~Jim Fanning 1927 (Cubs 1954-1957)
Fanning was a minor league catcher who occasionally came up to the big club for a cup of coffee. All 64 of his games as a big league player came with the Cubs. But after his playing career ended, Fanning went on to have a very successful career working for the Montreal Expos. As the Expos GM, he traded for Rusty Staub, and drafted Gary Carter and Andre Dawson. As the team’s manager, he led the Expos to their only playoff appearance in 1981. And finally, as the scouting and player development director, he developed the likes of Randy Johnson, Larry Walker, and Andres Gallarraga. Not bad for a Cubs catcher with a lifetime batting of .170.
~Carmen Fanzone 1943 (Cubs 1971-1974)
Although he played 2B and 3B and was one of the players who wore #23 like Ryne Sandberg, Carmen’s similarities with the Future Hall of Famer ended there. Fanzone was probably better known for his musical abilities and his incredible mustache than he was for the .190 he hit backing up Bill Madlock in 1974. He played four seasons for the Cubs as a backup infielder (1971-74), and wasn’t much of a hitter, but he played the trumpet so well the Cubs asked him to perform the National Anthem. After his playing career ended, he pursued his musical dreams and played the jazz flugelhorn. He even played with Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show band. And his mustache remains the mustache against which all other mustaches are measured. (Photo: Topps 1975 Baseball Card) (UPDATE: He actually never played in the tonight show band. Your humble editor interviewed him for the Minutia Men podcast, which you can hear here. Great stuff about the Cubs (last segment of the show–starting around the 27 minute mark).
~Dennis Farina 1944 (Cubs fan 1944-2014)
Dennis Farina was a Chicago cop, working as a consultant on cop movies, when he got the acting bug. His first major role: playing a Chicago cop. He proceeded to have a distinguished acting career with some classic films and television series among his credits, including “Midnight Run”, “Get Shorty”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “The Mod Squad”, “Police Story” and “Law and Order.” But he also made no secret of his love for the Chicago Cubs. He didn’t just play an avid fan alongside Dennis Franz in the play “The Bleacher Bums” for a few years. He lived it. In 2006, he narrated the Cubs documentary “Wait Til Next Year” for HBO. He also contributed to the film “This Old Cub” in 2004. And when he came back to his hometown of Chicago, he made the pilgrimage to that shrine on the North Side. Because Dennis Farina was a Cubs fan. Unfortunately he passed away before the big win of 2016.
~Kyle Farnsworth 1976 (Cubs 1999-2004)
Farnsworth had a great arm. He routinely threw the ball in the upper 90s, and the Cubs hoped he would develop into a closer. It just never seemed to happen. Part of the reason was that Farnsworth had the reputation of being a bit of a flake (he once was injured kicking an electric fan in the Cubs dugout) and a bit of a headhunter (he started more than one bench clearing brawl, including one where he tackled the opposing pitcher and threw him to the ground). He also was part of the implosion of 2003. In that series his ERA was over 10, and he pitched in five of the seven games in the NLCS. Farnsworth has gone on to pitch ten more years in the big leagues since he left the Cubs, including stints with the Braves, Tigers, Yankees, Royals, Rays, and Pirates. His best season was 2011 when he saved 25 games for Tampa Bay.
~Doc Farrell 1901 (Cubs 1930)
Doc had a long and successful big league career. The middle infielder played for the Cardinals, Giants, Yankees, and Red Sox in addition to the 1930 Cubs. That 1930 Cubs team blew the pennant in the last few weeks of the season, costing manager Joe McCarthy his job.
~Duke Farrell 1866 (White Stockings 1888-1889)
Duke came up with Cubs (then known as the White Stockings). He left during the player revolt of 1890, and had his greatest success in subsequent stints with Boston and Washington. The catcher/third baseman/outfielder played 18 seasons in the big leagues.
~Luke Farrell 1991 (Cubs 2018)
The son of former big-league manager John Farrell got a cup of coffee with the Cubs in the summer of 2018 after he was released by the Cincinnati Reds. Luke started two games and relieved in 18 others, and posted an ERA over 5. The Cubs released him in early September and he was picked up by the Angels.
~Jeff Fassero 1963 (Cubs 2001-2002)
He was a very good starting pitcher before he came to the Cubs. After being turned into a reliever he did save 12 games for the Cubs.
~Darcy Fast 1947 (Cubs 1968)
Darcy was a hard throwing lefty in the Cubs bullpen in the late 1960s, but only had a cup of coffee with the big league team in 1968. In eight appearances covering ten innings, he struck out ten batters…but he also walked eight. He never returned to the big leagues after that. Darcy has written a book about his life, called “The Missing Cub”. From the website, here’s a blurb for the book: “Darcy’s story is the stuff of dreams. Dreams once realized, and then lost, and then found again. It is, in many ways, a narrative of what every boy growing up dreams, but cannot achieve. More importantly, though, his is a story that could be ours as well. And that’s what makes this book a must read. Maybe, just maybe, by reading Darcy’s story, you will find your own.”
~Bill Faul 1940 (Cubs 1965-1966)
Some players are known as characters. Some are known as eccentrics. Still others seem to have come from another planet. Bill Faul was one of those guys…and he wasn’t even a lefty…or a Californian. Faul pitched for the Cubs in 1965 and 1966. It’s safe to say that he had a quirk or two. For instance…
*He hypnotized himself before games and talked to his arm. Opposing players would make fun of him by swinging watches and saying ‘tick tock tick tock’ while he was pitching.
