Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

Cubs Minor League Recap: 7/13/14

The Cubs minor league system had a successful Sunday, with only Iowa taking a loss. Meanwhile, Mesa was rained out. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (51-46)
2nd Place (-0.5)

Iowa managed just three hits in a 5-2 loss to visiting Oklahoma City.

  • 2B Logan Watkins (.277), SS Chris Valaika (.289) and 1B Lars Anderson (.254) all recorded a hit.
  • RHP Dae-Eun Rhee (6.43) allowed one run on three hits and struck out three in three innings of relief.

Tennessee Smokies (13-11)
1st Place (+0.5)

Tennessee used a seven-run fifth-inning to snap a three-game skid and beat visiting Jacksonville, 14-8.

  • RF Jorge Soler (.426) recorded his first career multihomer game, going 3-for-5 with two runs scored, two home runs and a career-high five RBI (17).
  • 2B Stephen Bruno (.281) went 3-for-5 with two runs, three RBI (28) and one stolen base (5).
  • SS Elliot Soto (.233) and LF Anthony Giansanti (.233) had two hits apiece.
  • RHP Zach Cates (2-1, 2.25) tossed two scoreless innings of relief to earn the victory.

Daytona Cubs (14-8)
T-1st Place (–)

Daytona won its second-straight game, beating host Jupiter, 6-2.

  • RHP Tayler Scott pitched six scoreless innings to earn the win.
  • RF Billy McKinney (.261) went 1-for-4 with a home run and four RBI (8).
  • C Chadd Krist (.214) went 2-for-3 with a second-inning, two-run homer.
  • RHP Zack Godley (5.01) tossed a scoreless eighth inning.

Kane County Cougars (17-6)
1st Place (+2.0)

GM 1: Kane County held visiting Beloit to just three hits in a 3-1 victory.

  • RHP Jen-Ho Tseng gave up three hits over seven innings and surrendered just one run to earn the win.
  • DH Kyle Schwarber (.382) and 1B Jacob Rogers (.265) had two hits apiece.

GM 2: Kane County beat Beloit 6-5 to complete the doubleheader sweep.

  • 3B Jeimer Candelario (.267) went 2-for-3 with two home runs and a game-high four RBI (15).
  • LHP Michael Heesch (2-0, 3.18) allowed one run on two hits in one inning of relief to earn the win.

Boise Hawks (16-14)
2nd Place (-2.0)

Boise recorded 11 hits in a 6-2 victory at Eugene.

  • 3B Jesse Hodges (.264) and 1B Alex Tomasovich (.275) had two hits apiece.
  • RF Jeffry Baez (.273) extended his hitting streak to a season-high 16 games (.364/24-for-66).
  • RHP James Norwood (0.00) struck out four hitters in two perfect innings of relief.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 7/10/14

Of the Cubs minor league affiliates, only Kane County picked up a win Thursday. Mesa had the day off and will resume play Friday. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (49-44)
1st Place (+0.5)

Iowa scored their lone run on a solo shot from 3B Kris Bryant, falling to host Omaha, 7-1.

  • Bryant (.329) led off the seventh with his ninth home run since joining Iowa and 31st of the season. He has hit safely in 18 of his 23 games as an I-Cub.
  • C Rafael Lopez (.280) recorded the first four-hit game of his career, tallying four singles in four at-bats.
  • 1B Logan Watkins (.265) went 1-for-4 with his 11th double of the season off of Omaha’s Tim Collins. The two-bagger was his first extra-base hit off of a lefty this season.

Tennessee Smokies (12-9)
2nd Place (-0.5)

Entering the ninth knotted at four, the visiting Suns out-rallied the Smokies to win, 6-5.

  • RF Jorge Soler (.405) hit his third home run in his last three games, finishing 2-for-4 with a run, a walk and two RBI (12). He has reached base safely in all but one of his 11 games with the Smokies this season.
  • SS Addison Russell (.143) recorded his first two hits with the organization in his third game with Tennessee. His seventh-inning single snapped an initial 0-for-12 skid.
  • 1B Dustin Geiger (.222) finished 2-for-4 with his fourth double in as many games and 18th of the season.

Daytona Cubs (12-7)
T-1st Place (–)

Dunedin jumped ahead with a five-run fourth and never looked back, topping the Cubs in Daytona, 7-4.

