The All-Star Game and the festivities are in the books. The American League beat the National League, again. Mike Trout was named MVP, again. And Major League Baseball will take a breather for a couple of days, well at least on the field.
Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant played in the Midsummer Classic and each player made two plate appearances.
Rizzo was the first Cubs’ player to start in the All-Star Game since 2008. Rizzo was the NL’s designated hitter, batted sixth and went 0-for-2. Bryant played left field, not third base, and went 0-for-1 with a walk. Bryant walked in his first at bat and flied out to the track in right in the ninth inning.
From The Futures Game and Kyle Schwarber being named MVP to The Home Run Derby to the All-Star Game itself, the Cubs were well represented over the three days in Cincinnati.
Cubs Franchise Four
Major League Baseball announced the Franchise Four for each team prior to Tuesday night’s All-Star Game. And for the Cubs, the fans voted Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo and Ernie Banks as the top four players in the history of the team.
Sweet Swingin’ Billy Williams was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1987. Williams played all but two seasons of his 18-year career with the Cubs. Williams was as consistent as any player in the big leagues during his career. Williams didn’t hit lower than .275 during a full season with the Cubs while playing every day. Williams finished second in NL MVP voting following the 1972 season. Williams led the Senior Circuit in batting average (.333), slugging percentage (.606) and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.005).
In 16 years and 2213 games with the Cubs, Billy Williams batted .296/.364/.503 with 402 doubles, 87 triples and 392 home runs for a .867 OPS. And Williams walked (911) almost as many times as he struck out (934) during his career with the Cubs.
Ryne Sandberg played all but 13 games of his career with the Cubs after Dallas Green acquired him from the Phillies in what is viewed as the best trade in franchise history. Sandberg is the best second baseman that’s ever played for the Cubs and one of the best second sackers the game has ever seen.
Sandberg was acquired from the Phillies along with Larry Bowa for Ivan DeJesus on January 27, 1982 and was the NL MVP in 1984 for the National League Eastern Division Champions.
Over 15 seasons with the Cubs, Sandberg collected 2386 hits in 2164 games with 403 doubles, 76 triples and 282 home runs (.285/.344/.452) for a .795 OPS.
Ryne Sandberg was the NL Gold Glove second baseman from 1983-91 and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2005.
Ernie Banks is Mr. Cub and Ron Santo is The Cub. Santo was simply one of the best third basemen to ever play the game when he retired. And not being enshrined in Cooperstown until after he passed away is one of the biggest oversights ever by baseball and the writers. Santo should have been able to enjoy his day, period.
Ron Santo is remembered more for his time on the radio with the great Pat Hughes, a future Hall of Famer in his own right. Santo played 14 of his 15 seasons on the North Side with the Cubs and batted .279/.366/.472 with 353 doubles, 66 triples and 337 home runs for a .838 OPS. Santo led the NL in triples in 1964 and took home a Gold Glove in five straight seasons (1964-68).
Mr. Cub is the greatest player in franchise history … Ernie Banks was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977 after putting up unbelievable numbers for a shortstop before moving to first base where he ended his career in 1971.
Banks won back-to-back NL MVP Awards in 1958 and 1959 for two fifth place teams. Banks hit 40 or more home runs in four straight seasons and five of six years from 1955-60.
Ernie Banks played his entire career with the Cubs, 2528 games, and finished with a .274/.330/.500 slash line. Banks hit 407 doubles, 90 triples and 512 home runs for a .830 OPS.
News, Notes and Rumors
• According to Bob Nightengale, the Astros, Blue Jays and Royals have been the three most aggressive teams on RHP Johnny Cueto.
• Joe Torre said Tuesday “there is no difference in the strike zone this year from a year ago, but they are calling more low strikes than two years ago.”
• Rob Manfred said Tuesday the FBI is leading the investigation of the Cardinals. Manfred could not provide a timetable for when the investigation might be completed.
• Rob Manfred and Tony Clark indicated Tuesday Major League Baseball will announce its domestic violence policy soon.
• According to Bob Nightengale, the players would like to see the 162-game schedule reduced to 154 games and this time MLB is listening.
• Shi Davidi explained why the Blue Jays were not able to sign Kris Bryant after Toronto selected him in the 18th round of the 2010 draft.
• Ken Rosenthal emptied his All-Star notebook.
• Joel Sherman broke down the trade options for the Mets as the New Yorkers are set to begin the second half chasing the Cubs in the Wild Card and the Nationals in the NL East.
• Jim Bowden reported the Tigers and David Price have not had contract talks since Spring Training.
And last, but not least, ESPN posted the MLB manager tree.
This Day In Cubstory
1997 – Cubs traded Frank Castillo to the Rockies for Matt Pool
1988 – Cubs released Jim Sundberg
1986 – Cubs released Steve Lake
1984 – Cubs traded a PTBNL and Chuck Rainey to the Athletics for a PTBNL. Oakland sent Davey Lopes to the Cubs on Aug. 31, 1984 to complete the trade. Cubs sent Damon Farmer to Oakland on March 18, 1985 to complete Cubs end of the trade.
1980 – Chris Denorfia, born
1975 – Bill Madlock singled in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and gave the NL a 6-3 victory over the AL in the All-Star Game at Milwaukee’s County Stadium
1960 – Cubs traded Earl Averill and cash ($30-35,000) to the Brewers for Al Heist
1945 – Cubs swept the Giants 5-3, and 7-2, behind Hank Wyse and Hy Vandenberg in front of 43,803 fans at Wrigley Field
1942 – Cubs relief pitcher Hi Bothorn whirled toward the Dodgers’ dugout and fired a ball at manager Leo Durocher’s head during the fifth inning at Wrigley Field. Lou Novikoff and Jimmie Foxx homered for the Cubs, but the Dodgers won 10-5. Ex-Cubs Billy Herman homered and Kirby Higbe picked up the win. Another former Cubs pitcher, Hugh Casey pitched in relief.
1932 – Cubs purchased Frank Demaree from Sacramento (PCL)
1923 – Barney Friberg hit a grand slam in the 10th inning to beat the Giants 9-5. The win gave Grover Alexander a 29-28 record against the Giants.
1916 – Cubs purchased Chuck Wortman from Kansas City (American Association) for $8,000 plus two PTBNL