Today’s Cubs Birthdays (March 19)
~Richie Ashburn 1927 (Cubs 1960-1961)
While it was great to have the Hall of Famer Ashburn covering centerfield for the 1960 and 1961 Cubs, the lifetime .308 hitter was long past his prime. He put up those Hall of Fame numbers mostly for the Philadelphia Phillies. The stories about Ashburn from his early days are legendary. He loved hitting so much he slept with his Louisville Slugger when he was in slump. He was a speedy singles hitter who won two batting titles, finished second three times, and hit over .300 nine times. By the time he came to the Cubs, unfortunately, his career was declining and he no longer had the speed he exhibited early in his career. Ashburn was a five time all-star, but none of those appearances came with the Cubs. The Cubs let him to go in the expansion draft of 1962, and he finished his career as the only all-star on the worst team of all-time, the 1962 Mets. After his playing career ended, he became a beloved announcer for the Philadelphia Phillies. He died in 1997, two years after he was elected into baseball’s Hall of Fame. (Photo: 1961 Topps Baseball Card)
~Garry Jestadt 1947 (Cubs 1971)
Jestadt was an infielder (2B, 3B), but his career with the Cubs was incredibly short. At the beginning of the 1971 season he was on the roster long enough to log a total of three at bats (no hits), and play three total innings in the field (at 3B, spelling Ron Santo). The Cubs traded him in May of that year to the San Diego Padres. In San Diego he got the most extensive playing time of his big league career.
~Paul Smith 1931 (Cubs 1958)
Smith was acquired from the Pirates during the 1958 season, and got a cup of coffee with the Cubs. He was mainly used as a pinch hitter, although he did log some time at first base as well. Unfortunately for Paul, he didn’t hit well (.150), and was sent to the minors in June. He stayed in the game another six years, but never returned to the big leagues.
~Edgar Rice Burroughs 1875 (Cubs fan 1875-1950)
Burroughs was best known as an author (he wrote all the Tarzan books), but he was a native Chicagoan, and loved the Cubs. In 1911, when he was still a writer for the Chicago Daily Tribune, he wrote a poem about how long it had been since the Cubs had won it all (it had only been three years at that point), and how much he looked forward to their winning it all again. Luckily for him, he only lived until 1950.