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July 2014

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A Belated Cubs’ Hall of Fame Point

Written by , Posted in General

I am old…okay 45…not that old.  My experience as a Cubs’ fan growing up was much different than many of you. My favorite players were Rick Monday, Rick Reuschel, Bruce Sutter, Bill Buckner and Bobby Murcer. Of course in the ‘80s,  I was a huge fan of Ryno and the ’84 team  However as I aged, and the players were the same age as me…and then even younger than men…it just kind of felt weird.  The last player that I was truly just a “fan” of was Greg Maddux.  Oh I love watching Rizzo, and ‘Mendy might currently be my favorite Cub, but I have viewed players through a different lens for many years.

So Maddux is the last one whose cards I collect, am proud to have his autograph, etc.  Obviously, I was not a happy fan when he went to Atlanta.  Therefore when I wrote my book (not a plug), I knew that the Cubs’ handling of the situation was going to be one of my main “reasons”.  Instead of rehashing what I wrote, I have decided to include an excerpt from the book(not a plug).  This section comes from Reason 91 “The Crimes of Larry Himes”:

Greg Maddux could have stayed with the Cubs; he even wanted to stay with the Cubs! Larry Himes is the man most responsible for the exit of Greg Maddux. The following excerpt (an excerpt within an excerpt!) is from the November 22, 1992 edition of the Rome Daily Times:

            The Chicago Cubs decided Saturday to give up bidding for 1992 CY Young winner Greg Maddux. General manager Larry Himes said that a $27.5 million, five-year offer which Maddux rejected in July still stands-but maybe not for long. Himes said the offer will be withdrawn as soon as he signs someone else.  “I looked at myself bidding against myself and decided to stop.” Himes said.

Himes wasn’t bidding against himself; he was bidding against the Yankees and the Braves.  Himes’ “bidding against myself” statement may have been an attempt to paint Maddux and agent Scott Boras as unreasonable or greedy.  A few facts shred any argument that Himes would make in that regard:

  1. 1.     Maddux was ready to sign a five-year, $25 million extension the previous winter until it was Himes who dragged his feet on the deal and did not return a call to Maddux and Boras.  This event prompted Maddux to go into the 1992 season without a deal in place.
  2. 2.     Maddux eventually signed with the Braves for $28 million over five years…a whopping $500,000 more than the Cubs’ offer. 
  3. 3.     The Yankees were offering Maddux a reported $ 9 million more than the Braves; if Maddux was greedy…he takes the Yankees deal.

Mr. Himes made a horrendous mistake that cost Cubs’ fans the prime years of arguably the greatest pitcher of all time.  I am not sure if Mr. Himes was lacking intelligence, was too arrogant, or let his pride get in the way.  If Himes would have simply beaten the Braves offer by $1-2 million over the course of the deal, Maddux likely remains a Cub.  The Tribune Company had the money; Himes went and spent it on the wonderful Jose Guzman, Randy Myers, and Candy Maldonado combination!

The Chicago Cubs decided that they did not need or want Greg Maddux anymore; and that decision was made by Larry Himes. This idiotic choice earns Larry Himes the distinction of being Reason 91.

Ugh! I get angry just reading that again! The reason I felt it relevant is that during his HOF induction speech on Sunday Maddux stated “I went to Atlanta to start a family and win a World Series…sorry Chicago”. On Monday I heard longtime Chicago scribe, and Maddux confidant Barry Rozner reflect on that comment:

“That was a little revisionist history by Greg, he didn’t want to leave Chicago, he was kicked out of the house”.  Wow…let that sink in.  355 wins, 17 straight 15 wins seasons, the only pitcher with 3,000 strikeouts and less than 1,000 walks…and the Cubs kicked him out.

If you have never been to the Hall of Fame, its great of course, but it’s out in the middle of nowhere and there is like one way in…and one way out.  You seemingly drive forever down a never ending road, and then have to back track on the same road to get back to normal civilization.  I had absolutely zero interest in going to Cooperstown this weekend…because to me it wasn’t a celebration…at least not as a Cubs’ fan.  To me, it was a grim reminder of one of the most incompetent decisions my favorite baseball team has ever made.

Wow…that was kind of depressing.

Well…let’s try this…Jake Arrieta is pitching awesome! Rizzo leads the NL in homers! It seems Bryant, Baez, and Russell are doing something remarkable every day! Barney got traded!

Ahhh…that feels better.

  • SouthKakalakiCubsFan

    Depressing, but nice article. The Braves are actually the reason I am a Cubs fan (I’ll try to make this short) Having been born and raised in South Carolina, my father was a huge Braves fan and tried to make me one as well. In 1991 I was 11 and obviously had a pretty early bed time. Fast forward to arguably the greatest World Series game 7 ever, I was made to go to bed in like the 6th or 7th inning. I angrily told my dad that if they lost the game I would never be a Braves fan again and would in fact pick the worst team I could possibly think of and pull for them the rest of my life. I bought my first Cubs hat about a week later. I have no regrets.

