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Video Jackie Robinson At Wrigley Field

By bullpenbrian - February 2, 2013 - 1:00 pm Leave a comment.

Jackie Robinson

There’s something about this video (embedded below). I watch it over and over again. I can’t put my finger on it, but I think it’s because I want to see more, I want to see Robinson play.

It’s May 18, 1947. Jackie Robinson becomes the first black ballplayer in the major leagues to step on the diamond at Wrigley Field.

This is one year before the military’s integration. Seven years before Brown vs. the Board of Education and eight years before the tragic death of Emmett Till.

This date remains the largest paid single game attendance at Wrigley Field(47,101). Current MLB commissioner Bud Selig, then 12, watched from the grandstands.

The Dodgers overcome three fielding errors (one by Jackie) to score four runs in the seventh in route to a 4-2 win against the Cubs. Robinson plays first base; bats second and goes 0-for-4 with two strikeouts–both looking.

Robinson played in 151-games for the season, hit .297 with 12 HRs and 48 RBI. He won the Rookie of the Year Award.

Over the course of his 10-year career Robinson played 93-games at Wrigley Field hitting .295/.400/.446, 5 HRs, 43 RBI.

This past Thursday (Jan. 31) was Robinson’s 94th birthday. He was celebrated in a Google Doodle drawing on Google’s home page.

Jackie Robinson


When Wrigley Field Was Weeghman Park

By bullpenbrian - February 1, 2013 - 9:00 am Leave a comment.

A series of posts dedicated to learning more about our favorite ballpark, Wrigley Field.

“The real Cubs fans are on the West Side. Moving the team’s base to the North Side is a bad idea.” -Charles Murphy, former Cubs president, criticizing the 1916 move to Clark & Addison from the West Side Grounds.

Cubs owner, Charles Weeghman, had the idea to build a ballpark at Clark, Addison, Waveland & Sheffield in 1914.
The park was built quickly–in seven weeks!
It took 490 workers and four acres of bluegrass.
The cost? $250,000.
Seating capacity – 14,000.
The field was deemed ready for baseball just four days before Opening Day.
At the time, the Cubs were in the Federal League, and known as the Chi-Feds.
After nine home runs were hit in the opening three-games series, the outfield wall was moved back 25 feet in left and nearly 50 feet in left center.
The park was originally called Weeghman Park.


Video Don Cardwell’s No-Hitter With The Cubs

By bullpenbrian - January 26, 2013 - 10:00 am Leave a comment.

Don Cardwell
Two days after 24-year-old Don Cardwell was traded from Philadelphia to Chicago the right-hander tossed a no-hitter against the rival Cardinals at Wrigley Field on May 15, 1960. It marked the first time in major league history a pitcher spun a no-no in his first start after being traded.

Aside from a first inning walk to Alex Grammas, Cardwell retired the final 26 batters with the help of two splendid defensive plays in the ninth inning. The first a fine snag by right fielder George Altman on a line drive, and the second coming from left fielder Moose Moryn who made a shoe string catch to end the game.

It was one of the few Cubs highlights in a season that saw the arrival of rookie Ron Santo and the hiring of Lou Boudreau to replace Charlie Grimm as manager after just 17-games. Nonetheless, the team sank to an overall
(60-94) record with Cardwell struggling through the campaign (8-14, 4.37) in his 32 starts with the Cubs.

In the following season, however, Cardwell bounced back with the best season of his career posting 15-wins in a league high 38 starts. But the success was short lived as Cardwell slumped again in 1962 going (7-16, 4.92). Ironically, the Cubs later traded him to St. Louis following the season in October.

Funny enough, it was Cardwell who later helped the Mets overtake the Cubs in the NL East late in the summer of 1969. He won five games (four as a starter) heading into August allowing one run, including a 28 scoreless innings streak.

The Mets of course went on to win the World Series against Baltimore as Cardwell made one relief appearance in the Fall Classic pitching a single scoreless inning.

“He was a tremendous mentor to the young guys on our staff, when he said something, you listened. He was the ultimate professional.” -Tom Seaver

If you don’t have time to view the entire video I’d recommend joining the action at the 13:30 mark to see the final out of the game!


Getting To Know Wrigley Field

By bullpenbrian - January 25, 2013 - 8:00 am Leave a comment.

A series of posts dedicated to learning more about our favorite ballpark, Wrigley Field.

“To me there’s always been something special about Wrigley Field. I refer to the ballpark as the dowager queen of the National League. I refer to the lights as a lady in black in evening, wearing pearls. Every time I come to this ballpark, I seem to feel and see another image, and, above all, the enthusiasm of the crowd. It’s just a very special place.” -Vin Scully

-Wrigley Field was the first ballpark to allow fans to keep foul balls.
-The first to build a permanent concession stand.
-Was the lone ballpark to refuse night games for 40 years.
-There’s still no Jumbo Tron, of course.
-There’s still no Cubs mascot.
-Thankfully, there’s still organ music for batter introduction.


