Saturday, January 11, 2014

JOBC Cubs Almanac--January 11

Today's Featured Cub: William Walker

On this day in 1933, the Cubs were rudderless. Team president William Veeck had just died only months after team owner William Wrigley had died, and new owner Phillip K. Wrigley didn't know anything about baseball.

So, he turned to one of the minority owners of the team, William Walker, and named him President of the Cubs. The outspoken Walker hadn't been allowed to contribute to any baseball decisions during the Wrigley/Veeck era, and was chomping at the bit to take over. Why hadn't Veeck or the elder Wrigley listened to Walker? For a very good reason. He also didn't know anything about baseball. Walker was the owner of a wholesale seafood business.

He didn't last the year.

It didn't take long for word to get out that the Cubs had a neophyte running their organization. One of his first trades is still known as one the worst trades in Cubs history. He traded slugger Dolph Camilli to the Phillies for Don Hurst. Camilli went on to hit over 200 home runs, made two all-star teams, and led the 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers to the World Series. He won the MVP that year too.

Don Hurst, on the other hand, hit .199 and retired after the season. Walker was such a terrible team president that PK Wrigley was forced to buy him out just to get him to stop destroying the team. The man who succeeded Walker as team president, however, remains the worst team president in Cubs history.

PK Wrigley himself.

He remained in the job until the year he died (1977).

Today's Featured Baseball Card: Lloyd McClendon

(Topps 1990 Baseball Card)

Lloyd McClendon came up as a catcher, but he didn't play there much for the Cubs (only 5 games). During the 1989 season he platooned with Dwight Smith in left field, playing mostly against left-handed pitchers. He even started one game of the 1989 NLCS against the Giants, going 2 for 3. McClendon was traded to the Pirates at the end of the 1990 season.

His stats on the back of this card cover the 1989 season, his best in the big leagues: 259 at bats, 74 hits, 12 doubles, 1 triple, 12 homers, 40 RBI, and a .286 average.

Nickname of the Day: The Pope

Don Pall was born on this day in 1962 on the south side of Chicago. He grew up a Sox fan and pitched for them too, but he also pitched across town for the Cubs in 1994. His teammates called him "The Pope".

Cup of Coffee

Paddy Driscoll is a football hall of famer, but he also got a cup of coffe in Major League Baseball thanks to the Cubs. In 1917, the team's second season at what is now known as Wrigley, he played in 13 games and got 32 at bats. Unfortunately, he only managed three hits. Among the games he played in was the famous double no-hitter on May 2, 1917, featuring Hippo Vaughn and Fred Toney.

Other Cubs Birthdays

~Harry McIntire 1879 (Cubs 1910-1912)
Harry pitched for the pennant winning 1910 Cubs. He won 13 games that year, but ended his career 46 games under .500.

~Roy Hughes 1911 (Cubs 1944-1945)
Roy was a member of the last pennant winning team in Cubs history and got some playing time in the 1945 World Series.

~Jack Curtis 1937 (Cubs 1961-1962)
He was in the Cubs starting rotation in 1961 but was hit pretty hard; giving up 23 homers and finishing with 4.89 ERA. They traded him to Milwaukee for Bob Buhl in 1962.

~Rey Ordonez 1971 (Cubs 2004)
He was a slick fielding shortstop who never did quite master the trick of hitting big league pitching. The Cubs were the last team to give him a chance and he hit .164.

A/V Club
Former Cub Paddy Driscoll was the head coach of the 1956 Chicago Bears team who played in the championship game against the Giants. The highlights have been preserved nicely in this newsreel film...