Every Cub Ever (V)

    By Rick Kaempfer
    Jan 16th, 2015

    ~Mike Vail 1951 (Cubs 1978-1980)
    The Cubs acquired Vail in the trade that sent Tarzan Wallis to the Indians. Vail was a talented hitter who hit well over .300 in his time with the Cubs, but his manager Herman Franks considered him to be a bit of a complainer. Nevertheless, Vail got the most playing time of his 10-year big league career in Chicago. After the 1980 season they traded him to the Reds for third baseman Hector Cruz. (Photo: Topps 1979 Baseball Card)

    ~Chris Valaika 1985 (Cubs 2014)
    The unheralded infielder had cups of coffee with the Reds and Marlins before the Cubs took a chance on him in 2014. He played quite a bit down the stretch after Anthony Rizzo was injured. Valaika played all four infield positions for the Cubs and hit .231.

    ~Luis Valbuena 1985 (Cubs 2012–2014)
    Valbuena was picked up the Cubs after the Blue Jays released him at the end of spring training in 2012, and has been a pleasant surprise. The Venezuelan infielder has always had a good glove, but over the past few seasons he has also discovered a power stroke. He hit 16 homers in 2014. The Cubs traded Luis to the Astros in January 2015 for Dexter Fowler. (Luis passed away in a car accident in Venezuela in December 2018)

    From the Just One Bad Century t-shirt collection…

    ~Pedro Valdes 1973 (Cubs 1996, 1998)
    Pedro got two brief shots with the Cubs at the big league level after turning in some pretty strong numbers in the minors. He hit over 300 homers in the minors, Mexican league, and Japanese league (combined), but in his two stints with the Cubs, the first baseman didn’t hit a single one.

    ~Ismael Valdez 1973 (Cubs 2000)
    The Cubs acquired the former 15-game winner along with Eric Young, and immediately placed him in the starting rotation. Unfortunately for the Cubs, Valdez developed blister problems and had a hard time staying healthy. He won a grand total of two games in Chicago. Before the season was over, they traded him back to the Dodgers. He later pitched for the Angels, Rangers, Mariners, Padres and Marlins. He won 104 big league games, but he also lost 105. He was known as “The Rocket”.

    ~Vito Valentinetti 1928 (Cubs 1956-1957)
    Vito was a righthanded reliever who pitched for the Cubs. He won six games and saved another in his first full big league season (1956), but was traded to the Dodgers for Don Elston the following May. The New York native never played for Brooklyn. He finished his career with the Washington Senators in 1959.

    ~Jermaine Van Buren 1980 (Cubs 2005)
    Jermaine was a righthanded reliever who pitched 11 seasons in the minors, but he did get a brief cup of coffee with the Cubs in 2005. He pitched in six games, but had trouble harnessing his command. The Cubs sold him to the Red Sox after the season, and he did get one more (even less successful) chance with Boston the following year.

    ~Hy Vandenberg 1906 (Cubs 1944-1945)
    Vandenberg had been a fringe big league pitcher in the years before the war, pitching mainly in September for teams out of the pennant chase. He got a cup of coffee in 1935 with the Boston Red Sox (and was pounded), and then 1937-1940 with the Giants (and was pounded in each season). With the wartime Cubs of 1944, however, Vandenberg won seven games and pitched quite well in relief. Vandenberg had another good season in 1945, and pitched brilliantly in relief during the World Series (3 appearances, 6 innings, only one hit allowed). After that, he never pitched in the big leagues again.

    ~Johnny Vander Meer 1914 (Cubs 1950-1951)
    He was a four time all-star, three time strikeout king, and world famous for throwing back-to-back no-hitters. (The last out in that second no-hitter? Leo Durocher). His record of 21 straight hitless innings will probably never be beaten. Johnny also struck out six batters in the 1943 All-Star Game. As you might have guessed, all of that happened before he arrived in Chicago. By the time he joined the Cubs in 1950, he was toast. The Cubs tried him as a starter, and he couldn’t do it anymore, so they used him as a closer—asking him to finish 17 games. Unfortunately, he walked more men than he struck out, gave up ten home runs in only 73 innings, and managed to record only one save. The Cubs released him in April of 1951. (Photo: 1949 Bowman Baseball Card)

    Johnny is in this old “To Tell A Secret” show….

