~Austin Jackson 1987 (Cubs 2015)
Austin was acquired in late August to augment the Cubs outfield heading into the playoffs. When Jorge Soler went down with an injury, Jackson got quite a bit of playing time. Unfortunately, he never really found his groove in a Cubs uniform. In 79 at bats, he hit only .236. Jackson did provide a steady glove in the outfield, however, and because of that got playing time in all three postseason series. He was granted his free agency after the season.
~Brett Jackson 1988 (Cubs 2012)
Jackson was the top prospect in the Cubs system for several years. He seemingly had it all; power, speed, and great defense in center field. Unfortunately, Jackson was always prone to striking out. He struck out a lot in the minors, and he never found a way to overcome it. When he got his one shot at the big leagues in 2012, the Cubs handed him the centerfield job. In 120 at bats, he struck out 59 times. That’s the single worst strikeout ratio in baseball history. He hasn’t made it back up to the big leagues since.
~Damian Jackson 1973 (Cubs 2004)
The Cubs signed Damian at the end of spring training when he was waived by the Rockies and gave him a shot to backup second baseman Mark Grudzielanek. Jackson hit only .067 in his two months with the Cubs. They traded him to the Royals at the end of May.
~Danny Jackson 1962 (Cubs 1991-1992)
He was a very good starting pitcher and two-time all-star…before and after his stint with the Cubs. With the Cubs, not so much. He was 5-14 with an ERA over 5.
~Darrin Jackson 1963 (Cubs 1985-1989)
Jackson is well known to White Sox fans as their radio announcer (“DJ”), but he got his big league start playing outfield for the Chicago Cubs. He was one of their top prospects, a second round draft choice, who played in the big leagues at ripe old age of 21. In 1988 he had his best season with the Cubs, playing in 100 games and hitting .266 with 6 homers and 20 RBI. In the middle of the division-winning season of 1989, the Cubs traded him to the Padres (along with Calvin Schiraldi) for Marvell Wynne and Luis Salazar. DJ went on to play 12 seasons in the big leagues for the Padres, Mets, White Sox, Twins, and Brewers. He was having a career season with the 1994 White Sox (hitting .312) when baseball went on strike.
~Edwin Jackson 1983 (Cubs 2013-2015)
Jackson was the first free agent signed by the Theo Epstein regime (4 year, $40 million), and they probably aren’t happy about it. Edwin came to Chicago with decent credentials. He had pitched a no-hitter, and appeared in two World Series and one All-Star game, but it hasn’t worked out for Edwin with the Cubs. In 2013 he lost a whopping 18 games, and finished with an ERA of nearly five. In 2014, he was worse. He did have a part in setting a record with the Cubs, however. He and Michael Bowden combined to throw five wild pitches in one inning. In his last season with the Cubs (2015), he pitched exclusively out of the bullpen. The Cubs released him at the end of July, and he finished the year with the Atlanta Braves.
~Lou Jackson 1935 (Cubs 1958-1959)
The Grambling product was a backup outfielder for the Cubs during two brief cups of coffee in the late 50s. He hit his only big league homer in a Cubs uniform. He later got one more brief taste of the big leagues with the 1964 Baltimore Orioles. Jackson went to Japan after his stint in Baltimore and had some success there, but one day when he was batting, he collapsed at the plate. He died the following year of pancreatitis, at the age of only 33.
~Larry Jackson 1931 (Cubs 1963-1966)
Larry was already a 3-time All Star when the Cubs acquired him from the Cardinals before the 1963 season (in the Don Cardwell trade), and he paid immediate dividends. In his first season with the Cubs he was an All Star again, winning 14 games. But it’s his 1964 season that will be remembered. That year he put it all together and had one of the best years in Cubs history. Jackson led the league in wins with 24 (on a terrible, terrible Cubs team), and finished second in the Cy Young voting to Dean Chance, who won 20 games for the Angels. Jackson would have won the NL Cy Young Award, but at the time only one was given out in all of baseball. He tailed off a little during the 1965 season, but Larry Jackson may have done his greatest service to the Chicago Cubs in the early part of 1966. He was the player the Phillies acquired in the famous trade that brought the Cubs Ferguson Jenkins. (Photo: Topps 1964 Baseball Card)
–Randy Jackson 1926 (Cubs 1950-1955, 1959)
His real first name was Ransom, and gosh darnit, he was kind of handsome, so his teammates began calling him Handsome Ransom (His teammates thought he looked like Gregory Peck). “Handsome Ransom” Jackson was one of the best players on the Cubs in the early 50s; a National League all-star third-baseman in 1954 and 1955. He hit 19, 19, and 21 homers in 1953-55 (his three seasons on the Cubs), and was a pretty good fielder too. (In 1955 he led NL third basemen in double plays.) His greatest day in a Cubs uniform was April 17, 1954 against St. Louis. Jackson had four hits – including a home run that hit an apartment building on Waveland Avenue. With the wind blowing out at Wrigley Field, the Cubs beat the Cardinals 23–13 in a National League record (at the time) three hour and 43 minute game. The two teams combined for 35 hits — including five homers. The Dodgers traded Walt Moryn, Don Hoak, and Russ Meyer to the Cubs for Jackson and pitcher Don Elston after the 1955 season with the expectation that the slugger would succeed Jackie Robinson at third base. Unfortunately for Jackson and the Dodgers, he suffered a serious knee injury in 1957, and Handsome Ransom never played regularly again. (Photo: 1952 Topps Baseball Card)
~Elmer Jacobs 1892 (Cubs 1924-1925)
Jacobs was a righthanded journeyman pitcher who lasted nine seasons in the big leagues, including two with the Cubs. He was a part of the rotation in 1924, and won 11 games. The following season he was used mostly as a reliever, and didn’t have as much success. Jacobs also pitched for the White Sox, Phillies, Pirates, and Cardinals.
~Mike Jacobs 1877 (Orphans 1902)
Jacobs was a shortstop who played for the Cubs (then known as the Orphans) for exactly one week in July of 1902. The 24-year-old hit .211 in 19 plate appearances. He never played in the big leagues again.
~Ray Jacobs 1902 (Cubs 1928)
Ray played exactly two games in the big leagues and both of them were with the Cubs in 1928. In his first game, at Wrigley Field on April 20th, he pinch hit late in the game for Cubs first baseman Joe Kelly. He struck out. His second and last at bat came a few weeks later at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Once again he came in as a pinch hitter, this time for Cubs pitcher Percy Jones–who had been getting rocked. Jacobs made another out, and never got another chance. Despite only playing in two games (both Cubs losses), he played alongside and against several Hall of Famers. His Cubs teammates at the time included Kiki Cuyler and Hack Wilson. The Pirates team he played against sported three Hall of Famers in their lineup that day, brothers Paul and Lloyd Waner, and Pie Traynor.
~Tony Jacobs 1925 (Cubs 1948)
Jacobs made only two appearances in the big leagues, and they came almost seven years apart. His debut came with the Cubs in September of 1948. He pitched two innings and gave up three hits, including a home run to future Cub Gene Hermanski, in a 8-1 loss to the Dodgers in Brooklyn. He did manage to retire two Hall of Famers that day: Pee Wee Reese (strikeout) and Jackie Robinson (groundout). Seven seasons later he made the opening day roster of the Cardinals and pitched against the Cubs. This time he was hit pretty hard. Ernie Banks and Randy Jackson both had two hits. One of Jackson’s hits was a homer. That was the last Tony Jacobs ever saw of big league baseball. He pitched twelve seasons in the minors.
~Merwin Jacobson 1894 (Cubs 1916)
Merwin had one of the strangest big league careers you’ll ever see. He played sparingly for the Giants in 1915, and the Cubs in 1916 (their first season at what is now known as Wrigley Field), but then went down to the minors and played there for ten long years. He got one more shot in the majors with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1926 and got his first significant playing time as the team’s fourth outfielder. He was not a power hitter. Of his 76 career hits (71 of which were for the Dodgers), he only got 11 extra base-hits (nine doubles and two triples).
