Posts Tagged: baseball

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15. Henry Blanco

Henry Blanco played part-time catcher for the Cubs from 2005-2008.  His “best” season came in 2006 when he appeared in 74 games, hit 6 HR, had 37 RBI and batted .266.  Now I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but Hank White brought a lot to the team.  He is one of the greatest defensive catchers in the game.  He was also great for the Cubs’ younger catchers like Geovany Soto (who will soon be on this list as soon as the Cubs trade him). Surprisingly, Blanco is still playing.  He is on the Diamondbacks this season, but has only appeared in 17 games so far. Henry “Hank White” Blanco: the greatest back-up catcher of all-time.

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14. Karl “Tuffy” Rhodes
Ah, Tuffy Rhodes.  I can’t see anyone ever topping what he did.  Tuffy played with the Cubs from 1993-1995, mostly limited playing time.  He was given a chance to start in 1994.  On Opening Day of that season, Rhodes became the first National League player to hit 3 home runs in an Opening Day game. Great things were in store for Tuffy, right?  Of course not, this is the Cubs.  He finished the 1994 season with a .234 average, 8 HR and 19 RBI. That’s right, he only hit 5 more homers the entire season.  Don’t feel too bad for Tuffy. He went on to hit a crap load of homers in Japan.  But at least Cubs fans will always have that 1994 Opening Day game to remember.  

14. Karl “Tuffy” Rhodes

Ah, Tuffy Rhodes.  I can’t see anyone ever topping what he did.  Tuffy played with the Cubs from 1993-1995, mostly limited playing time.  He was given a chance to start in 1994.  On Opening Day of that season, Rhodes became the first National League player to hit 3 home runs in an Opening Day game. Great things were in store for Tuffy, right?  Of course not, this is the Cubs.  He finished the 1994 season with a .234 average, 8 HR and 19 RBI. That’s right, he only hit 5 more homers the entire season.  Don’t feel too bad for Tuffy. He went on to hit a crap load of homers in Japan.  But at least Cubs fans will always have that 1994 Opening Day game to remember.  

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13. Henry Rodriguez
Henry Rodriguez (not the pitcher for the Nationals) played LF for the Cubs from 1998-2000.  He had a couple of very productive years with the Cubs and did exactly what he was supposed to do: provide some protection for Sammy Sosa.  In ‘98, Hank-Rod hit .251, had 31 HR and 85 RBI. He came back in ‘99 to hit .304, 26 HR and 87 RBI. With all of Sosa’s HR, I think a lot of people forget about Henry’s production.  It also became customary for fans to throw Oh Henry! candy bars onto the field after one of his homers.  Henry Rodriguez ended up retiring in 2002.  We can only assume he is somewhere enjoying an Oh Henry! candy bar.

13. Henry Rodriguez

Henry Rodriguez (not the pitcher for the Nationals) played LF for the Cubs from 1998-2000.  He had a couple of very productive years with the Cubs and did exactly what he was supposed to do: provide some protection for Sammy Sosa.  In ‘98, Hank-Rod hit .251, had 31 HR and 85 RBI. He came back in ‘99 to hit .304, 26 HR and 87 RBI. With all of Sosa’s HR, I think a lot of people forget about Henry’s production.  It also became customary for fans to throw Oh Henry! candy bars onto the field after one of his homers.  Henry Rodriguez ended up retiring in 2002.  We can only assume he is somewhere enjoying an Oh Henry! candy bar.

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12. Matt Clement
Matt Clement was the original “Fear the Beard”… or at least goatee. Clement pitched for the Cubs from 2002-2004.  He was a very important part of the team that made it to the NLCS in 2003.  Clement’s best season statistically was probably 2002, when he won 12 games, had an ERA of 3.60 and struck out 215 batters. Clement went on to make the All-Star team with the Red Sox in 2005.  Since retiring, Clement coaches high school basketball and is a part owner of the baseball team Butler BlueSox. Matt Clement still considers himself to be a Cubs fan, which is just another reason for us to love him.

12. Matt Clement

Matt Clement was the original “Fear the Beard”… or at least goatee. Clement pitched for the Cubs from 2002-2004.  He was a very important part of the team that made it to the NLCS in 2003.  Clement’s best season statistically was probably 2002, when he won 12 games, had an ERA of 3.60 and struck out 215 batters. Clement went on to make the All-Star team with the Red Sox in 2005.  Since retiring, Clement coaches high school basketball and is a part owner of the baseball team Butler BlueSox. Matt Clement still considers himself to be a Cubs fan, which is just another reason for us to love him.

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11. Kevin Tapani
Kevin Tapani finished his career with the Cubs, pitching for them from 1997-2001.  Tapani had a solid, consistent career as a starting pitcher.  One of his best seasons came in 1998, when he helped lead the Cubs to the NL Wild Card.  That season, Tapani went 19-9, pitched 219 innings and had a (slightly high) ERA of 4.85. In the 1998 postseason, Tapani started Game 2 of the NLDS against the Braves.  He threw 9 innings and only gave up 1 run, but he got no run support from his own team, and the Cubs ended up losing.  Tapani went on to have little success over the rest of his Cubs’ career, but on one will ever forget the 1998 season.        