    ~George Van Haltren 1866 (White Stockings 1887-1889)
    George was a pitcher his first few seaons, but when he was moved to leftfield in 1889, he really started to shine. He became one of the best leadoff men of his era. Unfortunately, he was also one of the players that left Chicago in the player revolt of 1890 to join the player’s league. He returned to the National League after the league folded, but not to Chicago. Van Haltren hit over .300 nine seasons in a row (for Pittsburgh and the New York Giants). He was 37 years old when his career ended in 1902 after he suffered a terrible ankle injury. “Rip” as he was called, received some Hall of Fame votes when the hall was created in 1936, but never enough to be enshrined. Surely if anyone officially creates a mustache hall of fame, Van Haltren will be inducted there.

    ~Todd Van Poppel 1971 (Cubs 2000-2001)
    The former first rounder hadn’t really put it together in his previous stops in Oakland, Detroit, Texas or Pittsburgh. In fact, he had spent the entire previous season in the minors with the Pirates. But Van Poppel turned himself into a pretty good relief pitcher in his stint with the Cubs. Todd appeared in over 100 games, winning eight and saving two, with a very respectable ERA. In fact, he parlayed that Cubs stint into a big free agent contract with the Rangers.

    ~Ben VanRyn 1971 (Cubs 1998)
    Ben started the 1998 season with the Cubs, but after only nine appearances, the lefthanded reliever was traded to the San Diego Padres for Don Wengert. He pitched for four teams in the big leagues, including the Angels and the Blue Jays.

    ~Andy Varga 1930 (Cubs 1950-1951)
    Andy was a Chicago boy (Lane Tech High School) who made it to the big leagues at the tender age of 19. The lefthander only got into a few games over two September call ups with the Cubs, and had command issues. By the time he turned 23, he was out of baseball.

    ~Gary Varsho 1961 (Cubs 1988-1990)
    Varsho came up through the Cubs system and got limited playing time as a backup outfielder in parts of three seasons. He had a little more success with his next team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, and hit his first career homer for them against the Cubs in Wrigley Field. After his playing days, he went into coaching and was very briefly (two games), the interim manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He’s currently working for the Angels.

    ~Anthony Varvaro 1984 (Cubs 2015)
    The Cubs picked up the right-handed reliever after he was waived by Boston early in the 2015 season. Before going to Boston, Anthony had two stellar seasons as a reliever with the Atlanta Braves (2013-2014) and also pitched briefly for the Mariners.

    ~Hippo Vaughn 1888 (Cubs 1913-1921)
    Hippo Vaughn got his nickname because of his size (he was about the same size as Rick Reuschel). In 1917 he became famous for the double no-hitter game, when Vaughn pitched a no-hitter for nine innings and lost the game to another pitcher throwing a no-hitter, Fred Toney of the Reds. The following season Hippo was the star of the 1918 pennant winners (and won the pitching triple crown that year). The 1919 Black Sox may have believed that the 1918 Cubs threw that World Series, but if they did, no one suspected Hippo Vaughn was part of it. He started three games in that series, and although he was only 1-2, his ERA was 1.00 and he struck out 17 batters. Hippo won the ERA title the following year too, and was a 20-game winner 5 times, a 19-game winner once and a 17-game winner another time in his nine seasons with the Cubs. During the years 1914-1920 he was one of the best pitchers in the entire National League. Hippo’s career ended in 1921 when manager Johnny Evers suspended him for thirty days for insubordination, and Commissioner Landis suspended him indefinitely for signing a contract to play semi-pro ball. Vaughn was also stabbed by his father-in-law the same year…not a good year for Hippo. He was reinstated by Commissioner Landis after 8 years of ineligibility in 1930, and went to spring training with the team in 1931 but failed to make the team at age 43.

    ~Vince Vaughn 1970 (Cubs fan 1970-present)
    He was raised in suburban Buffalo Grove and Lake Forest, and during his formative childhood years was infected with the Cubs virus. Vaughn became a movie star when the film “Swingers” came out, and followed that up with comedy classics like “Old School,” “Dodgeball,” and “The Wedding Crashers.” In 2005-2006, he co-wrote, produced, and starred in the movie “The Break Up” (with Jennifer Aniston) and insisted that it be filmed in Chicago. The opening scene in the film actually takes place at Wrigley Field. During the filming, Vaughn and Aniston became an item, and People Magazine reported that they liked to hang out at Wrigley Field together…

    “Now when Vaughn visits home, he is more likely to catch a Cubs game with Aniston, as they did on Memorial Day, than hit the singles’ scene. Says Tim Juliusson, owner of the Holiday Club, where Vaughn took Aniston last summer: “They’re in couples-mode now.”

