Today’s Cubs Birthdays (August 25)
~Rube Kroh 1886–1944 (Cubs 1908-1910)
His real name was Floyd Kroh, but Rube was a common nickname in the first half of last century, indicating that the player was a country boy. Rube Kroh certainly fit that description. He grew up in a small town in New York named Friendship. Kroh’s first season with the Cubs was 1908, which was, needless to say, a very memorable year. He also played a bit part in the most important play of that season. He may have led the Cubs to the World Series without throwing a single pitch. Instead, it was a single punch. During the melee in the “Merkle Boner” game on September 23, 1908, while the Giants fans stormed the field before the umpire had called the game over, it was Rube Kroh that “forcibly retrieved” the ball from a Giants fan, and threw it in to Johnny Evers. Evers stepped on second base, and the Cubs won the game because the “winning run” didn’t count. Fred Merkle hadn’t yet stepped on second. The game ended in a tie, and the Cubs went on to win the pennant. Kroh also happened to be a good pitcher, but on that Cubs team, he wasn’t good enough to get on the mound very often. In three seasons during the Cubs dynasty years, he won 14 games. They let him go after the 1910 season.
~Gary Matthews Jr. 1974– (Cubs 2000-2001)
Gary’s dad was the reigning National League Rookie of the Year when Gary Jr. was born in 1974. He followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a big league ballplayer (and a Cub — just like his dad). His time in Chicago wasn’t quite as successful as his father’s. He got a fair amount of playing time with the Cubs, but had trouble hitting over .200. The Cubs released him in August of 2001. Turns out, he had a little more left in the tank. He played in the big leagues for the next ten seasons, including an All-Star season with the Angels in 2006. His legacy, however, was tarnished by being mentioned in George Mitchell’s report about steroids.
~Doug Glanville 1970– (Cubs 1996-1997, 2003)
Glanville was a first round draft choice by the Cubs, and had a very respectable nine-year big league career. In his rookie season with the Cubs, he hit .300 and stole 19 bases. The Cubs took a big chance by trading him after the season to Phillies for Mickey Morandini. This is one of those trades that worked out for both teams. Morandini was a key member of the Cubs 1998 playoff team, while Glanville starred for the Phillies. He was an outstanding outfielder, and in 1999 he hit .325 and stole 34 bases. Towards the end of his career, Glanville was reacquired by Chicago for the stretch run of their 2003 playoff season. He had a few key hits, including a pinch hit RBI triple in the 2003 NLCS. He is now a broadcaster and a writer. He has written for the New York Times and the Atlantic, and is the author of The Game From Where I Stand (2010).
~Adam Warren 1987– (Cubs 2016)
The Cubs acquired the right-hander in the trade that sent Starlin Castro to the Yankees. The swingman started 17 games for the Yanks in 2015 and pitched well, winning seven games and posting an ERA of 3.29. The Cubs used him mainly out of the bullpen and he didn’t fare as well. In 35 innings pitched he walked 19 batters and gave up seven homers. The Cubs sent him to the minors, before including him in a trade back to the Yankees. He was part of the deal that brought Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs.