One of Those Lists: Chicago Cubs Players Edition (My Top 10 Favorites)
10. Jose Hernandez: He was an early to mid '90s Cub who used to play all over the infield, and who had a bit of power. He struck out a bunch, but made up for it will a decent amount of pop for a guy who bounced around the field. I always liked guys who were versatile like that, and Jose was one of the earlier ones that I remember. He spent 5 and a half years on the Cubs, and eventually had to be sat for the remainder of the season one year so that he didn't break the record for strikeouts in a single season.
09. Steve Trachsel: Next on the list is the first pitcher, who only ever had two good seasons for the Cubs. The rest of the time he was incredibly mediocre, but for some reason he was always one of my favorites as a young fan. He started his career in 1993 and spent 7 years with the Cubs before moving on. Then he somehow found his way back to Chicago on that really good 2007 team, only to be awful and cut. It was still cool to see him back in a Cubs uniform, though brief.
08. Randy Myers: He only spent 3 years on the Cubs in the early '90s, but he was the first guy that I really remember being a dominating Closer. And he's the only Closer who made my list. He also once beat up a guy who charged onto the field. So that was enough for him to make my list.
07. Ryne Sandberg: He would likely be much higher on a lot of people's list, as he was a Hall of Famer and had some huge years for the Cubs. But his career was winding down as I was becoming old enough to really gain an interest in baseball. In fact, his final two seasons after he sat out 1995 were pretty forgettable, but he was treated as the legend that he was and had an aura about him that I'll always remember.
06. Mark DeRosa: This next pick wasn't on the Cubs very long, but he was a huge part of two really good Cubs teams in the mid-2000s. The 2008 team seemed like they could come back from down any lead and win, and he was right in the middle of it. He also had the ability to play all over the field, and hit for some power. I was bummed to see him go after such a short time, but he made my list for helping during those two seasons.
05. Anthony Rizzo: Though it seems like he's been around forever already, he's still young and has a long future ahead of him. He's one of the best players in baseball, and the clear leader of a young team. Only one player has been in Chicago longer (Travis Wood at 5 years) and he'll be there a long time. His Home Run swing is a thing of beauty and he does everything on the diamond well.
04. Jake Arrieta: He hasn't been on the Cubs long, but his Cy Young winning season last year might just be the most dominate you'll ever see from a Pitcher. The guy was basically unhittable the second half of the year, and scorched the Pirates in the Wild Card game. He was really good his first full season as a Cub, god-like in his second, and his “down” year this year was better than most teams Ace. I've never seen a guy looked as focused as he does while pitching (besides maybe Andy Pettitte, who I unfortunately had to see a lot in big games growing up) and I'd like to see Chicago sign him to a deal so that he finishes out his best years playing with the Cubs.
03. Glenallen Hill: On a windy Chicago summer, a man named Glenallen hit a ball onto the roof of the building across the street, an estimated 500 feet. When asked about how far it would have went had it not hit the building during a post game interview, Glenallen responded “600 feet.” All the reporters laugned, as the longest confirmed HR was 540 feet by Jose Canseco. Stone-faced, Glenallen's response to their laughter was simply: “No, seriously.” That's by far my favorite baseball story, and he spent two different stints with the Cubs. He never did much other than hit a whole bunch of Home Runs, but sometimes that's all that a guy needed to be entertaining. I may have been the only person wearing a Glenallen Hill jersey in 2016 not named Glenallen Hill.
02. Mark Grace: Playing ball, as a kid, I eventually found myself playing First Base rather often. Not because I wasn't athletic enough to play around the field (which I often did) but usually because I was the only kid not afraid of people throwing at me. I took pride in my defense, and looked up to Mark Grace for being so good at it. He also happened to be a really smooth hitter, who was a rock in the middle of the Cubs order for a long time. I had a Mark Grace poster on my wall growing up, and he'll always be one of my favorites.
01. Sammy Sosa: I was a fan of Sammy Sosa before he was known to the rest of the nation. He was a guy who was both fast and powerful before he spent the summer trading HR's with Mark McGwire in 1998. He also had a cannon for an arm, and played the game with passion. He had the “Sosa hop” and would run full speed out to RF before every game to jazz up the fans in the bleachers. After that magical run, he continued to hit and hit and hit. He put up some incredible seasons, and those memories won't be tainted by anything that happened afterwards. He's one of the greatest sluggers in Cubs history, and he will always be my favorite player.
Honorable Mentions: Mark Grudzielanek, Brant Brown, Will Ohman, Henry Rodriguez, Luis Gonzalez, Mark Prior, Micah Hoffpauir, Sam Fuld, David DeJesus, Mickey Morandini, Scott Servais, Bob Patterson, and probably a dozen or more I can't think of right now.
Dishonorable Mention: Milton Bradley, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Marmol, Matt Murton.