    That didn’t last long, but his love affair with the Cubs and Chicago remains strong. Whenever he comes back home to Chicago, he’s sure to visit Wrigley Field to watch his favorite team play. He still sings at Take Me Out to the Ballgame at least once a year. He may be a Hollywood superstar, but Vince Vaughn will also forever be what he was growing up in Buffalo Grove and Lake Forest. A Cubs fan.

    ~Eddie Vedder (Cubs fan 1964-present)
    Eddie Vedder was born in Evanston Illinois. Even though his family moved out to San Diego in the mid-70s, he always followed the Cubs. In 2007, he got to live out his dream by training with the team at Wrigley. Vedder warmed up with Cubs star Kerry Wood before the game and then threw out the ceremonial first pitch, wearing one of Wood’s jerseys. He returned later in the game to sing Take Me Out To The Ball Game during the seventh inning stretch – the fourth time he had that honor since performing the song on Independence Day in 1998. The Pearl Jam frontman was also asked to pen a new post-game tune by his childhood baseball hero, Ernie Banks, and he did. The song is called “All the Way” and it became a big hit on Chicago radio stations during the stretch run of the 2008 season. During the Cubs World Series run of 2016, Eddie was a constant presence. He was there for all the big wins and helped the team celebrate their World Series win. One day they went all the way, oh, one day they went all the way.

    Bill Veeck Sr. 1876 (Cubs president 1917-1933)
    William Veeck Sr. was a sportswriter for Chicago’s American writing under the pseudonym Bill Bailey when new Cubs owner William Wrigley invited him over for dinner one night in 1917. Wrigley was a fan–he had read Bailey’s articles and thought that he had some baseball insight. “What’s wrong with the Cubs?” Wrigley asked him that night. “My infant son can throw the ball further than your team can hit,” Veeck responded. “If you’re so smart,” Wrigley said, “Why don’t you run the club?” So he did. He was hired as vice president in 1917, and was promoted to president in 1918.

    Veeck ran the Cubs every year of William Wrigley’s ownership, and he brought the team to three National League pennants (1918, 1929, 1932). But he also did something that sustained the Cubs for many many years. He made them into a popular attraction. Veeck was the one that urged Wrigley to broadcast the games on the radio, a pioneering move that turned out to be brilliant. The league was against the idea and tried to stop it, but Wrigley and Veeck insisted—and the league finally relented. The first broadcast was in 1924. By 1925, the Cubs owned Chicago once again. But Veeck wasn’t just a great marketer, he also brought in some of the biggest names in Cubs history; Hack Wilson, Charlie Grimm, Kiki Cuyler, Riggs Stephenson, Charlie Root, and Guy Bush. When William Wrigley died in 1932, that was a big blow to the team, but it was an even bigger blow to the Cubs when Veeck Sr. died the following year(of leukemia). With a great nucleus of players (a nucleus strong enough to win pennants in 1935 and 1938), his eye for talent, and knack for promotion, Veeck’s continued presence would have done wonders during the early reign of William Wrigley’s son: PK Wrigley. As it turned out, the son had no idea what he was doing. He hired a former fish salesman to run the team after Veeck’s death. By the late 30s as Veeck’s players aged, the Cubs began to get ripped off by every team in the league. The 1941 Dodgers won the pennant with seven ex-Cubs. The Cardinals won the pennant several times with the players they acquired in the Dizzy Dean trade. And the Cubs? Well, suffice it to say they could have used the continued guiding hand of William Veeck Sr.

    ~Bill Veeck Jr. 1914 (Cubs front office/fan)
    His father (Bill Veeck Sr.) was the President of the Chicago Cubs, and Bill Jr. idolized his dad. The elder Veeck was probably the greatest innovator of his time. He was the first man to bring Ladies Day to the big leagues, and was the first to realize how important it was to broadcast the games on the radio (The Cubs were the first team to do so). While other teams were afraid of giving away the product for free–Veeck Sr. saw it for what is was–a free 3 hour commercial for the team and the ballpark. At the age of 11, young Bill started helping out his dad at the ballpark. He worked on the grounds crew, as an office boy, and a vendor. As a fifteen year old kid, he was taking care of the Ladies’ Day passes at Wrigley Field by day, and was tagging along with baseball hero Hack Wilson to the speakeasies in Cicero by night. “With a father who ran a ball club, my boyhood was the kind most kids dream about,” Veeck says in his autobiography. It’s no wonder that Wrigley Field meant so much to him. Young Bill wasn’t only hanging out with famous ballplayers like Wilson, Grover Cleveland Alexander, and Charlie Grimm, he really felt like he was part of the team. After his father died in 1933, Veeck quit college to work for the Cubs full-time. He eventually rose to the job of Treasurer, but when he wasn’t given the job of President a few years later, he moved on (in 1941). His most lasting accomplishment at Wrigley Field is something that still draws fans into the ballpark seventy years later…the ivy on the walls. Veeck was the one that planted the ivy in 1937. In his final years Veeck re-adopted the Chicago Cubs. He was a frequent sight at Wrigley Field, often found sitting in the bleachers without a shirt. He owned several different teams in his long baseball career (The Browns, the White Sox, the Indians, and the Brewers), but when he could go to any ballpark in the big leagues in any town in America, there was only one ballpark he came to again and again as a fan. He came home to his favorite place; the place of his childhood dreams, Wrigley Field.

