~Chris Nabholz 1967 (Cubs 1995)
Like many players, Nabholz finished his career with the Cubs, and he didn’t go down in a blaze of glory. He had a 5.40 ERA in 34 appearances. Chris had a few good seasons with the Expos before he came to town.
~Xavier Nady 1978 (Cubs 2010)
The well-traveled veteran had played for the Padres, Mets, Yankees, and Pirates before coming to Chicago as a free agent signing in 2010. The Cubs hoped he could start at an outfield position or first base for them, but Nady was often hurt, and he never quite put it together. In over 300 at bats, he managed to hit only six homers. The Cubs allowed him to leave after the season and he has since played for the Diamondbacks, Nationals, Giants, and Padres. His 2012 Giants team won the World Series. (Photo: Tppps 2010 Baseball Card)
~Tom Nagle 1865 (Colts 1890-1891)
Nagle Avenue on Chicago’s Northwest Side is not named after Tom. He was a catcher/outfielder who played for the Cubs (then known as the Colts) for two seasons in the early 1890s. The Milwaukee native hit .249 in just under 50 games.
~Buddy Napier 1889 (Cubs 1918)
Buddy pitched in exactly one game in a Cubs uniform for the 1918 pennant winners. He came in relief early in the game and pitched the rest of the game (6.2 innings). Buddy gave up 10 hits and four runs in a Cubs loss. He later got another shot in the big leagues with the Reds.
~Joe Nathan 1974 (Cubs 2016)
Nathan was a six-time All Star closer coming off an injury when the Cubs took a flier on him during a period of bullpen injuries, despite his advancing age (42). Nathan actually pitched well in his short stint with the Cubs, but when the injured players returned there wasn’t a roster spot left for him, and the Cubs chose to release him. He finished the season with the Giants.
~Joey Nation 1978 (Cubs 2000)
Nation was one of the prospects the Cubs got in return from the Atlanta Braves for Jose Hernandez and Terry Mulholland. Apparently the Cubs scouts weren’t quite as sophisticated then as they are now. Nation may have been a second round draft choice of the Braves, but the lefthanded pitcher never had a good season in the minors, let alone the big leagues. In his one taste of the bigtime with the Cubs, he was lit up in two starts. The other prospects in that trade, Ruben Quevedo and Micah Bowie, were also lit up when they came to the big leagues
~Dioner Navarro 1984 (Cubs 2013)
He only played one season with the Cubs as their backup catcher, but Navarro hit several dramatic game winning home runs, and provided the only pop off the bench that season for the Cubs. One day he hit three homers in a game.
~Jaime Navarro 1967 (Cubs 1995-1996)
When the Cubs signed Navarro as a free agent, it was considered a very bad move by many of the scribes in Chicago. Navarro proved them wrong by posting two outstanding seasons (14 and 15 wins) before signing with the White Sox. That’s where he imploded. Could it have worked out any better than that? Navarro’s dad Julio was also a big league pitcher. Jamie is now the bullpen coach for the Seattle Mariners.
~Thomas Neal 1987 (Cubs 2013)
Neal was an outfielder in the New York Yankees minor league system that had been released when the Cubs took a chance on him at the end of the 2013 season. He got four chances to hit for the Cubs, and got zero hits. The Cubs released him after the season.
~Tom Needham 1879 (Cubs 1909-1914)
Needham was born in Ireland and came to this country as a youngster. Deerfoot, as he was called, joined the Cubs in the midst of their historic run, to be the backup catcher to Johnny Kling, and then Jimmy Archer. He even got to bat in the 1910 World Series against the A’s. Deerfoot was known as a good defensive player, but never hit well (career average was .209). He played six seasons with the Cubs, but didn’t quite last long enough to play in the new ballpark. His last season was the year it was built.
~Cal Neeman 1929 (Cubs 1957-1960)
Cal was the starting catcher for the Cubs in 1957 and hit 10 homers, but he couldn’t hold on to that spot and spent the rest of his career as a backup. In May of 1960 he was part of the trade that sent Tony Taylor to the Phillies in exchange for Don Cardwell and Ed Bouchee.
~Art Nehf 1892 (Cubs 1927-1929)
Nehf was a two-time 20-game winner with the Giants before he came to the Cubs at the tail end of his career. He no longer had the stuff he had earlier in his career (he only struck out 79 batters in over 300 innings), but he did have a very good season in 1928, going 13-7 with a 2.65 ERA. He hung on for the 1929 season, and pitched (badly) in the World Series for the Cubs. That was his last hurrah in the big leagues.
