Today’s Cubs Birthdays (December 5)
~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.
~Mike Mahoney 1972 (Cubs 2000, 2002)
Mike made his big league debut with the Cubs as a 27-year-old in 2000. The backup catcher was a September call up and only got into a handful of games. He spent the entire 2001 season in the minor leagues, but got another shot with the Cubs in 2002. Again, he only played in a handful of games. In all, Mike caught 20 games for the Cubs.
~Cliff Floyd 1972 (Cubs 2007)
The local Chicago boy didn’t get to play for his hometown team until his 15th big league season. He was only two years removed from hitting 30+ homers for the Mets, but Cliff didn’t quite reach those heights with the Cubs. He started most of the season in right field and hit .284 with 9 homers. Nevertheless, Cliff had a tremendous big league career. Floyd was an all-star, a World Series champ, and led four different teams to the playoffs, including the 2007 Cubs. In his 17 year big league career, Cliff Floyd hit 233 homers.
~Bobby Mattick 1915 (Cubs 1938-1940)
Bobby looked good in his rookie season with the Cubs, so they traded their shortstop Dick Bartell and gave Mattick the starting job in 1940. Unfortunately, big league pitchers figured him out, and Mattick only managed to hit .218. The Cubs traded him to the Reds after the season, the third straight off-season that they traded their starting shortstop.
~Gus Mancuso 1905 (Cubs 1939)
Blackie, as he was known, was a two-time all-star with the Giants before he came to the Cubs. He shared catching duties with his manager, Gabby Hartnett. It was his only season with the Cubs. Mancuso played throughout the war for the Cardinals, Giants, and Phillies, but even he admitted those last four years he only logged big league time because so many players were at war. After his playing career, Gus became a pitching coach for the Reds, and then a broadcaster. In the early 50s, Mancuso worked alongside a little known St. Louis Cardinals radio announcer named Harry Caray.
~Dick Cogan 1871 (Orphans 1899)
Cogan started exactly five games for the Cubs (then known as the Orphans) in the last year of the 19th century, but he completed all five of those starts. He won 2 games and posted an ERA of 4.30. Among his teammates that year, future Hall of Famers Frank Chance and Clark Griffith.
~Patsy Tebeau 1864 (White Stockings 1887)
Patsy was born just a few weeks after Abraham Lincoln’s re-election in the closing days of the Civil War in the slave state of Missouri–a state that was claimed by both the Confederacy and the United States. (They sent representatives to both Congresses). Patsy was a 22-year-old rookie third baseman on the Cubs (then known as the White Stockings) in 1887, and didn’t fare too well. He hit .162 in 20 games. He later enjoyed much more success with Cleveland. His big league career lasted 13 years. Patsy’s brother George also played in the big leagues.