Mr. Veeck Spring 1981

The great Bill Veeck –
Spring 1981

In
the Spring of 1981, I was still a newlywed, married a mere 7 months.
1981 was an eventful year in the world as well as in the world of
baseball.

President
Ronald Reagan gained release of the Iranian hostages who were held
captive for 444 days. There was an assassination attempt against
Reagan, and later in the year the Iran Contra scandal was revealed.

A successful attempt was made on the life of Egyptian
President Anwar Sadat. Violence and unrest were at an all time high
in Northern Ireland.

The launch of the space shuttle,
Columbia marked the flight of the first reusable spacecraft. 2011
marks the end of the space shuttle program.

Prince
Charles and Lady Diana were married in England to secure the
succession to the throne. The first DeLorean car hits the streets.

In
major league baseball, players strike and split the season into two
halves. Cubs finish last and 5th in the National East
Division.

At
the end of April, my friend Jeff and I decided to play hookey from
work and head to Wrigley Field for the Cubs, Cardinals game. As it
was a Wednesday in April the Cubs were drawing about 5,000 for a
weekday game. Combine that with the fact that the Cubs were sitting
firmly in last place, there would be no problem getting walk-up
tickets. We purchased tickets in the back of the lower deck. This
was prior to night baseball and permit parking in Wrigleyville, so it
was easy finding a parking spot close to the park.

We
were seated for the opening pitch by starter Mike Krukow. At the end
of the first half of the inning we made our way down to the lower box
seats and found two seats on the end of the third row behind home
plate. It was overcast and the temp was in the 50’s, perfect April in
Chicago baseball weather.

After
we were seated the Cubs the bottom of the first saw Bill Buckner
doubling, moving to third on a n Andy Rincon wild pitch, and scoring
on a Steve Henderson single up the middle. Cubs up 1-0 and a
promising start. Well nothing really happened until the Cards 6th
when Keith Hernandez hit a towering home run off of Krukow to knot up
the score at 1.

In
the top of the 7th I feel a tap on the shoulder and a
voice saying,”you’re in my seat”. I turn to see the legendary
Bill Veeck standing over me smiling and leaning on his cane. He was
wearing a faded Cubs t-shirt and khaki short pants that exposed his
famous peg leg. I must have showed my surprise as I couldn’t think of
what to say. He said, “hey I am, just kidding boys, move down one
and I will join you if it is okay”. We both stammered, “sure,
sure”, and we stumbled down one seat. He asked if we minded if he
bought us a beer as he needed one, he was thirsty. This day was
really shaping up to be memorable. And when he sat down with us he
removed his prosthetic leg which had an ashtray in the top that he
used while he sat with us, chain smoking, talking, and laughing.

He asked us if we were Cub fans and we both said “yes”. He said
the Cubs were always his favorite team and Wrigley his favorite
ballpark. He bought a round followed by both Jeff and I buying a
round.

The conversation got around to who would be starting
in your outfield if you could take any players, living or dead. My
three were based on players that I actually saw play; Clemente,
Mantle, and Brock.. Jeff’s picks were similar to mine, and Mr.
Veeck’s were three players I had barely heard of. Well that was cool
as I figured he had seen a lot more than the two of us young
whippersnappers. Well, Jeff couldn’t seem to let it go at that, and
started pressing Mr. Veeck and really disagreeing about his picks, as
well as stating the case for his own. The conversation became quite
animated between the two of them, getting nose to nose, leaning over
in front of me. I thought it was going to lead to blows, but suddenly
they came to some sort of truce and they both suddenly burst out
laughing. From there out the talk really circled around all of our
love for baseball.

Mr. Veeck was one heck of a character,
and as I told Jeff later, he has probably forgotten more about
baseball than we have ever known. Mr. Veeck was legendary for his
disdain of authority and his imaginative and original marketing
methods. He is responsible for the vines at Wrigley Field, Disco
Demolition at Comiskey Park, showers in the outfield, pet nights,
batting a midget, among hundreds of other crazy stunts and gags that
would help bring interest to baseball.