    • That is poor parenting.

      • Eddie Von White

        More like child abuse.

    • Doc Raker

      Wow, Cub fan out of spite. Who would make their kid go to bed in the 6th or 7th inning of game 7 of their teams World Series? Who does that? I would be telling my son about the history being made and he can be late for school the day if he can’t get up. In fact if the Cubs ever make the World Series everything in life becomes a lesser priority.

      • Eddie Von White

        The greatest day of my life – other than when I got married, my children’s birthdays, and when I paid off my mortgage – was when my kids were late for school one day and I found them in the den watching MLB highlights from the night before. I thought to myself – yes! They have inherited my baseball DNA.

      • Doc Raker

        Two of the greatest days of my life was my first day at Wrigley Field and when I took my kids to Wrigley Field for the first time July 2 2004. I framed the tickets along with Burt Hootons autographed tickets from his no hitter in 1972.

      • SouthKakalakiCubsFan

        Awesome point, but one has to admire the dedication of a young person that decided to make his own path in life at such a young age (not to brag, lol)

    • Eddie Von White

      Are you related to CAPS?

  • SouthKakalakiCubsFan

    Depressing, but nice article. The Braves are actually the reason I am a Cubs fan (I’ll try to make this short) Having been born and raised in South Carolina, my father was a huge Braves fan and tried to make me one as well. In 1991 I was 11 and obviously had a pretty early bed time. Fast forward to arguably the greatest World Series game 7 ever, I was made to go to bed in like the 6th or 7th inning. I angrily told my dad that if they lost the game I would never be a Braves fan again and would in fact pick the worst team I could possibly think of and pull for them the rest of my life. I bought my first Cubs hat about a week later. I have no regrets.

    • That is poor parenting.

      • Eddie Von White

        More like child abuse.

    • Doc Raker

      Wow, Cub fan out of spite. Who would make their kid go to bed in the 6th or 7th inning of game 7 of their teams World Series? Who does that? I would be telling my son about the history being made and he can be late for school the day if he can’t get up. In fact if the Cubs ever make the World Series everything in life becomes a lesser priority.

      • Eddie Von White

        The greatest day of my life – other than when I got married, my children’s birthdays, and when I paid off my mortgage – was when my kids were late for school one day and I found them in the den watching MLB highlights from the night before. I thought to myself – yes! They have inherited my baseball DNA.

      • Doc Raker

        Two of the greatest days of my life was my first day at Wrigley Field and when I took my kids to Wrigley Field for the first time July 2 2004. I framed the tickets along with Burt Hootons autographed tickets from his no hitter in 1972.

    • Eddie Von White

      Are you related to CAPS?

  • Doc Raker

    So backup catcher Baker gets the win in the longest game in Wrigley Fields history. I was flipping back and forth between the Rockies broadcast and the Cubs broadcast trying to figure out who was worst. At least the Rockies broadcasters were honest about the lack of clutch hitting from either team. Len just kept the Cubs corporate schillfest going while referencing bad alternative rock bands. It was good to see old friend LaTroy Hawkins, that dude has had a 20 year career and I thought he was finished after his stint with the Cubs.

    I am reading the above referenced book Chris isn’t plugging. Pretty good stuff although depressing. Word is Chris is working on reason number 106, “The vagaries of BABIP and how it sunk a Cub century.”

    • Seymour Butts

      I saw the first 5 innings and the last 5.
      A really nice story for Baker.

      Unbelievable that the Rockies only scored 3 off of a miserable effort by Edlose.

  • Doc Raker

    So backup catcher Baker gets the win in the longest game in Wrigley Fields history. I was flipping back and forth between the Rockies broadcast and the Cubs broadcast trying to figure out who was worst. At least the Rockies broadcasters were honest about the lack of clutch hitting from either team. Len just kept the Cubs corporate schillfest going while referencing bad alternative rock bands. It was good to see old friend LaTroy Hawkins, that dude has had a 20 year career and I thought he was finished after his stint with the Cubs.

    I am reading the above referenced book Chris isn’t plugging. Pretty good stuff although depressing. Word is Chris is working on reason number 106, “The vagaries of BABIP and how it sunk a Cub century.”

    • Seymour Butts

      I saw the first 5 innings and the last 5.
      A really nice story for Baker.

      Unbelievable that the Rockies only scored 3 off of a miserable effort by Edlose.

