 innings) but his mustache helped anchor an impressively mustachioed bullpen. The Cubs traded him to the A’s the following year, Broberg’s last season in the majors. (Photo: Topps 1978 Baseball Card)
~Lou Brock 1939 (Cubs 1961-1964)
It’s not the Cubs didn’t realize they had a good potential player on their hands. It’s just that they didn’t know how to develop him. Brock came up through the Cubs system during their ill-fated College of Coaches era. Every few weeks Lou was getting different directions. When they traded him in 1964 for a former 20-game winner, there wasn’t much of an uproar in Chicago, but the Cubs players knew their team was making a big mistake. Lou Brock was a six-time all-star for the Cardinals, led the league in runs scored (twice), doubles, triples, and stolen bases (8 times). He hit over .300 eight times. He retired as the all-time career leader in stolen bases. And most importantly, he retired as a two-time World Series champion. In his first year of eligibility, Lou Brock was elected into baseball’s Hall of Fame. (Photo: Topps 1964 Baseball Card)
~Tarrik Brock 1973 (Cubs 2000)
Brock broke camp with the Cubs in 2000 and remained with the big league club until the end of April. He only saw limited action in the outfield, getting two hits in 12 at bats. The speedy outfielder also stole a base. It was his only stint in the big leagues after a 13-year minor league career. Nevertheless, he remains the all-time greatest Tarrik to ever play for the Cubs.
~Ernie Broglio 1935 (Cubs 1964-1967)
It’s too bad that Broglio’s name has become a punchline. He was actually a pretty good pitcher before the Cubs traded Lou Brock to get him. Broglio was a former 20-game winner, and was coming off an 18-win year, but he was not happy to be traded to the Cubs. He never liked the day games because he felt the batters could see the ball better, and though he didn’t tell anyone, he was beginning to get arm problems. He won four games with the Cubs the second half of 1964, but his elbow blew up o him, and he won only three more games over the next two full years. (Photo: Topps 1966 Baseball Card)
~Herman Bronkie 1884 (Cubs 1914)
Herman played with the Cubs during a season they were only the third most popular professional baseball team in Chicago (behind the White Sox and the Federals). Dutch, as he was called by his teammates, ended his Cubs career with a 1.000 batting average, a 2.000 slugging percentage, and 3.000 OPS. Care to guess how that happened? He batted only once and hit a double. (He also drove in a run and scored one).
~Mandy Brooks 1897 (Cubs 1925-1926)
He was a 27-year-old rookie when he came to Chicago in May of 1925, but he was the team’s starting centerfielder for the rest of the year. Brooks had a good year too, hitting .281 with 14 homers and 72 RBI. But Joe McCarthy took over the Cubs the following year, and Riggs Stephenson and Hack Wilson were brought aboard–a major upgrade in the outfield. Brooks hung on as a sub for the first half of the 1926 season, but was gone by the end of June. He played six more years in the minors before officially hanging up his spikes and returning to his native Wisconsin.
~Jim Brosnan 1929 (Cubs 1954-1958)
Brosnan helped set a record on April 24, 1957. The Cubs were playing the Reds in Cincinnati on a cold day in front of only 7212 fans at Crosley Field. Moe Drabowsky, Jackie Collum, and Jim combined to walk nine batters in one inning. By the time the inning was over, a one run lead had turned into a six run deficit. In one inning the Reds managed to score seven runs on one hit, thanks to a still-record nine walks in one inning. Ironically, Brosnan later became the closer for the Cincinnati Reds and led to them to the 1961 World Series. (Photo: Topps 1957 Baseball Card)
~Brant Brown 1971 (Cubs 1996-1998, 2001)
Brant Brown had good pop in his bat and played well in his time with the Cubs. He also paid big divdends for the team because trading him to the Pirates brought 20-game winner Jon Lieber in return. But Brant Brown will always be known for an error he committed during the Cubs playoff push in 1998. The date was September 23, and the Cubs were poised to win a game against the Brewers. They had a two-run lead with the bases loaded, when a routine fly ball was hit to Brown that should have been the last out of the game. He dropped the ball, and Cubs radio announcer Ron Santo famously screamed “OH NO!” The Cubs lost that game, so the moment had that certain “Cubs doom” feel to it. But the Cubs won a one-game playoff game at the end of the season, and still managed to get the wild card in 1998. Brown came back to the Cubs a few years later for his final big league season.