~Walter Jacobson 1937 (Cubs fan 1945-present)
Walter Jacobson caught the Cubs bug in 1945 when he was 8 years old listening to the World Series on the radio with his mother, and it soon entered his bloodstream. By the time he was ten years old, he was taking the “L” to the ballpark to watch his beloved team. When he was 15 he wrote a personal letter to Phillip K. Wrigley asking if he could become the batboy. Wrigley hired him, allowing him to work 11 hours a day for $1.50 a day. Mike Royko, who became Jacobson’s rival when they covered the same beat, used to make fun of Walter because he occasionally complained about those bat boy days; about players throwing underwear at him or making him chew tobacco until he vomited. But fellow Cub fan Royko was probably jealous. Those Cubs of the early 1950s were his heroes too. They say that being a reporter is in your blood. That may true, but for Walter Jacobson, his reporter blood is Cubbie Blue.
Here he is reporting a big story in Cubs history…
~Jake Jaeckel 1942 (Cubs 1964)
His real first name was Paul, but his teammates called him Jake. Jaeckel got a cup of coffee as a September call up for the last place 1964 Cubs. He pitched two scoreless innings in his debut, retiring the likes of Sandy Alomar, Matty Alou, Rico Carty, and Joe Torre. In his second appearance, he won the game as the Cubs rallied in the bottom of the 9th at Wrigley to beat the Dodgers 4-3. In his third appearance he picked up the save in another 4-3 win against the Dodgers, striking out Willie Crawford to win the game. His last game with the Cubs was at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. He pitched two more scoreless innings, retiring Orlando Cepeda and Jose Cardenal, among others. Though he was lights out in the big leagues, Jaeckel never got another chance. He spent the next three seasons in the minors before hanging up his spikes at the ripe old age of 26.
~Joe Jaeger 1895 (Cubs 1920)
His teammates called him Zip. Zip played in exactly two games with the Cubs. The team brought him in to help out in the bullpen on days they had double headers. The first time he came in was on July 28, 1920. He relieved Hippo Vaughn and gave up two runs on three hits in an 8-4 loss. The final game on the Cubs (and in the majors) was on September 6th of that year. He didn’t have good control. He walked three, gave up three hits and four earned runs. His final ERA was 12.00.
~Art Jahn 1895 (Cubs 1925)
Art was called up as 29-year-old rookie in the middle of the 1925 season, and was handed the starting left field job. He performed admirably–hitting .301 and fielding the position well. Unfortunately, he had no power at all (zero homers) and little speed (two stolen bases), and the Cubs had lots of options that were more traditionally equipped to play corner outfield. It took Art three more seasons to make it back up to the big leagues, but he did eventually play the Giants and the Phillies.
~Cleo James 1940 (Cubs 1970-1973)
James was one of the parade of centerfielders who came through Chicago in the years before Rick Monday stabilized the postion. James had decent speed and hit .287 one year (1971), but he didn’t have the complete package. His last gasp in the majors was with the 1973 Cubs. By then he was 33 years old. He played another season in the minors before retiring. (Photo: Topps 1972 Baseball Card)
~Rick James 1947 (Cubs 1967)
No record of whether or not this Rick James was super-freaky, but he was a hightly touted prospect. The Cubs had the sixth pick in the very first amateur draft (1965) and chose pitcher Rick James. Remember him? Probably not. He only pitched three big league games. His ERA was 13.50 in those games. The player chosen right after him was future all-star catcher Ray Fosse. Not a good start for the Cubs in the draft era.
Hal Jeffcoat 1924 (Cubs 1948-1955)
Jeffcoat played the first few years of his big league career as a centerfielder. He had good years and bad years with the bat, but he always had a great arm. In 1954 the Cubs converted him into a relief pitcher. He did very well in that role. In two seasons out of the Cubs bullpen, he appeared in 108 games. He won 13 games and saved 13. The Cubs traded him to the Reds in 1956. In his first month on the Reds Jeffcoat beaned Don Zimmer of the Dodgers, ending his season. Zimmer later had to have a plate put in his head because of that beaning.
~Frank Jelincich 1917 (Cubs 1941)
Jelly, as he was known to his teammates, spent most of his baseball career in the minors. His career lasted from 1937-1950, but he only got eight big league at bats. They came for the Cubs in September of 1941. He got one hit, and knocked in two runs. Three months later Pearl Harbor was bombed, and Jelly found himself serving Uncle Sam. He never made it back up to the big leagues after his return.
~Ferguson Jenkins 1942 (Cubs 1966-1973, 1982-1983)
Fergie is one of the top five pitchers to ever wear a Chicago Cubs uniform. He led the league in wins twice, fewest walks per 9 innings five times, and complete games nine times. His streak of six straight seasons with 20 or more wins (1967–1972) is the longest streak in the major leagues since Warren Spahn did it between 1956 and 1961. And he did it despite not having the best of luck. You’ve heard the expression “it’s better to be lucky than good”, right? Well in 1968, Fergie Jenkins was good…but he certainly wasn’t lucky. He won 20 games, but he also lost 15 games that year. It was the way he lost the games that were unlucky. Five times that season he lost 1-0 games. 5 times! On May 14, Fergie and the Cubs lost to Don Drysdale and the Dodgers. On May 19, Fergie and the Cubs lost to Gaylord Perry and the Giants. On June 20, Fergie and the Cubs lost to Bob Gibson and the Cardinals. Two Mets pitchers did the same thing–Dick Selma (July 11) and Jim McAndrew (Sept 11), and four other pitchers also shut out the Cubs on days Fergie was on the mound (Steve Blass, Jerry Koosman, Tony Cloninger, and Ken Johnson). Not many pitchers in baseball history can say that they pitched in nine different games in one season that their own team was shut out. And 1968 wasn’t the only year he had that kind of luck. In his Hall of Fame career, Fergie Jenkins lost 45 games in which his team didn’t score a run. 45! No wonder he was voted into the Hall of Fame despite not reaching that magical win total of 300. He had 284 career wins, but if the Cubs came through for him with a run in only half of his 1-0 losses, he would have easily surpassed 300 wins. Fergie’s secret was his incredible control. There are only four pitchers in ML history with more than 3000 strikeouts and less than a thousand walks. Greg Maddux (who also wore #31 with the Cubs), Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, and Ferguson Jenkins. He richly deserves his status as a Hall of Famer. (Photo: Topps 1969 Baseball Card)
This is a great special about Fergie, from his Cubs-hey day. Worth a view…
~Doug Jennings 1964 (Cubs 1993)
Jennings was a backup outfielder with Oakland for four seasons before coming to Chicago. The Cubs used Jennings as a pinch hitter and occasional first baseman. He was fairly effective in that role, hitting .250 with two homers. It was his last season in the big leagues. His next stop was Japan.
~Robin Jennings 1972 (Cubs 1996-1999)
Jennings holds the distinction of being the only person born in Singapore to play Major League Baseball. Unfortunately for Robin, he didn’t play much. In parts of three seasons with the Cubs, he never had more than 62 at bats, and didn’t tally a single home run. He later got similar tastes of the big time with Oakland, Colorado, and Cincinnati.
~Garry Jestadt 1947 (Cubs 1971)
Jestadt was an infielder (2B, 3B), but his career with the Cubs was incredibly short. At the beginning of the 1971 season he was on the roster long enough to log a total of three at bats (no hits), and play three total innings in the field (at 3B, spelling Ron Santo). The Cubs traded him in May of that year to the San Diego Padres. In San Diego he got the most extensive playing time of his big league career.
~Manny Jimenez 1938 (Cubs 1969)
Jimenez was in his seventh big league season when he came to the Cubs. The 30-year-old outfielder was used strictly as a pinch hitter by the Cubs. He came up six times, struck out twice, got one hit, and was released. He never played in the big leagues again. Don’t blame Manny for the collapse of 1969. His last game was in May. Manny’s brother Elvio played for the Yankees.
~Joa the Cub (Cubs mascot 1916)
In 1916 Cubs minority owner J. Ogen Armour (the sausage king) donated a mascot to the Cubs..a juvenile black bear. The bear was named “Joa” after Armour’s initials, and the team built him a “den” (actually a cage) at Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue. It was the first year the Cubs played at what was then known as Cubs Park. Joa debuted on June 20, 1916, for Cubs-Reds game. (It was rained out.) Joa lived there for most of that 1916 season, but by September the club realized he was more trouble than he was worth, and sold him to the Lincoln Park Zoo for twenty bucks.
