Today’s Cubs Birthdays (August 6)
~Ray Culp 1941 (Cubs 1967)
Ray Culp was already a two-time 14-game winner when the Cubs acquired him before the 1967 season, and they gave up former 20-game winner Dick Ellsworth to get him from the Phillies. But in his only season with Chicago, Culp was mediocre, managing only 8 wins. He also didn’t hit it off with the manager of the team. Leo Durocher felt he couldn’t trust Culp to be a big contributor, so the Cubs shipped him off the Boston Red Sox after the 1967 season in exchange for minor league outfielder Bill Schlessinger. This turned out to be one of the worst trades of the Durocher era. Schlessinger never played in a single game for the Cubs, while Ray Culp became one of the best pitchers in the American League. He won 16 games in 1968, 17 games in 1969, 17 games in 1970, and 14 games in 1971. During those same years, the Cubs always seemed to be one starting pitcher short of competing for a title. (Photo: Topps 1967 Baseball Card)
~Ron Davis 1955 (Cubs 1986-1987)
Davis was an all-star reliever who saved more than a hundred games in his career, but none of those saves came with the Cubs. By the time Davis put on the Cubs uniform, his career was on the decline. He gave up eleven homers in only fifty innings, and was released. His son Ike currently plays in big leagues.
~Jim Dunegan 1947 (Cubs 1970)
Dunegan was a high draft choice of the Cubs (2nd round-1967) who pitched in seven games for the Cubs in 1970. The converted outfielder had all sorts of control issues. Dunegan walked 13 batters in 13 innings and gave up two long balls. In six minor league seasons he never managed to harness his control, so he didn’t get another shot at the big leagues.
~Joe Schaffernoth 1937 (Cubs 1959-1961)
Joe was a righthanded reliever for the Cubs over three seasons in the late 50s/early 60s. He won two games and saved three in over 50 appearances for the Cubs. He was sold to the Indians in the middle of the 1961 season, and finished his career there.
~Wayne Schurr 1937 (Cubs 1964)
The Cubs drafted Schurr out of the San Francisco Giants system as a Rule V draft choice, and Wayne pitched for the Cubs for a good portion of the 1964 season. The righthanded reliever appeared in 26 games and registered an ERA of 3.72. He retired from baseball after his eighth minor league season in 1966.
~Dave Gerard 1936 (Cubs 1962)
Gerard was also a righthanded reliever, and he pitched for the Cubs during the 1962 season. In 39 appearances, he saved three games and won two more for one of the worst Cubs teams of all-time. That was his only season in the big leagues. He also pitched ten years in the minors.
~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.
~Sam Mertes 1872 (Orphans 1898-1900)
Sandow, as he was called, was a utility man for the Cubs (then known as the Orphans) near the turn of last century. Sam played mostly second base and outfield, but he was ready to play whatever was needed. He literally played every single position in his big league career. With Chicago, he hit nearly .300 and was a very reliable RBI man. After he left the Cubs, he even led the league in that category. Mertes played in the big leagues for ten seasons.
~Bobby Sturgeon 1919 (Cubs 1940-1947)
Legend has it that Cubs manager Gabby Hartnett wanted his management to get him a young shortstop. The Cubs checked with the Dodgers about Pee Wee Reese, and thought they were asking for too much in return, so they asked the Cardinals. St. Louis offered them a choice between Marty Marion (a future MVP and seven time all-star) or Bobby Sturgeon. The Cubs picked Sturgeon. Bobby was given the starting job as a 21-year-old in 1941, and while he did an admirable job in the field, his batting was never very good. He didn’t hit for power or average, and he didn’t have a lot speed. 1941 was his only season as a starter. The rest of Bobby’s career was spent on the bench.