  • SS Marco Hernandez (.293) finished 3-for-5 with his 10th double of the season. It marked his 23rd multihit game of the season and his fourth three-hit performance.
  • LF Bijan Rademacher (.285) knocked two doubles in four at-bats, bringing his season total to 16. His two RBI bring him to 32 on the season, the third-highest total on the team.
  • The team went just 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, but managed to produce four runs from seven hits and four walks.

Kane County Cougars (14-5)
1st Place (+1.5)

The Cougars scored early and often at Quad Cities, tallying three in the top of the first en route to a 9-5 win over the River Bandits.

  • 3B Jeimer Candelario (.238) set a season high with eight total bases, including his first homer with Kane County and two doubles (6).
  • 2B Ben Carhart (.283) had his third multihit game in his last four, finishing 3-for-5 with a run and three RBI.
  • CF Jacob Hannemann (.267) went 2-for-5 with his 13th double of the season.
  • SS Carlos Penalver (.224) also notched multiple hits, singling twice and walking while scoring two runs.
  • RF Kevin Brown (.364) launched his second homer in three games since being promoted to Kane County.
  • RHP Jose Arias (1.82) recorded the final two outs for his second save of the year.

Boise Hawks (14-13)
T-2nd Place (-1.0)

Boise pitching allowed nine runs on 19 hits and two errors as the Hawks fell, 9-3, at home.

  • RF Jeffrey Baez (.275), C Mark Zagunis (.366) and 1B Alex Tomasovich (.255) recorded two hits apiece.
  • Eight of Boise’s nine hitters recorded a hit. 2B Giuseppe Pappacio (.197), the lone hitless Hawk, also contributed offensively with a sacrifice fly in the third.
  • RHP Josh Davis (1-1, 7.11) suffered his first loss of the season, allowing four earned runs in 0.2 frames.

Home Series 14 Preview: Cubs vs. Braves

Freeman

In his last 25 games, 2014 All-Star Freddie Freeman has hit .370/.434/.570. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty)

At the season’s outset, it appeared offense would be the Braves’ strength, as their lineup was littered with power bats, but they had numerous question marks in the rotation. As usual in baseball, it’s a good idea to expect the unexpected. The Braves pull into Wrigley Field tied with the Nationals for first place in the NL East chiefly on the backs of that suspect rotation, much of which was thrown together late in the offseason after the team lost two big arms to Tommy John surgery during Spring Training. But with some key players struggling, the offense has taken a step back from 2013, when it ranked fourth in the NL in runs per game. One veteran has already been displaced from his starting position.

PITCHING
(3.6 RA/G, 4th IN NL)

The Braves lost Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy to Tommy John surgery before the season even began, but that hasn’t stopped the staff from being one of the best in the game. Aaron Harang has probably pitched above his head early in the year, but his performance has still been a revelation. Ervin Santana was another late-spring addition, and while he’s been inconsistent, he is still a reliable innings eater. The Cubs will see three young pitchers in this series in lefties Alex Wood and Mike Minor, as well as 2014 All-Star righty Julio Teheran. Friday’s starter, Wood, has shuttled between the bullpen and the rotation this year, but is back in a much more comfortable starting role, where he can use his full assortment of pitches and funky delivery to keep hitters off balance. The usually reliable lefty Minor has struggled since the end of last season and comes into Saturday’s start with a 2-5 record and 4.54 ERA. However, the biggest development this season has been Julio Teheran’s emergence as the staff’s ace. The 22-year-old currently sports an 8-6 record with a 2.57 ERA. The bullpen looks a bit different from previous years, but it’s still strong, with outstanding closer and NL saves leader Craig Kimbrel anchoring the back end.

