jump to navigation

BASEBALL IS BACK!!! March 30, 2008

Posted by Mongo in Baseball.
Tags: , ,
4 comments

Here we go…another baseball season is beginning, and once again there are high expectations for the Cubs. This year they’re so high that experts are actually picking them to make the World Series – some even to win it all. As a goofy die-hard Cubs fan I sometimes get caught up in the hype but have wisely learned to temper my expectations. Still, there’s always that glimmer of hope that this may be the year. Could it really be here???

I’d like to take a moment to share an article written by Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. He covers 100 questions for 100 years of the Cubs. Exciting, humorous, interesting and, well, let’s face it – pretty sad all rolled up into one giant article. Enjoy!

The Chicago Cubs: 100 questions for 100 years

By Paul Sullivan, Chicago Tribune staff reporter
March 29, 2008
(click here for the link to the article on Chicagotribune.com)

As the Cubs enter their 100th season without a World Series title, Paul Sullivan asks and answers 100 questions about their dubious run.

1. What is the tastiest treat ever sold at Wrigley Field?

Frosty malts. As Steve Goodman sang: “Give everybody two bags of peanuts and a frosty malt, and I’ll be ready to die.”

2. In front of which player did the black cat walk near the visitors’ dugout on that infamous day at Shea Stadium in 1969?

Ron Santo. It was the start of a beautiful relationship.

3. Whose toupee caught fire on that infamous day at Shea Stadium in 2003?

Ron Santo. Luckily, it wasn’t “the gamer.”

4. Which Cub took a sledgehammer to strength coach Tim Buss’ car this spring?

Carlos Zambrano. Maybe he thought it belonged to Michael Barrett.

5. Which two current Cubs pitched back-to-back one-hitters in 2001?

Jon Lieber against Cincinnati on May 24 and Kerry Wood against Milwaukee on May 25. Now they’re in the bullpen.

6. Which Cub’s dropped third strike against Pittsburgh in the ninth inning of the last game in 1974 gave the Pirates the division title over St. Louis?

Steve Swisher. His son, Nick, now plays for the White Sox.

7. What was the name of the greasy doughnut shop on Clark Street just west of the park?

Yum-Yum Donuts. The Cubs’ media relations department now works there.

8. Which Cubs reliever told Mitchell report investigators he watched two Cubs teammates inject themselves with steroids at their spring training residence in 1999?

Matt Karchner. The Cubs gave up top prospect Jon Garland for Karchner in Ed Lynch’s ’98 masterpiece.

9. To whom was LaTroy Hawkins referring when he interrupted a group interview and asked the subject, “Is it true that your teammates have nicknamed you Mr. Bitterman?”?

Mark Prior. That was the last time Hawkins impersonated a reporter.

10. Which trainer threatened to blow the whistle on Cubs management after he was fired following the ’04 season, only to have his case thrown out of court?

Sandy Krum. He later took a job on the TV reality show “The Biggest Loser.” Seriously.

11. How did the Cubs block rooftop views to force building owners to pay for having for-profit rooftop parties during games?

Balloons. “Probably not one of my better thoughts,” Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney acknowledged.

12. Where did reliever Kyle Farnsworth go until 4 a.m. the nights before day games as his Cubs career was going to waste?

Tai’s Till 4 on Ashland Avenue. Perhaps fittingly, Farnsworth now plays in the city that never sleeps.

13. Who said he would jump off the John Hancock Center if the Cubs blew the pennant in 1969?

Catcher Gene Oliver. They did, but he didn’t.

14. What is the name of the annoying song that Whitney Houston covered on Sammy Sosa‘s mix CD that played on his boom box almost every day in 2004?

Debby Boone’s “You Light Up My Life,” a song the ’04 Cubs thoroughly hated.

15. Which Cub smashed Sosa’s boom box?

Still a mystery. Whoever it is should fess up, take a bow and allow us to move on.

16. Which Cubs manager said he was fined for inciting fans to litter the field?

Dusty Baker, after umpire C.B. Bucknor ejected him during a heated April 2004 game vs. the Reds and fans threw debris on the field.

17. Whose double was wiped out when Bucknor ruled he had batted out of order after Baker allegedly failed to inform Bucknor of a double switch, leading to Baker’s ejection?

Ramon Martinez.

