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Category: The Top 79 (page 1 of 9)

The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time #1: Mike “Piece of” Schmidt

Schmidt head.

Eat Schmidt.

Finally, the T79 comes to a glorious end with a Hall of Famer. The idea behind the T79 was to pick out players who were at their best against the Cubs. A lot of these guys were schlubs who put up Hall of Fame numbers exclusively against the Cubs. Mike Schmidt put up Hall of Fame numbers against everyone in the MLB. Everyone except the Cubs. Against the Cubs, he put up numbers above and beyond the Hall of Fame. If there were a T79 Hall of Fame, Mike Schmidt would be the only person in it. He would be the only plaque on the wall. He would be the curator. He would tear your ticket when you walked in, and he would shush you in the library. All while wearing that damn, haunting mustache. Say hello, at long last, to the Top Cub Killer of My Time, Mike Schmidt.

Schmidt is one of those obnoxiously loyal characters like Craig Biggio or Jeff Bagwell who spent their entire career with one team. For Schmidt, that team was one of the more obnoxious ones in the history of American sports. The Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies drafted Schmidt in the second round of the 1971 draft. All of their fans gathered around and booed and then chucked rotten eggs at Schmidt. PROBABLY.

Schmidt didn’t need much time in the minors to prove he was ready to hit Major League pitching. As a 21-year-old, he spent the season with the AA Reading Phillies. He was promoted before the 1972 season to the AAA Eugene Emeralds. Because he apparently had dreamy green eyes! In Eugene, he hit .291/.409/.550 with 26 home runs and 91 RBIs in 531 plate appearances.

His minor-league performance earned him a September call-up, and Schmidt made his Major League debut on September 12, 1972. 5,057 AMAZING Phillies fans were in attendance to see the debut of one of their all-time greatest players. Because fuck you, Philly. Yogi Berra’s Mets came to Veterans Stadium with Andy-Dolan-favorite Don Money starting at third base. Money’s ankle probably exploded, or something, because Schmidt was called in to replace him in the top of the second inning. Schmidt went 1-3 with two strikeouts and a walk as the Phillies lost 4-3.

Schmidt didn’t exactly Wally Pipp Money, but he saw quite a bit of time in the Phillies’ remaining games of that 1972 season. In fact, Schmidt was in the starting lineup on October 2, 1972 when the Phillies came to Chicago to face Rick Reuschel and Whitey Lockman’s Cubs. Schmidt went 1-3 with a strikeout before yielding to poor Don Money, who tripled and drove in a run in his only at-bat. Schmidt’s Major League career against the Cubs was afoot.

By the end of the 1972 season, the Phillies had seen enough of Schmidt to ship Money off to the Milwaukee Brewers (I wish they had sent Money along with cash) prior to the 1973 season, and the starting third base job was Schmidt’s.

Over the course of his 18-year MLB career, Schmidt compiled Hall of Fame numbers, batting .267/.380/.527 with 548 home runs and 1,595 RBIs. He was elected to twelve All-Star Games, won three MVP awards, and ten Gold Gloves, including nine in a row from 1976-1984. He won the World Series MVP Award in 1980 when the Phillies bested the Kansas City Royals in six games. He won six straight Silver Slugger Awards from 1980-1986. And, oh yes, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.

He has a lot of accolades, and he was a hell of a good player. But holy balls, just take a look at his numbers against the Cubs.

In 1,142 total plate appearances against the Cubs, Schmidt compiled a .292/.387/.598 slash line. That’s impressive, but not crazily impressive compared to his career numbers. But just look at those numbers in comparison to what he did against the rest of the league.

Schmidt hit 78 home runs against the Cubs, sixteen more than he did against his second-best opponent (the Pittsburgh Pirates). His absurd 207 RBIs were 19 more than he had against the Pirates and 45 more than against his third-best opponent, the Mets. To put Schmidt’s numbers against the Cubs into perspective, if you prorated them out to a 162-start against the Cubs, he would have hit 49 home runs and driven in 129 RBIs.