HITTING
(3.7 RS/G, 14TH IN NL)

Dan Uggla has never been a batting average guy, but that was always offset by his tremendous power. However, after the second baseman slugged just .362 in 2013 and suffered a continued power outage in 2014, the Braves finally called up youngster Tommy La Stella to take over the keystone in late May. La Stella doesn’t have the power Uggla displayed in his prime, but he has a great approach and can flat out hit. Unfortunately for Atlanta, it isn’t just Uggla struggling at the plate. Chris Johnson has failed to repeat his BABIP-fueled 2013 line of .321/.358/.457; the Upton brothers continue to strike out at an alarming rate; and former top prospect Jason Heyward hasn’t shown the power many expected of him when he first came up. The Braves are also without slugging catcher Evan Gattis for the foreseeable future. This offense was designed to be heavy on power bats, but it’s struggling to hit home runs and hasn’t yet figured out how to play small ball. So far this year, the Braves attack relies heavily on All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman. When he’s hot, the offense will score some runs. If you can hold him down, it struggles.

10 Decades, 10 Legends: 1960s—Ron Santo

Ron_Santo

For our annual July All-Star issue, Vine Line set out to find the most valuable player from each 10-year span in Wrigley Field’s history to create a Cubs All-Star team for the ages. There are hundreds of ways to go about this, so we simplified things by using the baseball statistics website Fangraphs to find the player with the highest Wins Above Replacement total for each decade.

Wins Above Replacement, better known as WAR, takes all of a player’s statistics—both offensive and defensive—and outputs them into a single number designed to quantify that player’s total contributions to his team (though for pitchers, we used only their mound efforts and excluded offensive stats). For our purposes, a player received credit only for the numbers he posted in each individual decade and only for the years he was a member of the Cubs.

In the sixth installment of our 10 Decades, 10 Legends series, we look at No. 10, who dominated the 1960s. Hall of Famer Ron Santo was one of the greatest, and most well-liked, Cubs of all time.

Previous Decades:
1910s – Hippo Vaughn
1920s – Grover Cleveland Alexander
1930s – Billy Herman
1940s – Bill Nicholson
1950 – Ernie Banks

1960s – Ron Santo, 56.3 WAR

Seasons: 1960-69
AVG/OBP/SLG: .281/.366/.478
PA: 6,531
HR: 253
R: 816
RBI: 937
SB: 27

Let’s not beat around the bush—Ron Santo was Cubs baseball in the 1960s. There were other greats, including Billy Williams and Banks, but for most of the decade, the North Side was Ronnie’s World.

The only players who had a higher WAR total in Major League Baseball during the 10-year span were fellow Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson and Roberto Clemente.

Offensively, Santo always found a way to reach base. During the 1960s, he led the league in bases on balls four times and finished with 86 walks or more seven times. It’s no surprise he led the league in on-base percentage twice.

Santo went to six All-Star Games in the decade and was a starter three times. He also received MVP votes seven times, including a fourth-place finish in 1967. Though his decade slash line of .281/.366/.478 isn’t historically impressive, from 1963-67, he was a .301 hitter, averaging 30 homers and 27 doubles. Always slick with the glove, Santo got it done on defense as well, claiming five straight Gold Glove awards from 1964-68.

After a long wait, Santo was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 2012.

Cubs Minor League Recap: 7/9/14

Iowa claimed an extra-innings victory, Boise continued its winning streak and Daytona took the first game in the doubleheader Wednesday. Kane County couldn’t drive in runners and Mesa was defeated again. Meanwhile, Tennessee had the day off. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (49-43)
1st Place (+1.5)

Logan Watkins hit a 14th-inning, solo home run to lift the Cubs over host Omaha, 2-1. Watkins’ blast was the only hit the I-Cubs recorded in their last 10 innings of the game.

  • Watkins (.265) finished the game going 1-for-6 with the home run.
  • LF Josh Vitters (.217) went 1-for-5 with a double (12) and one RBI (30).
  • LHP Eric Jokisch finished with a career-high 11 strikeouts while recording his 11th quality start, giving up one earned run over seven innings.
  • LHP Michael Heesch (1-0, 0.00) earned the win in his Triple-A debut, tossing three scoreless innings.
  • LHP Zac Rosscup (2.61) picked up his third save of the season.

Daytona Cubs (12-6)
1st Place (+0.5)

GM 1: Daytona allowed just one hit in a 4-1 victory over visiting Dunedin.

  • RHP Felix Pena gave up one earned run over 5.2 innings, fanning seven to earn the win.
  • CF Albert Almora (.279) went 2-for-3 with his 42nd RBI of the season.
  • 2B Gioskar Amaya (.279) and 3B Jordan Hankins (.211) had two hits apiece. Hankins drove in two (6).
  • RHP Starling Peralta (3.28) tossed 1.1 scoreless innings of relief to earn his first save of the year.

