Shawon Dunston didn’t strike out THAT much

1988 Donruss Shawon Dunston
We all remember Shawon Dunston as striking out a lot, but he was only in the top ten once, in 1986. In fact, Ron Santo had more seasons with 100+ strikeouts than Shawon Dunston. Sandberg has the same number of 100+ strikeout seasons as Dunston with two.

Cubs with 100+ strikeouts in a season
Name                 Yrs
Sammy Sosa            11
Alfonso Soriano        6
Derrek Lee             6
Ron Santo              4
Anthony Rizzo          3
Starlin Castro         3
Corey Patterson        3
Rick Monday            3
Geovany Soto           2
Kosuke Fukudome        2
Alex Gonzalez          2
Henry Rodriguez        2
Jose Hernandez         2
Shawon Dunston         2
Ryne Sandberg          2
Ron Cey                2
Dave Kingman           2
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Cubs Scorecard June 3, 2016

Scorecard from Chicago Cubs June 3, 2016 game at Wrigley Field

Another action-packed scorecard from a Cubs game. Simple and clean scorecards are nice, but I much prefer a scorecard that has lots of observations, factoids, and drawings mixed into the square boxes.
I always look forward to keeping a scorecard at Wrigley to create a unique perspective from the game. This year is extra exciting, because the Cubs have the best record in baseball!

Cubs leaders
In fact, many of their players rank in the top ten for league stats. Along the players names, I wrote down as much as I could find about these leaders.

  • 1st best team OBP : Cubs
  • 2nd best OBP: Dexter Fowler
  • 6th most SB: Jason Heyward
  • 1st best OBP: Kris Bryant
  • 7th most runs: Kris Bryant
  • 7th most HR: Kris Bryant
  • 8th most RBI: Kris Bryant
  • 2nd most HBP: Anthony Rizzo
  • 6th best AVG: Ben Zobrist
  • 9th best OPS: Ben Zobrist
  • 8th most IBB: Miguel Montero
  • 1st best team ERA: Cubs
  • 7th best WHIP: John Lackey
  • 4th most Holds: Pedro Strop

Getting photographed in the Chicago Tribune
My dad wearing his pin-covered Chicago Cubs hat
Chicago Cubs fan Mati Maldre adjusts his cap before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field Friday, June 3, 2016, in Chicago. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)The main illustration in this card is buried beneath the Diamondbacks boxes. Once the National Anthem ended, my dad was putting his pin-covered hat back on his head. A Chicago Tribune photographer a couple rows behind us captured this moment. The image is published on the Chicago Tribune website. Pretty cool to have my dad’s hat immortalized. So I drew the photo in my scorecard. The only real empty space left was in the Diamondbacks section, because frankly, they had no action in the game, leaving their boxes mostly empty. Read the full story about the Chicago Tribune got both my dad’s first name and last name wrong when publishing the photo.

Dress warm at Wrigley
Even though it was sunny and 72 degrees, we were sitting in the shade on the third base side (Aisle 211, Row 4, Seat 103). With the win blowing in off the lake, it felt 20 degrees cooler. When going to Wrigley, always dress 20 degrees cooler than the actual temperature.

The Diamondbacks really stink
Javier Baez scores on throwing error over dugout!
In the 8th inning they had two throwing errors. One of the throws was from second base that landed in the stands above the dugout, causing Javier Baez to score on his double. The Diamondbacks also intentionally walked XXXX-hitting Miguel Montero to get to Javier Baez. What team in their right mind does that?! I was like, PLEASE WALK MONTERO. Of course, Montero scored when Baez hit his double. The Cubs batted around the order in the 8th inning. This might have been the first time I scored a game with a 10+ batter inning.

