~Tsuyoshi Wada 1981 (Cubs 2014-2015)
He was a 33-year-old rookie when he came up to the big leagues after an impressive season in Iowa, but Wada had lots of experience in his native Japan. Dr. K, as he is known, pitched well for the Cubs in 13 starts. In 2015 he hurt his arm and only appeared in eight games.
~Jason Waddell 1981 (Cubs 2009)
After languishing for eight seasons in the San Francisco minor league system, Waddell finally got his shot at the big leagues with the Cubs in 2009 at the age of 28. He appeared in a grand total of three games, and registered a 5.40 ERA in 1.2 innings before being sent back down to the minors. 2011 was his last season in organized baseball.
~Rube Waddell 1876 (Orphans 1901)
Rube was a common nickname for hayseeds and farmboys, and Rube Waddell was definitely that. He only pitched one season for the Cubs (before they were even called that) in 1901, and was only a .500 pitcher that season, but he blossomed as a pitcher the next season when he moved over to the upstart American League. He won 20 games or more four years in a row in the American League and was the most dominating strikeout pitcher of his era. He led the league in strikeouts for six years in a row. His best season was probably 1904. While pitching for the Philadelphia A’s, he struck out 349 batters in 383 innings pitched. But despite his Hall of Fame career (he was inducted to the hall in 1946), Rube was known even more for his off-the-field antics–which were considered completely bizarre. For instance, he had a bad habit of leaving the dugout in the middle of games to follow passing fire trucks to fires. He also performed as an alligator wrestler in the off-season. And sadly, he had a horrible alcohol problem. He reportedly spent his entire first signing bonus on a drinking binge. As you might expect, his odd behavior and excessive drinking led to constant battles with his managers and teammates. His A’s teammates hated him so much, they forced management to trade him to St. Louis in early 1908, even though he was the by far the best pitcher on the staff. Rube was only 37 years old when he passed away in 1914. (PHoto: 1909 Tobacco Card)
~Ben Wade 1922 (Cubs 1948)
Ben made his big league debut as a Cub, but only appeared in two games for Chicago. He got more time pitching for Brooklyn in the early 50s. He pitched 16 seasons in the minor leagues.
~Gale Wade 1929 (Cubs 1955-1956)
Wade was a backup centerfielder for the Cubs in the mid-50s. He didn’t get a lot of opportunities, playing in only 19 games over two seasons. His lifetime average in the big leagues was only .133. Wade did play 15 years in the minor leagues, however, and slugged a hundred home runs.
~Eddie Waitkus 1919 (Cubs 1941-1948)
Eddie Waikus was a fresh faced young first baseman for the Cubs who joined the Cubs briefly in 1941 before being drafted into the military. He returned for the 1946 season as a highly decorated military hero (four battle stars) and promptly took over the starting job, batting over .300 that year. Waitkus was known for his great defense, his smoking line-drives, and his left-handed bat. The pinnacle of his Cubs career came in 1948, when he made the all-star team. After the 1948 season the Cubs decided they needed to boost their pitching staff, so they traded the popular Waitkus to the Phillies for two aging starting pitchers (Dutch Leonard and Monk Dubiel). Many people in Chicago were very upset by that trade, but nobody was more upset than young Ruth Ann Steinhagen, who had pined for Waitkus since the 1941 season, when she was only 11 years old. She attended games whenever she could and kept an encyclopedic scrapbook of pictures and clippings of Waitkus. She heard that Eddie was Lithuanian, so she studied the language. Needless to say, 18-year-old Ruth Ann’s world was shattered when Waitkus was traded, and according to her mother, she “cried night and day” after the trade. Eddie had no idea who Ruth Ann was, but he would find out soon enough. He was hitting over .300 for Philadelphia, and was leading all NL first basemen in all-star game balloting when the Phillies came to Chicago on June 14, 1949 to play the Cubs at Wrigley Field. He must have felt vindicated when his Phillies trounced the team that traded him, 9-2. He had a celebratory dinner that night with his teammate Russ Meyer and Meyer’s parents and fiance.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary when they returned to the Edgewater Beach hotel around 11:00 that night. There was a note waiting for Eddie there, from a “Ruth Ann Burns,” a girl Eddie had been dating. The note simply said that Ruth Ann was staying in room 1297. Excited to see her, Eddie quickly went to room 1297 and knocked on the door. Instead of Ruth Ann Burns, however, another girl was waiting for him there. She claimed to be Ruth Ann’s friend. “Ruth Ann will be back in a few minutes,” the girl said, “why don’t you have a seat.” Thinking it was perfectly conceivable that the statuesque 6-foot brunette was a friend, Eddie took her up on the offer. He was sitting in a chair in room 1297 when Ruth Ann Steinhagen emerged from the closet holding a 22 caliber rifle, and said…”If I can’t have you, nobody can.” Then she shot him in the chest. As Eddie slumped to the ground in agony, Ruth Ann Steinhagen calmly picked up the phone and told the front desk that she had just shot Eddie Waitkus. That phone call probably saved his life. The bullet narrowly missed his heart, and miraculously missed all of his other major organs, but he surely would have bled to death. As it was, it took several hours in the operating room to successfully remove the bullet. When it came time to punish Ruth Ann Steinhagen, Eddie refused to push for a harsh sentence. He did not attend the trial, and never saw her again. When asked about her, he simply replied: “She had the coldest looking face I’ve ever seen.”
~Charlie Waitt 1853 (White Stockings 1877)
Charlie was a backup outfielder for the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) in their second season in the National League. He managed only four hits in 41 plate appearances. That .098 batting average wasn’t quite enough to keep him in Chicago. He later played for Baltimore and Philadelphia.
~Matt Walbeck 1969 (Cubs 1993)
The catcher was an eighth round draft pick by the Cubs. He eventually made it up to the big leagues in Chicago, although he didn’t get a lot of playing time. He started the 1993 season with the Cubs as the their backup catcher, but was sent down to the minors after only appearing in 11 games. After the season the Cubs traded Walbeck to Minnesota for Willie Banks. Matt caught for six big league teams in eleven seasons. He became a minor league manager after his playing days were over.
~Chico Walker 1958 (Cubs 1985-1987, 1991)
Chico was strictly a backup in his first stint with the Cubs, mainly in the outfield. When he returned to the team in 1991, he had reinvinted himself as a super-utility man. He played 2B, 3B and all three outfield positions and got the most extensive playing time of his 11-year big-league career. Chico hit .257, and stole 13 bases.
~Harry Walker 1916 (Cubs 1949)
Harry was an all-star with the Cardinals before the war, and came to the Cubs a few years after the war ended. The Cubs got him in a trade for their former crowd favorite Bill Nicholson. Harry didn’t work out in Chicago. He only hit one homer and was hitting .264 as a corner outfielder for the Cubs when they traded him to the Reds for Frank Baumholtz and Hank Sauer. The former anchored Wrigley’s centerfield for years, and the latter became an MVP for the Cubs. Walker’s brother Dixie also played in the big leagues, and is most remembered as the player who most vehemently protested Jackie Robinson’s promotion to the Dodgers in 1947.
~Mike Walker 1966 (Cubs 1995)
Walker was born in Chicago and eventually played for the Cubs as part of his major league journey. After washing out as a starter with the Indians, he was a reliever for the Cubs. In 42 games, he won one game, saved another, and posted a respectable 3.22 ERA. He became a free agent after the season and signed with the Phillies.
~Roy Walker 1893 (Cubs 1917-1918)
Roy, who was known as Dixie, was on the same pitching staff as Claude Hendrix (above). He started and relieved for the pennant winning 1918 Cubs, although he didn’t see any action in postseason. Dixie probably had his best season in the big leagues with the Cardinals in 1921, when he won 11 games. He also pitched for Cleveland.
~Rube Walker 1926 (Cubs 1948-1951)
May 23, 1948 was supposed to be Rube Walker’s big break. The young catcher had played in a few games as a late inning defensive replacement, including the day Jackie Robinson stole home against the Cubs at Wrigley (right in front of Rube), but he had never started a game for the Cubs before. The Cubs were in the midst of a miserable season, and they were playing a double header against the Boston Braves (in Boston). After losing the first game 8-5, Cubs manager Charlie Grimm penciled in Walker to start the second game; his first ever start. In the top of the first, Walker even got a chance to bat. He dug in, waited for the pitch from Braves pitcher Vern Bickford, and boom! The pitch hit him right in the noggin. He went down and remained down. Remember, this was in the era before batting helmets. Walker had to be carried off the field on a stretcher and was hospitalized with a concussion…before he even got to catch one pitch as a starting catcher. Unlike the more recent tragic story of Adam Greenberg, Walker did manage to return to the majors. It happened later that same season. He went on to have an eleven year major league career as a backup catcher, and even got a chance to play in the World Series for the 1956 Brooklyn Dodgers. After he retired, Rube became a pitching coach for the New York Mets. You might remember that young Mets staff he coached, beginning in 1968. Not sure if they ever amounted to anything. We don’t follow the Mets.
