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 baserunner. That ended when Cubs pitcher Bob Hendley walked Lou to lead off the inning. He was bunted to second base by Ron Fairly, and stole third, scoring on Chris Krug’s errant throw to Ron Santo. The Dodgers had scored without the benefit of a hit. The Dodgers later got exactly one hit, a harmless double, but it didn’t factor in the scoring. (Photo: Topps 1960 Baseball Card)
~Mark Guthrie 1965– (Cubs 1999-2000, 2003)
Guthrie 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 left-handed 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 Walker 1916–1999 (Cubs 1949)
Harry was an All-Star with the Cardinals before the war, and came to the Cubs a few years after the war ended. The Cubs got him in a trade for their former crowd favorite Bill Nicholson. Harry didn’t work out in Chicago, but he did provide the team an invaluable trade bait. He had only hit one homer and was hitting .264 as a corner outfielder for the Cubs when they traded him to the Reds for Frank Baumholtz and Hank Sauer. Those two players were key members of the Cubs for years. The former anchored Wrigley’s center field, and the latter became an MVP for the Cubs. Walker’s brother Dixie also played in the big leagues, and is most remembered as the player who most vehemently protested Jackie Robinson’s promotion to the Dodgers in 1947.
~Harry Bright 1929–2000 (Cubs 1965)
The Cubs always liked Harry Bright. He was in their farm system three different times. Bright 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 1875–1959 (Cubs 1908)
He was a backup catcher and outfielder for the World Series champs. 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. After his baseball career he really lived up to his nickname. He became a doctor.
~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)