~Lynn Nelson 1905 (Cubs 1930-1934)
He was a pitcher that was known for his hitting–they called him “Line Drive” Nelson. Nelson had his best season as a pitcher with the Cubs in 1933, when he went 5-5 with a 3.21 ERA. His best season as a hitter came in 1937 (with the A’s), when “Line Drive” hit four home runs. Unfortunately he was also prone to giving up the long ball. In 1939 he led the league with 27 homers allowed.
~Dick Nen 1939 (Cubs 1968)
Nen backed up the aging Ernie Banks in 1968. Proving that age is relative, the younger Nen hit .181 with very little power (two homers), while Banks hit over 60 points higher with 32 homers. Nen also played for the Washington Senators and LA Dodgers in his six year big league career.
~Phil Nevin 1971 (Cubs 2006)
He was a member of the Cubs for exactly two months, but during that time the former #1 overall pick in the draft did pretty well. He hit 12 homers filling in for the injured Derrek Lee.
~Bob Newhart 1929 (Cubs fan 1929-present)
Bob Newhart was born and raised in Chicago. He went to St. Ignatius High School on the West Side, and grew up rooting for the Chicago Cubs. He got his big break when a Chicago DJ named Dan Sorkin played a funny tape Bob made to entertain his colleagues. Newhart was a 30-year-old accountant — still living at his parents’ house — when his star started to rise. He decided to switch careers and give comedy a go in the late ’50s. The Buttoned Down Mind Of Bob Newhart — which outsold Beatles albums in the ’60s — made him a superstar. When Bob got his first network sitcom, he naturally set the show in Chicago. His character’s home was this building at 5901 N. Sheridan on the city’s north side. His office was near the river on Michigan Avenue. And during one memorable episode, Bob counseled a struggling pitcher for the Chicago Cubs. Newhart has lived in LA for nearly 50 years now, but he remains a Chicago Cubs fan. One day backstage at a Tonight Show taping, John Belushi ran into Newhart and asked him if he remembered going to a Chicago Cubs game years earlier and autographing baseballs for kids between innings. “I was one of those kids,” said Belushi. Added Newhart, “Cubs lost.” In an interview with the Daily Herald in 2011, he recalled “I will always remember 1945 when I was 16 years old and the Cubs had won the national league pennant. I went and watched as the Cubs paraded down LaSalle Street.”
~Joel Newkirk 1896 (Cubs 1919-1920)
Sailor, as he was known by his teammates, was a right handed pitcher who got an ever-so-brief sniff of the big leagues at the end of 1919 and beginning of 1920. He had three lifetime appearances and got lit up pretty heartily by the league. In 8.2 innings pitched, he allowed nineteen baserunners. After he gave up a homer to Cardinals pitcher Bill Sherdel, the Cubs sent Sailor back out to sea.
~Charlie Newman 1868 (Colts 1892)
The leftfielder nicknamed “Decker” got a grand total of 62 plate appearances for the Cubs (then known as the Colts) in 1892, and never played in the big leagues again. Charlie played minor league ball in the midwest for most of the 1890s, before settling out west in San Diego.
~Ray Newman 1945 (Cubs 1971)
Newman was a big righthander (6’5″) who pitched for the Cubs in 1971. He got into thirty games and pitched respectably (3.52 ERA), but is remembered more for the way he got to work every day. He rode his bike. Leo Durocher thought he was nuts, but put up with it until Newman got into a bike accident on a day he supposed to pitch. He was shipped off to Milwaukee before the 1972 season.
~Bobo Newsom 1907 (Cubs 1932)
His real name was Louis Norman Newsom but everyone called him Bobo…including himself. Bobo was one of the first players who constantly referred to himself in the third person. “I think I’m going to win this one for Bobo.” He actually got his nickname Bobo because that was what he called most of his teammates. He was rarely around long enough to learn their names—Bobo played for eight different teams. He had a distinguished twenty season major league career, was a 4 time all star, three-time 20-game winner, a World Series champion, and won more than 200 games in his career, but none of those came for the Cubs. Bobo only pitched in one inning of one game for Chicago during the 1932 season. He didn’t resurface in the majors until 1934 (with the St. Louis Browns), but then pitched in the big leagues until 1953.
~Art Nichols 1871 (Orphans 1898-1900)
Nichols was a utility man for the Cubs (then known as the Orphans) for a few seasons, but he never really got extensive playing time. He played 39 games in three seasons as a catcher, first baseman, and outfielder.
~Dolan Nichols 1930 (Cubs 1958)
Nick, as he was called by his teammates, was a reliever for the 1958 Cubs. In 24 appearances, he earned one save. The Cubs sent him back down to the minors by mid-season, and although he got another shot in September after the rosters were expanded, that was the exent of his big league career. Nichols pitched in the minors for a few more years before retiring at the age of 30.