A round-about story about his brother (also nicknamed Rube) who was a Cubs coach, and his brother’s daughter…
~Todd Walker 1973 (Cubs 2004-2006)
Walker was a playoff star with the Boston Red Sox in 2003. He hit 5 homers in the ALCS that the Red Sox lost in seven games to the Yankees. The Cubs signed him as a free agent after that performance, and Walker had a few solid years with the Cubs. He hit 15 homers in his first year in Chicago, and followed that up with a .305 average the following year. In the midst of a horrible 2006 season (for the Cubs, not Walker), the team traded him to the Padres.
~William Walker (Cubs president 1934)
The Cubs were a powerhouse team in the late 20s and early 30s, and one of the reasons was the guiding hand of team president Bill Veeck. He had been a sportswriter when William Wrigley hired him to run the baseball operations, but he proved to be a quick learner and his Cubs teams were contenders every year. When Veeck died unexpectedly following the 1933 season, just after William Wrigley had died the previous year, the Cubs were suddenly rudderless. New owner Phillip Wrigley knew that he didn’t know anything about baseball, so he opted not to take over the team himself. Instead, he looked to one of the minority owners of the team, William Walker. The outspoken Walker hadn’t been allowed to contribute to any baseball decisions during the Wrigley/Veeck era, and was chomping at the bit to take over. Why hadn’t Veeck or the elder Wrigley listened to Walker? He wasn’t a baseball man. He was the owner of a wholesale seafood business. Walker didn’t last the year. It didn’t take long for the word to get out that the Cubs had a neophyte running their organization. One of his first trades is still known as one the worst trades in Cubs history. He traded slugger Dolph Camilli to the Phillies for Don Hurst. Camilli went on to hit over 200 home runs, made two all-star teams, and led the 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers to the World Series. He won the MVP that year too. Don Hurst, on the other hand, hit .199 and retired after the season. Walker was such a terrible team president that PK Wrigley was forced to buy him out just to get him to stop destroying the team. The man who succeeded Walker as team president, however, remains the worst team president in Cubs history. PK Wrigley himself. He remained in the job until the year he died (1977).
~Jack Wallace 1890 (Cubs 1915)
Wallace caught exactly two games for the Cubs in their last season at West Side Grounds. Both appearances came at the very end of the season, and both of them were games pitched by a man who had thrown a no-hitter earlier in his career. In the first game Wallace caught Jimmy Lavender’s 10th win of the season, and drove in a run. In his last game, he caught Lavender again–although this time it was a loss. He returned to his native Louisiana after the season, and finished out his playing days in the minor leagues down south.
~Ty Waller 1957 (Cubs 1981-1982)
He was born on the same day as Steve Lake (above), and made it to the big leagues before Lake, but didn’t last as long. Waller arrived in Chicago as part of the Bruce Sutter/Leon Durham trade, along with fellow third baseman Ken Reitz. He started the ’81 season in the minors, but was called up in June to help an incredibly bad Cubs team. Waller became a pretty good pinch hitter and bench player the rest of the way. He got three homers and 13 RBI in limited at bats. The Cubs traded him to the White Sox in 1982 for pitcher Reggie Patterson, and Ty didn’t make it back up to the big leagues again until he got a limited shot with the 1987 Astros. He retired from baseball following that season.
~Joe Wallis 1952 (Cubs 1975-1979)
Joe Wallis earned the nickname “Tarzan” because he was fond of cliff diving. He played parts of four seasons with the Cubs, playing all three outfield positions, but predominantly a very shallow centerfield. Tarzan didn’t hit much for average (lifetime .244), or power (16 career homers), and he didn’t have a lot of speed (7 stolen bases in 5 big league seasons), but he did have one thing that many of his teammates desired for themselves…a great nickname.
~Lee Walls 1933 (Cubs 1957-1959)
The Cubs acquired him (and Dale Long) from the Pirates for Gene Baker and Dee Fondy, and Walls had a couple of good years for the Cubs. In 1957 he hit for the cycle in a game against the Reds. In 1958 he had his best big league season and was named to the All-Star team.
~Les Walrond 1976 (Cubs 2006)
Les got a cup of coffee with the Cubs in 2006. He appeared in ten games, and because he couldn’t find his command (12 walks in 17 innings), he gave up a lot of runs. His earned run average with the Cubs was over 6. He also had a cup of coffee with the Royals (2003) and Phillies (2008).
~Tom Walsh 1885 (Cubs 1906)
Walsh was a member of the winningest team in MLB history, the 1906 Cubs, but just barely. (He did make it into the team picture, though. That’s him, second from left, in the front row.) Tom was a catcher, and got into exactly two games (one in August, and one in September). He was also given only one opportunity to hit. (He struck out.) Despite being only 21 years old, Walsh never played another game in the big leagues. According to Baseball Reference, he never played a game in the minor leagues either.
~Jerome Walton 1965 (Cubs 1989-1992)
Jerome burst onto the scene as a rookie in 1989 and immediately made his mark. The Cubs leadoff man stole 24 bases, hit .291, had a 30-game hitting streak, and was named the Rookie of the Year. He also led his team to the playoffs and hit .364 in the 1989 NLCS. Unfortunately, Jerome could never follow up that incredible opening act. The following year his average dipped, and then he started having injury problems. By 1992, the Cubs let Walton leave as a free agent. He played sparingly for the Angels, Reds, Braves, Orioles, and Rays before calling it a career. (Photo: 1990 Topps Baseball Card)
A future Cub allows Jerome to score on an error…
~Chris Ward 1949 (Cubs 1972-1974)
He only got one at bat in 1972, on September 10th. He pinch hit for Milt Pappas in the sixth inning of a game against the Phillies. He flew out to center against former Cubs fan favorite Dick Selma. (The Cubs won 5-3). In 1974 he got a much better chance. He got 137 at bats as a backup leftfielder/first baseman, but only hit .204.
~Daryle Ward 1975 (Cubs 2007-2008)
Ward was the most important pinch hitter on two consecutive playoff teams for the Cubs. He also played a little first base and left field, but when the chips were on the line, manager Lou Piniella looked down his bench for Daryle. He got a RBI pinch hit in both playoff series.
~Dick Ward 1909 (Cubs 1934)
He pitched three games in relief during May of the 1934 season for the Cubs. In six innings, he gave up nine hits, two walks, and two earned runs.
~Preston Ward 1927 (Cubs 1950-1953)
Ward was Cubs property for four seasons, but he was serving in the military during two of them (1951-1952). He was a first baseman for the Cubs in 1950, and was known as a pretty good glove man, but he didn’t hit like a first baseman. Ward was not blessed with a lot of power. In nine big league seasons, he hit a total of 50 homers. Respectable, yes. But not what you’d expect from your corner infielder. Ward’s best season in the big leagues was probably 1958, when he batted .284 and clubbed ten homers for the Indians and Athletics. (Photo: Topps 1952 Baseball Card)
~Lon Warneke 1909 (Cubs 1930-1936, 1942-1945)
His nickname, “The Arkansas Hummingbird”, was given to him by sportswriter Roy Stockton because of his “sizzling fast and darting form of delivery.” And, of course, because he hailed from Arkansas. He wasn’t just the owner of a great nickname, he was also a great pitcher–the best pitcher on the Cubs from 1930-1936, especially during the ’32 and ’35 pennant seasons. Unfortunately, he was traded for first baseman Ripper Collins in 1937—even though the Cubs already had star 1B Phil Cavaretta on the roster. That will go down as one of their worst trades ever. Collins played two seasons for the Cubs, but Warneke averaged 15 wins a season over the next five years with the hated St. Louis Cardinals, and appeared in two all-star games. The Arkansas Hummingbird came back to the Cubs during the war (1942-1943, 1945), but wasn’t the same pitcher anymore. After his playing career ended, Lon Warneke became a Major League umpire. (Photo: 1933 Goudey Baseball Card)
~Hooks Warner 1894 (Cubs 1921)
You’d think with a nickname like Hooks that he had to be a pitcher, but he wasn’t at all. Hooks was a third baseman. He hit .211 in 38 at bats.
~Jack Warner 1940 (Cubs 1962-1965)
Warner was a righthanded reliever for the Cubs in parts of four different seasons in the 1960s. He never appeared in more than 11 games (1965), and had limited success. His lifetime ERA in the big leagues (all with the Cubs) was 5.10. He had exactly one career hit as a batter, and it came against former Cubs teammate Don Cardwell.