12 Johnsons played for the Cubs. You know who would appreciate that? Mel Brooks…
~Abe Johnson (Colts 1893)
Abe was an obscure pitcher who pitched exactly one inning for the Cubs on July 16, 1893. There is no record of his birthdate or whether he was a righty or a lefty, but we do know that he gave up four earned runs in his one inning of big league ball, and finished with a 36.00 ERA.
~Ben Johnson 1931 (Cubs 1959-1960)
Johnson was basically a career minor-leaguer. He played sixteen years in the minors and only had two small cups of coffee with the Cubs. He pitched well as a 28-year-old rookie in September of ’59, which led to a more extended shot the following season. He pitched out of the bullpen for seventeen games and registered an ERA of nearly 5. His big league career never made it into his 30s.
~Bill Johnson 1960 (Cubs 1983-1984)
He was acquired along with Dick Ruthven for Willie Hernandez (a terrible trade in retrospect) from the Philadelphia Phillies. Johnson was a September call up for the Cubs in both the 1983 and 1984 seasons, but didn’t get a lot of opportunities to pitch. He appeared in 14 games and posted a 3.57 ERA. Hernandez went on to win the Cy Young Award.
~Cliff Johnson 1947 (Cubs 1980)
Johnson was a slugging catcher who hit nearly 200 career homers. Ten of those came with the Cubs in the second half of the 1980 season. The Cubs were very bad that year, but Johnson’s dramatic homers helped brighten a dark summer. After leaving the Cubs he became what he probably should have been all along–a designated hitter with the A’s, Blue Jays, and Rangers.
~Davey Johnson 1943 (Cubs 1978)
Davey Johnson had a very distinguished playing career before he became a manager. He was a four-time All-Star, three time Gold Glove second baseman, two-time World Series champ, and once hit 43 homers in a season, but by the time he came to the Cubs, those days were in his rearview mirror. The Cubs got him from the Phillies in August of 1978, and he played with them for the last few months of his big league career. He went into coaching shortly thereafter and has since won six divisional championships and a World Series title (with the 1986 Mets) as a manager. (Photo: Topps 1979 Baseball Card)
~Don Johnson 1911 (Cubs 1943-1948)
Johnson was the starting second baseman for the last pennant winning Cubs team in 1945. He was an energetic infielder, and his teammates called him “Pep.” Johnson was a young phenom in the minor league system, and the Cubs thought so highly of his eventual development, they traded their Hall of Fame second sacker Billy Herman. Then, they traded the other second baseman on their team, future all-star Eddie Stanky, and gave the job to Johnson. In 1944, Johnson was an all-star himself, leading all 2B with 71 RBI. He also, unfortunately, committed 44 errors. Johnson had another all-star season with the bat in 1945, hitting .302, but after the players returned from the war in 1946, he was exposed as a liability. Johnson became a non-factor in 1947 and 1948 (his last season in the big leagues) while Eddie Stanky led two different teams to the NL pennant. Some Don Johnson trivia: His father Ernie also had a Chicago connection. He was signed by the Chicago White Sox to replace banned shortstop Swede Risberg after the Black Sox scandal, and remained in the big leagues for ten years. In 1925, exactly twenty years before his son would play in the World Series, Ernie Johnson played in the World Series for the New York Yankees.
~Footer Johnson 1932 (Cubs 1958)
His real name was Richard Allen Johnson, but everyone called him Footer or Treads because he was fast. He was known for his speed in the minor leagues and at Duke University (he was there the same time as Dick Groat), but he didn’t make much of an impact in his very short major league career. In 1958, Footer got a grand total of 5 at bats in 8 games (his other three appearances were as a pinch runner), but never got a hit. He did, however, score one run when he pinch ran for Cubs catcher Sammy Taylor during a double header on June 22nd. He was knocked in by another obscure Cub…future manager Chuck Tanner.