~Joe Brown 1859 (White Stockings 1884)
Brown came to Chicago during a rare Cubs down season in the 1880s. The team was already out of it when he arrived in August of that year, but the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) got their money’s worth out of him. He pitched (going 4-2), played first base, outfield and catcher. The following season he went to Baltimore.
~Joe E. Brown 1892 (Cubs fan/movie star)
His name isn’t remembered by many people today, but Joe E. Brown was an actor, comedian, and baseball nut. He was also one of the biggest movie stars in America during the 1930s. He made his mark in a series of baseball movies, and in his two biggest box office hits (“Elmer, the Great” and “Alibi Ike”) he portrayed fictional players on the Chicago Cubs. Both of those films were written by the great baseball writer Ring Lardner, and filmed in LA’s Wrigley Field. Brown called the character of Elmer his all-time favorite: a lovable, walking, talking, egocentric braggart. Elmer also does something in the movie that we can only dream of witnessing…he hits a grand slam to win the World Series for the Cubs. Several real-life Cubs were in that movie too: Babe Herman, Larry French, Tuck Stainback, and the man who allegedly served up the pitch for Babe Ruth’s called shot: Charlie Root. In his next baseball movie, “Alibi Ike,” Brown played another Chicago Cubs player, pitcher Francis X. Farrell. They called him Alibi Ike because he had an excuse for everything. One of his famous lines: “I coulda won more than 30 games last year, but I had malaria half the season.” Brown’s Ike is a clowning excuse maker that forgets what made him who he is as he pursues his rookie season with the Chicago Cubs. But, like all of Brown’s characters, Ike has a heart of gold, and eventually gets back together again with his estranged girlfriend (Olivia de Havilland). Ike realizes that she is more important to him than wearing a Cubs uniform, and it’s not until he realizes it that he fulfills his baseball potential.
~Jophery Brown 1945 (Cubs 1968)
The story of Jophery Brown’s Cubs career is a short one. He pitched exactly two innings of one game on a Saturday afternoon, September 21, 1968, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Joe Niekro started that game for the Cubs against the Pirates, but he simply didn’t have it. He gave up four runs in the fourth inning, so Cubs manager Leo Durocher sent Brown out to start the 5th inning. The first batter he faced was Maury Wills. Wills singled to center. Freddie Patek batted second, and he sacrificed Wills to second base. Brown must not have felt too comfortable on the mound with Matty Alou, Roberto Clemente, and Don Clendenon due up next, but he buckled down, and got Alou to fly harmlessly to left field. That brought up future Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente. There was no question what had to be done in this situation. Cubs catcher Randy Hundley held up four fingers, and Brown intentionally walked the fierce Pittsburgh slugger to face Don Clendenon. If you mention the name Clendenon to Brown today, it would probably still elicit a groan from him, because Clendenon singled to left, driving in Maury Wills. That run turned out to be the only one given up by Jophery Brown in his big league career. Brown pitched one more year in the minors after that, developed arm trouble, and retired from the game at the ripe old age of 24. But Jophery Brown certainly didn’t go quietly. Even during his minor league career he had dabbled in Hollywood, working as a stuntman for the television series “I Spy” (starring Bill Cosby). When his baseball career was officially over, he returned to Hollywood and was soon working steadily. Among his 117 feature films and television shows, Jophery Brown has done stunts for “Live and Let Die,” “Papillon,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” “Convoy,” “Foul Play,” “The Blues Brothers,” “Vacation,” “Scarface,” “To Live and Die in LA,” “Die Hard,” “Speed,” “Get Shorty” and all three “Lethal Weapon” movies. The many famous people on Jophery Brown’s “Brushes with Greatness” list are truly astounding, but if you asked him which celebrity impressed him the most, would it be one of those Hollywood legends with stars on the Walk of Fame, or would it be one of his teammates with plaques in Baseball’s Hall of Fame? Hall of Famer Billy Williams played left field behind him and threw the ball back to the infield after Clendenon’s RBI hit. Ron Santo was at third base. Fergie Jenkins was a fellow member of Brown’s pitching staff. Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks, was the heart and soul of that 1968 team. Even the manager of the Cubs, Leo Durocher, was a future Hall of Famer. That’s not to say that Brown’s Hollywood career hasn’t been remarkable, because it surely has. But how many players in MLB history managed to play only two innings in the big leagues, and can still say they played for a Hall of Famer, played with four Hall of Famers, and pitched to another Hall of Famer? I’m betting Jophery Brown has told that story to his Hollywood friends more than a few times, and even they were impressed.