11. Kevin Tapani

Kevin Tapani finished his career with the Cubs, pitching for them from 1997-2001.  Tapani had a solid, consistent career as a starting pitcher.  One of his best seasons came in 1998, when he helped lead the Cubs to the NL Wild Card.  That season, Tapani went 19-9, pitched 219 innings and had a (slightly high) ERA of 4.85. In the 1998 postseason, Tapani started Game 2 of the NLDS against the Braves.  He threw 9 innings and only gave up 1 run, but he got no run support from his own team, and the Cubs ended up losing.  Tapani went on to have little success over the rest of his Cubs’ career, but on one will ever forget the 1998 season.        

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10. Rick Aguilera
Per request, here is Rick Aguilera.  Rick had a great career as a closer with the Twins, making 3 All-Star games in a row in the early ’90s. He spent the final 1.5 seasons of his career with the Cubs from 1999-2000… and he wasn’t a very reliable closer.  He was a part-time closer in ‘99 and pitched respectfully, saving 8 games and pitching to an ERA of 3.69. This made him the full-time closer in 2000, and it was a typical Cubs disaster.  He did have 29 saves, but blew 8 saves and had a 4.91 ERA. The Cubs finished last. 
Did you know the Cubs traded Kyle Lohse for 1.5 years of service from a washed  up closer? Well they did.  Not that Lohse is an All-Star or anything, but based on some of the starters the Cubs have used in the past, Kyle Lohse doesn’t look that bad. Rick Aguilera’s sub-par performance opened the door for numerous other awful closers in Chicago. And for that, we will never forget him.   

10. Rick Aguilera

Per request, here is Rick Aguilera.  Rick had a great career as a closer with the Twins, making 3 All-Star games in a row in the early ’90s. He spent the final 1.5 seasons of his career with the Cubs from 1999-2000… and he wasn’t a very reliable closer.  He was a part-time closer in ‘99 and pitched respectfully, saving 8 games and pitching to an ERA of 3.69. This made him the full-time closer in 2000, and it was a typical Cubs disaster.  He did have 29 saves, but blew 8 saves and had a 4.91 ERA. The Cubs finished last. 

Did you know the Cubs traded Kyle Lohse for 1.5 years of service from a washed  up closer? Well they did.  Not that Lohse is an All-Star or anything, but based on some of the starters the Cubs have used in the past, Kyle Lohse doesn’t look that bad. Rick Aguilera’s sub-par performance opened the door for numerous other awful closers in Chicago. And for that, we will never forget him.   

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9. Gary Gaetti
Gary Gaetti found himself in Chicago in the middle of the 1998 season, at the tail end of his career.  Expectations were low for the third baseman, who had just been released by the Cardinals.  As any Cub fan knows, Gaetti was a huge acquisition for the Cubs as they won the NL Wild Card. In only 37 games, “The Rat” batted .320, hit 8 homers and had 27 RBI. He would spend one more season in Chicago in 1999, but had little success.  He is currently managing the Sugar Land Skeeters (my new favorite team name) of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. 

9. Gary Gaetti

Gary Gaetti found himself in Chicago in the middle of the 1998 season, at the tail end of his career.  Expectations were low for the third baseman, who had just been released by the Cardinals.  As any Cub fan knows, Gaetti was a huge acquisition for the Cubs as they won the NL Wild Card. In only 37 games, “The Rat” batted .320, hit 8 homers and had 27 RBI. He would spend one more season in Chicago in 1999, but had little success.  He is currently managing the Sugar Land Skeeters (my new favorite team name) of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. 

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8. Augie Ojeda
Little Augie Ojeda played with the Cubs for parts of 2000-2003. Ojeda was a switch hitter and could play all over the infield.  He was never really that productive, but at only 5’9”, he was fun to watch.  He went on to have little success with a couple other teams, but nothing that lasted.  He attempted comebacks with the Cubs in 2006 and 2011, but never made it out of AAA Iowa.

8. Augie Ojeda

Little Augie Ojeda played with the Cubs for parts of 2000-2003. Ojeda was a switch hitter and could play all over the infield.  He was never really that productive, but at only 5’9”, he was fun to watch.  He went on to have little success with a couple other teams, but nothing that lasted.  He attempted comebacks with the Cubs in 2006 and 2011, but never made it out of AAA Iowa.

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7. Tyler Colvin

This one is very recent, and I’m still a little pissed about it.  Colvin was with the Cubs on and off from 2009-2011.  He’s a left-handed batter, has some power, and is still pretty young.  He even hit 20 homers in fairly limited time in 2010.  A freak injury (punctured lung via bat), a manager who seemingly refused to consistently play young outfielders (Lou Piniella), and a new GM led to Colvin’s demise in Chicago. Colvin was traded to the Rockies for a player who will probably appear on this list very soon (Ian Stewart). Colvin is starting to seem like a semi-decent player in Colorado, and with the luck of the Cubs, he will probably be an all-star by 2014.

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6. Mickey Morandini
It will soon become apparent that my all-time favorite team is the 1998 Cubs.  Morandini was the 2B in Chicago from 1998-1999.  It’s not easy replacing Ryne Sandberg, but the “Dandy Little Glove Man” did his best. In ‘98, he batted .296 with 8 HR and 53 RBI, and to my surprise, actually finished 24th in MVP voting. He is currently the manager for a Philadelphia Phillies Single-A affiliate.  

6. Mickey Morandini

It will soon become apparent that my all-time favorite team is the 1998 Cubs.  Morandini was the 2B in Chicago from 1998-1999.  It’s not easy replacing Ryne Sandberg, but the “Dandy Little Glove Man” did his best. In ‘98, he batted .296 with 8 HR and 53 RBI, and to my surprise, actually finished 24th in MVP voting. He is currently the manager for a Philadelphia Phillies Single-A affiliate.