*He used to rip the heads off parakeets with his teeth (according to Bill Lee).
*He swallowed live toads, claiming they put “extra hop” on his fastballs.
*He liked to hold guys off the third or fourth floor hotel balcony by their ankles…upside down.
*His jersey number was — you guessed it — 13.
Former Detroit Tigers manager Chuck Dressen once said: “You watch him for a while, watch how he acts, talk to him, spend some time with him, and you figure either he’s the dumbest guy in the world or the smartest one you’ve ever met.” As wild and unpredictable as Faul was, he was cool as a cucumber on the field. He had to be awakened in the clubhouse only thirty minutes before his first major league start. Faul shook out the cobwebs, grabbed the ball, warmed up, and pitched a three-hitter. Faul always seemed to be in the middle of a lot of excitement. He was one of only a handful of pitchers to be involved in fielding a triple play, and one of only two major league pitchers in history to have three triple plays in one season while he was on the mound. He claimed the secret to his success was his hypnosis therapy, his background as a karate instructor in the Air Force (his hands and feet were both registered as dangerous weapons), and his spiritual consciousness (he was a Doctor of Divinity for the Universal Life Church). Unfortunately for Faul, the league figured him out in 1966. When his ERA climbed over 5, he was sent down to the minors and never returned to the Cubs. He kicked around the minor leagues for a few seasons before turning up for a cup of coffee with the Giants in 1970. Bill Faul died in 2002, at the age of 62. (Photo: Topps 1965 Baseball Card)
~Vern Fear 1924 (Cubs 1952)
Fear was blessed with one of the great names in baseball history. Unfortunately, his pitching did not strike fear in the heart of big league hitters. He pitched in four games for the Cubs, the entire extent of his big league career. In his first appearance with the Cubs he faced four Dodgers; Duke Snider, Andy Pafko, Roy Campanella, and Gil Hodges. He gave up three singles and a homer (to Snider) and was pulled out of the game with an ERA of Infinity.
~Tim Federowicz 1987 (Cubs 2016)
Federowicz played in parts of four seasons for the Dodgers before joining the Cubs. The catcher got a brief taste of a World Championship season when he was called up due to an injury. He played in 17 games and hit .194. After the season ended, Federowicz was granted free agency.
~Marv Felderman 1915 (Cubs 1942)
He got exactly six at bats in the big leagues, and all of them came for the Cubs. The backup catcher got one hit. His nickname was Coonie. Coonie played in the minor leagues until 1951.
~Scott Feldman 1983 (Cubs 2013)
Feldman was one of the “flip-able” players brought in during the Epstein regime to garner prospects in return, and it worked like a charm. He was traded to the Orioles in July 2013, in exchange for pitchers Jake Arietta and Pedro Strop. Feldman has the distinction of having the most wins in a season by a Jewish pitcher (17 in 2009) since Steve Stone in 1980.
~John Felske 1942 (Cubs 1968)
Felske appeared in four games as a Cub in 1968 as a catcher. He got a grand total of two at-bats, and didn’t record a hit. The following year he was taken in the expansion draft. He later managed in the minors, coached in the big leagues, and even briefly served as the general manager for the Philadelphia Phillies.
~Bob Ferguson 1845 (White Stockings 1878)
He was the player/manager for one season, and was known for his ferocious temper. Ferguson hit .351 as a player, but was fired because owner Al Spalding considered him tactless and brutish. He also had one of the greatest nicknames of all time: “Death To Flying Things”
~Charlie Ferguson 1875 (Orphans 1901)
Charlie pitched exactly two innings for the Cubs (then known as the Orphans) on September 20, 1901, during a double-header against the Boston Braves. He walked two and gave up a hit, but didn’t allow any runs to score, meaning his lifetime ERA was a perfect 0. After his one shot of big league glory, he went back to the minors the following season and pitched there until 1909. Even though he only spent one day as a big leaguer, he could always say that he played alongside two Hall of Famers. Rube Waddell and Frank Chance were both on his team.
~Felix Fermin 1963 (Cubs 1996)
Felix played ten big league seasons, including several years with Cleveland when he was the team’s starting shortstop. By the time he arrived in Chicago, it was the tail end of his career. He had already been cut by the Yankees and the Mariners in 1996 when the Cubs took a flyer on him. Fermin was done. He batted only .125 in 11 games, and never appeared in the major leagues again. Although, to be fair, Felix was always more known for his fielding than his hitting. In over 3000 big league plate appearances, Fermin hit only 4 homers.
~Frank Fernandez 1943 (Cubs 1971-1972)
Frank was a catcher for the Cubs and a few other teams in his big league career, and while he was never good enough to play regularly, he does have a few very odd records. For instance, he has the most homers for a player with a career average below .200 (39), and he had more walks in his big league career than hits, and he had more than a hundred of each (164 walks, 145 hits).
~Jesus Figuero, 1957 (Cubs 1980)
The Dominican outfielder played for the Cubs one year, his only season in the big leagues. The Cubs used him mainly as a pinch hitter that season. He was a contact hitter with a good eye, but didn’t really have the power necessary to stick in the majors as a corner outfielder. The Cubs traded him after the season (along with Jerry Martin) to the Giants, and he couldn’t crack the roster there. The Giants had a stacked outfield that included Larry Herndon, Jack Clark, Bill North, and Jeff Leonard.
