Vine Line All-Time Top 10: Charlie Root
Coming in April, Vine Line begins its Top 10 countdown of all-time Cubs players. We want to know who would make your list. Comment with your picks or favorite stories, and we might publish your argument in the next issue of Vine Line! Thanks to Cubs historian Ed Hartig for his help.
Born on St. Patrick’s Day in 1899, Charlie Root embodied the type of old-school competitiveness that was a trademark of early 20th century Cubs teams. In 1927, his second full season, Root led the NL with 26 wins. No Cubs pitcher has reached 25 since.
Teammates testifying to Charlie Root’s competitiveness deny there ever was a “called shot” in the 1932 World Series. They believe that if Babe Ruth ever pointed anywhere with Root on the mound, the “Bambino” surely would have gotten one right in the ribs instead of serving up a gopher ball.
Primarily a starter for the Cubs from 1926-33, he spent the next eight seasons mostly coming out of the bullpen. It was as a reliever that Root posted his 200th major-league win on Aug. 27, 1941. Just 17 days earlier, he had been honored on “Charlie Root Day” at Wrigley Field.
Following his retirement after the 1941 season, Root went on to pitch semi-regularly in the minors from 1942 to 1945. In addition to pitching, he also managed in the minors during 1943-46, 1948, 1950 and 1954. He served as a major-league coach with the Cubs (1951-53, 1960) and Milwaukee Braves (1956-57).
Root’s contributions on the mound–as well as from the dugout–help make him the perfect Cubs player to launch Vine Line’s Top 10.
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