  • Chuck

    My dislike of Maddux still stands. One can just as easily flip that story and say that he left the Cubs, a team he supposedly loved and wanted to stay with forever, for a measly $500,000 or 2% difference more than what the Cubs offered. I also remember him making some statement that he wanted to play for a winner and the Cubs did not fit that bill.

    As for the Cubs GM, it is possible that he was operating under an internal hard salary cap and the $500k would put him over and management did not allow him to go over.

    I can’t stand Maddux and I never will. (spit) May the fleas of a thousand camels infest his underwear.

    • BBCG: 105 Reasons

      Don’t underestimate Larry Himes…during my research I unearthed something I did not know….Himes was a contributing factor for Ryno’s retirement(first) and this comes from Rozner….during the middle of the ’92 season Himes said to Maddux “you have never won a Cy Young, you have never won 20 games…”

      You can hate Maddux, but he is a Cubs’ lifer without Larry Himes

      • Chuck

        I reject your reality and substitute my own.

      • Seymour Butts

        I know one of the subsequent GMs fairly well.
        This was on Himes.

      • I was under the impression that both Hines and Maddux were Cindy Sandberg-ed out of town.

      • Chuck

        Naa Naa, Naa Naa, Boo Boo!
        Head Full of Doo Doo!

      • BBCG: 105 Reasons

        I find this very funny…nice Chuck

  • Chuck

    My dislike of Maddux still stands. One can just as easily flip that story and say that he left the Cubs, a team he supposedly loved and wanted to stay with forever, for a measly $500,000 or 2% difference more than what the Cubs offered. I also remember him making some statement that he wanted to play for a winner and the Cubs did not fit that bill.

    As for the Cubs GM, it is possible that he was operating under an internal hard salary cap and the $500k would put him over and management did not allow him to go over.

    I can’t stand Maddux and I never will. (spit) May the fleas of a thousand camels infest his underwear.

    • BBCG: 105 Reasons

      Don’t underestimate Larry Himes…during my research I unearthed something I did not know….Himes was a contributing factor for Ryno’s retirement(first) and this comes from Rozner….during the middle of the ’92 season Himes said to Maddux “you have never won a Cy Young, you have never won 20 games…”

      You can hate Maddux, but he is a Cubs’ lifer without Larry Himes

      • Chuck

        I reject your reality and substitute my own.

      • Seymour Butts

        I know one of the subsequent GMs fairly well.
        This was on Himes.

      • I was under the impression that both Hines and Maddux were Cindy Sandberg-ed out of town.

      • BBCG: 105 Reasons

        I find this very funny…nice Chuck

  • Dork

    Olt is hitting 320 in Iowa, is ther that much difference between AAA pitching and the majors? I am now worried about the trasnition for Baez Bryant and Soler

    • Buddy

      Wasn’t it the late Ron Jones (former Phillies’ OF) who said, “It’s easier to hit in the majors because the lights are better”?

    • cap’n obvious

      Baez, Bryant and Soler can all hit .350 with 35 jacks for the next 5 years in the bigs and we will watch a 3rd place team because there is no pitching in the system worth crap. It’s the elephant no one will talk about. We can look forward to a boatload of 11-10 losses. Will they hurt any less? This is a garbage plan. Unless Thed craps a bunch of Sid Finch-like arms next week, we will be at 110 years very soon. This comment is not Lizzie-worthy because realism.

      • Sherm

        I met SId Finch once in the locker room. Oh, wait, that was Seymour who met him. Never mind.

        FYI – there are other reasons that your comment isn’t Lizzie-worthy, but hey, why rub it in?

      • Dork

        The past 3 years pitching has been good for the first 3 months. I think Thed can put something together. They have done better than anyone else I can remember to this point.

      • Chuck

        I am pretty sure that if Baez, Bryant, and Soler hit .350 with 35 HR each season coupled with normal progress from Castro and Rizzo and the rest of the guys, Theo could cobble together a pitching staff good enough to make the playoffs. The Cubs would have the #1 offence in the NL by far. Heck, even Edwin Jackson would be able to win a game or three with that kind of run support.

      • Just subtly mention wieners and you’ll be good to go.

      • Sad but true.

      • Seymour Butts

        What is this “subtly” of which you speak.

      • Dusty_Baylor

        I wouldlook at Kane County and Daytona. there may be no Kershaw types, but to name a few:

        Kane County:
        Daury Torres
        Paul Blackburn
        Pierce Johnson
        Jen-Ho Tseng
        Tyler Skulina
        Duane Underwood

        Daytona:
        Felix Pena
        Tennessee:
        Ivan Pineyro (rehabbing)

        Iowa:
        Dae Eun Rhee finally healthy and pitching well
        Dallas Beeler
        Eric Jokisch

        These are just starting pitchers. There are some relied power arms down there too.