~Bill Nicholson 1914 (Cubs 1939-1948)
Though he is known to history by his nickname “Swish”, Cubs fans didn’t call him that, Brooklyn Dodgers fans did. The big left-handed hitter had a routine when he came up to bat. He would swing his bat across the plate several times after stepping in to face an opposing pitcher. Obnoxious Dodger fans would yell, “Swish, swish, swish,” in unison with each of his practice swings. He may have struck out a lot, but he was truly a feared slugger. One time he was even intentionally walked with the bases loaded. Swish led the league in homers in ’43 and ’44. Nicholson was also part of the ’45 pennant team, but his power started to go that year. He wouldn’t know it for a few more years, but he was losing his eyesight because he was diabetic. It’s ironic that he starred during the war years, because his life long dream was to serve as a naval officer. Nicholson was crushed when he was rejected for service because he was color-blind. (Photo: Bowman 1949 Baseball Card)
Bill hit a double in the 1944 All Star Game…
~George Nicol 1870 (Colts 1891)
He came up with the St. Louis Browns the year before he joined the Cubs (then known as the Colts), and it’s hard to imagine a better start to a career. In his first start, he threw a no-hitter. In his second start, he gave up one hit. But the 19-year-old was hit hard in his third start, and never came close to those dizzying heights again. With the Cubs he pitched in three games and didn’t win any of them. His final lifetime ERA is north of seven.
~Hugh Nicol 1858 (White Stockings 1881-1882)
Hugh was born in the UK, and came to America as a youngster. He played two seasons for the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) as an outfielder and a second baseman. He wasn’t a very good hitter in Chicago (.204 and .199). He later played for St. Louis and Cincinnati.
~Joe Niekro 1944 (Cubs 1967-1969)
His brother Phil was already a star pitcher for the Braves when Joe Niekro drafted in the third round by the Cubs in 1966. In his rookie season in Chicago (1967), Joe won 10 games. He won 14 games for the Cubs in 1968, but manager Leo Durocher, never very good with young players, seemed to lose faith in him. Leo wasn’t alone in that assessment. Niekro’s ERA was a little high (for that pitchers era) at 4.32, he was far from overpowering (only 65 strikeouts in 177 innings), and his control was a little shaky. When the Cubs had a chance to get veteran Dick Selma early in the 1969 season, they didn’t hesitate to include Joe Niekro in the deal. Selma won ten games for the Cubs that season, and really connected with the Bleacher Bums. It looked like the Cubs had made a pretty good deal, even though Selma was traded away the following season. Niekro bounced around the bullpens of Detroit and Atlanta for awhile, never really making much of a name for himself. But while he was with the Braves, he finally perfected the knuckleball that had been the secret to his brother’s success, and his career really took off. The Astros put him in their rotation in 1977, and for the next eight seasons he averaged more than 15 wins a year, including back-to-back 20 win seasons in 1979 and 1980. By the time his career was over after the 1988 season, Joe Niekro had 221 career victories. Only 24 of those came for the team that drafted him and brought him to the majors; the Chicago Cubs. (Photo: Topps 1969 Baseball Card)
He got caught doctoring a baseball once, and appeared on Letterman’s show to have fun with his own 10-game suspension…
~Jose Nieves 1975 (Cubs 1998-2000)
Nieves was a backup infielder for three seasons, backing up Mickey Morandini and Eric Young at second base, Jose Hernandez and Ricky Guterrez at shortstop, and Gary Gaetti and Willie Greene at third base. He later also played for the Angels.
~Al Nipper 1959 (Cubs 1988)
Sure the Cubs gave up one of the all-time greatest relief pitchers (Lee Smith) to get him, and sure Al only had 2 wins and walked more batters than he struck out in 1988, but there’s no getting around the fact that Nipper had a killer mustache. That’s just a fact. The Cubs released him during spring training of 1989. (Photo: Fleer 1988 Baseball Card)
~Paul Noce 1959 (Cubs 1987)
Noce was a middle infielder who was called into service in 1987 mainly because of an injury to shortstop Shawon Dunston. Noce got the most extensive playing time of his big league career (his only season with the Cubs), hitting .228 in nearly 200 plate appearances. He spent the next few seasons in the minors before reemerging briefly with the Reds in 1991.