 

My wife and a ripped Mark Grace card

August 2, 2013: My wife and a ripped Mark Grace card

Mark Grace is a jerk
Old “Mr. Cub” of the 90s Mark Grace. He left the Cubs, badmouthing the organization and the fans, joining the Diamondbacks as a player. He continued to speak poorly of the Cubs through the years, even as a broadcaster for Fox. Grace is now the Assistant Hitting Coach for the Diamondbacks wearing his old number, 17. Seeing the new heart-throb of the Cubs, Kris Bryant wear his old number must really get to Mark Grace. He surely must have thought his number would be retired when he was playing for the Cubs. He was the second coming of “Mr. Cub,” after all! But leaving on bad terms has caused the Cubs to never retire his number. Now the great Kris Bryant wears it.

With Bryant up to bat, Mark Grace was on the steps of the Diamondbacks dugout. How do I know? From our vantage point we could see into the visiting team’s dugout. When Kris Bryant struck out there, was ONE player in the Diamondbacks dugout clapping. That guy was the coach wearing #17. He walked away with his back to Bryant as he was clapping. Almost like all Grace cared about was seeing Bryant strike out.

I collected Mark Grace’s cards when I was in high school. A couple years ago when my future wife and I went to our first Cubs game, the giveaway was a set of Cubs cards featuring players from past and present. I had her take out the Grace card and rip it in half.

 

Anthony Rizzo shoves catcher Welington Castillo
Welington Castillo hitting Rizzo on helmet with throw back to pi
Anthony Rizzo playfully shoves catcher Welington Castillo
One of the things I didn’t see during the game was Welington Castillo hitting Rizzo on helmet with throw back to pitcher in first inning. Rizzo playfully shoved his former teammate, and then they had a good laugh. (MLB video)

 

Cubs win 6-0 on National Donut Day
Cubs win 6-0 on National Donut Day

Cubs have the best record in baseball 39-15
Cubs have the best record in baseball: 39-15

NL All-Star Voting has all-Cub infield: Rizzo (1B), Zobrist (2B), Russell (SS), Bryant (3B)
NL All-Star Voting has all-Cub infield: Rizzo (1B), Zobrist (2B), Russell (SS), Bryant (3B)

First time with my Nikon D610 at Wrigley Field
First time with my Nikon D610 at Wrigley Field

First Cubs game wearing my Death Star hat at Wrigley Field!
First Cubs game wearing my Death Star hat at Wrigley Field!

A few other highlights from the game:

  • Diamondbacks 24-33. 4th place, 11 games back
  • 2nd best start in Cubs history
  • Won 9 of last 10
  • 3 hours 0 minutes
  • 38,813 attendance
  • The all-gray Diamondback uniforms makes them look like mechanics.
  • Beat the Streak picks:
    • Fowler: went 0-4 (my streak ends at two)
    • La Stella: 2-4
  • Fowler almost the only starting Cub to not reach base.
  • Cubs starting pitching has 2.33 ERA. In last eight games: 0.98 ERA.
  • Javier Baez scores a hat trick with three strikeouts
  • Anthony Rizzo has game-winning RBI double in 6th inning.
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My dad’s Cubs hat featured in the Chicago Tribune

It’s always cool when a newspaper photographer takes your picture and then the photo makes it into the newspaper. A Chicago Tribune photographer stood a few rows behind us at Wrigley Field snapping away photos of the pre-game for the Cubs versus Diamondbacks. His mega-telephoto lens was amazing. In person they look cartoonish, like a bunch of cardboard tubes stacked inside each other.

After the National Anthem is sung, the photographer introduces himself to my dad. He explains that he got a really cool shot of my dad’s hat. He asked for my dad’s name for permission if the Chicago Tribune decided to use the photo.

I was tempted to tell the photographer that I also work for the Tribune, but I didn’t want to jeopardize any chances of Tribune using the photo. Although, what are the chances of the Tribune using this photo? We didn’t think much of it at the time. Surely this guy takes lots of photos of the fans. Our seats were nice, but not super-close. The mere fact that he photographing back in the second section of the stadium was curious. The angle must have been nice for the photographer.

After every game, I do a recap on my scorecard, enhancing it with details of the game. The Chicago Tribune and MLB websites are great sources for images to recreate scenes from the game.

