Today’s Cubs Birthdays (August 8)
~Anthony Rizzo 1989 (Cubs 2012-Present)
Rizzo was one of the first young studs acquired by new Cubs president Theo Epstein after taking over the Cubs. The very highly regarded prospect had been drafted by Epsetin and company in Boston, and was acquired from Jed Hoyer’s previous team San Diego for Cubs prospect Andrew Cashner. He burst onto the scene in the middle of 2012 and hit 15 homers the last few months of the season. In 2013, he regressed a bit, and only hit .233 with 23 homers. But in 2014, he bounced back with an all-star season, and followed that up with an all-world 2015, leading the Cubs to the NLCS. He slugged 31 homers and drove 101, was named an all-star, and finished fourth in the MVP voting. In 2016 he carried the Cubs to a World Series championship. He set career highs in average, homers, and RBI, won a Silver Slugger Award, and his first Gold Glove. In fact, he won the Platinum Glove award for being the best defensive player in the National League. Kris Bryant may be the MVP, but Rizzo is the undisputed team leader. (Photo: Topps Retro Baseball Card)
~Tot Pressnell 1906 (Cubs 1941-1942)
His real name was Forest Charles Pressnell, but Forest’s brothers were much older, and people around his home town of Findlay Ohio knew Forest as the “tot” who always tagged along with his siblings. The nickname stuck to Forest for the remainder of his life. It was an ironic nickname in the majors, because Tot was a 31-year-old rookie for the Dodgers in 1938, and was a decent starting pitcher. He was traded to the Cubs before 1941, and turned into a reliever. Tot was a knuckleball pitcher, and like many knuckleballers, couldn’t find his control. After the ’42 season, at the age of 36, Tot went back to his crib in Ohio.
~Chad Meyers 1975 (Cubs 1999-2001)
Chad was a utlity man for the Cubs, playing second base, third base, and all three outfield slots when he was needed. Unfortunately for Meyers, he wasn’t a very strong hitter. In 212 lifetime big league at bats, his batting average was only .208. Meyers finished his career with the Mariners.
~Ray Fontenot 1957 (Cubs 1985-1986)
Fontenot was acquired by the Cubs just after their close call in the 1984 playoffs. Fontenot couldn’t crack the starting rotation on his merits, but when everyone started getting hurt, he got the call. In 1985 he started 23 games, won 6 and lost 10, and posted an ERA of 4.36. He was traded to the Twins in the middle of ’86.
~Vern Morgan 1928 (Cubs 1954-1955)
Morgan was a third baseman, but with Randy Jackson firmly entrenched at that position, Morgan was used primarily as a pinch hitter. He batted .225 in 77 plate appearances over two seasons.
~Chick Keating 1891 (Cubs 1913-1915)
Chick was a backup infielder for the Cubs during their last three seasons at West Side Grounds. He didn’t get many opportunities, probably because he was definitely a liability as a batter. In 43 at bats, he only managed to scratch out four hits (a double, and three singles).
~Cupid Childs 1857 (Orphans 1900-1901)
Cupid was a very tough out. The second baseman retired with a lifetime on base percentage of .416, which was tremendous even for his era. He had a great career for Cleveland, but was coming off a bout of malaria when he signed with the Cubs (then known as the Orphans), and it affected his hand-eye coordination. He was never quite the same player again. After his playing days, Cupid Childs did something that a lot of unskilled laborers did–he went to work in the coal business. He died at the age of 45 in his native Baltimore. His obituary in the Baltimore Sun (1912) described him this way: “Childs was considered the fastest second baseman and one of the heaviest hitters in the major leagues. He was the idol of baseball fans and although never playing on the old Oriole team in Baltimore, he was always given a warm welcome because he was a Baltimore boy.” (h/t the Baseball Biography Project)