Wednesday, July 1, 2009

1969 One Cub At A Time - #147 Leo Durocher

#147 - Leo Durocher
Here is the man that many feel is responsible for the collapse of the 1969 Cubs, who went from an eight game lead on August 19 to finishing the season in second place, eight games out of first. Leo gets the blame for running the same starting lineup out there every day, and the theory is that the day games at Wrigley wore the team out. Banks, Santo, Kessinger, Hundley and Santo all played over 150 games. Beckert ("only" 131 games) would have too if not for an injury. That's a lot of games!

But Leo also had a very thin bench, leaving him little choice but to run his starters out there day after day. I can't blame him for that.

What I can blame Leo for is abandoning the team mid season for a few games to visit his stepson at summer camp. Yep, you read that right. The team manager left a game in the third inning, lied about it (he claimed an upset stomach), and went to Camp Ojibwa in Wisconsin to see his young stepson. When this was discovered, he was almost fired.

Later in life, Durocher stated that the biggest disappointment of his career was his failure to win the pennant in 1969. You may have disappointed yourself Leo, but you also disappointed millions of fans too, including me.

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