Archive for the ‘ Alumni ’ Category

Old faces in new places

When looking at the 2011-12 offseason, there is one word that best describes the Chicago Cubs from top to bottom: Change.

The Ricketts group hired Theo Epstein to act as President of Baseball Operations and subsequently hired a new GM in Jed Hoyer. Payroll was cut in favor of stocking the farm system, and probably most important, many player moves were made. While the Cubs signed a plethora of young talent hoping to help the organization in the future, if not this year, many notable Cubs became “former Cubs” either by trade or free agency.

Let’s see how some of the old faces have fared thus far with their new teams:

Andrew Cashner: Cubs 2008-11; Traded to Padres Jan. 2012
Spring Training line: 8 IP, 11 K’s, 6 HA, ER, 1.13 ERA

Tyler Colvin: Cubs 2006-11; Traded to Rockies Dec. 2011
Spring Training line: 41 AB, HR, 10 RBI, 16 hits, .390/.429/.610

Sean Marshall: Cubs 2003-11; Traded to Reds Dec. 2011
Spring Training line: 8 IP, 12 K’s, 5 HA, 4 ER, 4.50 ERA

Carlos Pena: Cubs 2011; Free agent signed with Rays Jan. 2012
Spring Training line: 28 AB, 0 HR, RBI, 4 hits, .143/.333/.250

Aramis Ramirez: Cubs 2003-11; Free agent signed with Brewers Dec. 2011
Spring Training line: 32 AB, HR, 2 RBI, 8 hits, .250/.273/.406

Carlos Zambrano: Cubs 1997-11; Traded to Marlins Jan. 2012
Spring Training line: 13.2 IP, 17 K’s, 14 HA, 7 ER, 4.61 ERA

Now Playing: 2012 Cubs Convention

From Jan. 13-15, Cubs fans of all ages gathered at the Hilton Chicago to warm up the winter and mingle with more than 70 Cubs players, coaches and front office personnel at the sold-out 27th annual Cubs Convention. Vine Line was there the whole weekend to document all the happenings, including Kerry Wood’s triumphant return, the Ron Santo Hall of Fame Panel and all the new Wrigley Field news. Get ready for the season and check out the sights and sounds of the 2012 Cubs Convention.

2012 Cubs Convention kicks off this weekend

The 27th Annual Cubs Convention will be held this weekend, Jan. 13-15, at the Hilton Chicago, located at 720 S. Michigan Ave., and Vine Line will be there blogging all weekend to keep you up to date on the latest news and happenings.

The three-day fanfest gives Cubs faithful the opportunity to interact with more than 80 current and former Cubs players, coaches and prospects. This year’s event features a number of new family friendly sessions and activities, including an interactive baseball area hosted by the Illinois Baseball Academy, a gaming zone and the LEGOLAND Discovery Zone.

But the real stars of the show might be the team’s new baseball leadership — Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer,  Jason McLeod and Dale Sveum — and their vision for the Cubs future. This vision has become clearer in recent weeks, as a flurry of moves have sent old-guard players like Sean Marshall, Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Zambrano out of Chicago in favor of younger talent like top first base prospect Anthony Rizzo and starters Travis Wood, Chris Volstad and Paul Maholm.

Opening Ceremonies begin Friday at 5 p.m. in the Hilton Chicago Grand Ballroom. The Saturday morning proceedings will be highlighted by  “Behind the Scenes with Theo Epstein”, followed by “Meet Cubs Baseball Management” with General Manager Jed Hoyer, Assistant General Manager Randy Bush and Manager Dale Sveum.

Other notable weekend sessions include:

  • “Coaches’ Den,” featuring new manager Dale Sveum, new bench coach Jamie Quirk, new pitching coach Chris Bosio, new first base coach Dave McKay, hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo and bullpen coach Lester Strode discussing their coaching philosophies, moderated by Bob Brenly.
  • “Ron Santo: Beyond the Game,” featuring widow Vicki Santo, son Ron Santo Jr., and friends and teammates Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundley and Billy Williams discussing the personal side of Ron Santo and his recent Hall of Fame election, moderated by Pat Hughes.
  • “Outside the Foul Lines,” featuring Tony Campana, Ryan Dempster, Geovany Soto and Randy Wells sharing their personalities and experiences beyond the game.
  • “The Ricketts’ Family Forum,” featuring Ricketts family members Tom, Laura, Pete and Todd discussing their journey as team owners and what they hope to accomplish in the coming years.

To keep up on all the happenings from the Cubs Convention, check back with the Cubs Vine Line Blog all weekend long.

BREAKING NEWS: Cubs icon Santo elected to Hall of Fame

Legendary Cubs third baseman and broadcaster Ron Santo will finally join teammates Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins in baseball’s Hall of Fame. Santo was elected by the Veteran’s Committee in Golden Era balloting, the results of which were announced Monday morning at the baseball winter meetings in Dallas.

Santo, who died from complications of diabetes and cancer a little more than one year ago, was a nine-time National League All-Star and had 342 home runs, 1,331 RBI, a .277 lifetime batting average and five Gold Gloves during his 15-year playing career.

According to baseball analyst Bill James, Santo is ranked as the sixth best third baseman of all time. Read the full press release below:

CHICAGO – Chicago Cubs legend Ron Santo today was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame after being named on 93.8 percent (15 of 16) of the Veteran’s Committee ballots.

Santo, who passed away December 3, 2010, will become the 10th player in franchise history to be elected to the Hall of Fame wearing a Cubs hat, the first third baseman in the 135-year history of the club.  Santo joins Ernie Banks (1977), Frank Chance (1946), Kiki Cuyler (1968), Gabby Hartnett (1955), Billy Herman (1975), Fergie Jenkins (1991), Ryne Sandberg (2005), Billy Williams (1987) and Hack Wilson (1979) as players wearing Cubs hats in the Hall of Fame.

