Chicago Cubs: All-Time Best Players by Position
Chicago Cubs: All-Time Best Players by Position
World Series Championships have been few and far between for the Chicago Cubs, but over the years, the Cubs have had some of the best players to ever play the game. There have been spurts of great pitching earning CY Young Awards. I have chosen who I believe are the two best pitchers in our history. While many pitchers including Kerry Wood, Mark Prior, and Carlos Zambrano have had good years, none of them were able to compile a career worthy of making this list. I do wonder what a rotation would look like with those three pitchers following the two on the list?
Cubs fans have embraced exciting players like Shawon Dunston, Aramis Ramirez, and Derrek Lee. All of these players were fan favorites, but they didn’t make my list either. There are Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers on this list. There are even a few MVP Award winners. I could make an amazing All-Star team just from the players left off this list. A player had to have an amazing career and also be a symbol of excellence for the fans. Everyone on this list was worshiped by the Wrigley faithful.
While many of the great Cubs players have ended up in the Hall of Fame, the problem for Chicago is that the front office just can quite get enough of these guys on the field at the same time. If the players on this list could have been on the field at the same time, the Cubs would have looked more like the Yankees winning World Series after World Series. Here is my list of the All-Time best Cubs players by position.
Greg Maddux and Fergie Jenkins
Pitchers: The two best pitchers the Cubs have seen take the mound are Hall of Famers Greg Maddux and Fergie Jenkins. Greg Maddux has more wins, Cy Young Awards and 17 Gold Glove Awards, but many of Maddux’s achievements came with the Braves. I would say that Greg Maddux was the better pitcher, but Fergie Jenkins has the more impressive Cubs resume.
Catcher: Joe Girardi played 7 years with the Cubs. While his stats were not overly impressive, he quickly became a fan favorite because of his work ethic and knowledge of the game.
1st Base: Derrek Lee put up some monster numbers with the Cubs, but there is no doubt Mark Grace is the best 1st baseman in Cubs history. Grace was an institution who not only won 4 Gold Glove Awards; he could always be counted on to deliver the big hit. Mark Grace had more doubles in the 90’s than any other player. He also had a fantastic sense of humor. He famously said, “I turned more triples into doubles than anyone else in history.”
2nd Base: If the Cubs could have cloned Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg and played him at all 9 positions, the Cubs would have won World Series after World Series. Ryno played the game with great offensive skills and possibly the best defensive record of any 2nd baseman ever.
Shortstop: Ernie Banks is Mr. Cub. While I would love to bring my favorite shortstop Shawon Dunston into this conversation, the only real option is Banks. He was a two-time MVP and 14-time All-Star. Ernie was a good defender while showing that shortstops could hit for power and lead the team in homeruns.
3rd Base: Ron Santo is easily the best 3rd baseman in Cubs history. He embodied the work ethic of the blue-collar Chicago worker. The fans worshiped him because he loved the game of baseball and embraced the city of Chicago. Not only was he a great player, but also he brought an unmatched love of the Cubs to his broadcast work. He is truly a Cubs icon.
Outfield: As I pick our three best outfielders, I want to point out that Sammy Sosa is not eligible for this list because he is a cheater who disgraced himself and his team! Hack Wilson, Billy Williams, and Andre Dawson are my choices. Hack Wilson was a power-hitting, run-producing machine from 1926-1931. Billy Williams was a constant force at his position. He could always be counted on for clutch hits and for a decade he remained in the top ten in the league for home runs, hits, and slugging. My personal favorite Cubs player is Hall of Famer Andre Dawson. The Hawk ruled right field at Wrigley from 1987 till 1992. With 8 Gold Gloves, 8 All-Star appearances, 4 Silver Slugger Awards, and the 1987 MVP, Dawson is the best baseball player ever to wear a Cubs jersey.
Manager: To find a manager who had any success with the Cubs you need to go way back in history, since the Cubs haven’t won anything substantial since 1945, 1907, and 1908. I chose Don Zimmer as my top manager, because he was respected by his players and loved by the fans. He managed the Cubs from 1988-1991. He is one of the few managers in Cubs history to be over .500. Not since Frank Chance, who managed the Cubs from 1905-1912, have the Cubs had a manager that won on a consistent basis.