~Howard Johnson 1960 (Cubs 1995)
His parents obviously had a sense of humor, because they named their son Howard, the same name as a famous hotel and restaurant chain. His nickname naturally ended up being the same thing as the restaurant’s nickname (HoJo), but he had the last laugh. Howard Johnson became a big leaguer. He was a great player in his day (over 200 homers and stolen bases), but by the time he joined the Cubs in 1995, he was 35. It was his last season in the majors, and he only hit .195. (Photo: 1996 Upper Deck Baseball Card)
~Ken Johnson 1933 (Cubs 1969)
Johnson only pitched the final two months of the 1969 season for the Cubs. When he joined the team they were riding high, with a big lead over the Mets. Six weeks later the season was over and the Cubs were eight games behind the Mets. It’s probably unfair to say that Johnson was a bad luck charm, but his previous claim to fame makes you wonder. In 1964 while pitching for the Houston Colt 45s, he pitched a nine-inning no-hitter…and lost the game 1-0. He’s the only pitcher in big league history to ever do that.
~Lance Johnson 1963 (Cubs 1997-1999)
Johnson had a very impressive 14-year big league career that included playoff appearances with the Cardinals (1987) White Sox (1993), and Cubs (1998), and an all-star appearance as a member of the Mets (1996). He was a speedy centerfielder who hit for average (lifetime .291), hit lots of triples (he led the league five times), and stole base (327 lifetime). With the Cubs playoff team of 1998, he was the leadoff man to a lineup that featured the likes of Sammy Sosa, Mark Grace, and Henry Rodriguez. Unfortunately, he managed only two hits in that playoff series. Lance left the Cubs after an injury plagued 1999, and finished his career with the Yankees. His nickname was One Dog, because he wore #1. (Nickname courtesy of Hawk Harrelson) (Photo: Fleer 1999 Baseball Card)
~Lou Johnson 1934 (Cubs 1960, 1968)
His nickname was Sweet Lou or Slick. Lou played for the Cubs in two different seasons, his rookie year and his second to last season in the big leagues, and neither of those seasons were particularly remarkable. Lou is probably better remembered for what he did against the Cubs, when he was on the Dodgers. He scored the only run in Sandy Koufax’s perfect game against the Cubs. The score was 0-0 in the bottom of the fifth and neither pitcher had allowed a single base runner. That ended when Cubs pitcher Bob Hendley walked Lou to lead off the inning. The next batter, Ron Fairly, bunted the ball a little too hard–right to the pitcher. Hendley was prepared to whirl toward second and throw out the lead runner, but he took his eye off the ball for a second, dropped it, and had no choice but to throw to first. Now Johnson was darting off second base. Hendley focused on the hitter, Jim Lefevbre, which allowed Johnson to take off for third. Cubs catcher Chris Krug threw to Santo, but the Cubs great couldn’t handle the throw. Johnson ran home with the first and only run of the game. The Dodgers had scored without the benefit of a hit. They later got exactly one hit, but it didn’t factor in the scoring. (Photo: Topps 1960 Baseball Card)
~Reed Johnson 1976 (Cubs 2008-2009, 2011-2012)
Johnson was a fan favorite during his time with the Cubs. He made highlight-reel catches in centerfield, and delivered clutch hits time after time. He hit over .300 in three of his four Cubs seasons. (Photo: 2009 O-Pee-Chee Baseball Card)
~Jimmy Johnston 1889 (Cubs 1914)
Johnston had an outstanding 13-year big league career. He played for the Cubs in 1914 and served as a utility man, but Johnston really blossomed after leaving Chicago. He led Brooklyn to two World Series and finished in the top ten in hits, runs, and stolen bases four times. His career batting average was an impressive .294.
~Jay Johnstone (Cubs 1982-1984)
Johnstone had a tremendously successful big league career. He played 20 years in the majors and won two World Championships (1978 Yankees and 1981 Dodgers). His best seasons were probably with the Philadelphia Phillies teams in the mid-70s. By the time he came to the Cubs in 1982, he was more of a part-time player, but Johnstone was still productive. He was also the life of the party. His teammates loved him because he was such a jokester. Here’s an example…
~Roy Joiner 1906 (Cubs 1934-1935)
Joiner pitched in twenty-two games for some very good Cubs teams, but didn’t fare too well. His liftime ERA was 5.28.