Schmidt was far, far more deadly at Wrigley Field, where he batted .307/.396/.653 with FIFTY home runs and 124 RBIs in 611 plate appearances. Project THOSE 134 starts to a 162-game season, and suddenly Schmidt hits 60 home runs and drives in 150 RBIs.

Suffice it to say, if you went to a Phillies game at Wrigley Field for most of the ’70s or ’80s, Mike Schmidt was going to ruin your day. Like, for example…

Why You Should Hate Him: April 17, 1976. Remember how Rick Reuschel threw the first pitches Mike Schmidt ever saw against Cub pitching, and it didn’t go that poorly? Rick made up for it here. So did Mike Garman and Paul Reuschel. Schmidt homered FOUR times off those three Cub pitchers. In fact, no one got Schmidt out after the top of the second inning. In the top of the fourth, the Cubs had built a 12-1 lead off a seven-run second inning and a five-run third. Schmidt got his first hit of many, a harmless leadoff single. Then, Schmidt went to work. In the top of the fifth, with two outs and the Cubs clinging to a 13-2 lead, Schmidt launched a two-run homer to cut the lead…TO NINE. The Phillies were behind 13-6 when Schmidt stepped up again in the seventh inning and launched a solo shot to make it 13-7 Cubs. IN THE SEVENTH INNING. The Phillies were batting with two outs and bases loaded in the top of the eighth inning when Dick Allen hit a 2-run single to make it 13-9 Cubs. Schmidt follow with a three-run blast (his third homer of the day) off Mike Garman to make it 13-12 and to make Cubs fans everywhere groan. The Phillies managed to take a 15-13 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, but Steve Swisher tied the game with a dramatic two-run, two-out single off Tug McGraw. Well, as dramatic as a game-tying hit can be after your team surrenders an 11-run lead in five innings. Like a mental patient, the Cubs were still going right at Schmidt when he came up in the top of the tenth. This time, it was Paul Reuschel’s turn to serve up a two-run homer to Schmidt. The Phillies scored another in that inning and went on to win 18-16 in a game the Cubs had led 12-1. Ugh.

Did You Know? If you’ve ever wanted to taste a winner, you can try a bottle of Mike Schmidt’s 548 Zinfadel. It’s apparently “vintastic.”

Also, this guy has absolutely no chance to ever make it to the top of a Google search, even if he did write the hilarious radio banter in the first Saints Row game.

The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time #2: Randy Johnson “of a BITCH”

Is that an eye next to his head?

Business in front, party in the back, business in the undershirt, party in the overshirt, FUCKING MUSTACHE!!!

The choice between the number one and the number two Cub Killer of My Time was a difficult one. I felt like Sophie. Sophie Marceau. In Braveheart, when she has to choose between power and Mel Gibson’s seed. SPOILERS: She chooses his crazy seed, which is awesome. I guess that makes Randy Johnson the daughter-in-law of Edward Longshanks in this perfect analogy. And I’m Robert the Bruce, or something. And you’re all William Wallace’s dead wife. I’ll tell you what else Randy Johnson is. The second-biggest Cub killer of my time.

All throughout Randy Johnson’s career, I assumed he was from Alabama. Or West Virginia. Or Florida. Somewhere that pickup trucks are the norm and most of the reptiles are deadly. But he’s from California. Weird. He even went to USC, just like Will Ferrell. That makes him doubly terrible!

After pitching for the same institution which would later produce legendary Cubs Damon Buford, Jacque Jones, and Mark Prior, Johnson was selected by the Montreal Expos in the second round of the 1985 draft.

Johnson spent the next couple of years in the minors walking everyone in the world, except for the hundreds of hitters he struck out. He also drilled a few poor, poor young men and threw quite a few wild pitches. The Big Unit had quite a bit of Wild Thing in him.