18. Who is Dow Finsterwald, and what position did he play?

Finsterwald was a golfer and didn’t play anywhere. But the 1958 PGA champion’s golf tip of the day was shown after Cubs games on WGN in the 1960s.

19. Who is “Stan” from one of Bill Veeck‘s first promotions, “Smile with Stan”?

Stan Hack. Veeck, then 21, decided one day in 1935 to hand out mirrors to fans with Hack’s picture on the back. Naturally, fans used them to reflect sunlight into opposing batters’ eyes, and the umpires threatened to have the Cubs forfeit the game. Mirrors later were banned.

20. Who were Sammy Sosa’s best friends during the great home run race of ’98?

Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble.

21. What was the name of the fictional Cubs character invented by Chicago Daily News columnist Mike Royko?

Dave Ding-Dong, a parody of a Tribune column “written” by slugger Dave Kingman, actually ghostwritten by a Tribune staffer.

22. What likely was the loudest moment ever at a Cubs game at Wrigley Field?

Kerry Wood’s home run in Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS. Hope sprung eternal, at least until the inevitable collapse.

23. Where does the term “Dump Durocher clique” come from?

A letter to fans printed in a newspaper ad after owner P.K. Wrigley bought space near the end of the 1971 season to give a vote of confidence to beleaguered manager Leo Durocher. “Leo is the team manager, and the ‘Dump Durocher clique’ might as well give up,” Wrigley wrote.

24. Who is the most reviled umpire in Cubs history?

Bruce Froemming, who retired after the 2007 season. Froemming’s final Cubs-related incident was criticizing manager Lou Piniella for kicking dirt on Mark Wegner last June.

25. To whom was departing manager Herman Franks referring when he said: “I just got tired of being around him. There isn’t enough money in the world to pay me to manage if I have to look at that face every day.”

Mike Vail. Franks unloaded on Vail, Kingman (“flaky”), Bill Buckner (“nuts”) and others after being fired at the tail end of the ’79 season. Did any manager ever dislike his players more than Franks?

26. To whom was Ken Holtzman referring when he said the Cubs needed a manager “who can relate to the modern players and the modern system. A guy who refuses to deal with reality is going to have trouble”?

Franks. No team ever disliked its manager more than the ’79 Cubs did Franks.

27. Whom did Dusty Baker claim committed “assault with a deadly belly?”

Reliever Antonio Alfonseca, after he belly-bumped rookie umpire Justin Klemm during a game against the Cardinals in the 2003 race.

28. What did Tribune Co. pay for the Cubs in 1981?

The Wrigley family sold the Cubs for $20.5 million. Now the club may be sold for close to $1 billion.

29. Which former Cubs general manager, returning to town as manager of the Yankees, said of Cubs fans, “I still can’t believe people here respect losing that much”?

Dallas Green, asking Chicago reporters in 1989 why Cubs fans had such deep-seated feelings for the ill-fated ’69 Cubs.

30. Who holds the Cubs’ single-season record for home runs by a pitcher?

Fergie Jenkins (1971) and Carlos Zambrano (2006), with six apiece. Zambrano hit only two homers in 2007 and vows to rebound in ’08.

31. Which Chicago manager once said, “What am I, a piece of garbage in Lake Michigan?”?

Don Zimmer, after being fired for giving an ultimatum to team President Don Grenesko to renew his contract in May 1991.

32. Which current Cubs player has been accused of streaking outside a Lincoln Park establishment known as Stanley’s?

Ryan Dempster. He steadfastly denies the story, insisting it’s a Chicago urban legend.

33. Which incoming Cubs manager said he didn’t expect to “make great changes or use pseudo-psychology” to stop the losing?

Jim Essian. “It’s my job to provide a spark,” Essian said. He turned out to be one of the more spark-free managers in Cubs history. The Cubs went 59-63 under him in 1991.

34. Who was responsible for buying Ronnie Woo-Woo new teeth in 2000?

The Chicago Sun-Times.

35. Which newspaper reported in 1987 that Ronnie Woo-Woo had “vanished amid murder rumors?”

Also the Chicago Sun-Times. The Tribune located him working in a pizza parlor.

36. Who hit Benito Santiago and was ejected in retaliation for Eric Show hitting Andre Dawson in the face, prompting Dawson to charge the mound and start a bench-clearing brawl?