GM 2: Dunedin used a four-run, third-inning to defeat Daytona, 8-6.

  • 1B Rock Shoulders (.206) went 1-for-2 with two walks and a second-inning, solo home run.
  • SS Marco Hernandez (.287) and LF Zeke DeVoss (.172) had two hits apiece.
  • RF Billy McKinney (.300) went 1-for-2 with a walk and two RBI (2).

Kane County Cougars (13-5)
1st Place (+1.5)

Kane County went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, as they fell at Quad Cities, 3-1.

  • C Kyle Schwarber (.377) went 1-for-3 with a run, a walk and his eighth double of the season.
  • DH Ben Carhart (.277), 3B Jeimer Candelario (.203) and CF Trey Martin (.233) had two hits apiece.
  • LHP Gerardo Concepcion (4.40) tossed three scoreless innings of relief.

Boise Hawks (14-12)
2nd Place (-1.0)

Boise won its fourth-straight game, beating visiting Hillsboro, 6-2.

  • RF Jeffrey Baez (.267) went 3-for-5 with two runs scored to extend his Northwest League-best hitting streak to 12 games (.380/19-for-50).
  • CF Rashad Crawford (.315) went 2-for-4 with a run scored, a double (5), a triple (4) and three RBI (17). It was his third-straight, three-RBI game.
  • C Mark Malave (.283) went 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Mesa Cubs (8-7)
2nd Place (-0.5)

Mesa lost its fourth-straight game, falling to the visiting AZL D-backs, 8-0. The Cubs have committed 19 errors in their last four games.

  • RHP Kyuji Fujikawa made his second start with the Mesa Cubs as part of a major league rehab assignment. He hasn’t allowed a hit while fanning two in two innings.
  • 3B Varonex Cuevas (.667) recorded three of Mesa’s seven hits, going 3-for-4.
  • LHP Andin Diaz (0.00) tossed two scoreless innings of relief.

Alcantara to make ML debut, team recalls RHP Beeler

ArismendyAlcantara

Arismendy Alcantara will make his major league debut Wednesday. (Photo by Stephen Green)

The first of the big-time Cubs prospects will make his major league debut Wednesday, as infielder/outfielder Arismendy Alcantara gets the start at second base against the Reds in Cincinnati. The athletic Alcantara, who was recently named the No. 18 prospect in the game by Baseball Prospectus, will bat in the two spot. Right-handed pitcher Dallas Beeler has also been recalled and will make his second start of the season tonight.

Alcantara will temporarily replace Darwin Barney, who has been placed on paternity leave and is expected to return on Friday. Left-handers Chris Rusin and Tsuyoshi Wada have both been optioned to Triple-A Iowa.

Alcantara, 22, is hitting .307 with 25 doubles, 11 triples, 10 home runs, 41 RBI and 21 stolen bases in 89 games with Iowa this season, his first year at the Triple-A level. Named a Pacific Coast League All-Star, he is the only player in the minors to reach 25 doubles, 10 triples, 10 home runs and 20 stolen bases. His 46 extra-base hits are tied for ninth in the minors.

The switch-hitter has a .374 average against left-handed pitching and a .280 average against right-handers. He batted .345 in June and enjoyed a 13-game hitting streak from June 22-July 3, in which he hit .463 with a 1.214 OPS. This season, he has played 70 games at second base, 11 games in center field and six games at shortstop.

Signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in November 2008, Alcantara owns a .284 batting average with 104 doubles, 41 triples, 40 home runs, 254 RBI and 112 stolen bases in 530 career minor league games. He was a 2013 Southern League midseason and postseason All-Star for Double-A Tennessee, and hit a home run in the 2013 All-Star Futures Game.

Beeler, 25, will make his second start for the Cubs after making his major league debut in the first game of the June 28 twinbill versus the Nationals, an outing in which he allowed one unearned run over six innings. He is 5-3 with a 3.93 ERA in 11 starts with Iowa this season. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder has walked only 17 batters and allowed just five home runs in 66.1 innings pitched, an average 2.3 walks per nine innings and one home run allowed per 13.1 innings.