Cubs Trounce Dodgers 20-1 at Wrigley Field | Video

By bullpenbrian - January 19, 2013 - 8:00 pm Leave a comment.

The Cubs would have been fortunate to score 20-runs in one week last season. But on May 5, 2001 Chicago lambasted the Dodgers 20-1 at Wrigley Field (video below).

The offensive outburst was highlighted by Sammy Sosa’s 3-for-5 day at the plate including a 2-R HR in the bottom of the fourth (Sosa hit 64 HR, 160 RBI for the season). Damon Buford also went 3-for-5 with 2 RBI and Bill Mueller drew four walks and scored three runs.

Darren Dreifort started for LA allowing four-runs in six innings, but the bulk of the damage came against Terry Adams who failed to record an out while giving up seven earned-run on six hits. Jose Nunez didn’t provide much relief issuing nine more runs (five earned).

You’ll get a chuckle watching the television opening when it’s said the Cubs are throwing their ‘crown jewel’ Julian Tavarez. At the time Tavarez was 28 and had signed with Chicago as a free agent in the offseason. He finished the campaign (10-9, 4.52) and then was packaged with Dontrelle Willis in a trade to Miami in late March of 2002 (Antonio Alfonseca & Matt Clement).

Funny enough, the last Cubs pitcher to win 20-games in a season, Jon Lieber (20-6), was on the ‘01 team as well as Kerry Wood (12-6) and Jason Bere (11-11). Tavarez posted the highest ERA and fewest innings pitched of anyone on the staff, including Kevin Tapani (9-14, 4.49). Crown jewel, indeed.

In this game, however, Tavarez had one of his better outings limiting Los Angeles to one-run on six hits over seven innings. Courtney Duncan pitched the final two frames to seal the victory.

The heavy-handed win kept the Cubs (18-11) atop the NL Central. By mid June Chicago pushed its division lead to 6.0 games, but in typical Cubs fashion the lead wouldn’t last long.

Houston and St. Louis stormed back to catch the Cubs two months later. In early September Chicago had fallen to third place while the Astros and Cardinals jumped ahead to finish the season tied for first at (93-69). Houston was awarded the division title having won the regular seasons series vs. St. Louis. Meanwhile, the Cubs (88-74) finished third under Don Baylor, five games back in the NL Central.



Jeff Samardzija Files For Arbitration, Bryan LaHair’s New Teammate & Ryan Theriot Picks Next World Series Winner

By bullpenbrian - January 17, 2013 - 7:00 am Leave a comment.

Bullpen Brian I usually consider the weeks following the Super Bowl to March Madness as the doldrums of television viewing. But evening programming is lacking with the absence of Blackhawks hockey (season begins Sat.).

College basketball barely registers on my radar and the NBA doesn’t do it for me either. So I ended up watching Antiques Road Show on PBS last night. I’ve never been more motivated to clean out my storage closet with the hope of finding some treasure valued at auction for $100,000. Perhaps this baseball tapestry is my ticket to financial freedom in 2013? Or, let’s just say the start of the NHL season can’t come soon enough…


  • Bryan LaHair’s newest teammate on the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks is 35 year old Vicente Padilla. He’s agreed to a 1-year, $3.25M deal after spending last season as a reliever with Boston (4-1, 4.50),
    56-games, 50.0 IP, ERA+97.
  • Why are teams are so enthralled with Kyle Farnsworth? His six seasons with the Cubs (1999-04) were five too many for my liking. However, the soon to be 37 year old is in the mix to join the Rays, where he’s spent the past two seasons. Farnsworth’s lifetime record is (40-62, 4.24) with a career 55-percent save percentage (52/94). You tell me…
  • One of our favorite former Cubs to root against, Ryan Theriot, is rumored to be headed to either Philadelphia or San Francisco according to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. So is it safe to assume whichever team he signs with will go on to win the World Series while Theriot toes the Mendoza line as a scrub bench player. Ugh.
  • Jeff Samardzija filed for salary arbitration this week and seemingly has come to a mutual agreement with the Cubs to work on a 1-year deal for 2013. Although he’s under team control through 2015, it appears both sides are committed to inking a long-term contract next offseason. MLBTR.com suggest Shark will earn $2.9M for the coming season. Granted the 28 year old is coming off a breakout campaign (9-13, 3.81), 28 starts, 174.2 IP, I like the move from the Cubs’ perspective. It gives Samardzija another year to prove he’s a top of the rotation starter and a pitcher the Cubs should invest in long-term.

Cubs Transactions: Kerry Wood & Billy Hatcher

By bullpenbrian - January 13, 2013 - 5:00 am Leave a comment.

Cubs Transactions January 13th:

  • 2012 – Signed free agent
    Kerry Wood
  • 2003 – Signed free agent
    Midre Cummings
  • 1986 – Traded Larry Whitford & Rich Rembielak to Milwaukee for Mike Martin
  • 1981 – Selected Billy Hatcher in the 6th Rd of amateur draft.

