Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Cubs Franchise Deep Six

Time for another one! Today we have the lovable North Siders who can't seem to win a World Series, the Cubs!

1stFergie JenkinsGabby HartnettCap AnsonRyne SandbergRon SantoErnie BanksBilly WilliamsHack WilsonSammy Sosa
2ndClark GriffithJohnny KlingFrank ChanceBilly HermanStan HackBill DahlenRiggs StephensonGeorge GoreKing Kelly
3rdMordecai BrownJody DavisMark GraceJohnny EversNed WilliamsonJoe TinkerAbner DalrympleBill LangeBill Nicholson
4thPete AlexanderRandy HundleyDerrek LeeRogers HornsbyHeinie ZimmermanCharlie HollocherJimmy SheckardAndy PafkoKiki Cuyler
5thHippo VaughnRick WilkinsVic SaierFred PfefferHarry SteinfeldtBilly JurgesHank SauerJimmy RyanAndre Dawson
6thJohn ClarksonBob O'FarrellPhil CavarrettaGlenn BeckertAramis RamirezTom BurnsAugie GalanAdolfo PhillipsFrank Schulte

These things are always tough to make. Ideally, I'm trying to rank these players based on how much they epitomize the position for the franchise. That's why I try to weigh both longevity and peak value. Sometimes though, you end up with forgotten players outranking fan favorites. Phil Cavarretta, for instance, was something of a Cub legend, while most fans today probably don't know anything about Vic Saier. Based on the numbers though, I had to give Saier the edge, because Cavarretta didn't spend enough time specifically as a first baseman, and his greatest season came during wartime, when the talent pool was weaker. Anthony Rizzo is actually surprisingly close behind Cavarretta already. It'll be a shame to see such a beloved Cub end up in the Conigliaro Zone.

Right field was another weird one. Kelly, Nicholson and Cuyler all have noise in the data that makes them hard to evaluate. Either they spent a lot of time at other positions in addition to right field, or World War II distorted their value. I ultimately went with Kelly on the 2nd Team because he was the greatest player of the bunch, but honestly, you could probably put those three in any order and have a valid defense for it.

I hated putting Rogers Hornsby on the 4th Team, since he played only 250 games at second base for the Cubs. However, he did spend three seasons in Chicago with that as his primary position, abbreviated though some of them might have been, and was a monster. Pfeffer and Beckert were good players who spent a lot more time with the Cubs, but they never approached Hornsby's peak value. It didn't feel right to put such a dominant player on the 6th Team behind those two.

It's interesting that the most recent player from the center field column is Adolfo Phillips on the 6th Team. The Cubs have had several fine center fielders, but they all played at least half a century ago. It's about time they found another star at that position, wouldn't you say?

Tinker, Evers and Chance almost all ended up on the same team, but I decided Chance was just a bit better than Mark Grace. Tinker to Evers to Grace is hardly anything to be disappointed with, though.

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