Browsing posts from May, 2008
- Friday May 30th – Wrigley Field
- Game 55: Cubs 10 – Rockies 9
- Record (34-21) – 1st place in the NL Central
This is a game to be remembered. Not just for today, or just for this season. No, this one won’t be forgotten by Cubs fans for a long, long time.
You just don’t see comebacks like this one: down 9-1 after five innings only to storm back for a dramatic victory. Seriously, when’s the last time you saw that happen?
Perhaps, what’s even more remarkable is the Cubs won this game with a never-say-die attitude from its reserve players; bench guys who simply made the most of their opportunities.
Henry Blanco, for example, had not homered since Sept., 2006. Light-hitting Fukudome hit one, too. Old man Jim Edmonds took a ball deep over the wall and, of course, Mark DeRosa put the icing on the cake with his two-run blast in the eighth.
Good teams find all sorts of ways way to win, which speaks volumes about today’s thriller. It certainly wasn’t pretty early on. But after today’s comeback you can rest at ease knowing our first place Cubbies may get down, but they’re never out. These guys are legit, and their best this season may be yet to come.
Affectionately known as “The Hawk,” Andre Dawson cut his teeth with the Montreal Expos playing in 24 games during 1976.
The following campaign Dawson made a name for himself winning Rookie of the Year honors after batting .282 avg., 19 HRs and 65 RBIs.
Dawson played 10 seasons north of the boarder using a unique blend of raw power and speed to collect more than 200 home runs and 200 stolen bases with the Expos.
In his fourth season The Hawk began a streak of eight consecutive Gold Glove Awards (1980-1988) in center field while also twice finishing second in the NL MVP voting: 1981 Mike Schmidt and 1983 Dale Murphy.
However, Dawson jettisoned Montreal’s Astroturf for the grass surface of Wrigley Field in 1987; his ageing knees holding up long enough for the right fielded to finally claim the NL’s MVP Award (.287 avg., 49 HRs and 137 RBIs) despite Chicago’s last place finish in the division.
The memorable 1987 season made Dawson a fan favorite in Chicago; he stayed five more seasons in the Windy City before departing for Boston after 1992.
Two years later the Miami, Florida native returned home to wrap up his 21-year playing career with the Marlins.
While only managing to play in 121 games over two seasons with Florida, Dawson put the finishing touches on a career that made him one of only six players ever to club more than 300 home runs (438) and steal more than 300 bases (314).
Furthermore, Dawson is also part of the elite 400 homers and 300 steals club; only Willie Mays (660 HR, 338 SB) and Barry Bonds (762 HR, 514 SB) have achieved such numbers.
That being said, Andre’s best bid at the Hall of Fame came during 2005 when he received 61 percent of the 75 percent needed for induction into the Hall.
See Dawson’s career statistics at baseball-reference.com.
Read more articles like this at the Baseball Legends blog.
Although Ron Santo is currently best recognized for his emotional color commentary on the Chicago Cubs WGN radio broadcasts, his 14 years spent as the team’s third baseman made him one of the best in the business.
The Seattle native rushed onto the scene at Wrigley Field finishing fourth in the Rookie of the Year Award voting at just 20-years-old.
His following year began a string of 11 consecutive seasons playing no less than 154 games, including a stretch of five straight Gold Glove Awards from 1964-1968.
Santo also became baseball’s first third baseman to collect more than 300 home runs (342) and five Gold Gloves, a feat later matched by Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt.
What’s also noteworthy of Santo’s baseball career is his introduction of the batting helmet’s ear flap. During the 1966 season Santo suffered a broken cheekbone after being hit by a pitch.
He later returned wearing a protective ear flap on his batting helmet, thus the ear flap became a staple on all batting helmets thereafter.
Perhaps Santo’s best season came during 1969 when the right-handed batter posted a .289 avg., 29 HRs and 123 RBIs.
However, the Cubs suffered a late season collapse against the New York Mets and failed to make the post-season, a black mark that haunts Santo to this day.
It’s a crime the nine time All Star is not in baseball’s Hall of Fame when considering his career numbers: .277 avg., 1,138-R, 342-HRs, 1,331 RBIs and the 5-Gold Gloves.
The Hall’s Veteran Committee denied Santo induction by a mere eight votes in 2005, he later fell five votes short in the 2007 voting. Santo’s next chance for the Hall of Fame is during 2009.
See Santo’s career statistics at baseball-reference.com.
Read more articles like this at the Baseball Legends blog.
- Tuesday May 20th – Minute Maid Park
- Record (28-18) – 1st place in the NL Central
The skinny: What a tremendous break for the Chicago Bulls this evening, winning the first overall-pick in the June NBA Draft.
Amazingly, the Bulls beat the minuscule odds of a 1.7 % chance at winning the league’s draft lottery.
Repeat that again please, I said a 1.7% chance. Even Sir Charles wouldn’t bet against those odds.
In turn, Chicago was right at an 81% chance of staying put in the ninth spot.
