As a Cubs fan, surely you assume that everything that can go wrong for you will go wrong. That’s almost entirely true, and I’m not going to deny that your life is absolutely horrible. However, ponder this. In a world where Murphy’s Law ALWAYS applies to the dopes in Murphy’s Bleachers, Xavier Nady would have been a Cardinal. He was originally drafted by St. Louis on June 3, 1997, but didn’t sign, electing instead to play college ball at the University of California.
Nady eventually signed with the San Diego Padres after they took him in the second round of the 2000 draft. The Luis Montanez, Bobby Hill, Todd Wellemeyer draft, that is.
Nady got his first trip to the Majors almost immediately. He signed his first contract on September 17, 2000, and he was in a Padres uniform on September 30, 2000. Bespectacled ‘roider Eric Gagne started for the Dodgers at Qualcomm Stadium with eventual Cubs Tom Goodwin, Mark Grudzielanek, Eric Karros, and Todd Hundley in the lineup. Another eventual Cub, Matt Clement, pitched for the Padres and gave up a grand slam to…Todd Hundley. That has to be a typo. Other notable Cubs involved in this shitheap of a game: Dave Hansen, Damian Jackson, Phil Nevin, John Mabry, and Will Cunnane. Nady pinch hit for Todd Erdos in the bottom of the 7th with the Padres trailing 10-1 and lined a 2-2 pitch into center field for his first MLB base hit.
Nady spent the next two seasons back down in the minors and rewarded the Padres for their patience by hitting 49 home runs and driving in 180 RBIs in 267 games. That was a good enough performance to get him 404 plate appearances in the 2003 season with the Padres. It was then that Nady made his first appearance against the Cubs. On April 22, 2003, the Padres sent Brian Lawrence to the mound at Wrigley Field against Carlos Zambrano. Nady got the start in right field and batted seventh. Unfortunately for Xavier, this was when Carlos Zambrano was still “Big Z.” He mowed through the Padres’ offense, giving up only two earned runs in six innings. Nady went 0-4 on the day, and the Padres lost 7-2.
Nady suffered through an injury-plagued 2004 season, but by 2005 he was up to his old tricks against the Cubs. In Nady’s first game back against the Northsiders, the Padres won a 1-0 game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Ryan Dempster gave up only one unearned run and four hits, and struck out seven Padres in six innings, but he got the loss, which is, of course, hilarious.
At the end of the 2005 season, after four seasons in San Diego, Nady was traded to the New York Mets for Mike Cameron. The Mets, being who they are, traded Nady at the 2006 non-waiver trade deadline to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Roberto Hernandez and Oliver Perez. Nady had his best years in Pittsburgh, putting up a .301/.353/.482 slash line in 269 games, and driving in 57 runs in his first 89 games of the 2008 season. That, of course, drew the attention of the New York Yankees. They acquired Nady along with Damaso Marte in exchange for Jeff Karstens, Daniel McCutchen, Ross Ohlendorf, and Jose Tabata on July 26, 2008.
Nady drove in 40 runs in only 59 games for the Yankees in the second half of 2008, but he played only seven games for them in 2009, so he was granted his free agency. He signed with the Cubs for a very forgettable 2010 season, then signed with the Arizona Diamonbacks last year, appearing in 82 games.
Throughout the course of Nady’s ten-year career, he has compiled a .275/.328/.438 slash line with 97 home runs and 393 RBIs. Positively underwhelming when compared to what Nady was SUPPOSED to do in the MLB. What he was supposed to do was put up the numbers he had against the Cubs. In 190 plate appearances against Cub pitching, Nady batted .304, with a .358 OBP and a .474 slugging percentage. If it weren’t for Nady’s awful 2008 against the Cubs, when he managed only a .544 OPS in 51 plate appearances, his career OPS against the Cubs WAS, as a younger Kermit described it, “absurd.” In the three seasons prior to 2008, Nady posted OPSes of 1.158, .941, and .918. In 2005, Nady SLUGGED .737 against the Cubs. That’s less than 30 points shy of his career OPS.
Nady’s 52 hits against the Cubs are second only to the 63 he has against the Cincinnati Reds. He has hit more doubles (14) against the Cubs than he has against any other team. He has drawn 13 walks off of Cub pitching, behind only the 17 he’s drawn against the Colorado Rockies.
So, yeah. I stand behind my four-and-a-half-year-old assertion that Xavier Nady is a Cub killer.
Why You Should Hate Him: Nady may or may not have been the catalyst that caused (1) Carlos Zambrano to lose his mind and punch Michael Barrett in the face, (2) Lou Piniella to abruptly retire and subject us to a year and a month of the horrifying visage of Mike Quade, and (3) Ted Lilly to slam his glove on the mound in disgust during the 2007 NLDS. On May 8, 2007, the Pirates were at Wrigley Field to take on Lilly and the Cubs. Lilly sailed through the first seven innings, allowing only two runs on seven hits. Nady, however, was seeing Lilly well. He singled in his first two at-bats off Lilly and scored a run, yet the Cubs led the Pirates 3-2 entering the 9th. That son of a bitch Ryan Dempster, who I honestly forgot was a closer as recently as 2007, came on in the 9th to protect the Cubs’ lead. After retiring Jose Bautista, Dempster walked Nate McLouth, served up a base hit to Ryan Doumit, then gave up an 0-2 sacrifice fly to Jack Wilson that tied the game. The game went into extra innings, giving Nady a chance to collect a walk and two more hits, including a leadoff double in the 12th off gelatinous blob, Scott Eyre. The Pirates hung in until Dusty Baker had no choice but to put Neal Cotts in for the top of the 15th. Cotts loaded up the bases with two outs before allowing yet another Jack Wilson sacrifice fly to give the Pirates a 4-3 lead. Nady finished the game 4-6 with a walk and a run scored, and the Pirates won 4-3. I have no direct proof, but I have a bulletin board in my bedroom that STRONGLY suggest that this game led to a series of events that caused Carlos Zambrano, Lou Piniella, and Ted Lilly to all LOSE THEIR MINDS.
Did You Know? In researching Xavier Nady’s entry, I noticed two things. The number one “similar batter” to Nady according to Baseball-Reference is none other than former Cub / beer league softball player Ron Coomer. But the number TWO comparable batter is a former Cardinal outfielder named RIP REPULSKI. And he’s ugly, to boot! WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME THIS? I am currently taking submissions for how I can include some sort of Rip Repulski segment into HJE.