~Eric Jokisch 1989 (Cubs 2014)
Jokisch was called up to the Cubs in September of 2014 and pitched well in limited action. He appeared in four games, including one start, and posted a 1.88 ERA. Jokisch attended college at Northwestern.
~Charley Jones 1852 (White Stockings 1877)
When Jones retired from baseball, he was the all-time home run champion with 56 homers. By the turn of the century he wasn’t even in the top ten. Jones, who was nicknamed Baby, didn’t hit any of those homers for the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings). Chicago was just a temporary stop for the notorious trouble-maker (he only played two games) before he returned to the Reds. Baby could have hit a few more homers. He was banned from baseball for two seasons in the middle of his career (1881-1882).
~Clarence Jones 1941 (Cubs 1967-1968)
Clarence backed up the corner outfielders (Billy Williams and Ted Savage) and first baseman (Ernie Banks) during the 1967 season, but despite performing pretty well in that role, he wasn’t a part of the Cubs future plans. He played sparingly in 1968, and was traded to the Reds (along with Bill Plummer) in 1969 for Ted Abernathy.
~Davy Jones 1880 (Orphans/Cubs 1902-1904)
Nicknamed “Kangaroo” by his teammmates, Jones was one of the colorful characters of his era. His best season with the Cubs was 1903 when he hit .282 and drove in 62 runs as the starting centerfielder. The rest of his Cubs career, he was plagued with injuries and illnesses. He contracted typhoid one year and broke his leg another year. After leaving Chicago he played for the Tigers against the Cubs in the 1907 and 1908 World Series. His last game as a big leaguer was one of the most unusual finales of all-time. He was attending the game as a fan in 1918 when his old teammates asked him to come out and play. So he did. The ball is in the baseball hall of fame. It says: “Last ball used in game at Navin Field in last game of season, 1918, caught by Davy Jones. Hit by Shano Collins of the Chicago White Sox. Season ending on Labor Day on account of War.”
~Doug Jones 1957 (Cubs 1996)
Jones was the rarest type of closer imaginable–one that threw junk. He never had a blazing fastball, but he somehow managed to save over 300 games in an 18 year big league career). The Cubs signed him as a free agent before the 1996 season, but something happened to Jones in a Cubs uniform. He had the worst ERA of his career and managed only two saves before the Cubs cut him loose. Of course, he was far from done. The very next year he saved over 30 games for Milaukee.
~Jacque Jones 1975 (Cubs 2006-2007)
Jones had a very respectable ten year big league career. He hit more than 150 homers, stole over 80 bases, and played a very good rightfield. He signed a three year contract as a free agent with the Cubs in 2006, and his first year was actually quite good. He hit 27 homers with a .285 average. But Dusty Baker was fired after that season, and Jones had a big problem with that. He asked to be traded. The Cubs obliged him in 2007, and his career was over shortly therafter. Jones never connected with Chicago fans. (Photo: 2007 Topps Heritage Baseball Card)
~Percy Jones 1899 (Cubs 1920-1928)
Percy was a fifth starter/spot starter for the Cubs during his time in Chicago. He had two double-digit win seasons (1926, 1928), but was included in the trade that brought Rogers Hornsby to the Cubs just before the Cubs made it to the World Series in 1929. One of Percy’s roommates with the Cubs was the hard-drinking Pat Malone. They didn’t get along. Jones insisted on getting a new roommate after Malone trapped some pigeons on a hotel ledge and put them in Jones’ bed as he slept.
