Today’s Cubs Birthdays (May 20)
~Bobby Murcer 1946–2008 (Cubs 1977-1979)
It’s not like the Cubs went looking for Bobby Murcer. They had one thing in mind after their disastrous 1976 season, and that was getting rid of disgruntled two-time batting champion Bill Madlock. Madlock was going to cost too much money; therefore he had to be traded. The Giants were willing to take the best hitter in the National League off the Cubs hands. In exchange, they gave up one-time superstar Bobby Murcer and third baseman Steve Ontiveros. It’s not that the Cubs fans didn’t like Murcer, who had one good year in 1977 when the Cubs had a nice little run to the begin the season, it’s just that he wasn’t nearly the player he once was, and he was by no means a fair trade for Bill Madlock. In his heyday with the Yankees, Murcer had been a five-time All-Star — considered to be the second coming of Mickey Mantle. In Chicago his power disappeared, never to return. After he hit a whopping nine homers in nearly 500 at-bats in 1978, the Cubs sent him back where he belonged in 1979 — to the New York Yankees for a minor leaguer named Paul Semall. That same season Bill Madlock was the starting third baseman for the World Series champion Pirates. Madlock later won two more batting titles. (Photo: 1978 Topps Baseball Card)
~George Grantham 1900–1954 (Cubs 1923-1924)
In his two years as the Cubs starting 2B (1923, 1924), George led the league in strikeouts both years. He also led the league in being caught stealing. The Cubs traded him to the Pirates in the deal that brought Charlie Grimm to Chicago. Grantham had a good run in Pittsburgh. In his first season there he helped lead the team to a World Series title. He played with Pittsburgh for seven seasons before ending his career with the Reds and Giants.
~Brian McNichol 1974– (Cubs 1999)
Brian’s big league career lasted two games. His first big league game was a start against the Reds in the second game of a double-header. He was pounded for six runs in only four innings. Mike Cameron and Greg Vaughn both homered against him In a 10-3 loss. McNichol got his second (and last) start against the Phillies in Philadelphia. Mike Lieberthal took him deep, but Brian only gave up two runs on six hits in 5 innings. He still got the loss as the Cubs lost 2-1. He never got another shot in the majors.