Video of First Night Game at Wrigley Field

By bullpenbrian - January 12, 2013 - 1:15 am Leave a comment.

Wrigley Field Lights

Below is a wonderful video of the first night game at Wrigley Field on August 8, 1988 (thanks to @ChicagoTough for sending my way).

Yes, as many of you already know, the game was postponed in the fourth inning due to rain with the Cubs leading the Phillies 3-1.

Thus, the first ‘official’ night game at Wrigley was held the following evening against the Mets, which the Cubs won 6-4.

For the season Chicago played six total games under the lights at Wrigley posting a (3-3) record.

Video Highlights:

3:00 – Interview with long-time season ticket holder and life-long Cubs fan Harry Grossman. He hits the switch to turn on the lights for the first time in a pre-game ceremony (8:15 mark).

22:00 – Old car commercial (there are several throughout the game).

31:00 – Ryne Sandberg commercial for Chevy.

36:00 -  Tim McCarver & Ralph Kiner discuss new lights at Wrigley Field.

41:45 – Steve Stone introduces Wayne Messmer to sing God Bless America.

53:00 – Harry Caray interviews Bill Murray.

58:00 – First pitch from Rick Sutcliffe.


Old Wrigley Field Painting

By bullpenbrian - January 11, 2013 - 1:30 am Leave a comment.

Bullpen Brian

The above print is a painting done by Andy Jurinko.

Many years ago I purchased a calendar of Jurinko’s prints of numerous old baseball cathedrals.

I cut out the Wrigley Field print and had it framed, which I still have today.

The painting is of a game between the rival Cardinals and the Cubs on Sunday August 14, 1988.

The Cubs won 8-3 on a hot 93-degree day at the Friendly Confines.

Darrin Jackson’s pinch-hit 2-R HR in the bottom of the sixth gave the Cubs a
4-3 lead. Mike
Bielecki pitched seven strong innings allowing three runs and Les Lancaster earned the save throwing two innings of no run, no hit baseball.

In The Print:
Rafael Palmeiro (2-for-5) is playing left field
Ryne Sandberg (0-for-3) is at second base
Mark Grace (1-for-4) is at first
Shawon Dunston (0-for-4) at short
Vance Law (1-for-3) at third
Mitch Webster (2-for-4) in center
Gary Varsho (1-for-2) in right
Damon Berryhill (2-for-3) catching
Andre Dawson pinch-hit, walked and scored a run

In the Cardinals lineup:
LF Vince Coleman
SS Ozzie Smith
2B Jose Oquendo
RF Tom Brunansky
3B Terry Pendleton
CF Curt Ford
1B Mike Laga
C  Tony Pena

*No batter’s eye in CF
*No advertisement on old Budweiser building
*Notice the smaller bleacher seating in LF
*Notice the absence of rooftop stands on Waveland Ave
*Only two divisions at the time, as seen with the flags atop CF scoreboard


The Shark, The Fuk & One HOF Vote For Aaron Sele(?)

By bullpenbrian - January 10, 2013 - 2:00 am Leave a comment.

Jeff Samardzija visited the set of SportsNation (ESPN) to defend his Fighting Irish following Notre Dame’s humiliating 42-14 loss to Alabama in the
BCS National Championship Game.

At the end of this clip Samardzija appears just as exasperated by Alabama’s thumping as the rest of us (or those not rooting for the Crimson Tide, or without any rooting interest like myself).

The Cubs were never mentioned specifically during the show.

Samardzija at Notre Dame (2003-06)
Baseball – Freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball Magazine
Football – School record of 8 straight games with receiving TD
Football – Career: 179 receptions, 2,593 yards, 27 touchdowns
Football – All time leader in receiving yards (2,593)
Football – Numerous All American Teams
Baseball – Selected by Cubs in 5th Rd (149th overall) of 2006 Draft

Kosuke Fukudome is heading back to Japan
He’s agreed to a 3-year, $5.5 million deal with the Hanshin Tigers.
In 2008 he signed a 4-year, $48 million deal with the Cubs.

Cubs transactions January 10th:

  • 2012: signed free agent Paul Maholm
  • 2006: Signed free agent Jacque Jones

HOF Voting
The Bad: No player was voted in when a few deserving ones
should have been elected.
The Silver Lining: This will spark further conversation about the voting system and what reform, if any, should be taken to improve the voting system.
Craig Biggio is a no brainer.
Aaron Sele gets one vote? Why? Ridiculous.

Aaron Sele
15 Seasons – Overall (148-112, 4.61) 352 starts
Only 5 double digit wins seasons (19, 18, 17, 15, 13)
Two time All Star
Never won 20-games
Never was a league leader in major pitching category
Playoff record: (0-6, 4.46) 7 starts
Hall of Famer? Are you kidding me?


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