Hall of Famer Ernie Banks turned 82 years old Thursday. Mr. Cub played 19 seasons with the Cubs, accumulating MVP awards in 1958-59, racking up 11 All-Star trips and a Gold Glove in 1960. Banks was a career .274 hitter and was the ninth member to join the 500 home run club, finishing with 512. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977, earning 83.8 percent of the votes on his first attempt.
On Jan. 16 and 17, the Chicago Cubs On the Move 2013 Caravan Tour delivered Cubs baseball to deserving individuals and organizations throughout the Chicago area and northwest Indiana. The annual tour featured two busloads of players, coaches and front office personnel visiting more than 15 locations.
The Cubs Caravan highlights the importance of reading, education and fitness to students at schools and libraries; drops in on patients in hospitals to brighten their days; and visits military personnel to show appreciation to those serving our country. This year’s theme, Cubs on the Move, reflects the Cubs’ and Chicago Cubs Charities’ focus on health, fitness and education for at risk individuals.
The 2013 tour visited six schools, four hospitals and the Chicago Public Library (Merlo branch). New stops included the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine base, where Cubs players, coaches and front office staff served lunch to active duty military and veterans in partnership with the USO.
The 28th annual Cubs Convention is in the books, and Vine Line was there for the entire weekend. We were front and center for the opening ceremonies, saw everything the new hotel had to offer, and got an opportunity to debrief with Convention newbies like Edwin Jackson and new assistant hitting coach Rob Deer.
Actor, director and musician Gary Sinise was born on the South Side of Chicago, but that didn’t stop him from rooting for the Cubs teams of his youth—teams that featured greats like Ron Santo, Ernie Banks and Fergie Jenkins. The Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning actor, who now stars in CSI: NY, never misses a chance to visit Wrigley Field and definitely knows how to fire up the crowd with a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
To read the full interview, pick up the December issue of Vine Line, featuring the Cubs 2012 season in review, on sale now at Chicago-area retailers. Or subscribe to Vine Line, the official magazine of the Chicago Cubs, for just $29.95.
The Cubs introduced the newest member of their relief corps, Japanese import Kyuji Fujikawa, on Friday at Wrigley Field. Fujikawa is the first Japanese player to suit up for the Cubs since Kosuke Fukudome, who roamed the Wrigley outfield from 2008-11. In 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers of the Japanese Central League, the 32-year-old right-hander went 42-25 with 220 saves and a 1.77 ERA in 692.1 innings pitched. Fujikawa will likely pitch the seventh or eighth inning for the Cubs, as GM Jed Hoyer said Carlos Marmol remains the team’s closer.
Say goodbye to Len and Bob, and say hello to Len and JD. The Cubs welcomed new television analyst and former major league pitcher Jim Deshaies to the broadcast booth Wednesday morning in a press conference at Wrigley Field’s United Club. Deshaies, who recently completed his 16th season as an analyst for the Astros, said it was hard to leave Houston but that he couldn’t turn down what he considers the best broadcasting job in baseball.
“It’s going to be so much fun to be in a city where baseball matters no matter how the team is doing,’’ Deshaies said. “This place is a baseball-mad environment. The Astro guy had a hard time leaving Houston, but the baseball guy said this is the place to be.”
The Cubs kicked off the holiday season in fine fashion on Friday with the second annual lighting of the holiday tree and the grand opening of the Rink at Wrigley. Hundreds of fans were on hand to watch Tom and Todd Ricketts, David and Kim DeJesus, Fergie Jenkins, Congressman Mike Quigley and many others light the 30-foot tree, which is located in front of the famous Wrigley Field marquee. Chicago Cubs Charities and WGN also kicked off a toy drive at Wrigley. All presents will be donated to Jennifer Hudson’s Julian D. King Gift Foundation.
Rawlings has officially confirmed what Cubs fans have known all year: Darwin Barney’s glove is golden.
On Tuesday, Barney was named the NL’s best second baseman, earning his first Gold Glove Award in just his second season at the position. He beat out fellow finalists Brandon Phillips of the Reds and Aaron Hill of the Diamondbacks. Barney had the top fielding percentage in the league, at .997, while both Phillips and Hill had a .992 mark.
So how did Barney manage to unseat three-time winner Phillips and tie the major league single-season record for errorless games at 141? Hard work—and penty of it.
“[His work ethic] is as good as it gets,” said Dave McKay, the Cubs’ first base and outfield coach. “He’s out there every day. He’s out there right now working on it. He wants to be good. He wants to win a Gold Glove, and he wants it bad. He doesn’t take a day off.”
In the final days of the 2012 season, Vine Line sat down with Barney to talk about his defensive prowess, his relationship with mentor and former coach Ryne Sandberg, and his consuming drive to get better.