We
talked and talked. In the 8th the Cubs finally broke the
stalemate exploding for five runs topped off by a Bill Buckner, two
run double. Cubs won 6-1 with Krukow working to one out in the 9th
when Lee Smith came in to shut the door on Whitey Herzog’s Cards. A
bright point in an otherwise dismal season or should I say two
seasons in 1981.

When
the game concluded, and we were ready to go, Mr. Veeck asked us if we
would join him for another beer across the street at the Cubby Bear.
He had to wait there for his wife to pick him up. Of course we were
right on that. When we entered the bar everyone turned and said, “Hi
Bill”. It was like a scene from Cheers. We were then escorted by
the waitress to a back room, where Mr. Veeck removed his ashtray and
again set up shop. There was a steady stream of people in and out
asking for autographs and trading stories.

One of the most
interesting people to stop by and trade anecdotes was the Pulitzer
Prize winning reporter, Mike Royko. He seemed to be nearly as popular
with the crowd as Mr. Veeck.

All
this splendor went on until nearly 6pm when Mary Frances, his wife,
arrived and said, “I hate to break this up, but it’s time to go”.

I
will forever cherish the few hours that I got the chance to spend
with the legendary Bill Veeck as he held court on a late Spring day
in Wrigleyville. One more reason I love the game of Baseball.

Where’s The Weather?

Well the Cubbies are hanging on in the Central Division of the
National League.
They are just a few games off the pace at this
point and there have been a few nice surprises as well as a few
nagging concerns.

It
appears that Garza and Dempster may be starting to put there troubles
behind them with a couple quality starts. When we get our regular 4
th
and 5
th
starters come back soon, possibly we can have the ship righted.

Soriano has been a pleasant surprise with his bat, his fielding is
still suspect and he has to be removed late too often for defensive
purposes. Fukudome is hitting great and his fielding is solid. But
this is historically the time of year that a search party needs to be
sent looking for him. We’ll see how it goes.

The
Cubs still need a legit hitter in the third spot. I think that may
have to come from a trade. Time will tell what Hendry and the Rickets
will do. If by June the Cubs are still within striking distance I
think a deal should be made.
My Two Cents

Cubs Trivia

What was the first
baseball team owned by Bill Veeck?

Answer to
Last Trivia Question
What Washington Senator’s 5
th
round draft pick, won two National League Batting crowns for the
Cubs, and four in his career? He came to the Cubs in a trade with
Texas for Ferguson Jenkins.

Bill Madlock

See you next time!

Summer of ’75

The Summer of ’75

The
summer of ’75 and I was 20 years old, kinda drifting and looking for
exactly what to do when I grow up. Some say that is yet to happen. At
twenty I thought I knew all there was to know.

Baseball
was changing, but we still had some of the old school players hanging
on, as well as a new breed of player breaking into the show. That
year Fred Lynn won Rookie of the Year and MVP honors. A great start
for the kid. Paul and Rick Reuschel became the first brothers to
combine for a shutout. Our affectionate nicknames for the duo were
Barrel Boy I and Barrel Boy II.

Gerald
Ford was president and on January 1
st
the Watergate burglars were convicted. Running back Franco Harris was
Super Bowl IX MVP as his Steelers beat the Vikings 16-6. Jack
Nicklaus won the Masters and Godfather II won Best Picture.

In
1975 my dad was the National Sales Manager for Tootsie Roll on
Chicago’s south side. Tootsie Roll ran a huge promotion that summer
with Major League Baseball. It was found that the 1 millionth run
would be scored in the early part of the season. Tootsie Roll ran a
contest to predict the player and day the millionth would be scored.
As part of the contest, major league players both current and past
would be representatives at all the big league parks until the
historic run was scored. MLB predicted that the big run would be
scored in a two day period.

My
brother’s and I were allowed to man the phones as the millionth was
to be scored. They arranged for a party line open in all the
ballparks games were being played. The idea was to call out the park
and the player’s name the instant he stepped on home plate.

The
tours that were run by Tootsie Roll and MLB were great fun and we
were able to hobnob with a bunch of our childhood heroes. Among the
players were Ernie Banks, Stan MusiaI, Harmon Killebrew, Jim Palmer,
Al Kaline, Mickey Lolich, Mike Schmidt, Robin Yount, George Brett,
and many others that I can’t recall offhand. But the parties were
great and the stories memorable.

