Read an Excerpt
For the Love of the Cubs
An A-to-Z Primer for Cubs Fans of all Ages
By Frederick C. Klein, Mark Anderson
Triumph BooksCopyright © 2008 Frederick C. Klein
All rights reserved.
"A" is for Alfonso, Who signed for big dough, Then came to Chicago And made the Cubs go.
ALFONSO SORIANO CAME TO THE CUBS AS A FREE AGENT in November 2006 after signing an eye-popping eight-year, $136 million contract. The native of the Dominican Republic got it because he possessed the rare combination of speed and power that enabled him to average 37 home runs, 97 RBIs, and 33 stolen bases in his previous five seasons with the Washington Nationals, Texas Rangers, and New York Yankees. Although injuries caused him to miss about 25 games during 2007, and his batting-order leadoff spot limited his RBI production, his 33 homers — 14 of them in September — propelled the Cubs into postseason play.
"B" is for Ernie Banks, The "Let's Play Two" man. Number one in team homers, number one with the fans.
ERNIE BANKS PLAYED WITH THE CUBS as a shortstop or first baseman from 1953 through 1971. He's the team's all-time home-run leader with 512. His cheerful disposition and love for the game made him a fan favorite. He's a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and a pennant bearing his uniform number, 14, flies from a flagpole at Wrigley Field.
"C" is for Harry Caray His accounts never dragged. He made the games fun, even when the Cubs lagged.
HARRY CARAY WAS THE CUBS' MAIN TELEVISION VOICE FROM 1982 THROUGH 1997. He was a fun-loving man whose colorful language and enthusiasm for baseball made his broadcasts distinctive. A statue of him, leading the crowd in singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," stands outside Wrigley Field.
"D" is for Derrek Lee, A guy who stands tall. With a bat or glove He's the best of them all.
DERREK LEE HELPED THE FLORIDA MARLINS BEAT THE CUBS IN THE 2003 PLAYOFFS en route to a World Series title, then came to Chicago in a trade the next season. He quickly established himself as a sure-handed first baseman and a slugger who also could hit for average. Lee hit 32 home runs in 2004 and 48 home runs during a 2005 season in which he made a strong bid for National League Most Valuable Player honors. A wrist injury sidelined him for most of 2006, but he rebounded strongly to help lead the Cubs' 2007 playoff drive. The 6-foot-5- inch Lee also is an excellent fielder, with two Gold Glove awards to prove it.
"E" is for Johnny Evers, Who with Tinker and Chance, Made a trio that could turn A double play in a glance.
SECOND BASEMAN JOHNNY EVERS, shortstop Joe Tinker, and first baseman Frank Chance were the best players on the Cubs teams that won National League pennants in 1906, 1907, 1908, and 1910, and the World Series in 1907 and 1908. All three are in the Hall of Fame. Thanks partly to a poem about them, Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance remains baseball's most famous double-play combination.
"F" is for First Basemen. Few teams have had better Than Charlie Grimm, Mark Grace, Or Phil Cavarretta.
"JOLLY CHOLLY" GRIMM starred at first base for the Cubs from 1925 through 1936 and managed the team to its 1935 and 1945 pennants. MARK GRACE manned the position for 13 seasons ending in 2000; his 1,754 hits during the 1990s led the major leagues. Chicago-native PHIL CAVARRETTA was the National League's leading hitter and Most Valuable Player for the 1945 NL champs.
"G" is for Goat From a long line of billies. His owner's vile curse, Still gives Cubs' fans the willies.
WILLIAM SIANIS, OWNER OF CHICAGO'S BILLY GOAT TAVERN, appeared at Wrigley Field for the fourth game of the 1945 World Series between the Cubs and the Detroit Tigers accompanied by his pet goat. Sianis displayed two box-seat tickets and asked that he and the goat be seated. They were, but after the game began they were ejected, reportedly at the insistence of Cubs' owner P. K. Wrigley, who said the animal smelled bad. Sianis left but said he hoped the Cubs never played another World Series at the ballpark. They haven't.
"H" is for "Hey! Hey!' Jack Brickhouse's yell. Few mike men did baseball Nearly as well.
JACK BRICKHOUSE WAS THE CUBS' FEATURED BROADCASTER from 1948 through 1981, a period of 33 years. He was popular with fans because of his cheerful personality and love of the team. He'd cry "Hey! Hey!" when a Cub hit a home run or the team won a game.
"I" is for innings. The standard is nine. But if the game's tied, Then more are just fine.
"J" is for Fergie Jenkins,
A Canadian lad. Six 20-win seasons Showed what he had.
FERGUSON JENKINS CAME TO THE CUBS IN A 1966 TRADE and won 20 or more games in six of the next eight seasons. The tall right-handed pitcher was traded away in 1974 but returned in 1982 to play his last two seasons in Chicago. Of his 284 career victories, 167 were with the Cubs. In 1991 he became the first Canadian-born player to be elected to the Hall of Fame.
"K" is for Don Kessinger He was swift, lean, and tall. The six-time All-Star shortstop could go get the ball.
DON KESSINGER WAS THE CUBS' STARTING SHORTSTOP FROM 1965 THROUGH 1975. He was a good hitter, usually batting leadoff, but made his biggest mark with his fielding range and sure throwing arm. He and second baseman Glenn Beckert made up the Cubs' best double-play combination in the second half of the 20th century.
"L" is for left field, A position for power. Billy Williams played there, And Kingman and Sauer.
HOME-RUN-HITTING LEFT FIELDERS HAVE BEEN A CUBS' TRADITION. Billy Williams (pictured at right) started at the position from 1961 through 1974 and hit 392 homers, ranking third on the team's all-time list in that department. Hank Sauer led the National League in home runs in 1952 while playing left field, and Dave Kingman did the same thing in 1979.
"M" is for Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown. When the batters came up He'd sit 'em right down.
MORDECAI BROWN LOST PART OF THE INDEX FINGER on his right throwing hand in a boyhood farm accident, but contemporaries said that helped make his curveball nastier. He won 20 or more games for the Cubs every year from 1906 through 1911, and a total of five games for the team in the 1906, 1907, 1908, and 1910 World Series, three of them by shutout.
Excerpted from For the Love of the Cubs by Frederick C. Klein, Mark Anderson. Copyright © 2008 Frederick C. Klein. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.