~Adam Warren 1987 (Cubs 2016)
The Cubs acquried the righthander in the trade that sent Starlin Castro to the Yankees. The swingman started 17 games for the Yanks in 2015 and pitched well, winning seven games and posting an ERA of 3.29. The Cubs used him mainly out of the bullpen and he didn’t fare as well. In 35 innings pitched he walked 19 batters and gave up seven homers. The Cubs sent him to the minors, before including him in a trade back to the Yankees. He was part of the deal that brought Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs.
~Rabbit Warstler 1903 (Cubs 1940)
His real name was Harold Burton Warstler, but they called him Rabbit because of his quickness in the field. He was a backup infielder for 11 seasons, and his last team was the Cubs in 1940. When Rabbit was in the American League, Connie Mack called him “the best defensive infielder in the American League.” Babe Ruth complained that Warstler played so deep and had such a strong arm that he stole hits from him. But Rabbit could never hit much, and that’s why he never claimed a starting job. And though he was nicknamed Rabbit because of his quickness, he never stole more than 9 bases in a season.
~Carl Warwick 1937 (Cubs 1966)
Warwick was an outfielder for six big league seasons. He was the starting centerfielder for the expansion Houston Colt 45s, but was mainly a defensive replacement for the Cubs in 1966, for whom he got his final twenty-two at-bats in the majors. He earlier played for the Orioles, Cardinals and Dodgers.
~Logan Watkins 1989 (Cubs 2013-2014)
Logan got his first taste of the big leaguesat the end of the 2013 season. The infielder hit .211 with one extra base hit in 27 games. He also got into a handful of games in 2014, when the Cubs suffered injuries, illnesses, or personal issues. Watkins has been a trooper; willing to play wherever and whenever he is asked to play.
~Doc Watson 1885 (Cubs 1913)
Watson pitched for the Cubs very briefly during the 1913 season, then jumped over to play in the Federal League in the first season at what is now known as Wrigley Field. Why was he called Doc? It’s elementary, my dear Watson. He was nicknamed after the famous sidekick of Sherlock Holmes.
~Eddie Watt 1941 (Cubs 1975)
Watt had a stellar career as a reliever in the late 60s and early 70s mostly with the Baltimore Orioles. He was a key member of the bullpen for three pennant winners, and pitched in three World Series for the Orioles. The Cubs picked him off the waiver wire in 1975 and Eddie didn’t have much left in the tank. In six games he registered an ERA of 16.50.
~David Weathers 1969 (Cubs 2001)
Weathers came to the Cubs in a trading deadline deal in 2001, and was supposed to shore up their bullpen and lead them to the playoffs. Unfortunately the team fizzled in the closing weeks of the season (especially after 9/11/2001). It wasn’t Weathers’ fault. He fulfilled his part of the deal, posting a 3.18 ERA in a Cubs uniform. He left as a free agent after the season. Weathers pitched 19 years in the big leagues for nine different teams (Marlins, Yankees, Blue Jays, Indians, Reds, Brewers, Mets, Astros, and Cubs).
~Harry Weaver 1892 (Cubs 1917-1919)
Harry pitched for the Cubs during their early years in the new ballpark on Clark & Addison. He won three games in three big league seasons, but pitched fairly well in his limited opportunites. Harry stuck around in the minors until 1924.
~Jim Weaver 1903 (Cubs 1934)
Big Jim was a starting pitcher for the Cubs in 1934, but he also pitched for Pittsburgh, Washington, New York (Yankees), St. Louis (Browns), and Cincinnati in his big league career. He won 11 games as the fifth starter for a stacked Cubs rotation featuring four ace-caliber starters Lon Warneke, Pat Malone, Guy Bush & Bill Lee. Those five starters combined for 78 wins, but the Cubs only finished in 3rd place, 8-games behind the Gashouse Gang St. Louis Cardinals. Weaver was on the mound the day that John Dillinger attended his final Cubs game, a few days before he was shot dead outside the Biograph Theater.
~Orlie Weaver 1886 (Cubs 1910-1911)
Orlie was brought in during the final month of the Cubs 1910 pennant-winning season, and pitched in seven games. The following season he stuck with the big club, and was pitching quite well (2.06 ERA) when he was traded to Boston (along with Johnny Kling) in exchange for a handful of players including Peaches Graham. It all fell apart for Orlie with the Boston Braves. He lost twelve of his fifteen decisions and never pitched in the big leagues again.
~Earl Webb 1897 (Cubs 1927-1928)
Webb played a solid rightfield for the Cubs in 1927, but was a backup to KiKi Cuyler the next year. He also worked in one of William Wrigley’s mines in California in the offseason. His best years came with the Red Sox. He still holds the all-time record for doubles in a season (67) which he did with the Red Sox in 1931. After his playing career ended, he went back to work in the coalmines.
~Mitch Webster 1959 (Cubs 1988-1989)
Webster was a member of the Expos in 1987 when Bill Murray filled in for Harry Caray on the Cubs broadcast (after Harry’s stroke). At one point during the game, Murray leaned out and taunted Mitch. The next season Mitch was on the Cubs, acquired in a trade for Dave Martinez. Webster played all three outfield positions, and was a contributor to the division winning Boys of Zimmer in 1989. Webster spent 13 years in the big leagues.
~Ramon Webster 1942 (Cubs 1971)
The Cubs were the last stop on Webster’s five year big league tour. The Pananamian outfielder/first baseman hit .313 in limited duty. His best season was probably his rookie year with the A’s (1967) when he slugged eleven homers.
~Charles Weeghman 1874 (Cubs owner 1916-1918)
The ballpark we now know as Wrigley Field opened on April 23, 1914. The name of the stadium at the time was Weeghman Park, named after the man who built it–restauranteur Charlie Weeghman. Though he later owned the Cubs, and brought them to his ballpark to play, they weren’t the home team the day the park opened. That team was the Chicago Federal League team, the Whales. The opposition was the Kansas City Packers. Weeghman’s key executive was Charles G. Williams. Williams, and owner Weeghman, had a pretty ingenious plan to attract fans. They went after an audience that heretofore hadn’t been so openly courted. They went after the ladies. According to the Chicago Tribune, they were there from Day One: “The significant part of the affair to the new owners was the large number of women present.” Because Cubs owner Charles Murphy was so hated by the other National League owners (and most Chicagoans), Weeghman was recruited to buy them. The timing was right–the Federal League was folding–so Weeghman bought the Cubs, merged his two teams, and the Cubs now had a brand new home. Unfortunately the purchase stretched Weeghman’s finances beyond repair, and he eventually had to sell the team to one of the minority owners–William Wrigley. The ballpark was renamed Wrigley Field in the 1920s.
~Jake Weimer 1873 (Cubs 1903-1905)
Tornado Jake Weimer was a pitcher who had three very good years with the Cubs (1903-1905). He won 20, 20, and 18 games respectively in those years, but Tornado Jake may have served the Cubs even better by being traded to the Cincinnati Reds. The man the Cubs got back in that trade was the final piece to their championship puzzle; the trivia question answer, Harry Steinfeldt, the “other” man in the Cubs Tinkers-to-Evers-to-Chance infield. Weimer won 20 games for the ’06 Reds, but then faded, while the Cubs won the next three pennants with Steinfeldt at third. (Photo: 1909 Tobacco Card)
~Lefty Weinert 1902 (Cubs 1927-1928)
One of the Cubs who played for Marse Joe (above) was Lefty Weinert. He was a (wait for it) Lefty pitcher. Weinert came to the Cubs after pitching for the Phillies for six seasons, and pitched mainly out of the bullpen. He ended his career with the Yankees.
~Butch Weis 1901 (Cubs 1922-1925)
Butch was teammates with both of guys listed above. There are no reports of three of them hanging out together or celebrating on their birthday, but if they did, they couldn’t have legally gone out drinking. They played during Prohibition. Butch was a backup outfielder, and not related to the gangster Hymie Weis, who was gunned down in front of Holy Name Cathedral during Butch’s time on the Cubs. Butch’s best season was his last one (1925). He hit the only two homers of his career that season.
~Johnny Welch 1906 (Cubs 1926-1931)
Welch was a lefthanded pitcher who was on the Cubs for parts of four different seasons, but didn’t get a tremendous amount action in any of them. He appeared in a total of 15 games, 3 of which were starts. After leaving the Cubs he went to the Red Sox and had much more success in Boston. He had two seasons of double-digit wins.