~Tom Filer 1956 (Cubs 1982)
Filer was a righthanded starting pitcher who debuted in the big leagues with the Cubs in 1982. In eight starts he only won once. He later pitched for the Blue Jays, Brewers, and Mets.
~Neil Finnell (Cubs blogger)
Neil is the founder of the consistently excellent blog Chicago Cubs Online (CCO). He provides daily updates and may write about the Cubs more than anyone. He has two additional writers on staff at CCO; Brian McCabe and Tom Usiak.
~William Fischer 1891 (Cubs 1916)
Fischer was a backup catcher for the Cubs in their first year at what is now known as Wrigley Field. He had been part of the Federal League Whales the previous year, so he already had some experience playing in the ballpark. He hit only .196 for the Cubs and was traded to the Pirates. Also included in that trade was one of the last remaining members of the Cubs dynasty–Frank Schulte.
~Bob Fisher 1886 (Cubs 1914-1915)
After Joe Tinker jumped to the Federal League, Fisher became the everyday shortstop for the Cubs in their last season at West Side Grounds. He was known for his bat control. In 1915 he led the entire league in sacrifice hits with 42, and batted .285. As good as he was with the bat, however, he was a terrible baserunner. Fisher was thrown out trying to steal 20 times that season, and was successful only 9 times. When the Cubs and Feds merged in 1916, Fisher was not asked to come along. He finished his career with the Reds and Cardinals.
~Cherokee Fisher 1844 (White Stockings 1877)
Fisher played in exactly one game for the White Stocking in 1877. The former pitcher took a stab at third base and went 0 for 4. Fisher is listed as the 38th player in big league history because he was there from the very beginning in 1871 with Rockford. He died in 1912 and is buried in Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside.
~Howard Fitzgerald 1902 (Cubs 1922, 1924)
Fitzgerald is one of the few people nicknamed “Lefty” who wasn’t a pitcher. He was an outfielder. Unfortunately for Howard, he didn’t have a lot of power for a corner outfielder. In 150 career plate appearances, he hit exactly zero home runs. Lefty spent most of his baseball career in the minor leagues. He hung up his spikes after the 1933 season. Fitzgerald died in an automobile accident in Texas at the age of 56.
~Max Flack 1890 (Cubs 1916-1922)
Max has the distinction of playing in the very first game in Weeghman Park history as a member of the Chi-Feds, and then playing in the very first game the Cubs played in the same ballpark (as a Cub). He was their star right fielder during that time. During their pennant winning season of 1918, he led the league’s outfielders in fielding percentage, put-outs, double plays, and assists. He also, unfortunately, dropped an easy fly ball in the 1918 World Series. The Cubs were leading the game 1-0 at the time, and the dropped flyball allowed the Red Sox to score two runs and win the game 2-1. Whenever someone accuses the Cubs of throwing that series (entire books have been written on the subject), this is one of those plays that is discussed. In 1922, Max was traded to the Cardinals for Cliff Heathcote in the middle of a double header. The two men just changed uniforms and dugouts.
~John Flavin 1942 (Cubs 1964)
Flavin showed some promise in the Reds minor league system, so the Cubs thought they were getting a pretty good pitcher when they claimed him. He was only 22 years old, and was coming off a 12-2 season at Triple A. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out for Flavin in Chicago. He appeared in five games, and had a 13.50 ERA in 4.2 innings.
~Bill Fleming 1913 (Cubs 1942-1944)
Fleming pitched for the Cubs during the war, and had a very respectable season in 1944. He won nine games and posted a 3.13 ERA. He would have been a key part of the pitching staff in 1945, but Uncle Sam had other ideas. Fleming was serving in the military while the Cubs made it all the way to the 1945 World Series. He pitched for the Cubs again in 1946, but it didn’t go well. That was his last year in the big leagues.
~Scott Fletcher 1958 (Cubs 1981-1982)
Fletcher was actually traded for his fellow birthday boy Steve Trout. He was just a young prospect with the Cubs who never would have gotten much playing time (a youngster named Ryne Sandberg was rated slightly higher), but Fletcher blossomed with the White Sox. He shared the second base job on their 1983 playoff team, and went on to hae a very respectable 15-year big league career with the White Sox, Rangers, Brewers, Red Sox, and Tigers. He was also part of the trade that brought Sammy Sosa from Texas to the White Sox.
~Sliver Flint 1855 (White Stockings 1879-1889)
Flint was a catcher on those early Cubs (then known as White Stockings) championship teams of the 1880s. He was a tough cookie who played hard on and off the field. On the field he caught the first four no-hitters in franchise history (three by Larry Corcoran, and one by HOFer John Clarkson). Off the field, the drinking eventually got the best of him. Flint died in 1892 at the age of 36, only two years after his playing career ended. (Photo: Goodwin & Company Baseball Card)
~Jesse Flores 1914 (Cubs 1942)
The first Mexican-born pitcher in big league history made his debut with the Cubs during the war. He only pitched in four games and posted an ERA of 3.38 before the Cubs sent him down for more seasoning. He later pitched for the A’s and the Indians. After his playing career, Jesse became one of the best scouts in baseball. His signings for the Minnesota Twins included Bert Blyleven, Lyman Bostock, Bill Campbell, Rick Dempsey, and Jesse Orosco.