  • Dork

    Olt is hitting 320 in Iowa, is ther that much difference between AAA pitching and the majors? I am now worried about the trasnition for Baez Bryant and Soler

    • cap’n obvious

      Baez, Bryant and Soler can all hit .350 with 35 jacks for the next 5 years in the bigs and we will watch a 3rd place team because there is no pitching in the system worth crap. It’s the elephant no one will talk about. We can look forward to a boatload of 11-10 losses. Will they hurt any less? This is a garbage plan. Unless Thed craps a bunch of Sid Finch-like arms next week, we will be at 110 years very soon. This comment is not Lizzie-worthy because realism.

      • Sherm

        I met SId Finch once in the locker room. Oh, wait, that was Seymour who met him. Never mind.

        FYI – there are other reasons that your comment isn’t Lizzie-worthy, but hey, why rub it in?

      • Chuck

        I am pretty sure that if Baez, Bryant, and Soler hit .350 with 35 HR each season coupled with normal progress from Castro and Rizzo and the rest of the guys, Theo could cobble together a pitching staff good enough to make the playoffs. The Cubs would have the #1 offence in the NL by far. Heck, even Edwin Jackson would be able to win a game or three with that kind of run support.

      • Just subtly mention wieners and you’ll be good to go.

      • Seymour Butts

        What is this “subtly” of which you speak.

      • Dusty_Baylor

        I wouldlook at Kane County and Daytona. there may be no Kershaw types, but to name a few:

        Kane County:
        Daury Torres
        Paul Blackburn
        Pierce Johnson
        Jen-Ho Tseng
        Tyler Skulina
        Duane Underwood

        Daytona:
        Felix Pena
        Tennessee:
        Ivan Pineyro (rehabbing)

        Iowa:
        Dae Eun Rhee finally healthy and pitching well
        Dallas Beeler
        Eric Jokisch

        These are just starting pitchers. There are some relied power arms down there too.

  • Dork

    My favorite cub growing up was Bill Maddlock. I was at a game where he was awarded a silver bat. Don’t remember which year.

    • BBCG: 105 Reasons

      1976

      • Dork

        i did not realize that Madlock was going to do the 7th inning stretch when I posted. Cool coincedence

  • Dork

    My favorite cub growing up was Bill Maddlock. I was at a game where he was awarded a silver bat. Don’t remember which year.

  • Doug S.

    Getting old. Pretty sure I made a couple of perhaps silly, but not delete worthy posts in the previous thread. Guess I am wrong.

    • If you’re talking about the Darwin Barney post Doug I can see the comments! Nothing deleted or unapproved or even pending on our end so I think you’re good! 🙂

      • Doug S.

        Yes, thank you. They were gone for a while, no great loss, but then reappeared. Strange.

      • Doug S.

        Yes, thank you. They were gone for a while, no great loss, but then reappeared. Strange.

  • Doug S.

    Getting old. Pretty sure I made a couple of perhaps silly, but not delete worthy posts in the previous thread. Guess I am wrong.

  • Dusty_Baylor

    Apparently the Cubs are getting Felix Doubront from the Sawx for a PTBNL…Hmm…Edwin Jackson replacement?

    • Doug S.

      If Theo can shop Jackson at his contract price he’s a genius….or a swindler.

      • Chuck

        Or he has a very good surveillance crew on each GM.

  • Dusty_Baylor

    Apparently the Cubs are getting Felix Doubront from the Sawx for a PTBNL…Hmm…Edwin Jackson replacement?

    • Doug S.

      If Theo can shop Jackson at his contract price he’s a genius….or a swindler.

  • Buddy

    Sounds like Bonifacio might be on his way to San Fran.

  • Aaron Dickens

    You dont seem to remember Grace,Dawson & Dwight Smith took cuts in pay & we matched the Braves offer, Mad Dog decided to sign with Braves due to lack of offense they were supposed to have signed, ultimately letting Greg decide who had a more potent offense cause lack of run support cost Greg many no decisions and wins..

  • PLCB3

    10 years ago today, the Cubs traded for Nomar. They gave up garbage to
    get him. It was supposed to be the move that put them over the top. Now
    I’m pissed after writing that. The 2004 season hurts me more than the
    2003 season because the 2004 team was set to make a deep playoff run. If
    only they had made the playoffs…

  • PLCB3

    Random thought: With Maddux and Glavine going into the HOF this past weekend and Smoltz likely to join them next year, with the money being given to players today, one has to wonder, if Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz pitched today, would the Braves shell out the 200M that each player would command? Because that’s what those guys would get if they played today.

  • AC0000000

    Random thought: With Maddux and Glavine going into the HOF this past weekend and Smoltz likely to join them next year, with the money being given to players today, one has to wonder, if Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz pitched today, would the Braves shell out the 200M that each player would command? Because that’s what those guys would get if they played today.