~Todd Wellemeyer 1978 (Cubs 2003-2005)
Wellemeyer was one of the many fireballers that came up through Cubs farm system in the first decade of the 21st century. He was tall and imposing and had a blazing fastball, which led to quite a few strikeouts (92K in 84 innings), but he also had control problems (61BB in 84 innings), and that was his undoing in Chicago. The Cubs traded him before the 2006 season and he later pitched for the Marlins, Cardinals, Royals and Giants.
~Randy Wells 1982 (Cubs 2008-2012)
Wells had a tremendous rookie season with the Cubs in 2009, winning 12 games and posting a sparkling 3.05 ERA. He remained in the starting rotation the following season, although his win total slipped to 8, and his ERA climbed to 4.26. He had a few flashes the next two years, but never really reclaimed the magic from his rookie year. The Cubs released him at the end of 2012, and he retired in April of 2013, while with the Texas Rangers. (He plays a part in one of my favorite days ever at Wrigley Field)
~Turk Wendell 1967 (Cubs 1993-1997)
His real name was Steven John Wendell, but everyone called him Turk. His nickname came from his grandfather after he watched the three year old Steven repeatedly hurl himself into a snow mound out of the window of his western Massachusetts home. Turk was known for his eccentricities more than his pitching, which was really just so-so for the Cubs. Among his strange rituals…He wore a necklace made of claws and teeth of animals he killed. He chewed Brach’s black licorice on the mound. He brushed his teeth between innings. He talked to the baseball. He drew crosses in the dirt on the mound. He leaped over the foul lines coming in and out of the game. Before he threw his first pitch he waved to the centerfielder and wouldn’t continue until the outfielder waved back. Oh, and of course, he wore #13. Turk had his best season with the Cubs in 1996 (getting 18 saves), but he later pitched in the playoffs and World Series for the New York Mets.
~Don Wengert 1969 (Cubs 1998)
Wengert was acquired in May of 1998 from the Padres and was a spot starter and reliever for the Cubs the rest of that season. In 21 appearances he posted a 5.07 ERA. After the season he left the Cubs and signed with Kansas City. He also pitched for Atlanta, Pittsburgh, and Oakland.
~Rip Wheeler 1898 (1923-1924)
One of the rare pitchers to be dubbed “Rip”, Wheeler pitched for the Cubs for two seasons in the 1920s. His best season was probably the year the Tribune Tower was built (1924). He appeared in 29 games as a spot starter and reliever, and registered a 3.91 ERA.
~Pete Whisenant 1929 (Cubs 1956)
Pete was the starting centerfielder for most of his season with the Cubs, and he did hit 11 homers. Unfortunately, he also only hit .239. It was his last shot at starting, but he did stay in the league for eight seasons. The Cubs traded him to the Reds in 1957.
~Deacon White 1847 (White Stockings 1876)
White was just recently (2013) inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. Deacon was one of the biggest stars in the first decade of professional baseball. He only played one season for the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings), but it was an important one–the first season of the National League (1876). White led the league that year in RBI. He also played for Buffalo, Dayton, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Boston in his 20-year career. He played every single position on the field, including pitcher. They called him Deacon because he was a devoted religious man. White vehemently believed the world was flat. (Not a joke)
~Derrick White 1969 (Cubs 1998)
White got called up during the summer of 1998 (their wildcard season). He got ten plate appearances in a Cubs uniform and struck out five of those times. He also played for the Rockies, Expos, and Tigers in his big league career.
~Elder White 1933 (Cubs 1962)
Whitey, as he was known, was a backup infielder for the Cubs during the College of Coaches era. He appeared in 23 games and hit .151. It was his only taste of the big-time.
~Jerry White 1952 (Cubs 1978)
White was an excellent outfielder for the Expos. The Cubs traded Woody Fryman to acquire him during the 1978 season, and then traded him back to the Expos after the season was over. In eleven big league seasons he stole nearly 150 bases.
~Rondell White 1972 (Cubs 2000-2001)
The Cubs got White at the trading deadline in 2000, and he was considered a key addition to their lineup, providing protection for Sammy Sosa and Mark Grace. When he was healthy he played well for the Cubs, hitting over .300 and playing a very solid outfield. Unfortunately, he wasn’t healthy often, and the Cubs let him leave after the 2001 season. White played 15 seasons in the big leagues, and was an All-Star in 2003 for the San Diego Padres. (He also played for the Expos, Yankees, Royals, Tigers and Twins)
~Earl Whitehill 1899 (Cubs 1939)
Whitehill won more than 200 games in the big leagues, but only four of those came for the Cubs, in his last big league season. He holds the record for the worst ERA of any 200-game winner in history (4.36). Earl’s career really spans a few different eras. Early in his career, the player/manager of his Tigers team was Ty Cobb. Ten years later, he almost ended Lou Gehrig’s Iron Man streak when he beaned him on April 23, 1933, knocking him unconscious. Gehrig finished the game. By the time he joined the Cubs he was 40 years old.
~Eli Whiteside 1979 (Cubs 2014)
The 34-year-old catcher appeared in only eight games for the Cubs. He had previously caught for the Giants and Orioles. After the season, he signed with the Braves.
~Robert Whitlow (Cubs athletic director 1963-1964)
During the Cubs notoriously embarrassing College of Coaches phase, Phillip K. Wrigley was really in an experimenting mood. One of the things he decided his team needed was an athletic director. This would be someone to lead the program, much like an athletic director would lead a college’s athletic department. Through his brother-in-law, Wrigley met someone who fit the bill. He hired Robert Whitlow in January of 1963. Whitlow was the athletic director of the Air Force Academy at the time. Like Wrigley’s very early foray into sports psychology in 1930s, it’s not that this was a terrible idea. It’s just that it came at a time when everyone in the organization was already pretty certain that the College of Coaches experiment was a fiasco, so this just sounded like another one of his crackpot schemes. Whitlow actually suggested some things that became common place a few decades later like using computers to spot trends and position players, and focusing on diet and conditioning. Unfortunately for him, Whitlow was Wrigley’s guy, and therefore wasn’t respected by the players, the coaches, or the front office of the Cubs. GM John Holland ignored him. “Head Coach” Bob Kennedy ignored him. And, of course, the players ignored him too. After only two years on the job he resigned in January of 1965.
~Bob Wicker 1878 (Cubs 1903-1906)
Wicker was an outstanding starting pitcher for the Cubs in the years just before their dynasty. He won 20 games in his first season in Chicago, and another 30 games over the following two seasons, but started off slow in 1906. The Cubs traded him to the Reds for fellow starter Orval Overall. Orval became a vital part of the World Series champion Cubs, while Wicker never pitched in the big leagues again after the 1906 season.
~Charlie Wiedemeyer 1914 (Cubs 1934)
Charlie was also only 20 when he pitched for his hometown Cubs. It didn’t go well (9.72 ERA). He pitched in the minors until 1938
~Milt Wilcox 1950 (Cubs 1975)
Milt had a very successful 16-year career, but only made a brief stop to the north side of Chicago. The Cubs traded future closer Dave LaRoche and speedy outfielder Brock Davis to get him, but when he didn’t make the club in 1976, they sold him to the Detroit Tigers. With the Tigers, Wilcox recorded double-digit wins seven seasons in row. He was a member of the 1984 World Series championship team.
~Hoyt Wilhelm 1923 (Cubs 1970)
The future Hall of Famer was 47 years old when the Cubs got him in 1970. He will be remembered for his great knuckleball, and his outstanding career as a reliever. When he retired he held the record for most games and wins in relief, and was the first relief pitcher to be named to the Hall of Fame. He won’t, however, be remembered for his days with the Cubs. He pitched in three games for them, amassed a very impressive ERA of 9.82, and was traded after the season to the Braves. He is still the oldest player ever to play for the Cubs. Here’s a little bit of Trivia about Hoyt: He hit a home run in his first major league at bat, and never hit another one in 21 major league seasons. (Photo: Topps 1971 Baseball Card)
~Harry Wilke 1900 (Cubs 1927)
Wilke’s entire big league career consisted of three games, May 12, 13, and 14th of 1927. He was brought up to fill in for Sparky Adams at third base for a few days, but after getting exactly zero hits in his nine trips to the plate, he was cut loose again. Wilke played seven years of minor league ball.
~Curt Wilkerson 1961 (Cubs 1989-1990)
The Cubs acquired Wilkerson in the trade that sent Rafael Palmeiro and Jamie Moyer to the Rangers and brought Mitch Williams to Chicago. He was a key bench player on the 1989 division winner, backing up Ryne Sandberg, Shawon Dunston, and Vance Law. He played in three of the five playoff games against the Giants that postseason. The Cubs let him go after the following season, and he later played for the Pirates and Royals.