The right-hander is in his fifth professional campaign since being selected by the Cubs in the 41st round of the 2010 draft out of Oral Roberts University. Beeler reached Double-A Tennessee in his first full pro campaign in 2011 and made a career-high 27 starts for the Smokies in 2012 before being slowed by a sprained finger on his right hand. Beeler is a career 17-21 with a 3.69 ERA in 77 minor league outings (69 starts).

 

10 Decades, 10 Legends: 1950s—Ernie Banks

Banks_10-10

For our annual July All-Star issue, Vine Line set out to find the most valuable player from each 10-year span in Wrigley Field’s history to create a Cubs All-Star team for the ages. There are hundreds of ways to go about this, so we simplified things by using the baseball statistics website Fangraphs to find the player with the highest Wins Above Replacement total for each decade.

Wins Above Replacement, better known as WAR, takes all of a player’s statistics—both offensive and defensive—and outputs them into a single number designed to quantify that player’s total contributions to his team (though for pitchers, we used only their mound efforts and excluded offensive stats). For our purposes, a player received credit only for the numbers he posted in each individual decade and only for the years he was a member of the Cubs.

In the fifth installment of our 10 Decades, 10 Legends series, it’s Mr. Cub Ernie Banks’ time in the spotlight. During the 1950s, he put together one of the best stretches for a shortstop ever.

Previous Decades:
1910s – Hippo Vaughn
1920s – Grover Cleveland Alexander
1930s – Billy Herman
1940s – Bill Nicholson

1950s – Ernie Banks, 39.6 WAR

Seasons: 1953-59
AVG/OBP/SLG: .295/.355/.558
PA: 3,954
HR: 228
R: 582
RBI: 661
SB: 35

Ernie Banks’ 1950s WAR total is the sixth best among NL offensive players for the decade. It’s even more impressive when you consider he was active for only six full seasons during that stretch.

With segregation still impacting professional baseball, Banks didn’t join the major leagues until September 1953, when he played 10 games with the Cubs just before the season ended.

But by the latter stages of the 1950s, Mr. Cub was striking fear into the hearts of NL pitchers. In 1958 and 1959, he put up two of the most productive seasons ever—no shortstop has put up a similar WAR total in a single season since.

In 1958, he claimed two-thirds of the Triple Crown, hitting 47 homers and driving in 129, all while batting a career-best .313. The following year he slammed 45 homers and had a league-leading 143 RBI. He claimed MVP awards in both years.

For the decade, Banks averaged 33 homers versus just 62 strikeouts per season—and this was at a time when very little offense was expected of middle infielders. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 1954 and went to five All-Star Games in the 1950s, starting three.

Mr. Cub was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.

 

Cubs Minor League Recap: 7/8/14

Tennessee, Kane County and Boise all captured wins Tuesday. Iowa lost in walk-off fashion, while errors continued to plague Mesa. Meanwhile, Daytona was rained out. Here are some highlights from yesterday’s minor league action:

Iowa Cubs (48-43)
1st Place (+0.5)

Omaha’s Brian Bocock hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat Iowa, 7-6.

  • RF Brett Jackson (.213) went 1-for-4 with a second-inning, two-run homer.
  • DH Ryan Kalish (.226) went 2-for-3 with two runs, a double (7), and a sixth-inning, three-run clout.
  • 3B Kris Bryant (.351) went 1-for-4 before being ejected in the eighth inning by the home plate umpire for arguing balls and strikes. It was Bryant’s first professional ejection.

Tennessee Smokies (12-8)
1st Place (+0.5)

Tennessee held host Birmingham to just four hits in a 7-3 victory.

  • C Luis Flores (.286) went 1-for-3 with two walks, a double (2) and a game-high three RBI (5).
  • SS Elliot Soto (.210) went 2-for-4 with a double (6) and two RBI (10).
  • RHP Tony Zych (3-4, 3.92) tossed two scoreless innings of relief to earn his third victory.
  • RHP Frank Batista (1.20) recorded the final five outs of the game to pick up his fourth save of the year.

Kane County Cougars (13-4)
1st Place (+2.5)

Kane County won for the fourth time in its last five games, beating host Quad Cities, 7-3.