Jophery got one line in the movie “The Relic”…
~Jumbo Brown 1907 (Cubs 1925)
When Brown came up with the Cubs as a rookie, he immediately set a record. He was the heaviest player to ever play in the big leagues at that time; tipping the scales at 295 pounds. (That record is long gone). He may be remembered for his size, but Jumbo was actually a trailblazer in the big leagues. He was one of the first pitchers who was kept on a roster strictly as a relief pitcher. In the first three and last four seasons of his big league career, he didn’t start a single game.
~Lew Brown 1858 (White Stockings 1879)
Brown was a catcher and considered a troublemaker. After he left Chicago he was suspended for an entire season for “general insubordination”. One night, at the age of 30, he was wrestling with a friend, and twisted his knee. He went into the hospital for treatment, contracted pneumonia, and never came out again. The January 23, 1889 issue of Sporting Life had his obituary, and praised his catching abilities during an age when the catchers didn’t wear any equipment (including mitts) or padding.
~Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown 1876 (Cubs 1904-1912, 1916)
He was born in 1876, the same year the Cubs played their very first season in the National League. Three Finger probably owns one of the best nicknames in baseball history, and he earned it the hard way. As a seven-year-old boy, Mordecai caught his right hand in a corn grinder on his uncle’s farm. They needed to amputate almost the entire index finger, and the middle finger was mangled and left crooked. His little finger was also stubbed. When he learned to add spin to the ball by releasing it off his stub, he became a pitcher. When he started to have success, the newspapers called him “Three-Finger” for obvious reasons. Three Finger is one of the greatest pitchers to ever wear a Cubs uniform. In ten years with the Cubs, he won 188 games, including 29 games in 1908, and 27 games in 1909. He led the league in wins, ERA, shutouts, and even saves (in four different years). He also pitched in four World Series for the Cubs. In seven World Series starts, he won five–pitching five complete games, and three of those were shutouts. That, sadly, is probably a Cubs record that will never be broken. Three finger was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1949; one year after his death.
This is a very rare film of Mordecai in action.
~Ray Brown 1889 (Cubs 1909)
He was only 20 years old when he got his cup of coffee with the Cubs, the tenth youngest player in league history at that point. He pitched exactly one game, on September 29, 1909 against the Phillies at West Side Grounds. Brown threw a five hit complete game victory, but somehow never pitched in the big leagues again. After a few more seasons in the minors, he hung up his spikes at the tender age of 24.
~Roosevelt Brown 1975 (Cubs 1999-2002)
Roosevelt was on the Cubs for three seasons strictly as a backup outfielder and pinch hitter, and he showed flashes of promise. They finally played him more extensively in the 2002 season to see what he could do (as an injury replacement for Moises Alou), and Brown didn’t seize the opportunity. In over 200 plate appearances, he batted only .211. The Cubs released him after the season, and he never made it back up to the big leagues.
