Today’s Cubs Birthdays (November 8)

    By Rick Kaempfer
    In Today's Cub Birthday
    Nov 8th, 2017
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    ~Henry Rodriguez 1967 (Cubs 1998-2000)
    At the turn of last century, an insane asylum was located just past the left field fence at the Cubs old ballpark; West Side Grounds. The asylum patients would literally scream crazy things out of open windows during the game. Thanks to that odd auditory ambiance at West Side Grounds, the phrase “that came out of left field” was coined. True story. 80 years later, unfortunately, the Cubs began to take the phrase literally. Between Gary Matthews who started in left field for three years in the mid-80s and Henry Rodriguez who started in left a few seasons in a row beginning 1998, the Cubs had more left fielders than anyone in baseball. During that 13 year stretch, 13 different men manned the position on Opening Day. Henry started in 1998, 1999, and 2000, and became a fan favorite. The leftfield bleacher bums would throw “Oh Henry” bars at him when he returned to his position after hitting a homer. He hit 75 of them in his three seasons in Chicago. The Cubs traded him to the Marlins for Ross Gload. (Photo: Fleer 2000 Baseball Card)

    ~Darwin Barney 1985 (Cubs 2011-2014)
    Barney was the starting second baseman for the Cubs for three seasons, and performed pretty well the first two of those. In his rookie season he hit .276 and finished seventh in the Rookie of the Year voting thanks to his excellent glovework. His second season he won a Gold Glove. Unfortunately for Darwin, his hitting started to slide. By his third season at second base he hit only .208 in over 500 at bats. The Cubs traded him to the Dodgers in 2014.

    ~Jeff Blauser 1965 (Cubs 1998-1999)
    Stuart Shea, author of “Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines” identifies Blauser as one of his 10 Cubs to Forget. Here’s what he writes: “Following a huge season for the Atlanta Braves in 1990, in which he hit .308 with 17 home runs and 70 walks (numbers well above his career norms), the 32-year-old Blauser came to Chicago on a two-year, $8M contract. Unfortunately, he stunk up Wrigley Field for the entire run of his deal. Troubled by nagging injuries, he not only hit .226/.343/.342, but also established a reputation as a clubhouse problem. His playing career ended with the last paycheck he drew from the Cubs.”

    ~Dwight Smith 1963 (Cubs 1989-1993)
    He made an immediate impact with the Cubs after he was called up in May of 1989, finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting behind teammate Jerome Walton. Dwight hit .324 that year. Unfortunately for the Cubs, he never really came close to repeating those numbers, and he was brutal in the outfield. He stayed with the Cubs through 1993, and had flashes of rookie self, but for the rest of his career he was essentially a journeyman outfielder and occasional pinch hitter. He filled that role magnificently with the World Champion Atlanta Braves in 1995. Smith is remembered in Chicago for his great rookie season, his singing voice (he sang the National Anthem), and his stubborn reluctance to give up on that fashion statement above his lip…the rare 1990s mustache. (Photo: Topps 1989 Baseball Card)

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