  • RHP Paul Blackburn gave up two earned runs over five innings and struck out six to pick up the win.
  • RF Kevin Brown (.500) went 2-for-4 with a third-inning, solo home run.
  • C Kyle Schwarber (.379) went 3-for-5 with a run, two doubles (7) and two RBI (13).
  • LF Shawon Dunston (.260) and 3B Jeimer Candelario (.182) recorded two hits apiece.
  • RHP Zak Hermans (4.50) struck out five over three innings of relief to earn his second hold of the season.

Boise Hawks (13-12)
2nd Place (-2.0)

Boise won its third-straight game, beating visiting Hillsboro, 11-4.

  • LHP Tyler Ihrig surrendered two earned runs over six innings, striking out six, to earn his third win of the year.
  • RF Jeffrey Baez (.250) went 2-for-4 with his Northwest League-leading seventh blast and four RBI (24).
  • CF Rashad Crawford (.307) went 3-for-5 with two runs, a double (4) and three RBI (14). It marked Crawford’s second-straight three-hit and three-RBI game.
  • 2B Chesny Young (.750) and SS Jason Vosler (.308) had two hits apiece. Vosler drove in two (3).
  • Boise has scored 10 or more runs in three-straight games. It’s the first time they have achieved that feat since July of 2010.

Mesa Cubs (8-6)
1st Place (+0.5)

The Mesa Cubs committed three more miscues in a 6-4 loss to the visiting AZL Indians. Mesa has 15 errors in their last three games.

  • 2B Andrew Ely (.571) went 3-for-4 with a first-inning, solo home run.
  • LF Shamil Ubiera (.220) went 2-for-4 with a run scored, one RBI (8) and two stolen bases (4).
  • RHP Yomar Morel (0.00) tossed two scoreless innings of relief.

Cubs set to honor the 1960s at Wrigley Field

BWilliams

It’s a shame the 1960s-themed homestand will only last only one weekend, especially considering the amount of success the home teams had at Wrigley Field during the decade. While the Cubs had a strong 10-year stretch, it was the NFL’s Chicago Bears that hoisted a championship trophy in 1963, winning the league behind players like Bobby Wade and Mike Ditka.

This weekend, Cubs will host a quick three-game, 1960s-themed series against the Atlanta Braves from July 11-13 leading into Major League Baseball’s All-Star break. The team’s throwback uniform, promotional giveaways, specialty food and beverage offerings, and entertainment will all mirror the sights and sounds of the 1960s at Wrigley Field as part of the season-long celebration of the ballpark’s 100th anniversary. Each game in the series includes a promotional giveaway, offering fans a chance to collect an item commemorating the ’60s decade at the ballpark.

On Friday, July 11, Cubs fans will be able to congratulate 2014 All-Star representative Starlin Castro as he receives his All-Star jersey from Majestic. The team and its fans are pushing for Anthony Rizzo to join the festivities in Minneapolis through MLB’s Final Vote campaign. Fans can vote for Rizzo at mlb.com/vote or by texting N4 to 89269 until this Thursday at 3 p.m. CDT.

On Saturday, July 12, Cubs Charities and Kraft will extend the good feelings with a donation ceremony benefiting programs focused on health, fitness, and education for at-risk youth and families. In June, Kraft committed to donating $100 to Cubs Charities for every opposing batter a Cubs pitcher struck out at Wrigley Field. The Cubs pitching staff delivered 138 strikeouts at home (en route to a National League-leading 247 strikeouts for the month), resulting in a donation of $13,800.

Throwback Uniforms:
On Sunday, July 13, the Cubs will wear a throwback uniform from 1969 to honor some of the team’s most popular players from the era. That squad featured Cubs Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Ron Santo and Billy Williams, as well as other Cubs legends. The visiting Atlanta Braves will wear a 1969 throwback uniform as well.

Promotional Giveaways:
Fans coming to the ballpark will have the chance to collect a unique promotional item at each game of the homestand, beginning with an exclusive Gale Sayers Bobblehead presented by Comcast SportsNet for the first 10,000 fans on Friday. On Saturday, the first 10,000 fans will receive a Billy Williams Retired Number Flag presented by Wrigley. On Sunday, the first 5,000 kids 13-and-under will receive a ’60s Throwback Cubs Etch-A-Sketch, and the first 1,000 kids in the park can run the bases postgame.