    ~Jose Veras 1980 (Cubs 2014)
    The Cubs signed Veras to be their closer, but it became obvious early on that he couldn’t handle the job. In 12 appearances his ERA was over 8. Then he got hurt. When he returned to the roster the Cubs cut him loose.

    ~Emil Verban 1915 (Cubs 1948-1950)
    Verban played second base for the Cubs. They called him the antelope because of his speed, but by the time Verban played for the Cubs, he wasn’t exactly tearing up the basepaths. In his three seasons with the Cubs he stole a total of seven bases. To say that Verban wasn’t exactly known for his power would be an understatement. The Antelope had 2911 career at-bats, and hit exactly one home run. Luckily for the Cubs, it came while he was wearing a Cubs uniform. He hit it against Johnny Vander Meer (the man who once threw consecutive no-hitters) on September 6th, 1948. Verban’s name lives on thanks to the Emil Verban Society, formed in 1975 by a group of Washington based Cubs fans. Among the original six members: Chief of Staff for President Gerald Ford, Dick Cheney. Later members included President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Hillary Clinton. The Antelope passed away during the Cubs playoff season of 1989. He was 72. (Photo: 1949 Bowman Baseball Card)

    ~Dave Veres 1966 (Cubs 2003)
    Veres was an excellent reliever with the Cardinals. He saved 60 games over a two-year period. But by the time he came to the Cubs, he was clearly a shell of his former self. In the seventh inning of Game 7 of the NLCS against the Marlins, the Cubs were only down by a run. Matt Clement was available in the pen, but Dusty Baker opted to bring in Veres–despite the fact that Veres had been routinely rocked. Veres immediately gave up a two-run double, and the Marlins broke open the game. It was the last appearance of his big league career, and the last time the Cubs were within sniffing distance of the World Series.

    ~Randy Veres 1965 (Cubs 1994)
    Randy wasn’t with the Cubs very long, but still makes it on the all-embarrassing Cubs injuries list. He hurt his hand pounding on the wall of his hotel room, trying to get the people next door to make less noise. He pitched in ten games for the Cubs in the strike season of 1994 and posted an ERA of 5.59. He also pitched for Milwaukee, Florida, Detroit, and Kansas City.

    ~Joe Vernon 1889 (Cubs 1912)
    If you want to go back in time to see Joe Vernon pitch, set the wayback machine for July 20, 1912 and go to West Side Grounds in Chicago. He pitched the final four innings of a humiliating blowout to the Philadelphia Phillies. Grover Cleveland Alexander and the Phillies won the game 14-2. Joe gave up five of those runs. It was the only appearance of his big league career.

    ~Tom Veryzer 1953 (Cubs 1983-1984)
    In many ways Veryzer was the prototypical journeyman infielder, but he did have a few career highlights. He broke up a Ken Holtzman no-hitter with two outs in the ninth inning, and was named to the All-Rookie team as a Detroit Tiger in 1975. With the Cubs he was a backup to both Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa during their ill-fated 1984 season. He made the post-season roster and got into a few of the games as a late-game defensive replacement. That was his last hurrah in the big leagues.

    ~Ronnie Woo Woo Vickers (Cubs fan 1947-present)
    Here’s our video with Ronnie Woo Woo…

    Tom Vickery 1867 (Colts 1891)
    Vinegar Tom, as he was known, pitched in Chicago for one year and went 6-5 in 14 appearances. He threw complete games in 7 of his 12 starts, but had a 4.07 ERA.