~Dylan Floro 1990 (Cubs 2017)
The Cubs gave a shot to the former Tampa Rays reliever in 2017, but it didn’t work out. In just over nine innings pitched, Dylan gave up seven earned runs. He was released in August.
~Cliff Floyd 1972 (Cubs 2007)
The local Chicago boy didn’t get to play for his hometown team until his 15th big league season. He was only two years removed from hitting 30+ homers for the Mets, but Cliff didn’t quite reach those heights with the Cubs. He started most of the season in right field and hit .284 with 9 homers. Nevertheless, Cliff had a tremendous big league career. Floyd was an all-star, a World Series champ, and led four different teams to the playoffs, including the 2007 Cubs. In his 17 year big league career, Cliff Floyd hit 233 homers.
~John Fluhrer 1894 (Cubs 1915)
He played briefly for the Cubs in their last season at West Side Grounds, including one game under the pseudonym William G. Morris.
~George Flynn 1871 (Colts 1896)
Dibby, as he was known, got his only taste of the big leagues for the 1896 Cubs (then known as the Colts). The outfielder stole twelve bases and hit .255 in just over a hundred at-bats. Just five years after his baseball career ended, Flynn died at the age of 30.
~Jocko Flynn 1864 (White Stockings 1886-1887)
Jocko pitched only one season with the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) in 1886 and won 23 games, but he was a small man (5’6″, 143 pounds) with a very large appetite for booze. He blew out his arm and became a full-fledged alcoholic. He died shortly after his 43rd birthday.
~Gene Fodge 1931 (Cubs 1958)
Fodge had one of the great nicknames in the league. His teammates called him “Suds”. Suds was with the Cubs for the first four months of the 1958 season, serving as a swing starter and reliever. After the South Bend native was sent back down to the minors in July, the 27-year-old righthander decided the time was right to call it a career. He resided in Mishawaka, Indiana until his death in 2010.
~Dee Fondy 1924 (Cubs 1951-1957)
Fondy was the starting first baseman for the Cubs for most of the 1950s. His best seasons were in 1953 (when he hit .309 and clubbed 18 homers) and 1955 (when he 17 homers). After the 1957 season he was sent to Pittsburgh along with color-barrier breaking teammate Gene Baker for Dale Long and Lee Walls.
~Lew Fonseca 1899 (Cubs announcer, 1930s)
In 12 big league seasons he played first base, second base and left field for the Reds, Phillies, Indians, and White Sox. As a manager, he led the White Sox to one of their worst seasons of all time in 1932. They finished that year 49-102. After his playing/managing career ended, he settled in Chicago and became one of the early radio announcers for the Chicago Cubs. He can be heard in the montage of early Cubs radio announcers below. Lew Fonseca is buried in the same cemetery (All Saints in Des Plaines) as another famous Cubs announcer, Harry Caray.
AUDIO: Montage of early Cubs radio announcers…
~Mike Fontenot 1980 (Cubs 2005-2010)
Fontenot was acquired in the trade that sent Sammy Sosa to the Orioles. He quickly became a fan favorite. Cubs fans loved the way the little Fontenot (5’9″, 165 lbs) delivered clutch hits with surprising pop. In their exciting 2008 season, Fontenot hit .305 for the Cubs and slugged nine homers, while forming a double play combination with his college teammate Ryan Theriot. Mike slumped a bit in 2009, and was traded to the Giants in 2010. That turned out to be a good trade for Fontenot–the 2010 Giants won the World Series.
~Ray Fontenot 1957 (Cubs 1985-1986)
Fontenot was acquired by the Cubs just after their close call in the 1984 playoffs. Fontenot couldn’t crack the starting rotation on his merits, but when everyone started getting hurt, he got the call. In 1985 he started 23 games, won 6 and lost 10, and posted an ERA of 4.36. He was traded to the Twins in the middle of ’86.
~Barry Foote 1952 (Cubs 1979-1981)
Barry Foote hit sixteen home runs as the Cubs everyday catcher in 1979. Foote didn’t have a great relationship with Cubs manager Herman Franks. When Franks (a World War II vet) resigned at the end of the 1979 season, he specifally called out Foote (along with Ted Sizemore, Bill Buckner, and Mike Vail) as a “whiner”. The following year he became a part time catcher, and the season after that he was traded to the Yankees.
~Tony Fossas 1957 (Cubs 1998)
Known as “The Mechanic”, Fossas was a journeyman reliever who was 31 years old when he made it up the big leagues. He pitched for the Rangers, Brewers, Cardinals, and Mariners before coming to fix the Cubs bullpen in the summer of 1998. In four innings he walked six men, and gave up eight hits and four runs. He wasn’t allowed to work in the bullpen anymore after that. The Cubs moved on to a different mechanic.
~Elmer Foster 1861 (Colts 1890-1891)
Foster was a backup outfielder with the Cubs (then known as the Colts) in the early 1890s. In his first season in Chicago he was a big help off the bench. He slugged five homers and stole 18 bases in only 27 games. Unfortunately for Elmer, he fell out of favor with the Cubs brass early the following season and was released. It was his last shot at the big leagues.