On
May 4, Marty and I were in Milwaukee with Ernie Banks when the long
awaited moment happened. At 12:32pm a shout came over the phone line,
Candlestick, Watson! That was it, the 1,000,000
th
run! It should be noted that four seconds later the call was heard,
Riverfront, Conncepcion! Four seconds and a million pennies late.

Bob
Watson had scored from second base on a Milt May homer. Concepcion
scored on his own homer. What excitement and what memories to be a
small part of Baseball’s great history. A kid had picked Watson and
won the prize of one million pennies. Tootsie Roll and MLB did not
think that a million pennies may be a logistical nightmare so they
ended up after much consternation presenting the boy and his father
with a check for ten thousand dollars. Great Stuff!

As
a thank you for our volunteer participation in the promotion, Marty
and I received 8 tickets for the 1975 All Star game in Milwaukee. Our
seats were in a private box behind the third base dugout. Even back
then, County St adium was famous for it’s pre and post game tailgate
parties. So being the young hounds that we were we made certain to
pack the cars with a grill, food and plenty of liquid libations. We
took of in a caravan of two from Oak Park for the two hour ride to
Milwaukee.

1975AllStar.gif

 
We
set up shop in the main parking lot. Coals heating, and the beers
flowing. As was the custom in that era, not much thought was given to
how we might drive ourselves home.

The
party raged until it was time to find our seats. I must say we were
feeling no pain. We were stopped at the gate as security wondered why
this bunch of ragtag hippies had such elite tickets. We dropped a few
names and under protest we were led to our box by private ushers. The
park was electric. The row behind us was completely empty so we
thought, why not spread out a bit. Myself and my buddy Tim climbed
over the back of our seats and set up shop. First order of business
was more beer. We had our own vendor at our beck and call, he
informed us he would get us anything we needed, free of charge. Woo
Hoo!

The
pregame festivities continued with all the fanfare you can imagine.
Players, coaches from both leagues were introduced to loud cheers and
boos. The first pitch was tossed by Henry Kissinger who bounced one
in, like skipping a rock, to home plate. A few minutes later we found
out why the row we were in was empty. It was reserved for Mr.
Kissinger and his Secret Service buddies. We again had to explain why
were were there. All was good and we returned to our assigned seats
and settled in for an exciting game.

Some
of my favorite players of the time were in the game. For the National
League, Cub Bill Madlock was at third, he had a great time and won
the game’s MVP honor. I should note that Bill won the National League
Batting title two years running and the Cub’s felt they had to deal
him away to the Giants, that was one huge blunder.

Also
playing for the National League was Hank Aaron who pinch hit, it was
Hank’s last of 24 straight All Star appearances. Pete Rose and Lou
Brock participated. Tom Seaver and Johnny Bench were also on the
National League squad.

Goose
Gossage,Vida Blue, and Catfish Hunter were part of the American
League rotation. Carl Yastrzemeski, Reggie Jackson, and Hank Aaron
were notable on the American roster.

All
in all a great game. The Yaz hit a three run homer in the sixth to
knot it up at 3 apiece. Unfortunately the American League committed
two errors in the ninth allowing 3 runs and the Nats won the game
6-3.

I
tried to talk foreign affairs with Mr Kissinger during the game, but
I think he was humoring me while blowing me off. I don’t think the
Secret Service was very happy with us either.

We
made it home with a few brain cells left and a whole lot of great
memories. In all my years being a baseball fan, that was the only All
Star game I have attended. I did attend the NHL Hockey All Star game
at Chicago Stadium during the first Gulf War. But that is a story for
another day.

Where’s The
Weather?

When
will Spring really arrive in Chicago?……..hoping Carlos Pena will
find a bat that suits him
, we
need some kind of production from him……… they say Soriano is a
hard working guy, what does he work on? Fielding?………new
nickname for Aramis Ramirez, “slow-mo”………

My
Two Cents

Cubs Trivia

What
Washington Senator’s 5
th
round draft pick, won two National League Batting crowns for the
Cubs, and four in his career? He came to the Cubs in a trade with
Texas for Ferguson Jenkins.