~Sam Jones 1925 (Cubs 1955-1956)
The first African-American to ever pitch for the Cubs. Sam Jones was called “Toothpick” because he always had a toothpick in his mouth, even when he was pitching. Jones was great and not-so-great for the Cubs during his two years. He was the first African-American to pitch a no-hitter in the majors (which he did in front of a whopping 2918 fans on May 12, 1955), but he also lost twenty games that year, and had the single wildest season in Cubs history. He walked 185 batters in 242 innings, nearly 7 walks per nine innings. The next year he walked 115, and he was traded shortly after that year. He later became a twenty game winner and all-star for the San Francisco Giants. (Photo: Topps 1956 Baseball Card)
~Sheldon Jones 1922 (Cubs 1953)
His real name was Sheldon, but he got his nickname “Available” from a character in the Lil Abner comic strip. “Available Jones” was always available to his friends “fo’ a price, natcherly”. The Cubs’ “Available” Jones lived up to the nickname for slightly different reasons than the Li’l Abner character. He was a pitcher who was always “available” to start or relieve for the Giants, and did both well, but by the time the Cubs got him, well…let’s just say he was available. He pitched only one year for the Cubs (1953), almost exclusively in relief, and after the season his 5.40 ERA was “available” once again to anyone who wanted him. No one did.
~Claude Jonnard 1897 (Cubs 1929)
Claude had a couple of good seasons as a reliever with the Giants before coming to the Cubs, but let’s just say that the stock market isn’t the only thing that crashed in 1929. Jonnard pitched in twelve games for the Cubs that summer and was pounded. He allowed 52 baserunners in 27 innings and that wasn’t going to do on a team that was headed to the World Series. They released him in July. His brother Bubber (yes Bubber) was also a big leaguer for four big league teams, including the White Sox.
~Billy Jurges 1908 (Cubs 1931-1938, 1946-1947)
He was known as a fiery, ill-tempered, good fielding, weak-hitting shortstop for the Cubs, but he was also one of the team leaders during the best decade of the Cubs bad century (they were in the World Series in ’32, ’35, and ’38). Stories of Jurges’ on-the-field skirmishes were legendary.
*In 1933, he nearly caused a riot at Wrigley Field when he deliberately threw two balls directly into the taunting Phillies dugout. The Phillies dugout charged onto the field to fight Jurges, but with the help of the umpires and Jurges’ Cubs teammates, he was rescued from a certain beating. He somehow wasn’t kicked out of the game.
*In 1935, Jurges and catcher Walter Stephenson got into a fight in the dugout at Forbes Field because Jurges made a crack about the south losing the Civil War (he was from Brooklyn, Stephenson was from N.C.)
*In 1936, Jurges and Reds catcher Gilly Campbell fought several times. One time Campbell slid hard into second base when Jurges was covering the base, and Billy punched him in the face.
*In 1937, after he was ejected from a game, he stood at home plate and kicked dirt on the plate. After the umpire swept it off, he kicked dirt on the plate again. This happened five times.
But for all of his on-the-field hijinks, Billy Jurges will always be remembered for what happened off-the-field on July 6, 1932. He was living at the Hotel Carlos at 3834 N. Sheffield Ave (now known as the Sheffield House Hotel), and so was a girl he had “seen” a few times– Violet Valli. She called Jurges on the telephone, and asked if she could see him. Before leaving her room, she wrote a suicide note saying that she was sorry for killing Billy Jurges and herself, but she had no choice because their “beautiful love had been broken up” by his teammates Kiki Cuyler and Lew Steadman. Jurges later said he had no idea what she meant by that. Jurges let Violet into his room, but when he saw she had a gun, he grabbed at it and took a bullet in the hand and another through the ribs. Despite the injuries, he managed to get the gun away from her, and prevented her from killing herself. Then, after he recovered from the shooting, he refused to testify against her in court. The case was dismissed. Valli used her notoriety as part of her act (she was a dancer), and signed a twenty-two week contract to sing in local nightclubs and theatres. She was billed as “Violet (What I did for love) Valli, the Most Talked About Girl In Chicago.” Amazingly, Jurges wasn’t hurt too seriously. He returned to the Cubs before the end of the season, and hit .364 in the World Series against the Yankees. He was traded to the Giants after the 1938 season, and was named to the all-star team with the Giants the next two years. After his playing career was over, Jurges became a big league manager. As a manager, he is probably best remembered as being the manager of the Boston Red Sox the year they became the last team in baseball to break the color barrier. In his last season with the Red Sox, they finished in seventh place. He died in 1997 in Clearwater Florida at the age of 88. (Photo: Goudey 1933 Baseball Card)