~Kevin Foster 1969 (Cubs 1994-1998)
Kevin Foster was born and raised in the Chicago area, so it was a dream come true when he came to the Cubs in 1994. He had his ups (a 12 win season in ’95 and a 10 win season in ’97), and downs (he had trouble giving up the long ball) with his hometown team, but Foster was a popular player because of his positive attitude and his happy-go-lucky charm. After he hurt his arm in 1997, he was essentially done in the big leagues outside of a brief stint with the Rangers in 2001. In 2008 he was working as a truck driver when he was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, a very powerful cancer. He died only six months later at the age of 39. (Photo: Topps 1998 Baseball Card)
~Dexter Fowler 1986 (Cubs 2015-2016)
Dexter was acquired before the 2015 season from the Houston Astros in exchange for pitcher Dan Straily and infielder Luis Valbuena, and he paid immediate dividends for his new team. The Cubs put him at the top of their order and started him in centerfield. In that role, he posted a .346 on base percentage, scored over a hundred runs, played a pretty good centerfield, and got clutch hits all season long, including two big home runs in the playoffs (versus Pittsburgh and St. Louis). His 17 homers were a career high, and Fowler had been a regular in the big leagues since 2009. After the season it looked like he would leave via free agency, but the Cubs surprised everyone by signing Dexter late during spring season. He brought out on the practice field in his street clothes to surprise his teammates, and they were overjoyed to welcome him back. Dexter had another great season in 2016, and served as the leadoff man for the World Champion Cubs. He posted a .393 on base percentage, was named to the All Star team, and led off Game 7 of the World Series with a home run.
~Chad Fox 1970 (Cubs 2005-2009)
Fox had a pretty good career as a reliever in Milwaukee before he came to the Cubs, but he spent most of his time in Chicago rehabbing from injuries. He missed the entire 2006 and 2007 seasons, and when he pitched in 2009 he suffered a gruesome injury–it looked like his arm was just dangling. His ERA that season was 135.00. That was the end of the line for Fox.
~Charlie Fox 1921 (Cubs manager 1983)
Fox never played for the Cubs (he was a Giant), but he did get the call from general manager Dallas Green to manage the Cubs at the tail end of the 1983 season after Lee “it’s a playground for the c*********” Elia was fired. The Cubs went 17-22 under his tutelage on their way to a 5th place finish. The following season Jim Frey was at the helm, and the Cubs came ever so close to winning the NL pennant.
~Jake Fox 1982 (Cubs 2007-2009)
Fox had bigtime power, but he didn’t play any defensive position well. The University of Michigan Wolverine played 1B, 3B, C, RF and LF for the Cubs. They were desperate to find a spot for him in the lineup because of his power. In 2009, he got his most extended time in the lineup and he hit 11 homers, and many of them were dramatic. He hit over 20 homers in ten of his eleven minor league seasons. Fox later played with the Orioles and A’s.
~Bill Foxen 1879 (Cubs 1910-1911)
The Cubs acquired Foxon during the pennant winning season of 1910. He only got in two games for the Cubs that season (and was rocked), so Foxen wasn’t on the postseason roster. In 1911 he appeared in his last 3 MLB games. He was 1-1 for the Cubs, with a 2.08 ERA in 13 innings. He walked 12 in those 13 innings; a major reason why he didn’t stick in the big leagues.
~Jimmie Foxx 1907 (Cubs 1942, 1944)
He was nicknamed the Beast because of his imposing physical presence. Foxx is one of the all-time greatest sluggers: a two time World Series champ, a three time MVP, winner of two batting titles. Foxx led the league in home runs four times, RBI three times (despite playing at the same time as Ruth and Gehrig), and hit 534 career home runs. Unfortunately for Cubs fans, only three of those home runs came with the Cubs, who picked him up one year after his last good season. He hit .190 with the team in 225 at-bats, and was released in 1944. He later managed one of the women’s teams during the war, and was the inspiration for the character played by Tom Hanks in “A League of Their Own.”
~Ken Frailing 1948 (Cubs 1974-76)
He was part of the Ron Santo trade with the White Sox (along with Steve Stone and Steve Swisher). He was mainly used as a swing man, switching between the bullpen and starting. He did pitch one complete game. (Photo: Topps 1975 Baseball Card)
~Andy Frain 1904 (Cubs Usher/Security 1928-1964)
Andy Frain pitched William Wrigley in 1928 about providing security for the ballpark. At the time, Wrigley Field was known as a place that ushers would take bribes to allow people into the good seats. Frain offered to give back Mr. Wrigley’s money if he wasn’t completely satisfied with his performance. Wrigley was so impressed he hired Frain to run the entire show, and gave him $5000 for uniforms. Those uniforms became his company’s trademark. In the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, the Notre Dame blue and gold Andy Frain uniforms were on hand at every major sporting event in Chicago, including football, baseball, and hockey games. They also kept the peace at political conventions, the Kentucky Derby, and more. Here are a few tips for keeping the peace, directly from the mouth of Andy Frain…
*”Never trust a man with a mustache or a man who carries an umbrella”
*”No muscle is gonna clip me. I never had a nickel. Finally after a lot of hard work I made something of myself. They’re gonna take that away from me?”
*”Ninety percent of the public wants somethin’ for nothin’. When you run a big sports event, every one of those seats is there to be cracked. They throw every gimmick in the book at you.”
*”The only color I’m interested in is the color of the customer’s ticket.”