~Dickie Noles 1956 (Cubs 1982-1984, 1987)
He was one of Dallas Green’s favorites, and the Cubs got him from the Phillies along with Keith Moreland shortly after Green arrived in Chicago. Noles would have gotten along great with the 1930 Cubs, Hack Wilson and Pat Malone. He was a drinker and a brawler, and was arrested after doing both in Cincinnati April of 1983. Dickie not only got into a fight with another tavern patron, he fought the bouncer, and he fought the cop who came to arrest him. Noles had an obvious alcohol problem, but unlike the Cubs from the 30s, Noles got treatment. He served 14 days of his 30 day sentence in alcohol rehab. Green traded Dickie the next season for two minor leaguers who never made it to the majors, but Dallas always had a soft spot for the former Phillie. In 1987 he signed him again. In one of the most unusual moves in baseball history, Noles was traded later that same season to the Tigers for a player to be named later. That player turned out to be Dickie Noles himself. Dickie remains the only person in major league history to be traded for himself. (Photo: 1987 Topps Baseball Card)
~Pete Noonan 1881 (Cubs 1906)
Pete played five games for the winningest team in baseball history (the 1906 Cubs) before being traded midseason for pitcher Jack Taylor. The catcher played the rest of his career for the St. Louis Cardinals.
~Wayne Nordhagen 1948 (Cubs 1983)
Wayne had his biggest success on the south side of Chicago as a member of the White Sox. He hit over .300 for the South Side Hitmen and slugged 15 homers one year. By the time he came to the north side, he had made stops in Toronto and Pittsburgh and didn’t have much left in the tank. His final big league at bats came for the Cubs in 1983. He hit .143 in 35 at bats before the Cubs released him. Nordhagen’s nephew is former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar.
~Irv Noren 1924 (Cubs 1959-1960)
Noren had a good big-league career that included an all-star appearance with the Yankees in 1954. By the time he came to the Cubs in 1959, Irv was mostly a backup outfielder. He hit over .300 in his first season in Chicago, but got off to a slow start in 1960 and was let go in May. He finished the year with the Dodgers and retired after the season.
~Fred Norman 1942 (Cubs 1964-1967)
He was one of their bright young prospects in the mid-60s, but the 5’8″ screwball expert was traded to the Dodgers in 1967. Norman finally came into his own in the 1970s with the Cincinnati Reds. He was part of the rotation for two consecutive World Series champions (1975, 1976); the immortal Big Red Machine. In his big league career Fred Norman won 104 games. Zero of those came for the Chicago Cubs. (Photo: Topps 1965 Baseball Card)
~Ted Norstrom (Cubs Song)
Ted specializes in songs about the Cubs, but this particular song was inspired by this very website. Thanks, Ted.
~Bill North 1948 (Cubs 1971-1972)
It isn’t that difficult to understand what the Cubs were thinking on November 21, 1972. They were coming off four consecutive seasons where the pitching faltered at the end of the year. Cubs management believed that a better bullpen would save their starters, and in turn, preserve their chances to compete into September. Meanwhile, they had a speedster named Billy North just promoted from their minor league system and nowhere to play him. With Billy Williams entrenched in left field, Jose Cardenal in right, and former #1 draft choice Rick Monday in centerfield, the Cubs thought they could afford to give up their talented young centerfielder Billy North. So they traded another potential superstar speedster. Unlike Lou Brock, who would torment the Cubs for a full decade, Billy North was traded somewhere he couldn’t hurt them: Oakland. The only problem with this scenario, of course, is what they got in return. The Cubs traded one of their rare home-grown position players to the A’s for Bob Locker, a washed up relief pitcher. North became the leadoff hitter for the World Series champs, igniting one of the best lineups in baseball history. Locker was traded a year and a half later for Horacio Pina. Remember him? We don’t either.
~Ron Northey 1920 (Cubs 1950, 1952)
Ron played 12 seasons in the big leagues and had a couple of very good seasons for the Phillies (before the war) and the Cardinals before joining the Cubs. The Cubs acquired him in June 1954 for Bob Scheffing. He played quite a bit of right field the second half of that season, splitting time with Bob Borkowski. Northey went into coaching after his playing days. He was on Danny Murtaugh’s staff in Pittsburgh when he died unexpectely in 1970 at the age of 50.
~Phil Norton 1976 (Cubs 2000-2003)
Norton was a 10th round draft choice of the Cubs in 1996, who scratched and clawed his way up to the big leagues by the fall of 2000. He appeared in two games for the Cubs and was hit pretty hard. The following year he got hurt in the minors, and missed the entire following season because of an arm injury, but he returned to get one last cup of coffee with the Cubs in 2003. He later got a more extensive shot with the Reds.