~Tommy Brown 1927 (Cubs 1952-1953)
They called him “Buckshot” because the shortstop sprayed hits all over the field. He was acquired from the Phillies during the 1952 season and hit incredibly well for the Cubs the rest of that year (.320 average). The following season, however, he had a much tougher time (.196 average). That turned out to be his last season in the big leagues. The Cubs had another shortstop who could handle the job. His name was Ernie Banks.
~Byron Browne 1942 (Cubs 1965-1967)
Byron was the starting left fielder for the Cubs during the 1966 season and clubbed 16 homers, but he also led the league in strikeouts. He was traded to the Cardinals in 1968, and was later involved in the infamous Curt Flood/Dick Allen trade which led to Flood challenging baseball’s reserve clause. He finished his career with the Phillies.
~George Browne 1876 (Cubs 1909)
George was a solid major leaguer for 12 seasons, but only played a portion of one of those seasons with the Cubs. He was a right fielder.
~Mike Brumley 1963 (Cubs 1987)
Mike was acquired in the Eckersley for Buckner trade. He was a backup infielder who got quite a bit of playing time with the Cubs in his rookie season of 1987. The Cubs traded him to the Padres in the Goose Gossage trade (along with Keith Moreland), and Brumley went on to play seven more seasons in the big leagues with the Tigers, Mariners, Red Sox, A’s and Astros. Brumley was never a star, but how many people can say they were involved in trades with two Hall of Famers?
~Warren Brusstar 1952 (Cubs 1983-85)
Warren pitched out of the bullpen for the Cubs for three seasons. His first two were excellent, and his third one was so bad it became the last season of his big league career.
~Clay Bryant 1911 (Cubs 1935-1940)
He was a journeyman pitcher for the Cubs until he suddenly blossomed and won 19 games out of nowhere in 1938. He pitched well in the World Series that year to the Yankees, at least for 4 innings, before losing Game 3, 5-2. The Cubs were eventually swept in the series. Unfortunately for Bryant, he came crashing back to earth pretty quickly. He had arm problems in 1939, and missed most of the year. When he started out the 1940 season with arm problems (elbow) again, Cubs owner PK Wrigley suspended him indefinitely without pay. Bryant wanted to go to LA to have his arm treated, but he couldn’t afford to do it without a steady paycheck, so he protested the suspension to Commissioner Landis. Landis sided with Wrigley, and Wrigley refused to buckle on the suspension. He did, however, find a way to help Bryant without losing face. Wrigley eventually paid Bryan’s wife $50 a week for 4 weeks to accompany him to Los Angeles. Clay Bryant got his treatment, but it didn’t help. He never made it back to the majors
~Don Bryant 1941 (Cubs 1966)
Bryant was a backup catcher for the Cubs in 1966, who didn’t get a lot of playing time behind starter Randy Hundley. He later got a shot as the backup catcher for the Astros. He later coached for the Boston Red Sox.
~Kris Bryant 1992 (Cubs 2015-present)
After being drafted #2 overall, and leading the minor leagues in home runs, the third baseman arrived in Chicago in April as one of the most hyped rookies in history. He clearly lived up to the hype, hitting 26 homers, driving in 99 runs, and winning the Rookie of the Year award. In 2016 he was simply the best player in the National League. He led the Cubs to the World Series, and even recorded the final out. It is a moment that will be remembered as the greatest moment in Cubs history. That smile on his face tells the story. He followed that up with an MVP award. Bryant is arguably the best Cubs player in a generation. His 2017 season was down by Bryant’s standards, but he still scored 111 runs, hit 29 homers, and hit .295.
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) November 3, 2016
~Tod Brynan 1863 (White Stockings 1888)
Brynan pitched for the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) as tIhe fifth or six starter (on a fill-in basis) during the 1888 season for manager Cap Anson. He won two games. He later had a very brief (and incredibly unsuccessful) stint with Boston.
~Jake Buchanan 1989 (Cubs 2016)
Jake pitched briefly for the Astros before being acquired by the Cubs. He spent nearly all of the 2016 season with Iowa, but was called up in Spetember when the rosters were explanded and appeared in two games.