*”There’s nothing like a six-footer in uniform to control a panicky crowd. Besides that, a tough guy isn’t so likely to give you an argument if you’re lookin’ down on him. That’s psychology.”
*”Never let a standee sit down. Once they sit down, you can’t get ’em up.”
Andy died in 1964. His sons carried on the company until 1982 when they sold it to a group of investors from Cleveland. The people that bought it went belly up a few years later and the Frain brothers repurchased the company once again. They finally sold it off for good in 1991.
~Ossie France 1858 (Colts 1890)
If you want to travel back in time to watch France pitch in the big leagues, set the wayback machine to July 14, 1890, and go to Brooklyn. He pitched two innings for the Cubs (then known as the Colts) and gave up three runs in a 10-3 loss. It was his only appearance in the big leagues.
~Matt Franco 1969 (Cubs 1995)
Franco came up with the Cubs and got his first taste of the big leagues in 1995, appearing in 16 games. He was traded to the Mets the following year, where he put together a pretty good career as a backup outfielder and pinch hitter. He was very good in that pinch hitting role for the Mets and Braves, before finishing his career as a full-time player in Japan.
~Terry Francona 1959 (Cubs 1986)
Francona was nicknamed Tito because his father Tito was a big leaguer too. Terry wasn’t quite as good as his dad, but he managed to play ten seasons with the Expos, Cubs, Reds, Indians, and Brewers. He was a first baseman/outfielder who mainly served as a backup, but in his limited at-bats the lefty could hit. He hit .346 and .321 in two seasons with the Expos. With the Cubs he hit only .250 backing up Gary Mathews, Bobby Dernier, and Keith Moreland. Of course, after his playing career was over, Francona became a manager. He will always be remembered in Boston for ending their 86-year curse when he led the team to the 2004 World Series title. He won another in 2007. He was also at the helm of the Cleveland Indians when the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years. (Photo: Topps 1986 Baseball Card)
~Seth Frankoff 1988 (Cubs 2017)
Seth was 28-years old when he made his big league debut with the Cubs in June of 2017. He came into a tie game against the Rockies and proceeded to give up a single to the pitcher and a homer to Charlie Blackmon, and took the loss. He never pitched for the Cubs again.
~Herman Franks 1914 (Cubs manager 1977-1979, GM 1982)
Franks was grizzled old catcher—a World War II veteran—a no nonsense kind of guy. The Cubs club he managed did not fit that same description unfortunately. They got off to a good start in his first season (1977) only to completey fall apart at the end of the season (to finish at .500). They had moments in the next two seasons as well, but they never put it together. Franks became so disgusted with the players that he actually resigned. He said he couldn’t stand the roster of cry-babies.
~Dennis Franz 1944 (Cubs fan 1944-present)
He grew up in Maywood, the son of postal workers, and he always loved one sport more than others… “I had a wonderful childhood, and it all centered around baseball,” he told Cigar Aficionado. “Baseball was my sport. I started out in the outfield, but I wanted to be part of the activity all the time, so I put on a few pounds and I became a catcher. That was my position, because I always loved being involved.” And who did he root for? The Cubs. He had a favorite player too. “I grew up wanting to be like Ernie Banks. I was always imitating his hand movements on the bat.” When Franz became an actor he joined the Organic Theater in Chicago. “We did play after play, and after we’d finish one, we’d talk about what we were going to do next. One of my friends from that time was Joe Mantegna. Joe lived near Wrigley Field, and we were all big Cubs fans. Joe suggested doing a play about Cubs fans and the mentality of Cubs fans. The play was about accepting the Cubs for what they are and loving them regardless, knowing that we will probably never see a World Series in our lifetime.” That’s Dennis Franz. And that’s a Cubs fan. The play may no longer be relevant after the 2016 series, but at least Dennis Franz got to see them win it once before he was gone.
~Chick Fraser 1873 (Cubs 1907-1909)
Chick was the old timer on the pitching staff of the only two Cubs World Series champion teams. He turned 35 during the 1908 season. He once no-hit the Cubs (1903) while pitching for the Phillies. Fraser was a headhunter, and is still 5th on the all-time hit batsmen list behind Walter Johnson, Eddie Plank, Randy Johnson, and Joe McGinnity. Fraser was summarily fired from the team in 1909 by Frank Chance, after Chance sent him home to Chicago to get his arm ready for a series, but discovered he hadn’t shown up at the ballpark at all. That was the end of his big league career.
~George Frazier 1954 (Cubs 1984-1985)
Not to be confused with the former Heavyweight Champion of the world, this George Frazier was a pretty good reliever in the big leagues who came to the Cubs as part of the Rick Sutcliffe trade. He made over 400 apearances in his 10-year career, with stops in St. Louis, New York, Cleveland, Minnesota and, of course, Chicago. George was an important part of the Cubs bullpen during their division winning 1984 season, and even appeared in the NLCS that year. After a much rougher 1985, the Cubs traded him to the Twins, where he finished his career.
~Ryan Freel 1976 (Cubs 2009)
Freel’s stay in Chicago was very brief. The Cubs were one of three teams he played for in 2009. He only managed four hits in a Cubs uniform after being acquired from the Orioles in May of that year. By early July he was gone. Freel was known as a bit of a flake. When he was with the Reds in 2006, he admitted that he often spoke to an imaginary voice in his head named “Farney”. His eccentricities were accepted by his teammates, however, because Freel was a take-no-prisoners rub-some-dirt-in-it kind of player who would do absolutely anything to help his team. Because of that, he suffered a series of concussions. In December of 2012, just a few years after retiring from baseball, Freel took his own life. His family had his brain examined after his suicide, and doctors found that he had been suffering from chronic traumatic encephalopathy–brought on by the many concussions.