~Don Nottebart 1936 (Cubs 1969)
He pitched for five teams and even had a no-hitter in 1963 for the Colt 45s, but Nottebart only got into 16 games with the Cubs in 1969. He tore a muscle in his arm, and his career was over. The last hitter he faced in his big league career was Roberto Clemente.
~Lou Novikoff 1915 (Cubs 1941-1944)
Lou was known as “The Mad Russian”. He was born to Russian immigrant parents in Arizona, so the second half of his nickname is obvious.The “mad” part came from his eccentric proclivities. He had a colorful past before joining the Cubs, working as a harmonica player, a carnival strongman, and a striptease performer. Novikoff was a legend in the minor leagues. His minor league roommate said of Lou: “I roomed with Lou’s clothing. I don’t know what he did or where he went. I know he was often coming in when I was getting up.” The Mad Russian became a wartime Cubs fill-in (1941-1944) and an entertaining eccentric. He said he feared touching Wrigley’s ivy-covered walls because he thought ivy was poisonous. He also claimed the foul lines were crooked. He once stole third with the bases loaded because, he said, “I got such a good jump on the pitcher.” He had a pet Russian wolfhound, which he only fed caviar. Novikoff could hit (he hit .300 twice), but was a butcher in the outfield. His well publicized difficulties with any ball hit near him (one local writer described his fielding as “wrestling a ball to the ground”) ended his Cubs career in 1944. The Phillies gave him one more shot in 1946, but that was it for his very colorful major league career. (Photo: 1943 MP & Co Baseball Card)
~Roberto Novoa 1979 (Cubs 2005-2006)
The Cubs acquired Roberto in the trade that sent Kyle Farnsworth to the Detroit Tigers. Novoa was a righthanded relief pitcher who was used pretty frequently by manager Dusty Baker in 2005 and 2006 (over 100 appearances). He was a big man with a lively arm, but he allowed too many baserunners to be effective in late inning situations. In his last season with the Cubs he also had trouble with the longball. In 76 innings, he gave up 15 dingers. That turned out to be his last season in the big leagues as well. He hurt his shoulder in 2007.
~Rube Novotney 1924 (Cubs 1949)
Novotney was a University of Illinois product who got one short cup of coffee with the Cubs in 1949. He was a backup catcher who appeared in 22 games. He hit .269 in his limited appearances. Rube also played nine seasons in the minor leagues.
~Jose Nunez 1964 (Cubs 1990)
Jose started his professional career in the American League with the Blue Jays, so he wasn’t accustomed to batting. He was more than just a novice. He literally had no idea what he was he doing. Sports Illustrated wrote about his first spring training at-bat in 1988…
Jose Nunez stepped in against the Phillies’ Kevin Gross in an exhibition game in Clearwater, Fla. Before Gross could throw a pitch, the third base ump motioned for Nunez to take off his warmup jacket. Then Nunez returned to the lefthanded-batter’s box and was told by plate ump Dave Pallone that he was wearing a righty’s helmet—the earflap covered his left ear rather than his right, which faced the pitcher. So Nunez turned the helmet around on his head and wore it catcher-style. No, no, said Pallone, get a lefty’s helmet. No, no, said Nunez, who moved across the plate to bat righthanded. When Gross began his delivery he saw Nunez bent over the plate, looking back into catcher Lance Parrish’s glove. “What are you doing?” asked Parrish. “I want to see the signs,” said Nunez. “O.K., what pitch do you want?” “Fastball.” A fastball it was, and Nunez lined it foul. He turned to Parrish and said, “Could you make that a changeup instead?” At that, Pallone doubled over in laughter, and Gross needed a few minutes to compose himself. Finally, on a 2-2 count, Nunez grounded out to short.
He got his first big league at-bat with the Cubs in 1990. It wasn’t quite as embarrassing, but it certainly didn’t lead to a hit. In his 15 big league at-bats, he got one hit, and one walk. Of course, he was a pitcher, so he would forever be judged by his pitching performance. That didn’t go much better. He appeared in 21 games for the Cubs, pitched 60.2 innings, and posted a whopping 6.53 ERA.
~Rich Nye 1944 (Cubs 1966-1969)
The tall (6’4″) righthander’s best season was 1967. He won 13 games for the Cubs (including seven complete games) while posting an ERA of 3.20. He remained in the Cubs rotation in 1968, although he only won 7 games. By his last Cubs season (1969), he was mostly used as a reliever. He later pitched for the Cardinals and the Expos. Nye was always one of the brightest players in baseball, and proved it after his playing career was over. He intially worked as a civil engineer, before going back to college (University of Illinois) and becoming a veterinarian.