Thursday, January 9, 2014

JOBC Cubs Almanac--January 9

Today's Featured Cub: Ivan de Jesus

On this day in 1953 Ivan de Jesus was born in Puerto Rico. The Cubs made a rare good trade after the 1976 season when they sent Rick Monday to the Dodgers for Bill Buckner and a little known prospect named Ivan de Jesus. Ivan had a few very good years with the Cubs, especially in the field. In his first season in Chicago he made 595 assists, which is still the fifth best season in baseball history for a shortstop. He could hit a little least in his first few seasons. He even scored more than a hundred runs during the 1978 season, which led the league that year.

But his 1981 season is among the worst in history. He hit only .194 in over 400 at bats, and drove in only 13 runs. The Cubs traded him after the year. It was probably their best trade in history, because in return for their .194 hitting shortstop the Cubs got a future Hall of Famer (Ryne Sandberg) and a gritty veteran starting shortstop (Larry Bowa) to keep the position warm until their star minor leaguer Shawon Dunston was ready to play in the big leagues.

Today's Featured Baseball Card: Ivan de Jesus

(Topps 1978 Baseball Card)

According to Baseball Reference his last name is actually written de Jesus, but you can forgive Topps for not getting that exactly correct. The way they wrote it is the way it always appeared in Chicago's newspapers.

The stats on the back of this card are from the 1977 season, and read as follows: 624 at bats, 91 runs, 166 hits, 31 doubles, 7 triples, 3 homers, 40 RBI, and a .266 batting average.

Nickname of the Day: Tarzan

On this day in 1952, future Cub "Tarzan" was born. Joe Wallis earned the nickname "Tarzan" because he was fond of cliff diving. He played parts of four seasons (75-79) with the Cubs, playing all three outfield positions, but predominantly a very shallow centerfield.

Tarzan didn't hit much for average (lifetime .244), or power (16 career homers), and he didn't have a lot of speed (7 stolen bases in 5 big league seasons), but he did have one thing that many of his teammates desired for themselves...a great nickname.

A/V Club
The highlights from this wind-blown 1977 game features Ivan de Jesus' teammates Bill Buckner, Bobby Murcer, George Mitterwald, Manny Trillo, Ray Burris, Donnie Moore, Steve Ontiveros, Paul & Rick Reuschel, Larry Biitner, Willie Hernandez, Jerry Morales, Bruce Sutter, and Dave Rosello. de Jesus went 1 for 5 with 2 runs scored in the game...