Specialty Food Offerings:
Levy Restaurants continues its decade-inspired menu at the Decade Diner, located inside Gate D near Section 142. The 1960s homestand features a Kraft BBQ Pork Sandwich with Kraft Cheese and fried onions served on a toasted onion roll. Fans can also try the Traditional Buffalo Wings homestand special. These classic wings are tossed with Buffalo sauce and served with carrot and celery sticks along with ranch dipping sauce.

The Decade Dogs stand near Section 123 is serving the 1960s Buffalo Wing Dog—a Vienna Beef hot dog topped with diced chicken, buffalo sauce, crumbled bleu cheese and chopped celery. The Buffalo Wing Dog is available all season.

Adults 21-and-over can enjoy an Alabama Ironman Cocktail. This modern twist on the Whiskey Sour, which pays homage to Billy Williams, is made with peach puree, lemon and lime juice.

Historic Moments:
Wrigley Field hosted many memorable baseball and non-baseball moments in the 1960s. The team also started an important tradition at the ballpark.

Wrigley Field hosted its final NFL Championship game in 1963 on a frigid, seven-degree day in December. The Bears beat the New York Giants 14-10 to take the title.

On Dec. 12, 1965, Gale Sayers tied an NFL record by scoring six touchdowns in a 61-20 rout of San Francisco on a muddy Wrigley Field.

In 1966, in his first game after being acquired by the Cubs, eventual Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins threw five scoreless innings in relief and belted a home run in a 2-0 victory over the visiting Dodgers.

In February 1967, the Cubs announced they would feature organ music and play the National Anthem before every home game. Before this, the National Anthem was only played on holidays and special occasions at Wrigley Field.

After completing a doubleheader sweep of the Cardinals on June 29, 1969, Billy Williams officially broke the National League record for consecutive games played with 896. His streak would eventually extend to 1,117 games. That same year, after tossing seven hitless innings against the Braves on Aug. 19, pitcher Ken Holtzman’s no-hitter looked lost as Hank Aaron connected on a deep fly ball. Luckily, a gust of wind knocked it down at the last second, and Billy Williams caught it on the warning track to preserve Holtzman’s career performance.

Tickets for the Braves series remain available at cubs.com or 800-THE-CUBS (800-843-2827).

 

10 Decades, 10 Legends: 1940s—Bill Nicholson

Nicholson

For our annual July All-Star issue, Vine Line set out to find the most valuable player from each 10-year span in Wrigley Field’s history to create a Cubs All-Star team for the ages. There are hundreds of ways to go about this, so we simplified things by using the baseball statistics website Fangraphs to find the player with the highest Wins Above Replacement total for each decade.

Wins Above Replacement, better known as WAR, takes all of a player’s statistics—both offensive and defensive—and outputs them into a single number designed to quantify that player’s total contributions to his team (though for pitchers, we used only their mound efforts and excluded offensive stats). For our purposes, a player received credit only for the numbers he posted in each individual decade and only for the years he was a member of the Cubs.

In the fourth installment of our 10 Decades, 10 Legends series, Bill “Swish” Nicholson provided the team with some necessary pop in the 1940s, especially during the early part of the decade.

Previous Decades:
1910s – Hippo Vaughn
1920s – Grover Cleveland Alexander
1930s – Billy Herman

1940s – Bill Nicholson, 36.9 WAR

Seasons: 1940-48
AVG/OBP/SLG: .271/.369/.472
PA: 5,371
HR: 200
R: 701
RBI: 795
SB: 26

Bill Nicholson was at his best in 1943 and 1944, when he won both the home run and RBI titles. He hit 29 homers and knocked in 128 in 1943, and followed that with 33 bombs and 122 RBI in 1944, when he was runner-up in the MVP voting. The right fielder also led the league in runs scored that year. But power was Nicholson’s game, as his 211 home runs in the 1940s (200 coming with the Cubs from 1940-48) rank second in the decade among NL hitters. All four of his All-Star appearances were with the Cubs during the 1940s, and he made starts in 1941 and 1943. Despite earning the nickname Swish for his swing-and-miss tendencies, Nicholson managed to draw more walks than strikeouts in his nine seasons on the North Side.

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