~Dean Wilkins 1966 (Cubs 1989-1990)
Wilkins was born in the south suburbs of Chicago (Blue Island), but grew up in California. He came to the Cubs in the trade that sent Steve Trout to the Yankees. Wilkins got into eleven games during the Cubs playoff year of 1989, although he didn’t make the postseason roster. The following season, the righthanded reliever’s time in the big leagues was far less successful. He was rocked hard, and lost his command in seven appearances. He was sent to the Astros after the season.
~Rick Wilkins 1967 (Cubs 1991-1995)
Wilkins came out of nowhere to hit 30 homers for the Cubs in 1993. He had previously never hit more than 17 homers in a season, and that was in the low minor leagues. Unfortunately for the Cubs, the following season the prince turned back into a frog. He never again approached those heights, and was traded to the Astros in 1995 for future slugger Luis Gonzalez and fellow catcher Scott Servais. (Photo: 1994 Fleer Extra Bases Baseball Card)
~Bob Will 1931 (Cubs 1957-1963)
Butch, as his teammates called him, was an outfielder and pinch hitter for the Cubs for several seasons. He was a local boy from Berwyn, who attended Northwestern University. Butch got his most extensive playing time as the team’s starting rightfielder in 1960. Unfortunately, he didn’t display a lot of power. Will only hit six homers and knocked in 53 runs, and by the beginning of the 1961 season the Cubs had corner outfielders with a little more pop (George Altman and Billy Williams). Butch Will remained in the Chicago area after retiring from baseball, and passed away in Woodstock, Illinois in 2011.
~George Will 1941 (Cubs fan 1946-Present)
George Will is a conservative political writer, commentator, and pundit, who waxes philosophic about the state of politics for a living. But he’s also famously a die-hard baseball fan, and wouldn’t you know it, a Cubs fan. An intellectual Cubs fan, no less. He revealed the depth of Cubs history while delivering the commencement address at Washington University in 1998.
“I grew up in Champaign, Ill., midway between Chicago and St. Louis. At an age too tender for life-shaping decisions, I made one. While all my friends were becoming Cardinals fans, I became a Cub fan. My friends, happily rooting for Stan Musial, Red Schoendienst and other great Redbirds, grew up cheerfully convinced that the world is a benign place, so of course, they became liberals. Rooting for the Cubs in the late 1940s and early 1950s, I became gloomy, pessimistic, morose, dyspeptic and conservative. It helped out of course that the Cubs last won the World Series in 1908, which is two years before Mark Twain and Tolstoy died. But that means, class of 1998, that the Cubs are in the 89th year of their rebuilding effort, and remember, any team can have a bad moment. So fellow members of the Class of 1998, my last piece of advice is – Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Cub fans.”
George Will has written about the Cubs many times, but in early 2008, he may have actually contributed something to the collective Cubs psyche. He tried to look on the bright side of being a Cubs fan, citing an actual scientific study. From his Newsweek column…
Jordan Grafman, a senior investigator at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, was born and raised in Chicago, so he knows whereof he speaks when he speaks, politely, about the “paradox” of being a Cub fan even though baseball is supposed to provide relief from life’s problems. Grafman has been to a pleasant purgatory, Wrigley Field, and returned with good news: Yes, rooting for the Cubs is a minority taste because it is an interminable tutorial in delayed gratification, but “there is some evidence that being in the majority (everyone loves a winner) reduces reflective thinking.” Rooting for a loser makes one thoughtful, or perhaps neurotic, which on Chicago’s North Side may be a distinction without a difference. “The scientific literature,” Grafman says, “suggests that fans of losing teams turn out to be better decision-makers and deal better with divergent thought, as opposed to the unreflective fans of winning teams.”
That’s us. Great decision makers. Even though, as he admitted in his 1998 commencement address, we might have made one tragically bad decision in our childhoods.
~Art Williams 1877 (Orphans 1902)
Williams was a backup outfielder/first baseman for the Cubs (then known as the Orphans) in his only big league season. He wasn’t much of a hitter, batting only .228 in 49 games.
~Billy Williams 1938 (Cubs 1959-1974)
Billy Williams got his nickname because of his nearly perfect swing and his hometown; Whistler, Alabama. He played for the Cubs from 1959-1974 and is simply one of the greatest players to ever wear a Cubs uniform. Sweet swinging Billy was a six-time all-star (and hit a homer in the ’64 game), a batting champion, was named the MLB player of the year, finished second in the MVP balloting in two different years, hit more than 400 career home runs, and was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1987. Ernie Banks may have been Mr. Cub, but during the years he shared the field with Billy Williams, he may have only been the second best player on the team. Billy Williams manned left field for the Cubs for twelve years (other than a few years in the mid-60s when they switched him over to right). Near the end of the 1973 season, however, manager Whitey Lockman had the brilliant idea of moving the life-long outfielder to first base. After setting a NL record for most consecutive games played (1117), and establishing a reputation as an iron man outfielder, it only took a few games at first base for Billy to get spiked. He missed twice as many games in 1974 as he missed the previous twelve seasons combined. He finished his career with the Oakland A’s, where Billy finally got a chance to play in the postseason. (Photo: Topps 1970 Baseball Card)
~Brian Williams 1969 (Cubs 2000)
Williams showed some promise early in his big league career with the Astros, finishing in the top ten in the Rookie of the Year voting that season, but the pitcher really struggled after that. The Cubs were desperate when they signed in January of 2000. It didn’t work out. He pitched in 22 games and his ERA was a staggering 9.62. The Cubs released him at the end of May.
~Cy Williams 1887 (Cubs 1912-1917)
The Cubs centerfielder was the NL home run champ in 1916 with a whopping 12 homers. After the 1917 season, the Cubs traded Cy to the Phillies for a soon-to-be washed up Dode Paskert, center fielder for center fielder. Williams had been pretty good for the Cubs, but after the trade to the Phillies he blossomed into a star. He hit 217 of his 251 career home runs for the Phillies, and by the time he retired in 1930, he was one of only three players in major league history with over 250 career home runs (the other two were Babe Ruth and Rogers Hornsby). Paskert had two good years with the Cubs (although he helped them win the pennant in 1918), but his speed, which had been a key part of his game, was nearly gone. After the 1920 season he was released.
~Dewey Williams 1916 (Cubs 1944-1948)
He was a member of the last pennant winning Cubs team (1945) as the backup catcher, and even played in two of the 1945 World Series games. He struck out as a pinch hitter in Game 5 at Wrigley Field, and came in to catch in extra innings during Game 6, the last World Series game the Cubs won.
~Hank Williams Jr. (Cubs fan)
Hank Williams Jr. is a Cubs fan? It’s true. This is how Music Times described his sports loyalties in January of 2015…
Williams is obviously a fan of the NFL, thanks to the millions he’s made off of writing the song that opened Monday Night Football for more than 20 years (“All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight”) however many were surprised when the country icon listed all of his favorite sports teams during an interview with Sports Business Daily. The The rocker was born in Louisiana yet he claimed to support the Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) and Alabama Crimson Tide (NCAA), while also citing the Cubs as his go-to baseball team, although he admitted at the time (2008) that the team’s recent struggles had bummed him out, and he steered the conversation away from discussing Steve Bartman
~Jerome Williams 1981 (Cubs 2005-2006)
The Cubs got him the trade that sent Latroy Hawkins to San Francisco. They gave the former Giant a shot at being in their rotation, and Williams responded with a decent season. In 18 starts, he won 6 and posted a 3.91 ERA. The following season, however, he was pounded. The Cubs sent him to the minors, and then waived him. Williams later pitched for the Nationals, Rangers, Astros, Angels, and Phillies.
~Mitch Williams 1964 (Cubs 1989-1990)
Cubs fans would sing the rock song “Wild Thing” when Mitch Williams emerged from the Chicago bullpen in 1989, in reference to his explosive but uncontrollable fastball (and yes, he got that nickname before the movie “Major Leagues” came out, with a reliever named “Wild Thing.”) The Cubs got him in a trade in exchange for Rafael Palmeiro and Jamie Moyer, which in retrospect is a really, really, geez, legendarily bad trade. (Although he did lead the Cubs to the playoffs in 1989, and pitched well in the playoffs, too. His ERA that series was 0.00 in 2 games.) Wild Thing saved 52 games in his two Cubs seasons, and eventually went to the World Series with the Phillies, losing the ’93 Series by giving up Joe Carter’s home run. In fairness to Mitch he did win two games and save the other two wins in the NLCS for Philly, but he’ll always be remembered for that home run…and his World Series ERA of 20.25. (Photo: 1991 Upper Deck Baseball Card)
~Otto Williams 1877 (Cubs 1903-1904)
Otto was a slick fielding utility man who backed up three Hall of Famers–Tinker, Evers, and Chance. He didn’t hit well (just over .200), but he did get plenty of opportunities during his two seasons with the Cubs. He also played for the Cardinals and Senators.
