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May 2009

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What's Your Lineup?

Written by , Posted in General

I got this e-mail the other day from the boys at WAIW and I wanted to run it here before I give him my answers:

Asylum release Cubs fans of all generations have seen legends pass in and out of Wrigley Field – some with Hall of Fame-caliber careers, and some who earned their status through an unquantifiable mix of intangibles only devotees of the Boys in Blue can really understand. Fan bias is perhaps the biggest deciding factor in who’s fondly remembered decades later and who ends up as more of an organizational footnote. Given the chance, and perhaps a time machine, what lineup would put out there to play an evil team of vampire St. Louis Cardinals for control of the universe?

The idea here is to pick the players you loved most, not just those with the best career stats. By way of example, here is Steve’s dream lineup:

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P – Mordecai “Three Fingers” Brown – This man makes Koyie Hill’s accident look like me complaining about when my toe cramps up. Losing parts of 2 fingers in a farming accident, Brown ended with 239 wins and an incredible 2.06 E.R.A. That means even he could count how many runs he would typically give up on one hand.

C – Geovany Soto – This season’s early struggling aside, a hitting catcher that is strong on defensive and knows how to manage pitchers is a rare find, and I hope that in 10 years from now this inclusion on my all-time list doesn’t look foolish.

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1B – Cap Anson – Cap played in 27 seasons, and was the first player credited with 3,000 hits. Additionally, he is part of the brain trust that started Spring Training, without which, College of Idiots might not be with us today.

2B – Ryne Sandberg – No question here. My favorite player of all time. Off the field, he cemented his place in my heart with his Hall of Fame induction speech that I think should be required viewing for every rookie in the game.

3B – Ron Santo – Not only one of the greatest hitting third basemen ever in the game, he is also a master of medicine (when his diabetes would act up in the middle of a game, a candy bar was eaten to quell the fire) and soliloquy (he can shout “oh noooo” in ways never imagined).

SS – Shawon Dunston – From my memory, he always had a sweet pair of shades on, and inspired the Shawon-O-Meter. Him, along with the aforementioned Ryno and the soon to be mentioned Hawk, are what made me a Cubs fan.

RF – Andre Dawson – No one was more exciting for me to watch at the plate than Dawson. He could crank a ball out of the park like nobody’s business, and was easily the best player in RBI Baseball (on a stacked NL All-Star team).

CF – Rick Monday – This really has nothing to do with skill, but solely based on the saving the flag incident.

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LF – Alfonso Soriano – I chose Soriano for 2 reasons. First, he has won me over as a lead-off hitter and can make you regret stopping to get nachos and Old Styles on your way to your seat with the amount of lead-off homers he hits. Second, he represented a change in culture for the Cubs, where they proved that they were going to start spending money to get talent to win, not just ride the coattails of Wrigley’s popularity.

RP – Kerry Wood – I was sad to see Kerry go, because he is what I want every Cub to be. While being from Texas, he fully embraced Chicago as his home. While most memories of Wood are as a starter, I miss him closing the game for us, and when his fastball was on, he was almost untouchable.

Have at it. What’s your lineup?

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  • Rich Beckman

    Shawon Dunston at SS!?!?!?!?!?!

    Ernie not eligible for this?

  • Shawon Dunston should make no one’s list. An average ballplayer at best and never a smart ballplayer. Ernie Banks is the only candidate for the SS honor. I doubt Dunston ever got one MVP vote in back-to-back seasons, much less win a pair.
    Cap Anson belongs in the Hall of Shame. No honor is due this terrible man, who was one of the leaders in blocking black players from major league baseball. This evil action should have caused him to be removed from the Hall of Fame.
    Soriano? I like him and think he is the most important leadoff man in the game today, but come on — no one draws up a Cub list and omits Billy Williams as well as Banks.
    Soto? Maybe in ten years. Now Gabby Hartnett is far ahead of him and so is Randy Hundley.
    Rick Monday did his flag thing which has nothing to do with baseball as a DODGER, not a Cub. Hack Wilson hit 56 HR in a season.
    Isn’t it fun to pick apart one of these things? Better than reflecting on Joel Piniero tossing a complete game for the first time in SIX years.

  • MJ

    You’re missing this key part of the whole thing guys:

    The idea here is to pick the players you loved most, not just those with the best career stats.

  • Nathan

    Cap Anson, nice choice. Pull one out of the dregs of history. But how about Mark Grace at first?

    Like Dunston and Sandberg for you (and for me as well), he’s one of the players that cemented my obsession with the Cubs.

    Give me a decent pitcher and eight guys who hit like Grace and I’ll beat you to death with singles. It won’t be thrilling, but it’ll be a 100-win season.

  • Nathan

    By the way, Rick, I hate to be the one who corrects someone, but Monday was with the Cubs, playing in Dodger Stadium, when he intercepted the flag burning.

    It was only at the end of the season that he was traded to the Dodgers.

    Just sayin…

  • Mark Strickler

    P: Greg Maddux (honorable mention to Mordecai Brown)
    C: Gabby Hartnett
    1B: Mark Grace (honorable mention to Cap Anson)
    2B: Ryne Sandberg (honorable mention to Rogers Hornsby)
    SS: Ernie Banks
    3B: Ron Santo
    LF: Billy Williams
    CF: Hack Wilson (honorable mention to Andy Pafko) and
    RF: Andre Dawson (no honorable mention to The Cheater)

  • Rich Beckman

    If I’m picking the players I love the most without regard to how good they were:

    P: Ferguson Jenkins
    C: Randy Hundley
    1B: Ernie Banks
    2B: Ryne Sandberg
    3b: Aramis Ramirez
    SS: Ryan Theriot
    LF: Billy Williams
    CF: Adolpho Phillips*
    RF: Kosuke Fukudome

    * I was very young and pretty new to this Cub fan business, Adolpho made a big splash and I loved him. I never understood what happened to him (I heard at the time that he did not speak English and was not happy since no one else spoke Spanish. But I recently heard Santo say that the problem with Phillips was he had no fire.

    I have a clear memory of a double header in which Phillips hit five home runs!!! Of course, the record book shows he only hit three.