Answer to
Last Trivia Question

This
outfielder is the only Cubs player during the 20th Century to have a
hitting streak of at least 30 games. Name him.

Jerome
Walton

See you
next time!

More Memories From Paddy C

Memories 4/21/11

Friday, July 27, 1962 was a day
etched in my brain. This was the date of my first visit to Wrigley
Field. Also the beginning of a lifelong love/hate relationship with
the Chicago Cubs. Of my three living brothers, I am the only one that
has had pretty much a one team allegiance over all the years.

Our family had moved from St. Louis
Park, a suburb of St Paul, Minnesota earlier that summer. We arrived
in Mundelein, Illinois and I was prepared to meet knew friends, get
settled in to a new school in the fall. Everything a young lad of
seven would be thinking of in such a new setting.

But one of the things I thought of
most was baseball, I wanted to play it, and I read everything I could
get my hands on about it. I saw some color pictures in a magazine of
Wrigley Field. I wanted more than anything to go there. I had no idea
the distance from Mundelein to the north side of Chicago, so I
thought for sure I could ride my bike there. It took until the latter
parts of the summer to finally get to attend a game with my dad and
brother.

Up until that point I was able to
listen to the Cub games on radio. I learned a lot from Lou
Boudreau
and Vince Lloyd listening to those games on
the radio. Lou was actually the Cubs manager two years prior in 1960.
I always thought he knew so much about baseball. I was in awe of his
accomplishments. I don’t think he gets all the credit he deserves for
the things he did in the Golden Age of Baseball.

Lou was a player/manager earlier in
his life. He accomplished that with the Cleveland Indians. It is
amazing that in 1948 Lou skippered the Indians to a World Series
title while hitting .355 with 18 homers, 106 ribbies, 199 hits, and
striking out only nine times. He had an All-Star selection that
summer and was voted the AL MVP. Oh, and he was a mere 28 years old.

Vince Lloyd was an actor by trade
but became a broadcaster with WGN and called many different sports.
His favorite all-time team was the 1969 Cubs. He did the call of of a
Sandy Koufax perfect game, and also was the first to interview a
sitting president on a live sportscast. The president was John F.
Kennedy.

Vince and Lou spent 38 years together
in the Cub’s booth and they were perfect with each other. I always
felt that their descriptions of the game allowed me to see all the
action. They developed and used that power of the voice to expand our
imaginations.

Wrigley62.jpg

Wrigley Field 1962

I could not believe how Wrigley Field
was so much a part of the neighborhood. We took the Addison street
bus to the park from my Grandma’s house in Portage Park. I had never
ridden a city bus, it was such a thrill. I couldn’t believe when we
crossed “six corners”, late morning and there was so much chaos.
The bus windows were open and the sounds and smells of the city were
intense to me. Strange foods, and all the hustle and bustle. We got
off the bus at Clark and Addison, right in front of the stadium. Down
the block the “el” roared to a stop and unloaded it’s riders,
arriving for the game. I think that the first impression I had of
Wrigley while exiting the bus was it seemed so small with all the
neighborhood closing in on it. The big blue and white sign on the
facade welcomed us. Home of the Chicago Cubs it said. I was in
heaven.

Those feelings were nothing to the
first sight of the field when we got to the top of the steps. It was
like I was entering a strange land. The outfield wall was so green
and looked alive. Our seats were on the third base side in the second
row of the upper deck. I could see it all. I could even see way out
on the Lake Michigan. I asked my dad what it was, I didn’t even
realize we were that close. There were so many firsts for me that
day. We watched the crowd filing in and players running in the
outfield.

The days lineup was announced over
the loud speakers and I diligently filled in my scorecard. Leading
off for the Houston .45s was Amalfitano playing second, Pendelton in
left, Mejias in right and Larker at first, followed by Aspromonte
playing third, Warwick in center, and Smith catching, and completed
by Lillis at shortstop, and Woodeshick pitching.

