Today’s Cubs Birthdays (January 4)
~Ted Lilly 1976– (Pitcher, Cubs 2007-2010)
Ted Lilly was a fan favorite during his time with the Cubs. His full name is Theodore Roosevelt Lilly, and yes he was named after the president. Although he didn’t really walk softly and carry a big stick. He was simply a reliable pitcher, something all too rare on the North Side of Chicago. (Photo: 2009 Upper Deck Baseball Card)
~Al Bridwell 1884–1969 (Shortstop, Cubs 1913)
Al played very briefly for the Cubs, but he had a long career with the Giants before that, and was involved in the most controversial moment in Giants & Cubs history. Bridwell hit the ball that led to the famous Merkle boner.
~Alex Metzler 1903–1973 (Outfieler, Cubs 1925)
He was just a 22-year-old kid with the Cubs when he got some playing time at the end of the 1925 season, but he really blossomed after he left the team. In 1927 he was the best defensive centerfielder in the league for the Chicago White Sox.
~Kris Bryant 1992– (Cubs 2015-present)
After being drafted #2 overall and leading the minor leagues in home runs, the third baseman arrived in Chicago in April as one of the most hyped rookies in history. He clearly lived up to the hype, hitting 26 homers, driving in 99 runs, and winning the Rookie of the Year award. Then Bryant got even better. In 2016 he was simply the best player in the National League. He didn’t just hit 39 homers — he crushed them. They bounced off the video board. He also led the league in runs scored, but he did something even more important than that. He led the Cubs to the World Series. As fate would have it, Bryant even recorded the final out on a slow roller to third. It is a moment that will be remembered as the greatest moment in Cubs history. That smile on his face as he threw the ball to Anthony Rizzo across the diamond will never be forgotten. After the season he was named the MVP. His 2017 season was down by Bryant’s standards, but he still scored 111 runs, hit 29 homers, and hit .295. In 2018 Kris struggled through shoulder injuries and didn’t live up to his potential, but after that 2016 season, Cubs fans were inclined to forgive him. He rewarded them with a bounce back All-Star season in 2019, homering 31 times, scoring more than 100 runs, and doing it while fighting through nagging injuries.