Cubs rookie starter Greg Maddux. “I’ll play behind him anytime,” Dawson said after getting 22 stitches in his cheek.

37. Who said of Cubs fans: “About 85 percent of the world is working … the other 15 percent come out here.”?

The immortal Lee Elia in his 1983 tirade. The updated version: About 85 percent of the world is working, and only 15 percent can afford Cubs tickets.

38. To whom was the immortal Elia referring when he complained “We’ve never heard of this guy” after the Braves rookie beat the Cubs with a homer and three RBIs?

Gerald Perry. Elia was fired for the remark, which GM Dallas Green called “an embarrassment to the team and the whole organization.” Elia later coached under Lou Piniella. Perry is in his second year as the Cubs’ hitting coach.

39. Which Cubs manager once replaced Joe Pepitone as hitting coach of the New York Yankees?

Piniella. Everyone in baseball either has worked with or been replaced by Sweet Lou.

40. What company’s name was displayed on the rotating ad board behind home plate during the fateful top of the eighth inning of Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS?

Radio Shack.

41. Which Cubs manager said at his introductory news conference, “I’m still the same SOB I always was.”?

Leo Durocher.

42. Before he became Cubs manager, Durocher scouted what fictional TV character in a 1960s sitcom?

Jethro Bodine, who was using performance-enhancing possum grease on his pitches when Durocher, playing himself, scouted him for the Dodgers in an episode of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”

43. Which former Cubs catcher once was traded for himself?

The immortal Harry Chiti, who was purchased by the Mets from Cleveland in April 1962 for a player to be named, then sent back to Cleveland two months later as that player.

44. Which Cubs minor-league instructor was fired for critical comments against the organization?

Jimmy Piersall, who said upon Jim Riggleman’s firing that “two other guys” should be fired: Andy MacPhail and Ed Lynch.

45. Which Cubs legend was nicknamed “Handy Andy”?

No, not Andy MacPhail. It was Andy Pafko.

46. Who threw the pitch to Babe Ruth when Ruth called his shot at Wrigley in the 1932 World Series?

Charlie Root. It is the most famous pitch in Wrigley Field history.

47. Who threw the pitch that Luis Castillo fouled off toward Steve Bartman in left field in Game 6 of the NLCS?

Mark Prior. It is the second most famous pitch in Wrigley Field history.

48. Where is the so-called Bartman seat?

Aisle 4, Row 8, Seat 113.

49. Which Cubs ball girl was fired for appearing nude in Playboy?

Marla Collins. At least it was favorable publicity.

50. What was the worst trade in Cubs history not involving Lou Brock?

Dealing two-time batting champion Bill Madlock to San Francisco for Bobby Murcer and Steve Ontiveros in January 1977. “When these players are impossible to deal with, I’d rather let somebody else have them,” owner P.K. Wrigley said. Madlock won two more batting titles.

51. Which 1950s-era Cubs outfield was so slow it was dubbed “the Quicksand Kids” by Mike Royko?

Hank Sauer in left, Frank Baumholtz in center and Ralph Kiner in right.

52. Which Cubs double-play combo led its team to the College World Series title?

Ryan Theriot and Mike Fontenot at LSU in 2000.

53. When did the Cubs turn their last triple play at Wrigley Field?

June 2, 1983, against Pittsburgh. Rick Rhoden grounded to Ron Cey, who tagged third and threw to Ryne Sandberg at second for another force. Sandberg threw to Bill Buckner at first for the third out.

54. Which Cubs player did in-studio sportscasts for WGN-TV in the 1960s?

Ernie Banks: “And then I came to the plate.”

55. When Bill Murray subbed for Harry Caray in the TV booth, which Montreal outfielder did he describe as “break-dancing” while botching a fly ball?

Mitch Webster, who played for the ’89 Cubs.

56. Who sang “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” in Game 7 of the 2003 NLCS?

Billy Corgan. “It’s still a painful thing,” Corgan said later. “How do we know that 25 years from now we’re not going to look back and say, ‘That’s as close as we came’?”

57. What did Felix Pie twist this spring to cause men all over Chicago to groan?

A testicle. It’s still a painful thing.

58. Which Cubs manager said upon his exit: “We had more unhappy players than I had seen on any team … and no kind of an organization. I asked myself, ‘What in the hell are you doing here?’ “?

Preston Gomez in 1980. Many Cubs fans asked the same question.

59. Which Cub has the World Series record of striking out four hitters in an inning?

Orval Overall in the 1908 Series. He’s also the last Cubs pitcher to win a championship-clinching game, beating Detroit 2-0 in Game 5 of the 1908 Series.

60. What was Joe Pepitone’s bar named?

Joe Pepitone’s Thing. It didn’t last long after Pepitone opened it on Division Street, just off Rush.

61. What was Joe Pepitone’s limo driver’s nickname?

Fabulous Howard. He unfurled a red carpet whenever Pepitone exited the limo.

62. Who was Sammy Sosa’s go-fer?

Julian Martinez, who wore a Cubs shirt with BC (bullpen catcher) on the back. Players joked that BC stood for “Bring Coffee.”

63. Who was the bigger hot dog, Joe Pepitone or Sammy Sosa?

Depends on how you like your dog. Both are first-ballot picks in the Cubs Hot Dog Hall of Fame.

64. Whose photo did teammates tape to Carlos Marmol‘s locker this spring?

Barack Obama. Some players think the presidential candidate looks like Marmol, especially the ears.

65. Which Cubs player told an ESPN reporter he urinated on his hands to toughen them and help with his batting grip?

Moises Alou. No one high-fived him again.

66. How many victories do the Cubs have in their history?

The Cubs are 9,985-9,459 since 1876, and soon they will join the Giants as the only franchise with 10,000 victories, unless they go 14-148.

67. What nickname was printed next to Ryan Dempster’s nameplate in camp?

Madam Cleo, the late-night infomercial astrologer. Dempster is the team astrologist.

68. Who is Anton Migursky, and what position did he play?

Migursky is the Wrigley Field security guard who made a clothesline tackle of a fan who approached Bob Howry on the mound last June. He could play linebacker.

69. Who was the Cubs’ play-by-play man for the 1908 championship season?

Radio had not been invented when the Cubs last won a World Series.

70. What street besides Clark, Addison, Waveland and Sheffield is within spitting distance of Wrigley Field?

Kenmore Avenue. In the movie “I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With,” Jeff Garlin‘s character leaves his car parked at Kenmore and Waveland because “it’s a good spot.”

71. Which manager was fired during spring training when he predicted the Cubs would finish in the “second division”?

Phil Cavarretta, by P.K. Wrigley in 1954. The Cubs went 64-90 under Stan Hack and finished in seventh place.

72. Who had the greatest fight among Cubs teammates in the 20th Century?

Joe Tinker and Johnny Evers. They fought in an exhibition game in 1905 and stopped speaking to each other for three years. The Cubs won both their titles, in ’07 and ’08, with the trio of Tinker, Evers and Frank Chance.

73. Who has had the greatest fight among Cubs teammates in the 21st Century?

Carlos Zambrano and Michael Barrett. They eventually hugged it out, but Barrett was traded within weeks.

74. What did the Cubs finally do in 1932 to conform with the rest of baseball?

Put numbers on the backs of their uniforms.

75. What did the Cubs finally do in 1988 to conform with the rest of baseball?

Install lights and play night games at home.

76. What have the Cubs yet to do to conform with the rest of baseball?

No video scoreboard at Wrigley. Every other ballpark has at least one Jumbotron.

77. Who was responsible for the hand-operated center-field scoreboard?

Bill Veeck, in 1937, when he also planted the ivy. In his final years, Veeck sat in the first row on the right-field side of the upper center-field bleachers, just under his majestic scoreboard.

78. When did WGN-AM broadcast its first Cubs game?

On April 14, 1925. Charlie Grimm made his major-league debut, and the Cubs beat Pittsburgh. But they finished last at 68-86.

79. When did WGN-TV televise its first Cubs game?

April 16, 1948. The White Sox beat the Cubs 4-1 in an exhibition at Wrigley Field, with Jack Brickhouse behind the mike. The Cubs went 64-90 that season and finished last.

80. What is the highest-scoring game in Cubs history?

A 26-23 victory over the Phillies in 1922. But the Phillies rebounded big-time with a 23-22 triumph in 10 innings in 1979.