Next the Cubs…. 1st would
be center-fielder Don Landrum, then Ken Hubbs at second, at third,
batting third Ron Santo, Right-fielder George Altman, First Bagger
Ernie Banks, the left-fielder “sweet swingin'” Billy Williams,
Andre Rodgers at short, Cuno Barragan catching, and the pitcher Dick
Ellsworth.

I got ’em all down on my card. No
mistakes. And perfect penmanship I might add. I asked my dad the
temperature and wrote a short description of the weather conditions.
The umpires were announced, so I wrote them down too.

I had my baseball mitt, scorecard,
and pencil all set when the umpire roared “Play Ball!”.

It was such an eventful day for me.
The Cubs did win the game 5-1. The lone .45s run coming from a
monster smash onto Waveland Avenue from the center-.fielder Warwick.
To that point I had never seen a ball hit so far. As the years
progressed I have witnessed a lot of balls go out of Wrigley, but
that first one was colossal.

The Cubs did not fare well that
summer, finishing the season with a record of 59-101 and in 9th
place in the National League. But they were my team now, and have
been since. It seems that the beginning of each new season brings a
refreshed hope and renewed dreams that this will be the year.

THE SEASON BEGINS…..

I
never believed that this season I would be able to put the words Cubs
and first place together but this morning there was a four way tie
for first and the Cubbies hanging in there.

There
have been a few bright spots for the Cubs so far this season. The
emergence of Starlon Castro has been phenomenal. At least his
offensive skills have been first rate. His defense is suspect but he
is so young and will learn. I think he may at some point be moved to
second base, where he may be a better fit.

Darwin
Barney is also making a name for himself with National League
pitchers. What a one-two punch these guys have been.

Soriano
has been hitting with some power and Fukodome has been ok, waiting
for June and his folding..

The
pitching staff needs to come together, but I don’t think they have
been all that bad. Dempster and Garza need to step it up, Zambrano
has been passable, but is at least winning. With Cashner and Wells on
the shelf the starter by committee is keeping things alive for now.

The
bullpen has stuck around thus far, I have been pleasantly surprised.
I do think the presence of Kerry Wood has helped the staff as a
whole. Two blown saves by Marmol has me a bit worried. That man can
pitch though. Some of his pitches are just downright nasty.

My
Two Cents

Cubs Trivia

This outfielder is the only Cubs
player during the 20th Century to have a hitting streak of at least
30 games. Name him.

Answer to Last Trivia Question

How many times has the scoreboard at
Wrigley Field been hit by a batted ball?

A. three

B. five

C. none

D. two

The answer is none.
The scoreboard has never been touched by a batted ball.


See you next time!

Play Ball!

View From The Last Row April 3, 2011

It’s been a while since my last post.
It seems that the analysis that I set out to accomplish has been
hashed and rehashed by so many others, that my opinions were lost in
the shuffle. Add to that a bit of writers block and here we are
today.

From here on out my column will
contain not only my observations of the current Cubs but also my
memories of the great game of baseball over the past fifty years.

My first memory of major league
baseball was not of the Cubs, but of the newly formed Minnesota
Twins. I attended my first big league game at the age of six in 1961,
with my dad and my three older brothers.

My dad was a candy salesman on the
road much of the time, so our time with him was precious and a trip
to a major league baseball game was a special treat.

I recall entering Metropolitan
Stadium that first time, that thrill that I still experience today
when entering a ballpark. The initial view of the field, the bright
green grass, the straight bleached foul lines and batters boxes, all
exhilarating to all your senses. There is no other feeling quite like
it.

There was so much happening to fill a
young boy’s head. Players from both teams taking final practice
before the game, as well as signing autographs for kids along the
infield walls. The background buzz of people taking their seats in
conversations about everything from today’s batteries and who will
play in the World Series this year.

The Twins played the Indians that
day. I remember thinking, where the heck is Cleveland? There was a
young player on the Indians named Ty Cline, I always asked if he was
related. He wasn’t but nonetheless it was pretty cool to see our name
on a big league scorecard. What most impressed me was the Indian
pitcher that day, a husky fireball throwing pitcher, Mudcat Grant. He
had the coolest name and a hot fastball that rang like a gunshot
when it hit Earl Battey’s glove. Funny what sticks in the mind. Note
that the Mudcat ended up pitching for the Twins and Cline played for
the 66 Cubbies.

