Thursday, March 19, 2009
#31 Will Be Retired
Yesterday the Cubs announced that they will retire #31 at a ceremony on May 3. Finally!
It might have been done years ago, but the Cubs were in an unusual position. You see, #31 was worn by Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins. Fergie was elected in the Hall in 1991 and usually when a player makes it, their number is retired soon after that. But the Cubs had a bit of a problem because in 1991 #31 was being worn by Greg Maddux. Even though Maddux soon moved on to the Braves, the Cubs held off retiring the number. Maybe they were holding on to the thought that Maddux might return to the team, which he did in 2004. By then, Maddux too was a shoo in Hall of Famer. I think most Cubs fans knew it would just be a matter of time before #31 would be retired and it would be done as an honor to both players. And now that Maddux has retired, the time is right.
Oddly, both Jenkins and Maddux had two stints with the Cubs. They both had their initial stardom with the team, left for several years, and then returned in the twilight of their career for one last fling in Chicago.
Here are four cards of each player, their first and last cards from each of their tenures with the Cubs.
Topps Traded 1982
Topps Traded 1987