~Bill Buckner 1949 (Cubs 1977-1984)
In his first season with the Cubs in 1977, Bill Buckner hit a respectable .284, but is there any doubt that Buckner’s mustache was the finest mustache in the entire National League that year? Billy Buck went on to have a great Cubs career, capped off by a batting title in 1980. In his seven plus seasons with the Cubs, Buckner never hit less .280. When the Cubs traded him early in 1984, it was only because they had another player to take his place at first base…Leon Durham. Durham and Buckner, of course, share a common fate. Both of their outstanding careers will always be remembered for one little ball that went through their legs at the worst possible time. (Photo: Topps 1978 Baseball Card)
Billy Buck’s appearance on Curb Your Enthusiasm (NSFW—but absolutely hilarious)
~Steve Buechele 1961 (Cubs 1992-1995)
Steve was supposed to be the elusive player who would finally solidify the third base position–which had remained a trouble spot since the departure of Ron Santo twenty years earlier. He didn’t exactly replace Santo in the hearts and minds of Cub fans, but he did perform respectably. In 1993, he slugged fifteen homers, and followed that up with 14 during the strike year of 1994. It was pretty obvious, however, that he was slowing down. After the strike was resolved the following season, the Cubs released him. Buechele finished his career where he began–with the Texas Rangers. Steve Buechele Trivia: his college roommate was John Elway.
~Art Bues 1888 (Cubs 1914)
Art may have had a slight advantage when he made it up to the big leagues in 1913 to play for Boston. The manager of the team was his uncle, Gentleman George Stallings. But he made it on his own in Chicago the following year. On a team that featured the last two members of the Cubs dynasty (Wildfire Schulte and Heinie Zimmerman), Bues backed up third base and got 45 at bats, in a year when the crosstown Chi-Feds outdrew the Cubs because of their brand new ballpark (now known as Wrigley Field)
~Damon Buford (Cubs 2000-2001)
The son of Orioles great Don Buford played nine seasons in the big leagues, including the last two of his career with the Cubs. In 2000 he got the most extended shot of playing time in his entire career. In over 550 plate appearances he batted .251 with 15 homers. After a tough start in 2001, the Cubs released him in May. He never played in the big leagues again.
~Bob Buhl 1928 (Cubs 1962-1966)
Pitchers are not supposed to be great hitters, but Bob Buhl took that concept to a whole different level. His record setting streak began in 1961, when he was still with the Milwaukee Braves. That year he got a whopping 4 hits in 60 at bats, and struck out 30 times. But he really took it up a notch when he joined the Cubs in 1962. That year he went the entire season without getting a single hit. He was 0-70 and struck out 36 times. He didn’t get another hit until May 8, 1963, when he slapped a single off Pirates pitcher Al McBean, who probably was razzed about it by his teammates the rest of his career. Buhl’s record still stands today; 88 consecutive at bats without getting a hit. Luckily for Buhl, he was a pretty good pitcher. He pitched in the big leagues for 15 seasons and won 15 or more games five times, including once with the incredibly lousy 1964 Cubs. Buhl even managed to do something completely foreign to his Cubs teammates. He won a World Series ring (with the 1957 Milwaukee Braves). (Photo Topps 1964 Baseball Card)
~Scott Bullett 1968 (Cubs 1995-1996)
Bullett was a reserve outfielder for the Cubs for two-seasons. He served mainly as a backup to Luis Gonzalez and Brian McRae, but he appeared in over 100 games two years in a row. It was his last taste of the big leagues. He had previously played for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
~Jim Bullinger 1965 (Cubs 1992-1996)
On the first pitch of his first big league at bat, Bullinger hit a home run, an incredible accomplishment for any player, let alone a pitcher. Jim was in and out of the Cubs rotation for a few seasons. His career year came in 1995, when he won 12 games with an ERA of 4.14. He finished his career pitching for the Expos and Mariners.
