I missed today’s number retirement ceremony (dangit!). Ryno was my childhood hero; I picked him out in his rookie year when he was a third baseman and was vindicated a couple of years later when he was MVP in ’84. He later became the highest paid player in baseball (for a year) with a 4 year, 7.1 million dollar deal, hit 40 homers in a season, and retired once because GM Larry Himes was so wretched the game wasn’t fun for him. When he came out of retirement after Himes’ ousting, he wasn’t the same player, but I didn’t care. I’d grown up with the guy at second base for the Cubs and it was good to see him back.
The Cubs’ retired numbers, complete with links inspired by Harry Caray:
10: Mr. Ron Santo. A player I’ve come to highly respect based on the numbers he put up. Most interesting to me, I think, was that he was one of the rare Cubs who could take a walk.
14: Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. #14. When I played little league for the Cubs at age 12, I was about 2 months short of picking Ryno as my favorite so I couldn’t be #23. At my dad’s advice, I picked #14. I didn’t know much about Banks but would love to have a time machine just so I could see him hit in the ’50s.
26: Billy Williams. Bill James described him as “Ernie Banks without the PR.”
42: Jackie Robinson, whose number has been retired from all of baseball.
Does anyone else think any current Cubs will be worthy of number retirement? The Cubs are pretty conservative about doing so, it seems. Any old Cubs who should have their numbers retired?
I’d put Maddux’s 31 and Sosa’s 21 on the retired list eventually. Let’s say Ramirez has 4 more 30 homer seasons as a Cub and plays well into his mid-thirties. Would he be worthy? What kind of numbers would he have to put up? And what about D-Lee? Prior? Z? Fergie also wore 31…would you double-retire that one? And what of Jose Macias’ number 8? Any thoughts?