~Buck Freeman 1896 (Cubs 1921-1922)
Freeman was part of the starting rotation of the Cubs in 1921 as a rookie, alongside the likes of Hall of Famer Grover Cleveland Alexander. Buck didn’t impress. He won 9 games, but he only struck out 42 batters in 177 innings. He got one more shot the following year and was hit hard. That was the end of his big league career.
~Hersh Freeman 1928 (Cubs 1958)
Freeman’s nickname was Buster. Unfortunately for the Cubs, that nickname may have described what he could do to close games when he came in from the bullpen. He had been a pretty solid reliever for the Reds (he won 14 and saved 18 in 1956) and the Cubs thought he was worth the gamble when they traded Turk Lown for him in the middle of the ’58 season, but in 13 innings for the Cubs he gave up 23 hits and 12 runs and never pitched in the big leagues again. Turk Lown, by the way, was traded by the Reds to the White Sox, and became a key member of their 1959 Pennant Winning pitching staff.
~Mark Freeman 1930 (Cubs 1960)
The 29-year-old got the most extended shot of his career with the Lou Boudreau-managed Cubs of 1960. He appeared in 30 games and posted an ERA of 5.63. It was also his last chance in the big leagues. The big righthander (6’4″) hung up his spikes after the Cubs cut him loose following the season.
~Mike Freeman 1987 (Cubs 2017-2018)
After having an embarassment of riches in infield prospects for several years, and trading many of them away, the Cubs found themselves shorthanded in August of 2017 when Addison Russell suffered an injury. They signed Freeman off waivers from the Dodgers and he did get significant playing time during that month. Unfortunately for Mike, he and his Cubs teammates were eliminated from the playoffs by his former Dodger teammates in the NLCS. Freeman spent the entire 2018 season in the minors, but did return for one plate appearance in September. He sacrificed, which didn’t technically count as an at bat.
~George Freese 1926 (Cubs 1961)
Bud, as he was called by his teammates, was 34 years old when he got his ever so brief shot in a Cubs uniform. He been in the minor leagues for most of his career, but did get brief tastes of the big time with the Tigers in 1953, and the Pirates in 1955. His seven at-bat stint with the Cubs wasn’t the end of the line for Bud either. He played another three seasons in the minors, before finally retiring in 1964 at the age of 37. The third baseman hit 198 career homers. Only three of those came in the big leagues. He coached for the Cubs after his playing career ended
~Howard Freigau 1902 (Cubs 1925-1927)
The Cubs acquired Freigau from the Cardinals in the deal that sent catcher Bob O’Farrell to St. Louis. Ty, as his teammates called him, started at third base for the Cubs for two seasons. In his first year in Chicago, he hit over .300. He slumped in his second year, and was replaced at the third base in 1927. He later played for Brooklyn and Boston.
~Larry French 1907 (Cubs 1935-1941)
French was one of the most memorable characters to wear a Cubs uniform. He was a hero off the field (After leaving baseball, he participated in the invasion of Normandy as a landing craft material officer), but on the field it was a slightly different story. French started a World Series game for the Cubs in 1935 (losing it in the bottom of the ninth), and appeared in the 1938 World Series as a reliever, but that season he also made history. Larry became the only pitcher with a losing record in major league history to lose as many as 19 games for a pennant winner. He went 10-19 on a team that was 89-63, personally accounting for nearly 1/3 of the team’s losses. That’s a pretty staggering total. Despite this “achievement,” French was very popular with the fans and his teammates. Again, it was the off-the-field stories that fueled his popularity. In 1938, he made news when he bought a live bear cub from a fan for $10. Larry learned a valuable lesson that summer…keeping a live bear cub isn’t as easy as it sounds. After the cub tore up his apartment, French somehow managed to convince his teammate Ripper Collins to take the bear off his hands. Collins learned the same valuable lesson. After a similar unpleasant experience, he donated the cub to a conservation camp in New York. Despite his record setting season of 1938, Larry French was a pretty good starting pitcher during his Major League career. He won 18 games for the Pirates twice, and had two good years with the Cubs in 1935 & 1936; winning 17 and 18 games respectively. He finished his Major League career with 197 wins and a 3.44 ERA, and went to his grave (in 1987) without ever again owning a live bear cub.
Larry’s mentioned in this 1935 highlight reel…
~Jim Frey 1931 (Cubs manager 1984-1986, General manager 1988-1991)
Frey came to Chicago after taking the Royals to the World Series in his previous job and nearly did the impossiblewith the Cubs. In his first season as their manager he led the Cubs to their first ever division championship (and first playoff appearance in 39 years). They came within a few outs of going to the 1984 World Series. We all remember what happened next, unfortunately. Frey was brought in to replace Dallas Green as the team’s general manager in 1988 and while he and his old pal Don Zimmer managed to win another divisional championship, he left the farm system cupboard bare. It took many years for their minor league system to recover.