Chicago Cubs photos from June 3, 2016

As I’m flipping through the Chicago Tribune photos for the June 3rd game, I wondered if the Tribune included the photo of my dad. The images in their gallery are in reverse chronological order—which makes for a bit of an odd experience to relive the game in backwards time. First you see all the congratulations photos, then various plays.

Clicking through a Chicago Tribune gallery takes some time, especially when there are a good amount of photos, in these case 20 photos. When I got to photo #19, there was my dad with his floppy hat covered in pins!

Chicago Cubs fan Mati Maldre adjusts his cap before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field Friday, June 3, 2016, in Chicago. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)

The photo is really nice, it shows my dad putting his hat back on after the National Anthem. His hands are readjusting the hat, while they are still clenching onto his scorecard and scoring pencil. The hat is covered in pins with the Ron Santo pin reflecting the light to gain the spotlight.

Seeing this photo in the Chicago Tribune gallery after 100% player photos is rather surreal. It’s like my dad’s hat is one of the players on the team!

At every ballgame he attends, it’s a tradition for him to get a new pin for his hat. With each pin there is a story behind the day that he got the pin. Certainly with some pins, he won’t recall when he got it. For future Cubs games, I’ll bring a sharpie with me, so we can mark the date of when he acquired that particular pin. One of these days I’m going to take a photo of each side of my dad’s hat; and highlight every pin on the hat.

The next pin on his list to acquire is the 2015 Cubs Wild Card winner. Last Friday he asked around to several vendors for this pin, and none carried it. Maybe this will make a nice Father’s day present. 😃

Since this photo appeared on the Chicago Tribune’s website, I figured there might be a slim chance that the photo made it into the print edition of the newspaper. Alas, it didn’t. Especially since the paper covering the game was the Saturday edition—a very, very slim paper.

Chicago Tribune caption error for June 3, 2016 Chicago Cubs game

Now, I’m just trying to get the Chicago Tribune to fix the misspelling of his name. The caption reads, “Chicago Cubs fan Matt Madre adjusts his cap before a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field Friday, June 3, 2016, in Chicago. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)”. It’s pretty normal for people to spell his first name wrong. Mati, being an Estonian first name, is not very common in America. But they also got our last name wrong!

Maldre, again is an Estonian name. People often ask me if I’m Spanish, because my last name sounds like madre, which means “mother” in Spanish. To see one name typo is understandable, but to have BOTH his names incorrect is rather remarkable. I reported the error to the Chicago Tribune. We’ll see if they fix it.

For now, it’s cool to see my dad’s floppy hat immortalized in the Chicago Tribune’s photo archives. And in the future, the pins on the hat will only grow in multitude with stories to tell for each pin.

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Shane Victorino is in my Hall of Fame

Shane Victorino Cubs Twitter

Shane Victorino signed minor league deal with the Cubs. A great signing, even though the Cubs are full of outfielders already. He’s the type of player that I really enjoy.

  1. He doesn’t strike out much
  2. Can steal bases
  3. Is good defensively

Those three pieces of criteria is what I use to determine who is in MY Hall of Fame. You have to be good with a baseball bat (and that doesn’t mean pure power, it means being able to put the bat on the ball consistently), be a good runner on the basepaths, and be good in the field. All three basic elements of being a baseball player.

To make it into my Hall of Fame, you have to be in the top 10 at least once for AB/SO, SB, and Def Zone Runs. Shane Victorino has done accomplished all three categories:

Twice for AB/SO

  • 2009 NL 8.7 (7th)
  • 2011 NL 8.2 (10th)

Five times for SB

  • 2007 NL 37 (6th)
  • 2008 NL 36 (6th)
  • 2009 NL 25 (9th)
  • 2010 NL 34 (3rd)
  • 2012 NL 39 (4th)

Once for Zone Runs

  • 2013 AL 18 (4th)

He’s been in the top 10 for those three categories a total of 8 times. That places him as #15 in my Hall of Fame. Just above Al Kaline and Hank Aaron.