That first season with the Twins laid
the groundwork for me as a Cub fan. I think they finished 70-90 that
year and were way out of contention. But I still loved them as I
would with decades of sub par Cub teams. I must mention that after
the ’61 season and our subsequent move to Illinois, the Twins had a
competitive ball club for many years. Imagine that!

I always attended the game with my
glove, a worn leather hand-me-down that was constantly being cared
for. The fingers were re-laced with care. The old leather laces had
passed and were replaced by a stout black boot lace. The palm was
lined with a thin strip of blue sponge remanded from under mom’s sink
in the kitchen For that theft I paid dearly. That glove always
smelled of saddle soap and dirt. It served me well. After all the
times I carried my glove to a game, I never had the opportunity to
use it.

One of my favorite memories entering
the ballpark was that familiar bark…”Get your Scorecard!”.

For a nickel you could purchase a stiff
cardboard scorecard and a thick carpenter pencil. With those simple
tools you could keep a permanent record of your adventure.

Those early Twins, my heroes,
Killebrew, Allison, Lemon, Pascual, Kaat, Mincher, Battey, and all
the rest, were all bigger than life to me at six. Even at that early
age I understood the significance of Killebrew’s number three. Harmon
Killebrew was Minnesota’s Babe. He seemed larger than life to me,
with his tight swing and massive power. Heady stuff for a lad that
loved stories of the old west and knights of the round table.

These are a few of the memories that
started my 50 year, love/hate relationship with Baseball.

Play Ball

2011 started on
a bright note for the Cubs with Natural star Robert Redford
tossing the ceremonial first pitch. After that though the Cubs failed
to get a runner to third base. Starter Ryan Dempster started out
great and even retired 9 straight at one point, only to walk a couple
batters and serve up a grand slam to the mighty Neil Walker… Game 2
saw the Cubs strand a bunch more runners and a decent start from
Zambrano, finally coming back to steal a late win.

I still believe
that the Cubs can make a run at the division, with the problems in
St. Louis and Milwaukee, and the fact that Baker still manages a
pitching staff in Cincinnati. As always, I am hopeful.

We have some
kids that could make a mark this year. Starlon Castro, Darwin Barney,
and Andrew Cashner. Could be a bright future!

My Two Cents

How many times has the scoreboard at
Wrigley Field been hit by a batted ball?

A. three

B. five

C. none

D. two

    Answer
    to the last Cub Trivia question:

In 1971 who was the first
NL player to appear in 1,000 consecutive games?

Billy Williams

Starting Pitching – Keys For Success

To all Cub Lovers….Happy Valentines’
Day

A brief re-cap of 2010

Cubs finished 2010 16 games back of
Cincinnati in the NL Central Division.

Cub Leaders


Batting Average: Starlon Castro
.300

HR: A. Ramirez
25
RBI: A. Ramirez 83s
Runs: M. Byrd 84
OPS: A Soriano
.818
ERA: R Dempster 3.85
Wins: R Dempster 15
SO: R Dempster
208
SV: C Marmol 38
WHIP: R Dempster 1.32

Overall
in NL

Runs
685 18
th
Batting
Average .257 16
th
On
Base Percentage .320 21
st
Slugging
Percentage .401 17
th

Let’s Talk Baseball (2011)

My
prediction and opinion of Cubs Opening Day Starting Rotation

  1. Ryan Dempster RHP: Ryan has
    been the most consistent Cub starter over the past couple years with
    the departure of Ted Lily. Dempster posted a 15-12 record and a 3.85
    ERA last year for the sub-par Cubs. Barring injury he looks to be an
    above .500 pitcher in 2011. He is a hard worker and always shows up
    to camp in shape and ready to pitch. I believe 2011 will be another
    solid season for him. My prediction 18-9 with an ERA around 3.00. If
    he can put up those numbers, it should bode well for the Cubs.

