Since MLB Opening Day will be delayed until around June 1st, and with the launch of the new Marquee Sports Network, there has been a lot of baseball floating around in my brain.
We all know about the pandemic that is sweeping the state, nation and the world at the moment that has caused the cancellation of schools, university, the March Madness Tournament, businesses, and put a statewide “shelter in place” what a better time to sit down and go through the “Top 20 Cubs” of all time.
This could be left up to interpretation, but being in my early 20’s, I have been blessed with a ring in 2016, many people as we all know went their entire lives without seeing the Chicago Cubs win a Commissioners Trophy. That is a feeling that I am glad that I will never have to experience, although I may never see it happen again.
Going back to the Marquee Sports Network they often run an hour segment on their named “Top 20 Cubs” If you are a Chicago Cubs fan, then this is for you and is up for interpretation. I am going to make my own list of “Top 20 Cubs”and drop them five at a time, on Sunday afternoon Monday Morning, Monday Night, and Tuesday Morning.
20- Kris Bryant - Most people that listen to the Jay and Cale Show Podcast know that I’m not a big Kris Bryant fan. I know he is a good hitter, with great power, and can play anywhere on the field if need be, but at the plate, he is very streaky. I understand that baseball is a game of streaks, and guys will hit slumps but it seems like KB will smash the ball onto Sheffield for 10 to 12 games then go homerless, of even hitless the next 15. With all that, you have to put a player than run NL ROY and MVP all in the same season and was a huge reason for the success in 2016. In Bryant’s career in a Cub uniform his numbers look like this:
Kris Bryant made the cut, but his Rookie Year had a lot to do with my decision of putting him on the list.
19- Kerry Wood - On May 6, 1998, in Wood’s debut at Wrigley Field “The Kid” struck out 20 batters. Still tied for the lead to this day. Listening to the call, watching reruns of the game on Youtube how could you now out Kerry on the list? There is one reason why I kept him so low on the board. Injuries. Wood battled injury after injury each season after his rookie year which isn’t his fault and he isn’t the only one to have that happen to him. Kerry Wood’s career numbers look like this:
WAR- 27.6(I didn’t think it would be that high)
ERA- 3.67 in over 1300 innings
Watching Kerry Wood throw in the high 90’s to low 100’s in his career was fun in my childhood always wanting to throw that hard, but the 20 strikeout game will go down with the 23-22 game against the Phillies in Cubs history forever.
18 Rick Sutcliffe - Sutcliffe is a guy that doesn’t get the publicity that he deserves. Sut had a very strong career on the North Side winning a Cy Young, ERA title, and being a 3x All-Star, and winning ROY in 1979. Not to mention when Sut did win ROY he beat out Dwight Gooden, and Bruce Sutter two dominate pitchers in the ’70s and ’80s and also finished fourth in MVP voting that season. Rick Sutcliffe’s splits:
4.08 ERA in 2,600 Innings pitched
Once again, only being able to watch Sutcliffe pitch in highlights on Youtube, I feel that his career with the Cubs is strong enough to take the 18 spot on the list.
17 Randy Hundley - Catchers aren’t the most glamorous position on the field, but these guys are workhorses and know the game almost better than any player on the field. They see everything that happens(besides outfielders) and have to know what pitch to throw to what batter in what location in what count. What. Hundley caught in a time where people played 162 games a year unless their spleen was falling out of their bodies. Not saying players today aren’t tough, the game was just different in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Hundley was only an All-Star one time, and only won one Gold Glove, but he was going against guys like Carleton Fisk, Johnny Bench, and Thurman Munson. I know two of those guys played in the AL(Fisk- CWS, Boston. Munson- Yankees) But the depth of catchers and superstars in the era of baseball was mesmerizing, and Hundley was at the top of that list with those guys, in toughness. Here are Hundley’s numbers in Chicago in 947 games:
Hundley is on my list of top catchers of all time. Making him the 17th best Chicago Cub.
16 Aramis Ramirez - In the prime of my Cubs watching career, and yes keeping a stat book in front of the TV with every game because I was and still am a baseball nerd(still am) Ramirez was my top Cub growing up. That did not weigh on my decision of putting him at 16, but he does deserve it. Watching Ramirez from 1998 to 2015 hit bombs into the bleachers, and his playmaking ability at the hot corner puts him at 16. Ramirez is 3x All-Star and a Silver Slugger(2011). Aramis didn’t get drafted by the Cubs nor did he finish on the North Side but he did play the best chunk of his career with the Cubs. Ramirez has high numbers that still impress me to this day:
Ramirez was without a doubt my favorite player on a lot of the Cub Teams in the early 2000s with Derek Lee, Alfanso, Garcipara, Theriot, Tony Campana(who I still believe is faster than Billy Hamilton) to name a few.