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T206 baseball cards taped onto bedroom wall

Young man in dormitory room

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, LC-DIG-npcc-30803 via baseballresearcher.blogspot.com

Imagine rare 1911 tobacco cards taped up on a bedroom wall. Crazy, right? We expect T205 and T206 baseball cards from 1909 and 1911 to be encased inside plexiglass cases.

In this 1911 photo from the Library of Congress, there are over 50 cards hanging on this bedroom wall. Look around the guy’s head, you’ll see a rectangle grid. Those are 1909 and 1911 baseball cards.

Tom Shieber of baseballresearcher.blogspot.com outlines every single one of these cards and identifies the exact card. Really, you should click over and see his analysis. He does a cool animated gif that shows the original photo and the actual baseball card photoshopped on top.

Quite amazing to spend the time matching up the cards to ones in the background of this photo.

Also very amazing to see how some of the first baseball cards ever produced were used and displayed. Pinned or taped up on a wall. We all become so amazed to see these cards clustered together on a wall, when today they are sealed in plexiglass cases. In this photo, the cards are allowed to live. To breath.

A couple years ago, I bought a T206 card off eBay. I took the card out of its plastic sleeve; and kept it stored loose in a box of gum. The texture of the card is amazing. One of these days, I’ll find a photo of this card in my old kitchen, and post it here.

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Starlin Castro’s ranking among the all-time Chicago Cubs greats

With Starlin Castro traded to the Yankees, where does he stand among the all-time Chicago Cubs greats? Starlin played six seasons for the Cubs. His 3,524 at bats places him 28th among all Cubs. Therefore, we can use that 28th ranking as a benchmark for his other stats. Anything above 28 would be above what is expected. Anything below 28 would be worse.

Infographic showing Castro's stats for all-time Cubs

Rank:

  • 11th: Ground into double plays
  • 15th: Strikeouts
  • 19th: Caught stealing
  • 22nd: Sacrifice flies
  • 22nd: Hit by pitch
  • 26th: Doubles

28th: At bats

  • 29th: Hits
  • 29th: Singles
  • 32nd: Stolen bases
  • 38th: Games
  • 39th: Homeruns
  • 41st: Triples
  • 42nd: RBI
  • 48th: Runs
  • 71st: Walks
  • 394th: Sacrifice hits

While I’m sad to see the era of Starlin Castro end with the Cubs, he didn’t exactly perform all that great. Castro’s three highest rankings are for ground into double plays, strikeouts, and caught stealing.

He does a smidge better with doubles. His hits and singles are pretty much where they should be for his 28th position in at bats. Then the other offensive stats rather fall down after that.

End result? Castro should be a top-30 Cubs based on the number of his at bats; however, we should remember Starlin Castro as a top-40 Cub. That’s actually quite good for his six seasons aged 20 to 25. We wish Starlin the best of luck with the Yankees. I hope he can end up ranking among the all-time Yankee greats (I say that with a tongue in cheek). As Bleed Cubbie Blue points out, “one thing he’ll have to change with the Yankees is his uniform number. No. 13 is taken — by Alex Rodriguez.”

To be fair with Castro on the SO, GiDP, and Caught Stealing; most modern-day players rank high in those areas. Comparatively you have old-timers that never struck out. Guys with names you never heard of like, like Eddie Zeb Terry and Doc Casey. They stack the Cubs ranking for least strikeouts.

Take a player’s at bat ranking subtract it from their strikeout ranking. Castro’s at bat ranking is 28. His strikeout ranking is 15. That gives him a -13.

