Sunday, January 16, 2011

One and Done: 1970 Hank Aguirre

At the end of September, I put together a list of players who had only one appearance on a Topps base card as a Cub. I had one post, but I guess that this feature would also be one and done.

But, no.

The truth is, I got busy with other things and kind of forgot about it. But I stumbled on the list last week and thought, why not do another few of these.

Today's featured player is Hank Aguirre. You may not know this guy, but you may recognize the last name as that of former DePaul and NBA star Mark Aguirre. The strange thing is that they pronounce their last name differently. The basketball player is "A-GWIRE" while the baseball player is "A-GARY" (This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when George commented the different pronunciations of Falcons QB Bobby Hebert and NY Daily News columnist Bob Herbert).

I barely remember Hank Aguirre. He wasn't a big star, but I do remember hearing his name. He came to the Cubs during spring training of the ill-fated year of 1969 as a free agent. He was 38 years old and had been released by the Dodgers after the '68 season. He was looking for one final shot at the bigs and the Cubs gave it to him.

He was used strictly as a reliever and made 41 appearances for the Cubs. Most of the time he came into the game in the middle innings, so he had only one decision, a win, and one save. His ERA was a very decent 2.60. All of this was good enough for Topps to feature him in the 1970 set, his one and only Cubs card.

But in 1970, he couldn't recapture his effectiveness, and his ERA ballooned to 4.50. Oddly, he was 3-0. I guess when he was good, he was good enough to win, but when he was bad, he was very bad. The Cubs released the 39-year-old on July 6, 1970, and with that, Hank Aguirre's baseball career was finished.

And finally, good luck to the Cubs' former tenants....let's hope that they are not one and done today......


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