~Freddie Burdette 1936 (Cubs 1962-1964)
Burdette was a righthanded reliever who pitched for the Cubs in the early 60s. He wasn’t exactly known for his command. In his 34.1 big league innings, he walked twice as many men (20) as he struck out (10). His only career win was saved by the man the Cubs acquired for Lou Brock…Ernie Broglio.
~Lew Burdette 1926 (Cubs 1964-1965)
He was a well known spitballer. Red Smith of the New York Times said that he needed three columns for his statistics: wins, losses, and relative humidity. Nevertheless, he won over 200 games in his career, was a three-time all-star, and pitched his team to a World Series title, but of course, that team was not the Chicago Cubs—it was the Milwaukee Braves. By the time he came to the Cubs, Burdette was 37 years old, and his career was pretty much over. He won 9 games for the Cubs in two seasons, and his ERA was over 5.
He recorded a (very bad) song while he was with the Braves…
~Smoky Burgess 1927 (Cubs 1949-1951)
His real name was Forrest Harrill Burgess, but no-one called him that. He was Smoky Burgess, a five-time National League All-Star. He was a very good catcher, but he became even better known as one of the best pinch hitters of his era. He retired with a record 507 pinch at-bats. Only Lenny Harris, Mark Sweeney, and Manny Mota have more than Burgess’s 145 pinch hits. Unfortunately, none of that happened with the Cubs because they traded him after his second season in the majors (1951) for little remembered Johnny Pramesa and Bob Usher. If he had stayed with the Cubs, he could have been their starting catcher for a decade. (Pramesa played 22 games for the Cubs, Usher played 1.) Smoky always said that his most satisfying pinch hit was his home run off Cubs pitcher Sam Jones with two games left in the 1956 season. The Reds, his team at the time, were going for the record–most home runs by a team in a season. The record was 221, and when Smokey came up to bat, the Reds had 220. Reds manager Chuck Dressen ordered Burgess to pinch hit for Roy McMillan, and said, “Make it a home run – or nothin’!” The ball landed on Sheffield Avenue. Smoky ended his career as a pinch hitter for the White Sox—and played until he was 40 years old. (Photo: 1951 Bowman baseball card)
~Leo Burke 1934 (Cubs 1963-1965)
The Cubs acquired the utility man from the Cardinals in exchange for relief pitcher Barney Schultz. Barney became a key member of the 1964 Cardinals bullpen, and Leo stuck with the Cubs for several seasons as a jack of all trades. He played some infield, some outfield, and pinch hit for the Cubs. 1964 was his best season in the big leagues, when he got up to bat more than a hundred times for the only time in his career. He knocked in 14 runs and hit .262.
~Alex Burnett 1987 (Cubs 2013)
Burnett appeared in exactly one game for the Cubs on May 29, 2013. He pitched the ninth inning against the White Sox at Wrigley Field that day, and allowed only one hit, a single by Jeff Keppinger. The Cubs won the game 9-3. Burnett previously pitched for the Twins and Orioles.
~Tom Burns 1857 (White Stockings/Colts 1880-1891, manager 1898-1899)
Tom was an infielder on one of the most dominant teams in baseball history. From 1880 (his rookie season) until 1886 they won the National League championship five times. In 1890 the White Stockings name disappeared during a full-fledged player revolt. Only three players remained after that uprising—-Cap Anson, Bill Hutchison, and Tom Burns. The rest of the veterans left the team, and the players who replaced them were so young that the newspapers started calling the team the Colts. Burns probably had the best season of his career during that 1890 season. He knocked in a career-high 86 runs and stole 44 bases . He later came back to manage the Cubs (then known as the Orphans) for two seasons.
~Ray Burris 1950 (Cubs 1973-1979)
Ray anchored the Cubs rotation in the mid-70s, twice winning 15 games in a season (’75 & ’76). Unfortunately for Ray, expectations were very high for him. He arrived on the Cubs just as Fergie Jenkins was departing, and the team hoped that Burris could step into that role. Turns out there was only one Fergie. The Cubs traded Burris to the Yankees in 1979 for reliever Dick Tidrow. Ray had a very respectable 15-year big league career. He won over a hundred games for the Cubs, Yankees, Mets, Expos, A’s, Brewers, and Cardinals. In 1981 he pitched in the NLCS for the Montreal Expos. He shut out the Dodgers in Game 2 of that series, before losing a pitcher’s duel to Fernando Valenzuela in the deciding Game 5. Burris is currently a pitching coach in the Phillies organization. (Photo: Topps 1975 Baseball Card)
~Edgar Rice Burroughs 1875 (Cubs fan 1875-1950)
Burroughs was best known as an author (he wrote all the Tarzan books), but he was a native Chicagoan, and loved the Cubs. In 1911, when he was still a writer for the Chicago Daily Tribune, he wrote a poem about how long it had been since the Cubs had won it all (it had only been three years at that point), and how much he looked forward to their winning it all again. Luckily for him, he only lived until 1950.
~John Burrows 1913 (Cubs 1943-1944)
Burrows was a wartime player for the Cubs. The 30-year-old pitcher appeared in 23 games for the Cubs in 1943, but by 1944 he was getting hit very hard, and went back down to the minors. He pitched in the minor leagues until 1949.
~Ellis Burton 1936 (Cubs 1963-1965)
Burton was an outfielder for the Cubs and had a few decent years filled with clutch hits and homers. The problem with Ellis is that he couldn’t put the bat on the ball consistently enough. His career average was a woeful .216. His teammates called him Bones.
~Dick Burwell 1940 (Cubs 1960-1961)
He got two very short cups of coffee with the Cubs in September of 1960 and 1961. In those two Septembers he pitched in a total of five games, and was hit pretty hard. He walked eleven batters in just over 13 innings of work and gave up two homers. Both of those homers were given up in his first (and only) big league start against the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field. Although he didn’t get a lot of time in the big leagues, he did manage to pitch against some Hall of Famers including Frank Robinson in his 1960 debut, and Willie Mays & Orlando Cepeda in his 1961 finale. He was only 21 years old but never made it back to the big leagues. After four more years in the minors, he hung it up at the age of 25.
~Kurt Busch 1978 (Cubs fan 1978-present)
Kurt Busch grew up in Las Vegas, but his parents were from the western suburbs of Chicago. They got married in Vegas in 1972, and a few years later decided they would move there for good. But they never severed their ties with their home town. Kurt and his family would come back to Chicago often and visit his grandparents. It became his favorite city in the world. When they weren’t here, they knew they could still see it nearly every day by simply clicking the power button on the TV remote. The Cubs were on the Superstation, WGN. Kurt talked about his connection to the Cubs with Paddocktalk.com…
“I’d hurry home after school and turn on the TV to WGN in Chicago – it was Channel 16 on the cable way back then and it still is. I’d grab my baseball glove, put on my Cubs cap, hop into my dad’s easy chair and tune in to watch my favorite sport and my favorite team. There was nothing like it in the whole world. It was major league baseball at its best with my Chicago Cubs. I can remember today just how exciting it was way back then. I can still hear Harry Caray with his famous introduction to the seventh-inning stretch, going ‘Alright! Lemme hear ya! Ah-One! Ah-Two! Ah-Three!’ We might have been living in Vegas back then, but for several hours every day that the Cubbies were playing on TV, my heart was really right there in Wrigley Field. I dreamed of being right there with my heroes. I just imagined taking the field with my all-time favorites, like Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Rafael Palmeiro, Vance Law, Shawon Dunston and all the others.”