    Carlos Villanueva 1983 (Cubs 2013-2014)
    Carlos was signed as a free agent after pitching seven big league seasons in Milwaukee and Toronto. He was a very valuable pitcher for the Cubs for two seasons, filling every conceivable role. Carlos started 20 games, finished 20 games, won 12, and saved 2. He also sported the best mustache on the club. The Cubs allowed him to leave via free agency after the 2014 season. (Photo: Topps 2014 Baseball Card)

    ~Hector Villanueva 1964 (Cubs 1990-1992)
    Unlike most .230-hitting bad-fielding catchers, Hector managed to become a crowd favorite at Wrigley Field. Many fans saw themselves in Hector’s Ruthian physique. Others appreciated his “swing for the fences on every swing” approach to hitting. Others liked the way he flopped after wild pitches, his mammoth body sending plumes of dust into the air every time he made contact with the ground. The big Puerto Rican clubbed 22 homers in his three seasons with the Cubs. (Photo: Topps 1991 Baseball Card)

    ~Josh Vitters 1989 (Cubs 2012)
    Vitters was the third overall pick in the 2007 draft, behind only David Price and Mike Moustakas, so naturally, the expectations were very high for him. When you get picked ahead of the likes of Matt Wieters, Madison Bumgarner, Jason Heyward, Devin Mesoraco (all chosen in the next few picks), that’s to be expected. Vitters’ progress has been agonizingly slow, however. He didn’t make it to the big leagues until 2012, and when he did, it was clear that despite a good season at AAA, he wasn’t quite ready for the big time. He hit only .121 in over a hundred plate appearances, and hasn’t been back up to the big leagues since.

    ~Arodys Vizcaino 1990 (Cubs 2014)
    Vizcaino was damaged goods when the Cubs acquired him in the trade that sent Reed Johnson and Paul Maholm to the Braves in 2012. He was coming off Tommy John surgery. Arodys rehabbed for two seasons before coming back in 2014. He spent most of the season in the Cubs minor league system, but was brought up for a cup of coffee in September of 2014. The Cubs traded him back to the Braves after the season.

    ~Jose Vizcaino 1968 (Cubs 1991-1993)
    Jose had a long and impressive big league career. For most of his 18 seasons he was a valuable backup infielder, but with the Cubs he got a shot as a starter. In 1993 he spent the year as the Cubs starting shortstop, and posted some of the best numbers of his career. He hit .287, knocked in 54 runs, and stole 12 bases. After the season the Cubs traded him to the New York Mets for Anthony Young. Jose got his one and only shot at the World Series with the Astros in 2005. He retired the following season.

    ~Luis Vizcaino 1974 (Cubs 2009)
    The Cubs got Vizcaino from the Rockies for Jason Marquis before the 2009 season, but Luis barely made it to May. The righthanded reliever appeared in four games for Cubs (and actually pitched pretty well–0.00 ERA), but was released on May 3. He finished that season–the last of his 11 big league seasons–with the Indians.

    ~Otto Vogel 1899 (Cubs 1923-1924)
    Otto was a star in college at the University of Illinois, known as the Babe Ruth of the Big Ten. (He also starred in football). The Cubs sent him right to the big leagues, where he didn’t quite live up to the Babe Ruth name. He fell just 713 homers short of the Babe. His one homer was hit in July of 1923. After his playing career he became the head coach at the University of Iowa. He held that job for 39 years.

    ~Chris Volstad 1986 (Cubs 2012)
    Volstad was acquired in exchange for clubhouse cancer Carlos Zambrano. The new regime led by Theo Epstein didn’t want Zambrano’s attitude (and contract) around, so it seemed like a good deal at the time. Volstad had been a first round draft choice and 12-game winner for the Marlins. But he was legendarily awful with the Cubs. His record (3-12) and ERA (6.31) don’t even tell the story of how bad he was for the Cubs. He also allowed sixteen homers (in just over a hundred innings), walked almost as many as he struck out, and gave up 137 hits. After the season the Cubs let him go.

    ~Bill Voiselle 1919 (Cubs 1950)
    The Cubs got the former all-star fireballer from the Braves in the trade that sent Gene Mauch to Boston. Unfortunately, Voiselle was a shell of his former all-star self. He went 0-4, with a 5.79 ERA in 19 games.

    ~John Vukovich 1947 (Cubs manager 1986)
    Vukovich had a ten year career in the big leagues as a backup infielder (mostly for the Phillies), but he also became a Cubs coach after his playing career ended. He was part of the Phillies contingent brought in by Dallas Green. For two days he was even the manager of the team. After Dallas Green fired Jim Frey and before Gene Michael took over, Vukovich was the interim manager for two days. The Cubs won one and lost one.

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