In my last article on the magic of the Cubs this year I focus on one of the biggest surprises to come along all year. This player wasn’t on the radar at the beginning of the year but he fell in the Cubs’ lap during the season and since there was a need, Jim Hendry picked him up and he has been a huge part of the Cubs success. The player I refer to is obviously Jim Edmonds.
The Cubs were in need of a center fielder and took a chance on a former enemy, when he was a member of the rival St. Louis Cardinals. Cubs fans were a little leery when Edmonds first arrived in Chicago. We all knew of the defense Edmonds could provide but his stats in San Diego didn’t offer us much hope. For his first eight games in a Cubs uniform it wasn’t looking like it was going to work out. Edmonds started off just as slow with the Cubs as he finished with San Diego. On May 27 in a game versus the Dodgers he went 0-for-4, taking his average with the Cubs down to .125. He was being booed like he was still in a Cardinals uniform. Rumors began to swirl that he could soon be released again and it was only a matter of time.
What a difference a few days make. May 30th rolled around and Edmonds had another chance to save his job. This would be the day the turnaround began. In one of the best games all season the Cubs completed a huge comeback after entering their half of the 6th inning down 9-1. In that game, Jim Edmonds hit his first homer as a Cub. When the game was over the Cubs had won in amazing fashion and Jim Edmonds finished 3-for-4 with three RBI’s and two runs scored. It had taken a few days but the magic had reached Edmonds.
June arrived a couple days later and the magic continued. Over the month of June, Jim Edmonds continued to hit like he used to. He also won over the Chicago fans and the chorus of boos that were common after his arrival were gone and replaced with cheers. For the month of June, Edmonds had six home runs, 19 RBI’s along with a .319 batting average and a .419 on-base percentage. The Jim Edmonds of old was in Chicago and boy were we happy to have him.
July came along and Edmonds continued where he left off in June. This wasn’t a fluke, he was truly playing good ball, hitting the ball well and the gold glove outfielder was roaming center field for the Cubs. For the month of July he hit five more home runs, drove in another 14 runs while hitting .255 with a .369 OBP. It wasn’t a great average but lost in that were some great games that he helped the Cubs win. He drove in four against the Giants on July 12th and he hit two home runs and drove in five against the Brewers on July 31st.
August has seen an even further dip as he has struggled but he is still helping the Cubs win in other ways. For the month he has three home runs and seven RBI’s but he has scored 14 runs which is the most he has had in one month for the Cubs. While his average was low, .200, his OBP was a very good .371. Edmonds is 38, so he could be wearing down a bit but he has adjusted well to help in other ways.
If you had told me before the season started that Jim Edmonds would be a part of the Cubs I am not sure I would have believed it. After his first eight games I didn’t think he was going to last but he turned things around and he has been part of the magic of this year. Edmonds won a World Series in 2006 with the Cardinals and my hope is that he will add his second World Series title this year.
As I conclude this series on the players that have enjoyed the Cubs magic this year I want to ask for comments from you the readers. Who are your magic players this year? I told you about mine but I want you to agree or disagree with me. As a reminder I selected Reed Johnson, Carlos Zambrano the hitter, Ryan Dempster, Micah Hoffpauir, Jeff Samardzija and finally Jim Edmonds. Did I miss anyone? Did I include someone that you don’t agree with? Please share your thoughts on the Cubs magic.