~Pop Williams 1874 (Orphans/Cubs 1902-1903)
Williams 11–16 with a 2.49 ERA, 27 complete games in his first season with Chicago. The team wanted him back the next year, but he was coaching the Bowdoin College baseball team. He decided to give it one more shot, but it only lasted one game. He started a game, and decided Chicago was no longer the place for him. He later pitched for the Phillies and the Braves.
~Wash Williams (White Stockings 1885)
Very little is known about Wash. We don’t know his birthday or his year of birth. We don’t know if he was right-handed or left-handed. We just know that he played exactly one game with the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) on June 8, 1885. He started the game as the pitcher (and gave up five walks and five runs) and was moved to the outfield in the third inning. He did manage to get one hit in a Chicago uniform. After that, his trail disappears.
~Ned Williamson 1857 (White Stockings 1879-1889)
Williamson was Chicago’s star shortstop/third baseman during the 1880s. He thrilled the fans with his home runs, and was arguably the game’s first home run hero. In 1884 he hit 27 in one 112 game season. That was the record for 35 years. It wasn’t broken until 1919 by a little known slugger/pitcher named Babe Ruth. Of course, Ned’s record came with an asterisk. During the 19th century the ground rules were made by each home team. Ned’s manager Cap Anson declared that balls hit over a certain part of his field were to be declared homers. That just happened to be where Ned hit 25 of his 27 homers that season. The next season the team moved to West Side Grounds and Ned’s power suddenly disappeared. On the other hand, Ned was no fluke. He also set the record for doubles with 49 in 1883, and was a key member of the Chicago team that won five championships that decade. His baseball career was still going strong until Albert Spalding organized a world tour to promote the game in 1889. While the team played in Paris, Ned injured his knee. He was never the same after that. Just four years after his playing career ended, Williamson contracted tuberculosis and died at age 36. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago.
~Scott Williamson 1976 (Cubs 2005-2006)
The former Rookie of the Year, All Star, and World Series champ was coming off arm problems when the Cubs took a flier on him in early 2005. He was supposed to be the team’s closer, but Ryan Dempster took over that role instead, and Wililamson struggled to regain his velocity. The Cubs traded him the following season to the Padres.
~Jim Willis 1927 (Cubs 1953-1954)
Willis spent his entire big league career in a Cubs uniform, but it didn’t last long. The reliever had trouble with his command. In his final season with the Cubs he pitched twenty-three innings and walked eighteen men. Jim pitched in the minors until 1957 before hanging up his spikes at the age of 30.
~Bump Wills 1952 (Cubs 1982)
His real name is Elliot Taylor Wills. When he was a boy his big brother Barry called him “Bumpy” and it was later shortened to “Bump”. Bump is the son of legendary Dodger’s shortstop Maury Wills, and never quite managed to escape his father’s shadow. In fact, throughout his baseball career, Bump tended to be known more for the circumstances surrounding him than his baseball ability (which was, in all fairness, pretty solid). It began in his rookie season with the Rangers. He replaced Lenny Randle at second base, which led to Lenny punching manager Frank Luchesi in the face (Both of them later ended up with the Cubs). Wills came to the Cubs in 1982 and was their starting second baseman that year. He hit a home run in his first at-bat, hit .272 for the season, and stole ten bases, but once again, he won’t be remembered for that. He’ll be remembered for who replaced him at second base the following spring; a youngster by the name of Ryne Sandberg. The player who took his number a few seasons later (#17) also became a well known Cub; Mark Grace. Wills’ lone season with the Cubs turned out to be his last season in the big leagues. That 1982 Cubs team, by the way, had two future Hall of Famers (Fergie Jenkins and Ryne Sandberg), a future Cy Young winner (Willie Hernandez), one of the all time great closers (Lee Smith), and great players like Bill Buckner, Larry Bowa, and Leon Durham. They finished in 5th place.
~Walt Wilmot 1863 (Colts 1890-1895)
Walt was a good leftfielder, but he was best known for hitting. A rare switch-hitter for his era, Wilmot led the league in homers and triples, and knocked in 130 runs in 1894. He settled in Chicago after his playing days were over.
~Art Wilson 1885 (Cubs 1916-1917)
Wilson was a backup catcher for 14 big league seasons, including the first year of Wrigley Field (as a member of the Chicago Whales), and the first season the Cubs played at Wrigley Field (in 1916). He was also a member of three pennant winning New York Giants teams, all of which lost the World Series.
~Bert Wilson 1911 (Cubs announcer 1944-1955)
Bert Wilson was a Cubs announcer during the first few seasons that Ernie Banks played for the team. In Spring Traiing of 1955, he interviewed the youngster, who was still shy and reserved at the time. Clearly Ernie found his voice in subsequent years…
~Enrique Wilson 1973 (Cubs 2005)
Wilson played nine seasons in the big leagues, mostly as a backup infielder. After stints with Cleveland, Pittsburgh and the Yankees, he finished his career with the Cubs. In 25 plate appearances, he batted .136.
~Hack Wilson 1900 (Cubs 1926-1931)
Hack led the league in homers four of his six seasons in Chicago (Photo: 1928 Baseball Card), and is still remembered for his record 1930 season when he drove in 191 runs. That year he was so fearsome at the plate, he inspired this poem in The Sporting News. (author unknown)
“How do you pitch to Wilson?”
Asked the rookie up from the sticks,
“I’m up to learn the hitters,
And know their little tricks.”
“I’ll tell ya,” said the veteran,
who had pitched for many years,
“When ya dish up Hack yer fast one,
You’d better watch your ears.
“He’ll drive that agate at ya,
Like ya never seen before
He’ll learn ya in a jiffy,
Not to show him speed no more.
“N’then y’ll try to curve him,
N’he’ll crash one off yer shins:
If ya keep on throwin hookers,
He’ll tear off both yer pins.
“N’then ya’ use year change of pace,
He might strike out on that;
N’perhaps he’ll ride the ball so far,
You don’t know where it’s at.
“I’ll tell ya son,” the veteran said,
“When ya see that sawed-off squirt,
Just flip one towards the platter,
N’take care ya’ don’t get hurt.”
But during his Cubs days Hack was known for more than just slugging the baseball. He was known as a notorious hellraiser. Wilson had several run-ins with the law, his teammates, opposing players, and even fans. For instance…
*In his first season with the Cubs (1926), Hack Wilson was arrested and charged with drinking beer in violation of the Prohibition Act. Four cops arrived at his friend’s house, and he tried to escape out the side door. While he was attempting to escape, his friend (a woman named Lottie Frain) threw a bookend at the cops. Wilson was caught and arrested.
*One night Wilson and his teammate Pat Malone were walking down the hallway of their hotel, and Wilson laughed. Someone in a hotel room mimicked his laugh. Wilson and Malone broke into the room and beat the hell out of four men, until all of them were out cold. One of the men was still standing and Malone kept punching. Wilson pointed out that he was already knocked out. “Move the lamp and he’ll fall.” Malone moved the lamp, and the man fell to the ground.
*In 1928, Wilson charged into the stands to fight a milkman who had been heckling him throughout the game. 5000 fans stormed the field during the melee. Gabby Hartnett and Joe Kelly had to physically pull Wilson off the milkman. Hack was fined $100 for that.
*In 1929, Wilson got into two fistfights with players on the Reds, and was suspended for three games. In the first fight, he charged into the Red’s dugout to punch Red’s pitcher Ray Kolp…after he had just gotten a single. He was tagged out in the dugout. The second fight happened that same night at the train station with Red’s pitcher Pete Donohue—who was trying to stop Wilson from attacking Kolp again. Hack punched Donohue in the face twice.
*Joe McCarthy knew how to handle Hack Wilson and keep him functioning. He once took a worm and dropped it in a glass of whiskey. The worm quickly died. “Now what does that prove?” asked Joe. Wilson thought about it for a while and replied, “It proves that if you drink whiskey, you won’t get worms!”
Near the end of his Wilson’s life he appeared on a network radio show where he spoke about the effects of “Demon Rum.” This was just a few months before his death from an internal hemorrhage on November 23, 1948. He was only 48. His body was unclaimed for three days before National League president Ford Frick paid for the funeral.
Some footage of Hack’s only World Series with the Cubs, 1929…
Whispering Joe Wilson (Cubs announcer 1946-1952)
In the first televised Cubs game, the National League pennant flag was raised. That hasn’t happened at Wrigley Field a single time since. The date was April 20, 1946, and WBKB-TV broadcast that first game with Whispering Joe Wilson behind the microphone. The Cubs lost 2-0. In 1949, there were three television stations covering the Cubs. Whispering Joe Wilson on WBKB-TV, Jack Brickhouse on WGN, and Rogers Hornsby on WENR. (WGN didn’t get exclusive rights until 1952). There were afternoons when those stations were the only three television stations on the air in Chicago, and the Cubs were broadcast on all three.
