Today’s Cubs Birthdays (November 30)
~Rich Harden 1981 (Cubs 2008-2009)
The Cubs knew they were getting a fragile but talented pitcher from the A’s during their division winning season of 2008, but gambled that he could help. When he got on the mound, he did. Harden had a 5-1 record after being acquired, but he wasn’t available to pitch every five days, and in his one start of the playoffs against the Dodgers he was hit pretty hard. Unfortunately for the Cubs, they included a future all-star and potential MVP in the deal to acquire Harden. In addition to Matt Murton and Eric Patterson, the A’s received third baseman Josh Donaldson. Harden won 9 games in 2009, but it was clear his arm wouldn’t hold up, and he was allowed to leave via free agency after the season. Donaldson became a star in Oakland a few years later. (Photo: 2009 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Card)
~Luis Valbuena 1985–2018 (Cubs 2012–2014)
Valbuena was picked up the Cubs after the Blue Jays released him at the end of spring training in 2012, and has been a pleasant surprise. The Venezuelan infielder has always had a good glove, but over the past few seasons he has also discovered a power stroke. He hit 16 homers in 2014. The Cubs traded Luis to the Astros in January 2015 for Dexter Fowler.
~Alec Mills 1991– (Cubs 2018-present)
The Cubs acquired Mills in a trade with the Royals before the 2018 season, but he didn’t make his debut with the big league club until the closing months of the 2018 season. Mills came up as a spot starter, and pitched so well he stayed on the roster. In seven appearances he posted a 2.49 ERA. In 2019, he finally got his first big league win in the closing days of the season. It was too little, too late for the Cubs. The win came after a nine-game losing streak dropped them out of contention.
~Bob Tewksbury 1960 (Cubs 1987-1988)
The Cubs saw some promise in the young righthander when they acquired him from the Yankees in exchange for Steve Trout. They were right, but it didn’t work out for Tewksbury in Chicago. He suffered through some health issues and didn’t pitch much over his two seasons with the Cubs. After he signed with the Cardinals, he blossomed. Tewksbury had five double-digit-win seasons in a row for St. Louis, including an all-star season, when he won 17 games.
~Steve Hamilton 1934 (Cubs 1972)
Hamilton was a 37-year-old 12-year veteran when the Cubs acquired the lefty reliever in 1972. He appeared in the final 22 games of his big league career for the Cubs that year, posting a 4.76 ERA as a situational lefty. Hamilton retired after the season.
~Ed Mayer 1931 (Cubs 1957-1958)
Mayer was another left-handed reliever. Over two seasons he appeared in 23 games; winning two and saving one. It was Mayer’s only time in the majors. He pitched in the minor leagues for eight seasons.
~Elmer Koestner 1885 (Cubs 1914)
Elmer was a pitcher for several big league teams (including Cleveland and Cincinnati), but he also pitched for the Cubs briefly in 1914 at West Side Grounds. The ballpark was falling apart that year and more fans were going to see the Federal League Whales in what is now known as Wrigley Field. Elmer appeared in only four games before the Cubs cut him loose. His nickname was Bob.
~Frank Killen 1870 (Orphans 1900)
Killen was a two-time 30-game winner for Pittsburgh before he came to the Cubs (then known as the Orphans). Chicago was the last stop of his excellent career, but Killen was pretty much done. He had pitched 2500 innings in his previous nine big league seasons. With the Cubs he was 3-3.