81. Which pitcher beat the Cubs twice in the 1918 World Series and then began a curse two years later?

Boston Red Sox ace Babe Ruth. The Curse of the Bambino began in 1920 after he was sold to the New York Yankees and ran to 2004, when Boston ended its 86-year drought.

82. Who is the best football player on the Cubs’ 40-man roster?

Former Notre Dame receiver Jeff Samardzija edges ex-Penn quarterback Mark DeRosa.

83. Which Cubs pitcher threw a no-hitter in only his fourth major-league start?

Burt Hooton, on April 16, 1972, a 4-0 victory over Philadelphia.

84. Which Cub tied the major-league strikeout record in only his fifth start?

Kerry Wood, on May 20, 1998, with 20 strikeouts in a one-hit 2-0 victory over Houston.

85. Which Cubs pitcher had the fewest fingers on one hand? The most?

Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown had the fewest, and Antonio Alfonseca, with six, had the most.

86. Which Cubs slugger hit three home runs while nursing a hangover?

Hack Wilson, on Aug. 10, 1930. In “Veeck as in Wreck,” his autobiography, Bill Veeck wrote that a Cubs trainer “had Hack in one of those big, high old tubs, sobering him up. In the tub with Hack was a 50-pound cake of ice.”

87. Which Cubs pitcher was famous for his “nothing ball”?

Dizzy Dean. After arm ailments curtailed his dazzling career in St. Louis, the Cubs acquired Dean in 1938. His fastball was gone, so Dean invented an off-speed pitch he called the nothing ball.

88. Why is it always sound advice to bet against the Cubs?

In 1935, James Ridner lost a bet that the Cubs would beat Detroit in the ’35 World Series and had to push Arson “Fireball” Stephens 500 miles, from Harlan, Ky., to Detroit, in a baby carriage. It took 30 days and ended at home plate at Tiger Stadium.

89. What is “hoopsa,” and what is its role in Cubs history?

A Russian meal of hamburger and cabbage. In 1940, Lou “Mad Russian” Novikoff said he couldn’t hit on the road without the “hoopsa” meal his wife made for him.

90. What was the name of the hotel in which a former girlfriend shot Billy Jurges in 1932?

The Hotel Carlos on Sheffield Avenue, one block north of Wrigley. It’s still there, but an awning hides the original name engraved in stone over the front door.

91. Which Cubs player attacked a heckling milkman in a game in 1928?

Hack Wilson. After Edward Young had insulted him all day during a doubleheader at Wrigley, Wilson climbed into the stands and punched him. Wilson was fined $100.

92. Which 22-year-old Cubs drought ended in 1967?

On July 2, the Cubs went into a first-place tie with St. Louis, their first appearance atop the standings that late in the season since 1945.

93. Which Cubs player batted 13 times in a doubleheader?

Billy Herman, on Aug. 21, 1935. The Cubs split with the Phillies, losing 13-12 and winning 19-5.

94. What was the Cubs’ best signing?

Ernie Banks. Purchased from the Kansas City Monarchs for $35,000 in 1953, Banks hit 512 home runs, won two Most Valuable Player Awards and became “Mr. Cub.”

95. What was the Cubs’ worst signing?

Mel Rojas. Flopped as the closer after signing a three-year, $13.75 million deal in ’97. After pitching in Montreal’s dome, Rojas told the Cubs he didn’t like to pitch in the cold.

96. Which Cubs team holds the record for most victories without finishing first?

The 1909 Cubs. Coming off their ’08 championship, the Cubs won 104 games but finished 61/2 games behind Pittsburgh.

97. What invention was patented six weeks before the Cubs’ inaugural game?

The telephone. The Cubs began as the White Stockings on April 25, 1876. Albert Spalding shut out Louisville 4-0, and the Cubs won the first NL pennant with a 52-14 record.

98. Which Cub came closest to hitting the center-field scoreboard?

Bill Nicholson. His homer off the Cardinals’ Al Brazle on April 24, 1948, went to the right of the scoreboard and hit a car on Sheffield Avenue. No one has ever hit the scoreboard.

99. What two words strike fear into every Cubs fan?

Oh, no.

100. Will the Cubs win the World Series and end the 100-year drought?

In your wildest dreams.

Advertisements