Today’s Cubs Birthdays (September 22)
~Lou Johnson 1934 (Cubs 1960, 1968)
His nickname was Sweet Lou or Slick. Lou played for the Cubs in two different seasons, his rookie year and his second to last season in the big leagues, and neither of those seasons were particularly remarkable. Lou is probably better remembered for what he did against the Cubs, when he was on the Dodgers. He scored the only run in Sandy Koufax’s perfect game against the Cubs. The score was 0-0 in the bottom of the fifth and neither pitcher had allowed a single base runner. That ended when Cubs pitcher Bob Hendley walked Lou to lead off the inning. The next batter, Ron Fairly, bunted the ball a little too hard–right to the pitcher. Hendley was prepared to whirl toward second and throw out the lead runner, but he took his eye off the ball for a second, dropped it, and had no choice but to throw to first. Now Johnson was darting off second base. Hendley focused on the hitter, Jim Lefevbre, which allowed Johnson to take off for third. Cubs catcher Chris Krug threw to Santo, but the Cubs great couldn’t handle the throw. Johnson ran home with the first and only run of the game. The Dodgers had scored without the benefit of a hit. They later got exactly one hit, but it didn’t factor in the scoring. (Photo: Topps 1960 Baseball Card)
~Mark Guthrie 1965 (Cubs 1999-2000, 2003)
Guthrie also had two stints with the Cubs. In his first one he arrived from Boston in exchange for Cubs fan favorite Rod Beck. In the middle of the next year he was traded for another fan favorite, Davey Martinez. Guthrie was a decent lefthanded reliever, but never exactly a fan favorite. In his return to the Cubs in 2003, however, he was excellent all season. He appeared in 65 games as a lefty specialist, and posted a sparking 2.95 ERA. Unfortunately, he also lost Game 1 of the NLCS in Wrigley Field against the Marlins. Dusty Baker brought him in because lefties were coming up, but Jack McKeon outsmarted him, and brought in righty Mike Lowell to pinch hit. Lowell homered to win the game. Guthrie made one more appearance in the series; mop up duty in the Cubs victory in Game 2. That was his last appearance in the big leagues.
~Harry Bright 1929 (Cubs 1965)
The Cubs always liked Harry Bright. He was in their farm system three different times before he made it to the big leagues with the Pirates in 1958. He was with the Pirates the year they won the World Series, the starting first baseman for the Senators in 1962, and made the postseason roster for the 1963 Yankees (striking out in both World Series at bats). But he didn’t make it to the big leagues with the team that owned him three times in his youth, the Cubs, until his last season as a player. The 35-year-old was strictly a pinch hitter in Chicago, and batted .280.
~Doc Marshall 1875 (Cubs 1908)
He was a backup catcher and outfielder for the last Cubs team to win the World Series. Marshall didn’t play much. He came to the Cubs around Memorial Day, and played in only twelve games the rest of the season. He didn’t even sniff the World Series that year, but Doc got a ring. He was a bit of a baseball vagabond, also playing with Philadelphia, Boston, New York, and Brooklyn in his five year big league career.
~Ken Aspromonte 1931 (Cubs 1963)
Aspromonte played seven seasons in the big leagues, the highlight of which was probably his 1960 season as the starting second baseman for the Cleveland Indians. He had a good year, slugging 10 homers, and batting .290. It was enough to get the attention of the Washington Senators, who selected him in the 1960 Expansion Draft. Aspromonte shuffled around between Washington, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and Milwaukee over the next year or so, never really claiming a full time gig. By the time he came to the Cubs he was strictly a backup. He didn’t even make it through half the season. The Cubs released him in June, and that marked the end of his big league career. Ken’s brother Bob also played in the big leagues (mostly with Houston). (Photo: Topps 1964 Baseball Card)