  2. Matt Garza RHP: Newly
    acquired from the Rays, Matt posted a 15-10 record and 3.91 ERA in
    33 games. He had to pitch 14 starts against the top 10 offenses in
    baseball last year. His move out of the AL East into the National
    League should bolster his production in 2011. Matt may be a better
    bet in fantasy leagues but if he can at least match his production
    of the last three years with the Rays he should finish with a record
    close to 16-10 and an ERA in the mid 3’s. He will probably never be
    considered and ace, but he should put up valuable innings for Mike
    Quade.

  3. Carlos Zambrano RHP: Carlos
    seems to be a big question, in my opinion. With all the distractions
    surrounding Carlos the past few years, Cub fans are nervous with the
    start of 2011. Kevin Costner in Bull Durham may have described him
    best….”he has a million dollar arm and a ten cent head”. If,
    and that is a huge IF he can continue where he left off at the end
    of 2010 he could finally develop into the ace that the Cubs have
    always expected of him. With an 18.75 million price tag this year he
    has some ground to make up.

    Carlos finished last year with
    an 11-6 won/lost and an ERA of 3.33. He was 8-2 after his blowout
    and the All Star break. I will withhold my prediction for him until
    we see where that ten cent head is at. The Cubs need to get at least
    18-19 wins from Zambrano this season, anything less will be a
    disappointment to this observer.

  4. Carlos Silva RHP: Silva at
    31 and 12.75 million is a gamble. Although a huge surprise last year
    when he started his first 16 with a 9-2 record, he did finish the
    last two months of the season with nothing left in the tank. His
    season totals were 10-6 and a lackluster 4.22 ERA. He is going to
    have to get his act together and gut out a full season with decent
    numbers for the Cubs to have any chance of contending in 2011. The
    jury remains out that he can. My prediction for Silva 2011 14-9 and
    a 3.5 ERA. Hopefully his cardiac problems are behind him.

  5. Randy Wells : Randy is the
    type of pitcher that relies more on his fielders behind him than on
    an effective out pitch. Very credible rumors had him enjoying a bit
    too much of the Chicago nightlife last year, which in turn affected his
    concentration and ultimate output. That said, he finished last year
    an unacceptable 8-14 in 32 starts and a 4.26 ERA. If the Cubs don’t
    make a deal for a starter or one of the kids in camp doesn’t step
    up, the fifth spot in the rotation could be a huge deficit. This is
    where the Cub fan comes out and optimism takes over.

Cubs Trivia 2/14/11

In 1971 who was the first
NL player to appear in 1,000 consecutive games?

Answer to 2/12/11 Cub
Trivia

On April 25th , 1969 Joe
Niekro was traded to the expansion San Diego Padres for what player?
Answer: Pitcher Dick Selma

Just my two
cents ….. see you next time

Next Post: Cub Long and
Short Relief

Wait ‘Til Next Year Is Now

With a couple of feet of snow on the ground and temperatures in the bucket, it still feels like spring as the Cub pitchers and catchers report to camp. As a long-suffering Cub fan spring always brings new hope and a sense of “maybe this will be the year”.

Reality may set in about the Fourth of July, but right now in February I can afford to be optimistic.

My blog this year will relate my observations regarding the Cubs and the National League. I know that some people don’t believe that a die-hard Cub fan can be rational, but I do disagree. I feel that win or lose I can report honestly and accurately. I will try to post here a couple times a week throughout the Spring and all during the season.

Feel free to agree or disagree as you will. Your comments are welcome as long as they remain somewhat civil.

Starting this week I will run down my thoughts on the Cubs roster and try to put the Cubs in perspective with the rest of the league.

So let’s shake off the Winter doldrums and prepare for baseball.

Some Highlights of the Hot Stove Season…..
Cubs Sign RHP Matt Garza
RHP Braden Looper signed to minor league deal and invited to camp
Utility IF Augie Ojeda signed to minor league deal and invited to camp
OF Reed Johnson signed to minor league deal and invited to camp.

In the near future we will discuss these moves as well as others and what they may mean for the Cubs this season.

Just for fun I will provide a Cub Trivia Question every week. See how well you know your Cubs.

Cub Trivia 2/2/11

On April 25th , 1969 Joe Niekro was traded to the expansion San Diego Padres for what player?

Just my two cents ….. see you next time