Overall, Santo becomes the 46th person with a Cubs association to earn enshrinement to Baseball’s Hall of Fame.

“All who knew Ron or welcomed him into their homes on the radio recognize he was so much more than a Hall of Fame baseball player.  He was the beating heart of Cubs fans,” said Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts.  “As an athlete, he was our All-Star.  As a radio analyst, he carried our passion. For those battling illness or disease, he remains an inspiration.  And for all of us who had the honor of calling him our friend, he is forever beloved.

“Though it is bittersweet that Ron is not here to enjoy this day, we are comforted by the pride members of the Santo family have for their husband, father and grandfather.  On behalf of the Chicago Cubs organization and all of our fans, we congratulate Ron Santo’s family on this historic day and look forward to his induction next summer.”

A nine-time National League All-Star and five-time Gold Glove Award winner, Santo hit .277 with 365 doubles, 67 triples, 342 home runs, 1,331 RBIs and 1,138 runs in 2,243 games covering 15 major league seasons with the Cubs (1960-73) and White Sox (1974).  He is one of only two third basemen in big league history with at least 300 home runs and five Gold Gloves, joining Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.

Santo ranked among the elite during his 15-season big league career.  Between 1960-74, only four players had 2,000 hits, 300 home runs and 1,300 RBI: Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Billy Williams and Ron Santo.  Additionally, only four players had 2,000 hits and 1,000 walks in that span:  Hank Aaron, Carl Yastrzemski, Frank Robinson and Ron Santo.  Santo’s 342 home runs were the most by any third baseman in his 15-season career, easily outpacing his next closest competitor in Brooks Robinson (248 home runs in that span).

In his 15-year career, Santo finished in the league top 10 in batting average three times, slugging percentage five times, on-base percentage seven times, base on balls nine times, games played eight times, home runs seven times, RBI eight times, runs scored three times and total bases five times.

Overall, Santo had 11 seasons of 20 or more home runs, including four in a row of 30 or more. He had eight 90-plus RBI campaigns, four seasons with at least 100 RBI and ranked in the top 10 in RBI eight years in a row.  Santo was top 10 in RBIs for eight straight seasons.

Santo holds or shares many defensive records for third baseman, including most consecutive National League games at third base (364) and most years leading either league in total chances (nine).

Santo stayed involved in baseball since retiring after the 1974 campaign.  He was an empathetic voice of the fans on WGN Radio for 21 seasons through the final year of his life from 1990-2010.  Santo also helped raise more than $60 million for juvenile diabetes research, through which his legacy lives on.

Cubs Convention passes go on sale at 10 a.m. Central

Don’t miss your chance to hear from the new Cubs baseball leadership yourself: Cubs Convention individual passes go on sale this morning at 10 a.m. Central.

New President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein will communicate his vision directly to fans and take questions. Current and former Cubs players and coaches also will be on hand for a variety of panels on the past, present and future of the organization. And the same great autograph and photo opportunities make for baseball’s ultimate offseason celebration.

The 2012 Convention will feature enhanced layouts and new family-friendly exhibits, including an interactive baseball area hosted by the Illinois Baseball Academy, a gaming zone and the LEGOLAND Discovery Zone.

More info: The 27th annual Cubs Convention will take place on Friday, Jan. 13, through Sunday, Jan. 15, at the Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan Ave.).

Glory Days: A few innings with Randy Myers

Below are a few innings from the full nine with former left-handed reliever Randy Myers (a Cub from 1993-95), featured in the upcoming issue of Vine Line. Every month, Vine Line catches up with alumni and remembers old moments in Glory Days, an exclusive section covering the history of the Cubs. Subscribe today for more great content to take you through the offseason. (Interview by Jim McArdle; Photo by Stephen Green)

When his playing days were over, Randy Myers returned to his native Northwest. The former “Nasty Boy” of the 1990 world-champion Reds now volunteers his time to protect wildlife and the environment. As a Cub, Myers is best known for his record-setting 53-save season in 1993 and for fighting off a mound-charging fan in 1995.

HOME SWEET HOME  I live near Vancouver, Wash. I was born and raised here. People don’t realize you give up 20 years of your life to travel around when you play. When I was done I moved back.

’93 SUPER SAVER  I believe it’s still the major league record for a left-hander. We had a good bullpen. We had Bob Scanlan and Dan Plesac as the setup guys. Basically, we were playing six-inning games with our starters.

TODDLIN’ TOWN  I used to ride my bike around Chicago and stop by Murphy’s Bleachers after games now and then to have a burger. Whether they would go to Bernie’s or Slugger’s or Murphy’s, guys used to go out with their families and have a bite to eat, and no one bothered them. Basically, you just worked in the area.

Get the full interview in Vine Line.

Stories from the Scribe: Moe, Curly and Larry

From the October 2011 issue of Vine Line, longtime beat writer Joe Goddard shares a story from the middle of the 20th century. Read Goddard’s stories in Glory Days every month by subscribing to Vine Line today.

Myron “Moe” Drabowsky was an accomplished prankster when he finished his 1957 rookie season with a 2.47 ERA—but not before fleeing Poland with his family in the ’39 Nazi invasion. “I remember catching fish bare-handed in Poland and seeing Nazis doing the goose step,” Drabowsky said.

Giving hot feet to unsuspecting victims was Drabowsky’s specialty, including one to Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. He made news in 1958 when he gave up Stan Musial’s 3,000th hit. “At least I’ll be remembered for something,” said Drabowsky, who later struck out 11 Dodgers as an Oriole in the 1966 World Series.

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