John Vander Wal was the hitting equivalent of a ‘loogy’: an average big leaguer whose left-handed swing kept in the game until he was 38.
His lifetime career average vs. right-handed pitching is .267 with an .819 OPS. He also amassed 126 career pinch hits, 17 of which were home runs.
Vander Wal never played for the Cubs but frequently played against the North Siders while spending the later half of his career on a rust belt tour of the NL Central. First Pittsburgh, then Milwaukee and finally Cincinnati (2004).
Jim Edmonds followed Vander Wal’s lead four years later when he left St. Louis and ended up with the Cubs in May of 2008 at the ripe age of 38.
Chicago parted ways with Edmonds after one season despite his 19 HR, 49 RBI and 135 OPS+ in 85-games. He took the next year off and then signed with Milwaukee, who in turn traded Edmonds to the Reds in August of 2010; his ‘John Vander Wal Tour of Duty’ now complete.
Corey Patterson is another who’s stepped into Vander Wal’s footprints. A lefty batter who broke in with the Cubs and later bounced from Cincinnati to Milwaukee to St. Louis (among other stops).
And now another left-handed journeyman, and former Cub, is on the brink of turning the Vander Wal trick. Cesar Izturis, 33, who played for the Cubs (2006-07), the Pirates (2007), St. Louis (2008) and Milwaukee (2012) has signed a minor league deal with the Reds.
In the name of John Vander Wal, who’s next! Louis Valbuena, Tony Campana, Brett Jackson?
1.) Results of my latest Cubs Polls.
2.) Joe Posnanski agrees–Jeter a HOFamer.
3.) Jim Edmonds: gone but not forgotten.
1.) My last two Cubs polls asked “Who should be the Cubs’ No.5 starter?” and “Who should Quade bat leadoff?”
Cubs fans got at least one wish voting Andrew Cashner (59%) the fifth starter. Meanwhile, Darwin Barney is the majority leader for the top spot in the lineup with (50%) of the votes. Tyler Colvin & Kosuke Fukudome are each tied for second place with 16-percent of the vote.
2.) I love reading Joe Posnanski’s blog. I mean, who doesn’t? Anyway, one of his posts touched on the brilliant career of Derek Jeter, who I mentioned as a lock for the Hall of Fame. Below is an excerpt from Posnanski’s post defending Jeter’s qualifications. I couldn’t agree more:
Good news for my boy, Jim Edmonds.
Turns out there’s no tear in his right Achilles’ tendon.
Which means, one of my favorite former Cubs lives to play another day!
Got to believe Baker will rest the 40-year-old for the remainder of the season.
Edmonds’ post season savvy and experience is critical for the young Reds, who will have lots of butterflies during Game 1 of the NLDS.
Jimmy, however, has been to the post season many times with much success. He’s made big plays, hit big home runs and won a world championship, which is why Cincy traded for him him in the first place.
Losing Edmonds Tuesday night would have been a crushing blow.
Not just for the Reds, but for me, too.
Edmonds has always been a favorite of mine.
But losing both he and Griffey Jr. in the same season would’ve proved too much. Here’s hoping Edmonds rides off into a Reds October sunset!
I can’t remember a left-handed bat bouncing around the NL Central the likes of Jim Edmonds since John Vander Wal’s tour of duty with the Pirates, Brewers and Reds (2001-04).
Also similar to Vander Wal, who appeared in 49 games for the Giants in 2001, Edmonds made a brief stop out west with San Diego in 2008 before joining the Cubs later in May.
Nonetheless, Edmonds’ latest move is a smart move by Cincinnati, which lacks offensive consistency from center fielder Drew Stubbs (.234 avg, 14 HR & 51 RBI).
The concensus around baseball, and specifically the NL Central, is that Edmonds still plays solid baseball–even if it’s just a few days a week. That alone could provide just enough fire power to keep the Reds in the division hunt through September.
Despite my fondness for Edmonds, the fact the Cubs let this guy walk after the ’08 season (.256 avg, 19 HR, 49 RBI) still bothers me.
To think Milton Bradley’s on base percentage was worthy of replacing anyone, let alone a proven talent such as Edmonds, was silly, which later proved true for obvious reasons.
Who knows what would have transpired had Edmonds been retained in Chicago for 2009? At the very least, it couldn’t have faired worse than the ‘Milton The Terrible’ experience.
As it is, Edmonds has now completed the ‘John Vander Wal Tour of Duty’ through the NL Central, and joins a playoff race to boot!
Happy Birthday Jim Edmonds, who turned 40 on Sunday!
The former Cub is batting .266 with 3 HR & 8 RBI through 44 games with the Brewers this season.
Not bad for a guy who sat out 2009 and made the team as a non-roster free agent out of spring training!
The four-time All Star, and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner, is also approaching a few career milestones…12 walks away from 1,000, 15 homers shy of 400 and 31 games short of 2,000.
Wouldn’t be surprised if Edmonds hangs on for another year. Wouldn’t rule out a return to St. Louis, either.
Still wish the Cubs would’ve brought Edmonds back in ’09. Then again, we never would’ve enjoyed the Milton Bradley era!
Jim Edmonds made Milwaukee’s 40-man roster this week.
Pretty cool for a 39-year-old, especially one who sat out last season.
Smart move for the Brew Crew, too. Young buck, Carlos Gomez, could use a mentor…Edmonds wants a last dance…and the Brewers, frankly, don’t have much to lose.
Not that it matters, but I was looking at how some former Cubs are doing this spring.
Funny enough, Jerry Hairston Jr. blasted a three-run homer off Rich Harden Sunday.
Harden, by the way, allowed six runs in the fourth inning after giving up a double, triple, home run, and walked in another.
It’s easy to get caught up in baseball’s numbers, to forget just how talented major league players are — even those .230 hitters off the bench.
It’s easy to forget the human side of the game, the importance of leadership, the need for team chemistry.
It’s easy to forget that statistics tell us only part of the story, not the whole.
It’s easy to see how sabermetrics, zone ratings and slugging percentages can mislead teams like the Cubs to sign a Milton Bradley vs. a Mark DeRosa.
And, of course, it’s easy to laugh at the notion that a 40-year-old Jim Edmonds can still pick’it in center field or hit home runs better than that 24-year-old prospect can.
Jim Edmonds wants a swan song with St. Louis, but I wouldn’t mind seeing him as a Cub again.
Chicago needs a fourth outfielder, that role player with a little defense and just enough offense.
Edmonds has both, and more importantly, he’s willing to play for the league minimum, which certainly won’t be the case with a Jermaine Dye or Xavier Nady, or even Reed Johnson.
I was a big Jim Edmonds supporter last year, loved what the guy brought to the Cubs.
And I was expecting Chicago to bring him back for a second go-round this season.
Although I won’t argue with the acquisition of Joey Gathright, I’d take just about any outfielder over Milton Bradley, including Jimmy Ballgame.
However, Edmonds is still a F.A., and after the season he put together in 2008 I’m surprised not a single team has taken a shot on the 38-year-old.