~Lonny Frey 1910 (Cubs 1937, 1947)
Frey was a second baseman/shortstop who played for the Cubs in two different seasons ten years apart. Between those two seasons he was a three time all-star and a World Series champ with the Reds. After he left the Cubs the second time he won another World Series…as a member of the New York Yankees. In 20 World Series at bats, he got zero hits. His nickname was Junior.
~Bernie Friberg 1899 (Cubs 1919-1925)
Bernie was the starting third baseman for the Cubs in 1923 and 1924 and hit quite well. In ’23 he drove in 88 runs and batted .318. He drove in another 82 runs the following season. Unfortunately, Bernie was also one of the worst fielding third sackers in the league, finishing the top five in errors both seasons. The Cubs cut him loose in 1925, and the Phillies picked him up and converted him into a utility man. He played eight seasons in Philadephia, playing every position on the field except pitcher and catcher.
~Danny Friend 1873 (Colts/Orphans 1895-1898)
Friend was a lefthanded pitcher in the 1890s as the team transitioned from a veteran-dominated all-star club into a younger team (hence the nicknames Colts and Orphans). At the age of 24, Danny won 18 games for Chicago in 1896. He was the opening day starter for the team that year, one of their youngest opening day starters ever. He led the league in one category that season–he hit 39(!) batters with a pitch.
~Owen Friend 1927 (Cubs 1955-1956)
Owen played five seasons in the big leagues during the 1950s, the last two of which were with the Cubs. The backup infielder got a grand total of twelve trips to the plate in those two seasons, and struck out five times. Red, as he was called by his teammates, went on to play in the minor leagues until 1964.
~Johnny Frigo (Cubs song)
Frigo is a local Chicago musician and he really struck a nerve with “Hey Hey Holy Mackeral” in the summer of 1969…
~Frankie Frisch 1898 (Cubs manager 1949-1951)
Frankie Frisch was nicknamed the Fordham Flash because he attended Fordham and he was a big base stealer during his playing career (1919-1937). He is a Hall of Famer as a player, and won a World Series as a player/manager with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1934 (he also won 3 other series as a player), but The Fordham Flash had no chance as a manager of the simply terrible late 40s, early 50s Cubs. He was warned not to take the job by everyone before it was offered, but he took it anyway, and crashed and burned. His teams finished 8th, 7th, and 8th. He was fired after he was caught reading a novel in the dugout DURING a game. It turned out to be his last managing job. (Photo: 1951 Bowman Baseball Card)
~Woody Fryman 1940 (Cubs 1978)
Fryman was already in his 12th season in the big leagues (and had been a two-time All-Star) when he arrived in Chicago. The Cubs acquired him for starting pitcher Bill Bonham. Woody got off to a slow start with the Cubs, and by June the team figured he was washed up at age 38. They traded him to the Montreal Expos where Fryman pitched another six seasons. Fryman pitched 18 seasons, won 141 games, and fielded his position about as well as it could be fielded. He had three seasons with no errors at all, and his lifetime fielding percentage of .988 is the sixth best in history.
Oscar Fuhr 1893 (Cubs 1921)
Fuhr made the Cubs out of spring training in 1921. The lefty looked like he had the goods. The Sporting News thought he would be the next Grover Cleveland Alexander. He wasn’t. He pitched exactly one game for the Cubs and was rocked. He gave eleven hits and nine runs in only four innings, and was sent to the minors after the game. Fuhr later pitched for the Red Sox (with similar results)
~Kyuji Fujikawa 1980 (Cubs 2013)
Fukikawa was brought in from the Japanese league to be the Cubs closer. He had incredible success in Japan, saving 220 games for Hanshin. Unfortunately for Kyuji and the Cubs, he developed arm problems early in his first season in Chicago. He only pitched in a handful of games since.
~Kosuke Fukudome 1977 (2008-2011)
When Kosuke arrived in 2008, he was hailed as the savior. The Cubs had outbid several other teams also trying to sign the Japanese League batting champion. At first, he looked pretty good. Kosuke homered on opening day to tie up the game in the bottom of the ninth, hordes of Japanese media members followed him wherever he went, and Fukudome was named to the All-Star team. After that, reality set in. Kosuke couldn’t handle the outside pitch, and would corkscrew himself into the ground trying to reach it. He completely disappeared in the 2008 playoffs, going 1 for 10. Fukudome averaged about 10 homers and 40 RBI in his time with the Cubs, and never hit better than .263.
~Sam Fuld 1981 (Cubs 2007-2010)
Sam was a crowd favorite in his limited playing time with the Cubs, mainly because of his take-no-prisoners style of outfield defense. The fans loved the way he flung himself toward the ball. He wasn’t a bad hitter either. In his longest stretch of playing time in 2009, Fuld hit .299. It was enough to attract the attention of the Rays, who asked for Sam to be included in the trade package that brought Matt Garza to the Cubs. Fuld has since also played for Oakland and Minnesota. He has stolen more than 20 bases in a season twice since he left Chicago.
~Fred Fussell 1895 (Cubs 1922-1923)
Fussell may not have been a great big leaguer with the Cubs (4-6 with an ERA over 5), but he had one of the all-time great nicknames. His teammates called him “Moonlight Ace”.
~Mike Fyhrie 1969 (Cubs 2001)
Mike appeared in 15 games for the Cubs in 2001, but was traded to Oakland midseason that year. He pitched for four different teams in his five year career.