Retiring 31

Friday, March 20, 2009

Retiring 31

. Friday, March 20, 2009

Look at the scoreboard - were that many night games in the early '70s? I'm guessing the artist didn't feel like scoring any imaginary games.

As you've no doubt heard by now, the Cubs are going to be retiring #31 before the May 3rd game against the Marlins. Unlike 10, 14, 23, and 26, the upcoming retirement of 31 is in honor of two players - ace pitchers Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux.
I wish he would get ordained, so he would be the Reverend Doctor Ferguson Jenkins. That would sound even more bad ass.

Fergie is a no-brainer. He may have played for Texas and Boston for much of his career, but he came back for his final two seasons,went into the Hall as a Cub, and has remained closely affiliated with the team throughout his retirement. He managed six (SIX!!!) straight 20-win seasons with the Cubs, and we all know that Wrigley isn't the most pitcher-friendly park. His numbers with the Cubs were insane, and his Cy Young (1971) and all 3 All-Star appearances ('67, '71, '72) were in blue pinstripes. He still shows up at Cubs convention every year to raise money for his foundation and meet the fans. He's a Cub through and through, and it's about damn time they hang up #31 for him.
Maddux, while pitching for the Cubs, supplanted his income by starring in snuff porn

Maddux, on the other hand, is a different story. Do even Cubs fans think of the guy primarily as a Cub? He had a few good seasons with us ('90, '91, '04), and few great seasons ('88, '89, '92) before the absolutely moronic management decision to let him go the fall after he won the NL Cy Young. But what's done can never be undone - he became an absolute beast and a first ballot Hall of Famer in Atlanta, and anyone who thinks he'll we wearing a C into that Hall are deluded. We love Maddux here, and there's absolutely no ill will, but he doesn't really merit to be included in the number retirement discussion. Do we feel like we have to do so because he wore the number prominently after Fergie? Do we feel like we have to because he's unarguably one of the greatest pitchers ever to play the game? Maybe they feel like if they honor him so ostentatiously, they can erase the memory of letting the best, most consistent pitcher of the '90s slip away due managerial greed and incompetence.

My first childhood taste of how GMs like to crush kids' dreams

We really shouldn't be made to feel any way but that which the facts tell us. The bottom line is, while Maddux is a legend, he isn't first and foremost a Cub. And as such, he shouldn't really be hanging in that particular pantheon of Cubs greats. He's already qualified himself for so many richly deserved accolades, he doesn't need one that, at best, could be called marginally reasonable.
2004-2006: Not quite enough

Congratulations to Fergie on this overdue honor. I just with they'd re-think enshrining another team's legend.