~Jimmy Wilson 1900 (Cubs manager 1941-1944)
Wilson was the primary manager for the Cubs during the war years. He had been a tough catcher with the Phillies, and served as their player/manager for several years in the 1930s. He also had a horrendous record in that role, compiling a .370 winning percentage. But 1940 was a different story. He was the catcher for the World Series winning Reds in his last season as a player, so the Cubs thought they were bringing in a winner. Wilson never clicked with the Cubs. His best season as manager was 1943, when the team finished five games under .500. After getting off to a 1-9 start in 1944, Wilson was fired and replaced by Charlie Grimm.
~Steve Wilson 1964 (Cubs 1989-1991)
Wilson was acquired along with Mitch Williams in the trade that sent Rafael Palmeiro and Jamie Moyer to the Rangers. During the Cubs division winning season of 1989, he was a key arm in the bullpen. The lefty logged 54 appearances, winning 6 games and saving 2 more. On the other hand, he had a bit of a rough go in the playoffs that year. He only pitched three innings, and he gave up two homers. In 1991 the Cubs traded him to the Dodgers.
~Willie Wilson 1955 (Cubs 1992)
Willie Wilson was one of the most dynamic players in baseball during the 1980s. Unfortunately, he wasn’t on the Cubs during those years. He was one of the all-time great leadoff hitters, a two-time all-star and silver slugger, and a batting champion, but it was his speed that made him truly special. Wilson led the league in runs, hits, singles (4 times), triples (5 times), and stolen bases, and was the leadoff hitter for the 1985 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals. He still has the most inside-the-park home runs since 1950 (with 13). The Cubs brought him aboard as a free agent during one of their many, many transition years. They got rid of dead weight like Greg Maddux (you in his bat too) and Rick Sutcliffe (who also had a few more good seasons in his arm), and brought aboard people like Jose Guzman (bust), Candy Maldanado (BUST!!!), and Willie Wilson. How did Willie do with the Cubs? Well, let’s put it this way. In his career he stole 668 bases, but only eight of those came with the Cubs. He was 38 years old when he joined the team and his speed—which had always been his greatest asset—was gone. (Photo: Topps 1993 Baseball Card)
~Ed Winceniak 1929 (Cubs 1956-1957)
Ed was a local Chicago boy (Bowen High School), and a utility infielder during his time with the Cubs (his only time in the big leagues). He was used as a defensive replacement, pinch hitter, and pinch runner. His lifetime average was .209.
~Kettle Wirts 1897 (Cubs 1922)
He joined the team in 1922. The Cubs had three catchers on the roster; starter Bob O’Farrell and two young backups with awesome nicknames, Gabby Hartnett and Kettle Wirts. Wirts and Hartnett both caught 27 games that season for the Cubs, but their careers would go in very different directions. Hartnett would develop into such a force that the Cubs would find O’Farrell expendable. (They traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals, and he led them to their first World Series title in 1926.) Wirts, on the other hand, drifted off into obscurity. He played his last major league game in 1924. In parts of four big league seasons, Elwood Vernon Wirts managed to get only 86 at bats. Although he accumulated a total of only three extra base hits (two doubles and one home run) in those at bats, he also acquired a great nickname. Unfortunately, the origin of that nickname has disappeared into the ether like Kettle himself. Wirts died in Sacramento California in 1968 at the age of 71.
~Casey Wise 1932 (Cubs 1957)
Wise came up to the big leagues with the Cubs in 1957. The second baseman/shortstop got the most extensive playing time of his big league career that season, appearing in 43 games and hitting .256. The Cubs traded him to the Milwaukee Braves after the season for pitcher Ben Johnson and outfielder Chick King. After his playing career ended, Wise became a dentist.
~Harry Wolfe 1892 (Cubs 1917)
Whitey, as he was known, played a little shortstop but was mostly a pinch runner and pinch hitter in the nine games he played with the Cubs in 1917. It was his only big-league season. He played seven minor league seasons.
~Harry Wolter 1884 (Cubs 1917)
Harry played six seasons in the big leagues before he came to the Cubs, including a stint playing for former Cubs manager Frank Chance in New York. The Cubs loved his smart approach to the game, calling him “the brainiest outfielder in baseball.” He went back to his native California during the war years and played in the minors there instead of accepting a cut in pay. He never returned to the big leagues.
~Harry Wolverton 1873 (Orphans 1898-1900)
As a rookie third baseman Wolverton was the number three hitter in the Cubs (then known as the Orphans) lineup. He was known for his grit and determination–resulting in more than an occasional trip to the hospital. He was hit in the face with a ball, fractured his skull looking out of a train window and smashing into a pole, broke his collarbone and more. They nicknamed him “Fighting Harry”. Wolverton played most of his career with Philadelphia.
~Tony Womack 1969 (Cubs 2003,2006)
Womack had tremendous speed. He stole more than 20 bases in seven different seasons, and led the league three years in a row. The infielder was a late season pickup by the Cubs during their five-out-away-from-the-World Series 2003 season. He hit only .235 in just over 50 plate appearances and didn’t make the postseason roster. He later returned to the Cubs for his final stint in a big league uniform in 2006. He ended his career with 363 stolen bases.
~Kerry Wood 1977 (Cubs 1998-2008, 2011-2012)
He wasn’t even 21 years old when he came up to the majors in May of 1998, but he made his mark right away. On May 6, 1998, he took the mound on a very cold and wet day in Wrigley Field, and pitched one of the best games in Major League history. Before he was through he had struck out 20 Houston Astros batters, allowed only one infield hit, and electrified an entire city. By the end of the day, he was forever branded Kid K. He won the Rookie of the Year award that season after striking out 233 batters in only 166 innings, and leading the Cubs to the playoffs. Though Kid-K had his injuries during his Cubs career (he missed the entire 1999 season and long stretches of two other seasons), he was also on the mound for the greatest triumphs in Chicago Cubs history over the past fifty years. In 2003 he was the winning pitcher in the game that gave the Cubs their only playoff series victory. He also pitched magnificently in the NLCS that year, though his luck did run out in Game 7. In 2008 he was the closer during that magical season (which, sadly, ended so disappointingly). Wood came back in 2011 to end his career in his adopted home town. (Photo: 2003 Upper Deck Baseball Card)
AUDIO: Kerry’s 20 strikeout game…
~Travis Wood 1987 (Cubs 2012-present)
The Cubs got Wood in the Sean Marshall trade, and he has become one of their most reliable starters. In 2013, he started the season with nine quality starts, becoming the first pitcher since Three Finger Mordecai Brown in 1906. His greatest day as a Cub probably came when he hit a grand slam homer against the arch-rival White Sox. He was named to his first All-Star game just a few days later. Unfortunately, his 2014 seaon was a major step backwards. The Cubs moved him into the bullpen in 2015, and he thrived in that role, appearing in 54 games. He saved four, won five, and struck out 118 batters in 100 innings pitched. In 2016, he was a workhorse, appearing in 77 games. In one memorable game, Joe Maddon moved him to the outfield when a righthander was up so that he could bring him back to the mound for the next lefty. Wood made a great catch on a ball hit to the vines. Travis was part of the postseason roster and won a game in the NLDS, but he will probably be most remembered for what he did at the Cubs World Series parade. He wore camouflage at first, and eventually took off his shirt. Asked about his teammate’s odd behavior, Jon Lester replied: “He’s from Arkansas.”
~Brad Woodall 1969 (Cubs 1999)
Woodall logged ten long years in the minor leagues, but he did get a few cups of coffee in the big leagues. His only full season in the majors was with the Brewers in 1998. His final appearance came in a Cubs uniform the following year. He started three games and registered a 5.63 ERA.
~Gary Woods 1954 (Cubs 1982-1985)
He was a backup outfielder for the Cubs in the early to mid 80s, and hit in the .240s during his stay on the North Side. He also played for Oakland, Toronto, and Houston. Gary passed away in February of 2015. (Photo: 1986 Fleer Baseball Card)
~Jim Woods 1939 (Cubs 1957)
Woody, as he was known, was only 18 years old when he made his big league debut for his hometown Cubs. The recent Lane Tech grad didn’t get a chance to bat, but he appeared in two games as a pinch runner (for catcher Gordon Massa), and a scored a run. Neither of those appearances were in front of his home town fans. They were in Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Just a few years later he was part of the trade that brought Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn to the Cubs. Woods had a brief cup of coffee with the Phillies in 1960-1961, and hit three homers.