Johnson was a September call-up in 1988, and he made his MLB debut on September 15, 1988 in a start against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Olympic Stadium. Johnson gave up only two solo home runs over five innings, striking out five and walking three Pirates while picking up the win as the Expos beat the Pirates 9-4.

In Johnson’s only second career start on September 20, 1988, he faced Don Zimmer’s Cubs at Wrigley Field in the second game of a doubleheader. The Cubs had won game one 5-4 behind Rick Sutcliffe, who threw a complete game and struck out eleven on 152 pitches, and even contributed an RBI. But then, the Cubs got SMACKED IN THE FACE WITH A BIG UNIT!!! The 25-year-old Johnson answered Sutcliffe with a complete game of his own. Johnson struck out eleven Cub hitters, walked only one, gave up six hits, and surrendered a lone RBI to Dave Meier as the Expos won 9-1. Johnson even had a hit, though he also struck out three times. Johnson’s complete-game effort against the Cubs would be a harbinger of the remainder of his Cub-killing career.

In May of the following year, the Expos sent Johnson along with Gene Harris and Brian Holman to the Seattle Mariners for Mike Campbell and rental, Mark Langston. Langston pitched well for Montreal, but was gone at the end of the year. Campbell was terrible, which is why he eventually became a Cub. I’d say that qualifies as an emphatic oops on the part of the Expos.

In Seattle, Johnson started cutting down on his walks while he continued striking out the world. After nearly a decade with the Mariners, Johnson was sent to the Houston Astros at the trade deadline for their 1998 playoff run for Freddy Garcia, Carlos Guillen, and John Halama. Johnson was incredible in his half year in Houston, going 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA and a .984 WHIP. He struck out 116 in only 84 1/3 innings. He went 0-2 in the playoffs despite a 1.93 ERA, because the Astros suck, and fuck them.

After the 1998 season, Johnson signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. You might recall that he pitched in a pretty exciting 2001 World Series. He went 3-0 with a microscopic 1.04 ERA and .692 WHIP. And despite the agony he put me through as a Cubs fan, I haven’t seen many Hollywood baseball moments as great as Johnson coming out of the bullpen in the 8th inning of Game Seven in a 1-1 game. The only thing that could have made it more perfect would have been if The Troggs’ “Wild Thing” would have blasted through the Arizona night.

Prior to the 2005 season, the Diamondbacks swapped Johnson to the (of course) New York Yankees for Brad Halsey, new Cub Dioner Navarro, and Javier Vazquez. After two forgettable seasons in New York, Johnson was reacquired by the Diamondbacks prior to the 2007 season for Alberto Gonzalez, Steven Jackson, Ross Ohlendorf and Luis Vizcaino. Johnson finished his incredible 22-year career with the San Francisco Giants before retiring after the 2009 season. He racked up 303 wins and 4,875 strikeouts in his career, and he won a couple of awards. Like, five Cy Youngs (including four consecutive from 1999-2002). He was in the All-Star Game ten times, and that 2001 World Series? He was the MVP. Well, co-MVP. He had to split it with that doughy D&D player who also started for the Diamondbacks. He also has a no-hitter, a perfect game, an immaculate inning, and a 20-strikeout game under his belt.

All that’s well and good. Johnson had an amazing career. He was so good, he literally made a pigeon EXPLODE.

Yet, despite his career accolades, Johnson’s numbers against the Cubs are STILL mind-boggling. Where were you the last time the Cubs beat Randy Johnson? Think about it. I’ll give you a minute. Got your answer?

LIAR.

The Cubs have never beaten Randy Johnson. In fact, the Cubs have never even won a game that Randy Johnson started. In fact, the only time Randy Johnson has pitched in a game that the Cubs won was the last time the Cubs saw him. On September 25, 2009, Johnson pitched a meaningless inning of relief for the San Francisco Giants in a 3-0 Cubs win. If only I’d finished the T79 five years ago, like I expected to, Johnson’s teams would have been perfect against the Cubs.

