Wednesday, May 12, 2010

No, The Other One: Jim Stewart

I've found several Cubs players whose names make you say, "I didn't know he played baseball." And then my answer is, "No, not him, the other one." Here's the first.

You knew he was an Academy Award winning actor, an American icon. Then you heard Jim Stewart played for the Cubs. No, not him, the other one.

The other Jim Stewart was signed by the Cubs in 1961 and by 1963 he made it to Wrigley Field as a September call up. In 1964, the Cubs had to fill an unexpected opening at second base due to the tragic death of incumbent Ken Hubbs, Stewart started 96 games there, hitting .253 with 3 homers and 33 RBIs.

The arrival of Glenn Beckert in 1965 meant that second base was no longer an option for Stewart and he started only 56 games, mostly in the outfield. His average dropped to .233 and he didn't hit any home runs. That's not the production you want out of your outfielders.

In 1966 and 1967 Stewart split time between the Cubs and AAA. His average was under .200 each season. The Cubs finally gave up on him in May, 1967, and sent him across town to the White Sox. Stewart went on to play for the Reds and Astros, before his career ended after the 1973 season.

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