Now, they’re in position to potential compete for an NBA title next year.
How ya feelin’ Mike D’Antoni?
I don’t think anyone could have been more surprised than the Bulls’ representative, Executive Vice President, Business Operations Steve Schanwald.
“I thought it was a waste of time [attending],” said Schanwald. He later added “I was just hoping to have a good meal.”
I love Schanwald’s response, pure honesty!
So, now the million dollar (literally) question is, who should the Bulls pick?
I’d take point guard Derrick Rose. The NBA is a guard’s game now and Rose is the best available version of Chris Paul.
With the Draft set for June 26th we’ll know soon enough who the Bulls will take.
As for the Cubs, odds are tomorrow’s game at Houston will be another close one.
At least that’s the trend versus Houston dating back to last season: since Sept. 1, eight of the last 10 games have been decided by two or fewer runs, tonight’s final included.
The bright side is Chicago has much better odds of winning the rubber-match tomorrow than the Bulls had for winning the lottery tonight – not that it turned out badly for the registered Angus.
The Cubs just missed at the plate on a couple of breaks that would have swung the game their way.
Most notable, in the first inning Fukudome laced a liner just foul down the right field line, had it hit fair Derek Lee would have scored the game’s first run.
Instead, Fukudome combined with Soriano to strand six total runners (three apiece); big Geo fanned during the second inning after Chris Sampson lead him off with a 3-0 count, and Jim Edmonds killed a no-out rally in the seventh by hitting into a twin killing – and added a fourth inning throwing error as well.
Although, I’d say the larger issue is Soriano and Theriot combining for an 0-for-8 effort in front of the hot bats of Lee (3-for-5) and Ramirez (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBIs).
Outside one bad inning from Ryan Dempster (6 IP, 4-R, 6-H, 2-BB and 5-K) – allowing Hunter Pence’s grand slam in the fourth – the pitching was good. After all, those were the only runs the Astros scored.
Really, the Cubs just looked flat tonight, which, is disturbing considering Astros’ starter Chris Sampson is typically the type of pitcher Chicago takes to the cleaners: Sampson has allowed 62 hits in 47 innings pitched including a 6.46 ERA entering tonight’s game.
And worse, the lack of run production comes just days after the Cubs flopped against another very hittable starter, Phil Dumatrait shut down the lineup Sunday.
Besides the importance of winning the series tomorrow, Chicago needs a nice rebound game before Thursday’s travel day to Pittsburgh.
Not to mention, the way the team swings the sticks against the Peg Legs, a win tomorrow night could be the beginning of a four game winning streak.
And, the odds of that happening have to better than 1.7%, right?
W: Sampson (3-3) – Valverde (13)
L: Dempster (5-2)
- Notes: Ryan Dempster has dropped two of his past four outings.
- Prior to Aramis connecting for home runs in the last two games (HR No. 7, 8), the third baseman had gone 20 contests since his last round tripper.
- Mark DeRosa extended his hitting streak to 11-games by leading off the fifth with a single; the streak matches a career high for the utility man.
It’s official, Jim Edmonds has signed on with Lou’s crew, one year at the pro-rated league minimum ($284,000). I don’t just like the move, I love it!
Edmonds makes sense for Chicago. His defensive prowess is still there and he’ll provide a little left-handed pop in the order. Not to mention, he’s also playing for peanuts.
Felix Pie, on the other hand, continues to struggle hitting major league pitching. While it would certainly help the youngster to play more often, that’s a risk the Cubs shouldn’t take if they want to win the division.
That being said, I don’t think Pie’s time with the Cubs organization is on the rocks. There’s no question Edmonds is a quick-fix gamble, Pie is still the future in centerfield, as he should be.
Also, I have little doubt Edmonds’ arrival will disrupt the Cubs’ clubhouse, unless the team starts losing: then no one is happy anyway.
In fact, I think Jimmy Ballgame will add a spark to the club, especially if he returns to his old self at the dish.
Clearly, Edmonds is past his prime, but he has valuable experience playing under the pressures of a pennant chase and the post season with St. Louis. Not to mention, he’s performed quite well in October (.277 avg, 12 HR, 42 RBIs).
Really, the only thing left to discuss is where Edmonds will bat in the Cubs’ line-up.
I picture Soriano staying in the leadoff spot followed by Fukudome switching from fifth to second; next are Lee and Ramirez hitting third and fourth followed by Edmonds in the five hole; Geovany Soto will bat sixth with DeRosa and Theriot rounding out the seventh and eighth spots.
One exception to this particular order may have Edmonds hitting fourth to split up the right-handed batting Lee and Ramirez. Although, I’m not sure how comfortable I am with Edmonds hitting cleanup while currently batting .178 (avg).
1 – Soriano LF
2 – Fukudome RF
3 – Lee 1B
4 – Ramirez 3B
5 – Edmonds CF
6 – Soto C
7 – DeRosa 2B
8 – Theriot SS
9 – Pitcher