Kurt became a star in another sport (NASCAR) instead, winning the 2004 NASCAR Sprint Cup, but when the Cubs invited him back to Wrigley Field that year to throw out the first pitch and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” he considered it one of the biggest thrills of his life. He and his car may be going 200 miles an hour around a racetrack, but when Kurt Busch wants real excitement, he’ll turn on the television, sit in the easy chair, and watch his favorite team; The Chicago Cubs. (Update: Apparently he is also in trouble for slamming his ex-girlfriend’s head into a trailer, and now claims she is a trained assassin)
~Guy Bush 1901 (Cubs 1923-1934)
The Mississippi Mudcat got his nickname because he came from Mississippi and had a very strange delivery. It was described like this by F.C. Lane in Baseball Magazine (1930): “On the hurling mound (Guy) Bush has developed a curious ‘hop-toad’ lunge that is unique. When he really bears down on the ball, he actually springs forward and finishes up in a squat position like a catcher reaching for a low pitch.” He won 150+ games for the Cubs, as a starter and reliever (he led the league in relief wins 4 times). On May 4, 1927 he pitched 18 innings in one game, when the Cubs beat the Braves 7-2. He started and won Game 3 of the 1929 World Series against the A’s, giving up only one run. He also pitched Game 1 of 1932 Series against the Yankees, but this time the results weren’t quite as good. He was shelled for eight earned runs in less than six innings. The Cubs traded him to Pittsburgh in 1935. Bush always said the secret to his success was a “secret dark liniment” that the Cubs trainer rubbed into his arm. He didn’t find out until after he was traded that the secret liniment was only Coca Cola. On May 25, 1935, he came in as a relief pitcher for the Pirates against the Boston Braves. In that game he gave up the last two home runs in Babe Ruth’s career. (Photo: 1933 Goudy Baseball Card)
~Eddie Butler 1991 (Cubs 2017)
The Cubs acquired the former first round pick of the Rockies during the 2017 season and he filled the 5th starter role during the summer. Butler had good moments and bad and the Cubs eventually felt it was necessary to acquire another starting pitcher. For the season Butler was 4-3, with 3.95 ERA.
~Johnny “Trolley Line” Butler 1893 (Cubs 1928)
He more than likely acquired his nickname thanks to the town of Butler, Pennsylvania, which featured a well-known Trolley line (the Butler Short Line). Butler didn’t have much power (3 career home runs), and he didn’t hit that well (career .252 hitter), but he was a pretty good glove man in the infield, and he was versatile. Trolley Line Butler played 3B/SS for 1928 Cubs. He stayed in the big leagues for four seasons–two years with Brooklyn before joining the Cubs, and one season with the Cardinals in 1929. By the turn of the decade, the Trolley Line was shut down.
~John Buzhardt 1936 (Cubs 1958-1959)
Buzhardt burst onto the scene in September of 1958 and immediately made his presence known. In his first two big league starts he beat Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. The following year he tossed a one-hitter for the Cubs before developing elbow problems. The Cubs traded him to the Phillies (along with Alvin Dark and Jim Woods) for future Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn. Ashburn had a few more seasons in the tank. Buzhardt had a decade. He pitched for the Phillies, White Sox, Orioles and Astros before hanging up his spikes following the 1968 season. He never quite lived up to his early promise. His final record was 25 games under .500, although he had a very respectable 3.66 lifetime ERA. (Photo: Topps 1959 Baseball Card)
~Freddie Bynum 1980 (Cubs 2006)
The Cubs acquired Freddie just before the 2006 season began, and he got the most extensive playing time of his big league career during Dusty Baker’s last season in Chicago. Bynum played all three outfield positions and second base. He hit four homers and stole eight bases. The Cubs traded him to the Orioles the following spring for pitcher Kevin Hart.
~Marlon Byrd 1977 (Cubs 2010-2012)
Byrd was signed as a free agent by the Cubs after a stellar run in Texas. In his first year with the Cubs he was an all-star, and hit .293 with 66 RBI. The centerfielder’s output went down a bit the following year. He also sustained a truly scary injury that year when he was hit in the face with a pitch from Red Sox fireballer Alfredo Aceves at Fenway Park. He had to be helped off the field, and was out of the lineup for quite a while. When he returned he wore a newly designed batting helmet that shieded his cheek. The Cubs traded Byrd to Boston (for Michael Bowden) in 2012.