Thursday, January 23, 2014

JOBC Cubs Almanac--January 23

Today's Featured Cub Announcer: Jack Quinlan

On this day in 1927, Cubs radio announcer Jack Quinlan was born. He was the radio play by play man for the Cubs for nearly a decade, starting in the mid-1950s. When he first began there were several stations covering the Cubs, and he handled the honors for WIND-AM. Beginning in 1957, he moved over to what became the exclusive flagship station of the Cubs, WGN. Jack was at the microphone during both of Ernie Banks' MVP seasons, and was the first Cubs radio announcer to mention the names of future Hall of Famers Billy Williams, Lou Brock, and Ron Santo.

Jack Quinlan was a master of painting a picture with his words, and when he died in a car crash after a golf outing during Spring Training 1965, the Cubs lost one of the best. Since 1967 a charity golf tournament in his name is staged every year to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chicago.

Today's Featured Baseball Card: Joey Amalfitano

(Topps 1965 Baseball Card)

Joe Almafitano was born on this day in 1934. He not only played for the Cubs in the mid-60s (64-67), he also managed them twice (1979-1981) as an interim manager after Herman Franks resigned and Preston Gomez was fired. He didn't have a lot of success as a player or a manager, but has been continually employed in baseball his entire adult life. He's currently a special assistant for player development for the San Francisco Giants.

The stats on the back of this card are from the 1964 season, his best with the Cubs: 324 at bats, 78 hits, 19 doubles, 6 triples, 4 homers, 27 RBI, and a .241 batting average.

From the Pages of History

John Hancock was born on this day in 1737. He later became a founder of our nation, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and inspired an insurance company to name themselves after him. That insurance company later built a famous skyscraper in Chicago, the John Hancock Center, which opened in 1969. There was exactly one resident living in the building, Ray Heckla--the building engineer, when Willie Smith hit the dramatic opening day homer at Wrigley Field.

Nickname of the Day: Shark

Jeff Samardzija is celebrating a birthday today (born 1/23/85). During his college days as a football and baseball star at Notre Dame, his teammates called him "Shark". He has been a member of the Cubs since 2008.

Cup of Coffee

Dick Burwell was born on this day in 1940. He got two very short cups of coffee with the Cubs in September of 1960 and 1961. In those two Septembers he pitched in a total of five games, and was hit pretty hard. He walked eleven batters in just over 13 innings of work and gave up two homers. Both of those homers were given up in his first (and only) big league start against the Cincinnati Reds at Crosley Field. Although he didn't get a lot of time in the big leagues, he did manage to pitch against some Hall of Famers including Frank Robinson in his 1960 debut, and Willie Mays & Orlando Cepeda in his 1961 finale. He was only 21 years old but never made it back to the big leagues. After four more years in the minors, he hung it up at the age of 25.

Other Cubs Birthdays

~Bill Bowman 1867 (Colts 1891)
He was a 24-year-old catcher in his one big league season (1891). Though he was considered good defensively, he hit only .089 in more than 50 at bats.

~Don Nottebart 1936 (Cubs 1969)
He pitched for five teams and even had a no-hitter in 1963 for the Colt 45s, but Nottebart only got into 16 games with the Cubs in 1969. He tore a muscle in his arm, and his career was over. The last hitter he faced in his big league career was Roberto Clemente.

A/V Club
Cubs fans know Jeff Samardzija as a pitcher, but some youngsters may not remember his days as a great wideout for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish...