Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sunday Cubs Fact: Names

In the 133 year history of the Chicago Cubs, the most popular last name is "Smith." There have been a total of 16 players with that last name to play for the team. In the Topps era, there were cards for 7 of the players. They are:

Charley Smith, who pitched for the Cubs in two games in 1969. These were the final two games of his career, which began in 1960 with the Dodgers.

Dave Smith was an All Star reliever with the Astros. He finished his career with the Cubs and was not an All Star. in 1991, he saved 17 games for the Cubs, but had an 0-6 record. He made 11 appearances in 1992 and then his career was over.

Dwight Smith had a great season as a rookie for the Cubs in 1989, hitting .324 and helping lead the Cubs to the NL East crown. He tanked in the playoffs, though, hitting only .200. He fancied himself a singer and sang the National Anthem at Wrigley several times, as shown on this card from Pinnacle, 1992

Greg Smith played very briefly for the Cubs in 1989 and 1990. He got in 22 games as a middle infielder, but his career never took off. Traded to the Dodgers prior to the 1991 season, he played in five more games and then was done.

Jason Smith played in two games for the Cubs in 2001 and was then traded to the Devil Rays in the Fred McGriff deal. He has since bounced around the majors, landing with the Rays,Tigers, Rockies, Blue Jays, Diamondbacks, and Royals.

Lee Smith had the best career of all of the Cubs Smiths. He broke in with the Cubs in 1980. In 1982 the Cubs tried to make a starter out of Lee, but after five starts that plan was abandoned and he went back to the bullpen. Every appearance the rest of his career was from the pen. He lead the National League in saves in 1983 and finished second in 1984, 1985, and 1987. Yet his overall record for the Cubs as 40-52 and the team lost confidence in him after he finished the 1987 season with a 4-10 record. He was traded to the Red Sox for Al Nipper and Calvin Schiraldi. That was a trade that did not work out too well for the Cubs!

Willie Smith spent two and a half season as the Cubs number one pinch hitter and extra outfielder. The highlight of his Cubs career was a pinch hit home run on opening day, 1969. This extra inning, come from behind win got the season off to an exciting start and had Cub fans believing that this would be the year. Of course (and as usual), it wasn't.

Cubs Smiths with no cards are:
Alex Smith, 1904,
Bobby Smith, 1962
Charles Smith 1911-1914
Earl Smith, 1916
Harry Smith, 1877
Lewis Smith, 1906
Paul Smith, 1958
Robert Smith, 1931-1932
Robert Smith, 1959

1 comment:

  1. Willie and Charley Smith both made appearences for the Cubs in 1969; both have a 1969 Topps card as well. Any other Smiths play together ?