Beloved Cubs AB/SO ranking worse than Castro are:

  • Geovany Soto -51
  • Kosuke Fukudome -42
  • Rick Monday -37
  • Ron Cey -36
  • Jody Davis -22
  • Derrek Lee -21
  • Joe Girardi -19
  • Randy Hundley -19

No surprises:

  • Jose Hernandez -59
  • Corey Patterson -44
  • Anthony Rizzo -36
  • Alfonso Soriano -26

But check out how some of the Cubs classics did:

  • Stan Hack 19
  • Mark Grace 12
  • Ernie Banks 3
  • Billy Williams 3
  • Ryne Sandberg 0
  • Gabby Hartnett 0
  • Ron Santo -2
  • Sammy Sosa -6

These are the guys you want to rank up against. And check out Sosa! Sure he’s #1 all-time in strikeouts with the Cubs. But he’s also #7 in at bats. And then some of the Cubs had totally amazing AB/SO ranking ratio:

  • Bill Madlock 136
  • Bill Buckner 122
  • Larry Bowa 118
  • Glenn Beckert 62
  • Bob Dernier 44

For those curious, here are the top 50 Cubs with the most at-bats:

  1. Ernie Banks (1953-1971) 9421 at bats
  2. Billy Williams (1959-1974) 8479
  3. Ryne Sandberg (1982-1997) 8379
  4. Ron Santo (1960-1973) 7768
  5. Stan Hack (1932-1947) 7278
  6. Mark Grace (1988-2000) 7156
  7. Sammy Sosa (1992-2004) 6990
  8. Phil Cavarretta (1934-1953) 6592
  9. Don Kessinger (1964-1975) 6355
  10. Gabby Hartnett (1922-1940) 6282
  11. Frank Schulte (1904-1916) 5837
  12. Joe Tinker (1902-1916) 5554
  13. Billy Herman (1931-1941) 5532
  14. Glenn Beckert (1965-1973) 5020
  15. Charlie Grimm (1925-1936) 4917
  16. Johnny Evers (1902-1913) 4858
  17. Bill Nicholson (1939-1948) 4857
  18. Shawon Dunston (1985-1997) 4570
  19. Woody English (1927-1936) 4296
  20. Aramis Ramirez (2003-2011) 4232
  21. Bill Buckner (1977-1984) 3788
  22. Frank Chance (1901-1912) 3787
  23. Kiki Cuyler (1928-1935) 3687
  24. Heinie Zimmerman (1907-1916) 3661
  25. Billy Jurges (1931-1947) 3658
  26. Andy Pafko (1943-1951) 3567
  27. Jimmy Sheckard (1906-1912) 3530
  28. Starlin Castro (2010-2015) 3524
  29. Derrek Lee (2004-2010) 3514
  30. Johnny Kling (1901-1911) 3493
  31. Riggs Stephenson (1926-1934) 3474
  32. Alfonso Soriano (2007-2013) 3403
  33. Jimmy Slagle (1902-1908) 3394
  34. Jody Davis (1981-1988) 3318
  35. Augie Galan (1934-1941) 3297
  36. Andre Dawson (1987-1992) 3262
  37. Keith Moreland (1982-1987) 3240
  38. Leon Durham (1981-1988) 3215
  39. Hank Sauer (1949-1955) 3165
  40. Randy Hundley (1966-1977) 3158
  41. Hack Wilson (1926-1931) 3154
  42. Dee Fondy (1951-1957) 3055
  43. Solly Hofman (1904-1916) 3046
  44. Max Flack (1916-1922) 3005
  45. Charlie Hollocher (1918-1924) 2936
  46. Jose Cardenal (1972-1977) 2918
  47. Ivan de Jesus (1977-1981) 2900
  48. Vic Saier (1911-1917) 2782
  49. Manny Trillo (1975-1988) 2713 (yes, Manny Trillo is on this list!)
  50. Sparky Adams (1922-1927) 2671

Where would you rank Starlin Castro among the all-time Cubs? Please leave your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter, or in the comments below.

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My scorecard request to the Cubs

My request to the Cubs for scorecards to be sold online

The final question on the Cubs survey (of about 25 questions) is: Please share any other comments or feedback you have for the Chicago Cubs.

Given my moment to let them know my request, I wrote:

I would like purchase authentic Cubs scorecards online from any series. Best if sold through Amazon Prime, so I don’t have to pay for shipping.

The Amazon Prime part might be a stretch. But hey, they are asking me for any feedback. This is my desire.

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