Thursday, January 2, 2014

JOBC Cubs Almanac--January 2

Today's Featured Cub: Bill Madlock

Future Cub Bill Madlock was born on this day in 1951.

The Cubs complained for years about not having a third basemen to replace Santo, but the guy who immediately followed him was that guy. He won two battle titles with the Cubs before being traded for the nearly washed up Bobby Murcer. Madlock won two more batting titles, played eleven more seasons, had 2000 hits, and won a World Series. Murcer had one semi-good season in 1977, and was traded in 1979 for a guy named Pete Semall, who never made it to the majors.

Madlock was a great hitter, and he was tough. In September of 1974, he decided to teach the Mad Hungarian a lesson. Instead of just waiting for Al Hrabosky's ridiculous ritual between pitches, he would step out of the batters box every time Hrabosky got set to pitch--thereby forcing the ritual to start all over again.

This not only angered Hrabosky, it angered the crowd, and it angered the umpire. He told Madlock to "get back in the box." When Madlock stepped out again, the umpire told Hrabosky to throw the pitch anyway. The Mad Hungarian threw one right down the middle to an empty batter's box, and the ump called it a strike.

Now the Cubs were hopping mad. The next batter (Jose Cardenal) and the manager (Jim Marshall) both came out to argue and were standing in the general area of the batter's box, when Hrabosky pretended to be following the umpire's instructions again. He threw another pitch, but this time he drilled one of the Cubs. That was it.

The benches emptied. Punches were thrown (and like most baseball fights--not landed). Players wrestled each other to the ground.

Today's Featured Baseball Card: Bill Madlock

(1975 Topps Baseball Card)

The stats on the back of this card tell the tale of very good 1974 rookie season: 453 at bats, 142 hits, 21 doubles, 5 triples, 9 homers, 54 RBI and a .313 average.

Nickname of the Day: Mad Dog

Bill Madlock's first nickname was not Mad Dog, that came later. His Cubs teammates noticed his big keester, and nicknamed him "Buns".

But Mad Dog suited him better because of his competitive nature, and it stuck. He was fined by the league in 1975 for arguing about a third strike. In 1976 he charged the mound against the Giants and started a brawl. The same year he got mad at his own pitchers for not protecting him from brushback pitches. He was the anti-Ernie, the kind of player that owner P.K. Wrigley just didn't like. There was no way he was going to pay him a big raise after his second batting title, and that's the main reason he was shipped out after the 1976 season.

Cup of Coffee

Future Cub Ray Jacobs was born on this day in 1902. He played exactly two games in the big leagues and both of them were with the Cubs in 1928.

In his first game, at Wrigley Field on April 20th, he pinch hit late in the game for Cubs first baseman Joe Kelly. He struck out.

His second and last at bat came a few weeks later at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Once again he came in as a pinch hitter, this time for Cubs pitcher Percy Jones--who had been getting rocked. Jacobs made another out, and never got another chance. Despite only playing in two games (both Cubs losses), he played alongside and against several Hall of Famers. His Cubs teammates at the time included Kiki Cuyler and Hack Wilson. The Pirates team he played against sported three Hall of Famers in their lineup that day, brothers Paul and Lloyd Waner, and Pie Traynor.

Jacobs died in 1952.

Other Cubs Birthdays

~Nick Dumovich 1902 (Cubs 1923)
He was just a 21-year old kid when he got his chance, but in his only season in the bigs, the young pitcher was hit hard and didn't have good control.

~Dave Sappelt 1987 (Cubs 2012-2013)
He was obtained in the Sean Marshall trade but never really caught on as a fourth outfielder candidate for the Cubs.

A/V Club
The strange 1974 fight between the Cardinals and the Cubs is now on video via YouTube. It's even stranger than I described it...(Ignore the pro-Cardinals Ted Simmons slant after the fight)