~Walt Woods 1875 (Orphans 1898)
Walt was in the rotation for the Cubs (then known as the Orphans) in 1898 and started 22 games. To say he didn’t have a strikeout pitch would be an understatement. In 214 innings pitched, he struck out only 26 men. Woods later pitched for Louisville and Pittsburgh.
~Tim Worrell 1967 (Cubs 2000)
Worrell had a very productive 14-year big league career that featured a few very good seasons. He appeared in 678 games for the Padres, Tigers, Indians, A’s, Orioles, Giants, Phillies, Diamondbacks, and Cubs. He won three and saved three games for the Cubs during his half-season in Chicago. After the season the Cubs traded him to the Giants for Bill Mueller.
~Chuck Wortman 1892 (Cubs 1916-1918)
He was a backup infielder for the Cubs for a few years, and even got an at-bat in the 1918 World Series.
~Bob Wright 1891 (Cubs 1915)
If you want to go back in time to see Bob Wright pitch, set your wayback machine to either September 21st or September 24 in 1915. In his big league debut on the 21st, Wright came to pitch the final inning for Hippo Vaughn at West Side Grounds in a 5-4 loss to the Giants. He only gave up one hit. In his final big league game on the 24th, he pitched the final three innings for Zip Zabel of a 6-0 loss the Phillies. He got lit up in that one. Although he was only 23 years old, Bob wasn’t asked to stay with the team when they moved across town the following season–for their first season at Wrigley Field. Bob’s greatest accomplishment, however, didn’t happen on the baseball field. When he died in 1993, he was 101 years old.
~Dave Wright 1875 (Colts 1897)
Wright pitched exactly one game for the Cubs (then known as the Colts). It was on September 28, 1897, and he had a pitching line that simply isn’t possible today. He pitched seven innings, gave up 17 hits and 14 runs…and won the game
~Mel Wright 1928 (Cubs 1960-1961)
Mel didn’t have a lot of success as a big league pitcher. He was already in his 30s when he came to the Cubs and was knocked around pretty well (7.68 ERA). However, after his pitching career ended, he went into coaching. He was part of the ridiculous College of Coaches experiment in 1963-1964, served as a pitching coach for the Cubs and the Pirates, and was on the coaching staffs of the Yankees, Astros and Expos.
~Pat Wright 1868 (Colts 1890)
Wright was a second baseman who played 14 seasons in the minor leagues, and exactly one game in the big leagues. On July 11th, 1890, just a week after his 22nd birthday, Wright started at second base for the Cubs (then known as the Colts). He went 0 for 2 with a walk. Chicago lost the game 6-0 in Boston.
~Wesley Wright 1985 (Cubs 2014)
Wright signed as a free agent in 2014 and provided a good lefthanded arm out of the bullpen. He appeared in 58 games and posted an ERA of 3.17. He became a free agent after the season.
~P.K. Wrigley 1894 (Cubs owner 1932–1977)
He was 38 years years old when he inherited the Chicago Cubs. At his father’s deathbed in 1932, Wrigley promised he would never sell the team. Unfortunately for the Cubs, he lived up to that promise. Not only didn’t he have the passion for baseball that his father William Wrigley Jr. had, he was completely indifferent to it. He didn’t even attend the World Series in 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1945, even though his team was playing. Those teams from the 30s were essentially built by his father and his father’s handpicked executives. The ’45 team was a wartime fluke. After ’45, we really saw the P.K. Wrigley effect. While it would be totally unfair to say that this bad century is totally P.K. Wrigley’s fault, it’s hard not to point a finger at him. He owned the team from 1932-1977, during which time the most powerful team in the National League became the laughing stock of baseball. For twenty years in a row, under P.K. Wrigley, the Cubs never finished higher than 5th place (1947-1966). Charlie Grimm, a man who managed for him three different times, explained Wrigley’s helping hand this way: “Whatever we said in the meetings, he’d always say, ‘No that ain’t right, let’s do it this way.’ He was absolutely wrong about everything.” Then again, it’s not fair to blame the whole bad century on this one man. He’s only responsible for 45 years.
On the other hand, this whole girl’s league was P.K. Wrigley’s idea. He just couldn’t convince his fellow MLB owners to join in…
It inspired this film, which was partially filmed at Wrigley Field…
~William Wrigley Jr. 1861 (Cubs owner 1918-1932)
William Wrigley LOVED baseball. He didn’t buy the Cubs as an investment. He bought the team because he loved the game, and had since he was a boy. This is William Wrigley in his own words, in Time Magazine in 1930…
“Outside of school hours, when I was a boy in the Philadelphia, I worked for my father. This seemed to me a cruel conspiracy of the fates. He was a kind man, but he belonged to a generation which was work-minded. Baseball was nothing to him. My work took me directly past the ball park of the Nationals (the Phillies). That was the trouble! I hadn’t a chance in the world to get away to the ball game on any of the familiar alibis. The near relatives of my boy friends were buried regularly on ball game days. No use to tell my employer of the imaginary funeral in my family, for he was my father and had the death statistics of the family down to the minute. No other excuses worked. Whenever I came to the ball park and heard the wild cheering within, I was in a state of rebellion. One day when the cheering was particularly wild in the park, I resolved that one day I would own a ball team and a ball park. My interest in the game has never relaxed for one instant from that moment to this.”
He made his fortune in the chewing gum business, itself an act of accidental success. He started his business in Chicago selling his father’s Wrigley’s Scouring Soap. One day in 1892, he got the idea of offering two packages of chewing gum as an added incentive. The chewing gum was so popular he realized that he should concentrate on that, and he did. He began marketing it under his own name, and by 1893 Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum and Wrigley’s Spearmint gum were huge hits, and William Wrigley was a millionaire. By 1918 he was one of the most prominent citizens of Chicago, and had become an investor in the Cubs. When owner Charlie Weeghman couldn’t sustain his finances, Wrigley took over as the majority owner, and finally realized his boyhood dream. He hired Bill Veeck Sr. that year, and with baseball lovers Wrigley and Veeck at the helm, the Cubs returned to their former glory. They won the pennant in both 1918 and 1929, and laid the groundwork for a team that would dominate the National League in the 1930s. Sadly, Wrigley wasn’t around to see it. He died in 1932 before the Cubs made the World Series that year. On his deathbed he made his son Phillip promise never to sell the team. Even though Phillip didn’t much care about baseball, he honored his father’s wish, and held on to the team until his death in 1977. Under the son, the Cubs atrophied and became the worst team in baseball, but they still played, and continue to play in the stadium that is named after his father; baseball lover William Wrigley.
~Rick Wrona 1963 (Cubs 1988-1990)
One of three young catchers on the 1989 Division Champion team (along with Joe Girardi and Damon Berryhill). Wrona got the least playing time of three. He lasted three seasons in Chicago as the team’s third string catcher. He later also played for the Reds.
~Michael Wuertz 1978 (Cubs 2004-2008)
Michael was a reliever who appeared in 265 games for the Cubs, including two games in the 2007 playoffs against the Diamondbacks. He had moments of dominance and moments of struggling with his control. His best season was probably 2006, when he posted a 2.66 ERA. The Cubs traded him to Oakland after the 2008 season.
~Marvell Wynne 1959 (Cubs 1989-1990)
The local Chicago kid (Hirsh High School) finally got his chance to play for his hometown Cubs when he was no longer a kid. He was 29 when the Cubs picked him up to provide some veteran presence down the stretch of the 1989 division race. Marvell played all three outfield positions for that team, and got a taste of the postseason for the first and only time of his career. He previously played for the Pirates and the Padres. After the 1990 season, he finished his career in Japan. Marvell’s son (Marvell Jr.) plays professional soccer in the MSL. (Photo: Topps 1990 Baseball Card)
~Hank Wyse 1918 (Cubs 1942-1947)
They called him Hooks because his best pitch was a devastating curveball. Hank Wyse was an important part of the Cubs starting rotation during the war years. In 1944 he won 16 games for the Cubs. But Wyse had his best season in the Cubs pennant winning year of 1945. He won 22 games, posted a 2.68 ERA, and was named to the All-Star team. His results in the World Series, however, did not quite live up to the rest of his outstanding year. He lost the game he started (Game 2), and relieved in two other losses. For 71 years Hank Wyse was the last Cubs player to throw a pitch in the Fall Classic. He recorded the final Detroit Tigers out in the top of the 9th inning in Game 7 at Wrigley Field. Unlike many war players that never duplicated their success after all the stars returned, Wyse did have one more good year, but in 1947 his famous curveball lost its bite, and Wyse lost his spot in the Cubs rotation.
Hank’s only World Series with the Cubs…