In fourteen starts against the Cubs, Johnson is 13-0 with a 1.91 ERA, a .984 WHIP, and 143(!) strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings pitched. He’s thrown three complete games, including a shutout. If possible, Johnson is even better at Wrigley Field, where he’s 4-0 with a 1.00 ERA in five starts.

And the Cubs don’t really have an excuse against the big lefty, since they’ve never had a left-handed power threat, RIGHT, JIM HENDRY???

Why You Should Hate Him: I suppose his complete-game shutout on August 25, 2002 should suffice. Johnson whiffed sixteen batters (including Mark Bellhorn and Joe Girardi three times each) en route to a 7-0 shutout. Johnson even contributed two RBIs, doubling his total for the season.

Did You Know? “The Big Unit” got his nickname from one of the only other well-nicknamed players in recent baseball history, Tim “Rock” Raines.

The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time #3: Jeff “Le” Blauser “Ski”

Shomer Shabbos!

This is what happens when you fuck a routine grounder in the ass!

Only one player in my lifetime made the top ten of both the B126 and the T79. That player sort of reminds me of Cousin Larry. Or William Katt. His name is Jeff Blauser. And the reason he even had a chance to hit his way up the B126 is because he is #3 on the list of The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time. The only thing that could have made Blauser more obnoxious is if he were a Cardinal. And he almost was.

Jeff Blauser’s professional baseball career began when he was taken by the Atlanta Braves with the fifth overall pick of the 1984 secondary draft. Blauser had originally been selected in the January draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, which would have been totally fitting, wouldn’t it?

Blauser was mostly trash in the minors, mustering an OPS over .700 only once in his first four years. Nevertheless, in 1987 Andres Thomas, the Braves’ starting shortstop, was worse. So Blauser got the call. He made his Major League debut on July 5, 1987, against the team that almost gave him a home. The Cardinals came to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to face off against Doyle Alexander. Remember in the pre-Maddux-Smoltz-Glavine era when the Braves were really bad? These were those times. Good times. Unless you were a Braves fan. In which case, YEE-HAW! THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN!

Being the Cubs fan you are, you’ll also recall some times when the Cubs were bad. Such as 1987. August 18, 1987, to be exact. That’s when Blauser made his debut against the Cubs in Atlanta. Les Lancaster started, Ed Lynch pitched, and Greg Maddux threw an inning of relief. You remember Greg Maddux. He eventually became a Brave when he got good. Blauser became a Cub when he got bad. SUCH IS THE WAY OF THE WORLD. Lynch must have been impressed by what he saw in Blauser, because READ ON.

As if they were taking a glimpse into a bleak, horrible future, fans that day saw Blauser go 2-3 with a double and an RBI. In his first at-bat, Blauser had an RBI single to drive in Ken Griffey Sr. and give the Braves a 4-run lead. They would actually relinquish it, as the Cubs exploded for four runs in the third. Thanks, Manny Trillo! Blauser was also along for the ride in the bottom of the 8th inning when Dion James hit a three-run bomb off Maddux. The Braves went on to win 9-5, and Blauser’s Cub killery was afoot!

Blauser played ten seasons against the Cubs before he joined them in 1998 and worked on destroying them from the inside. In 299 plate appearances against the Northsiders, Blauser compiled a .351/.413/.611 slash line. His 15 home runs off Cub pitching are more than he has against any other team, and his 48 RBIs against the Cubs are behind only his totals against the Reds (53) and Phillies (54), and he did it in fewer games.

The worst part about Blauser’s Cub ruination was the fact that Ed Lynch only saw Good Jeff Blauser. So, when Blauser hit the free agent market after the 1997 season, Lynch snapped him up. Oops. He played two of his worst, injury-ridden years in Chicago (he SLUGGED .299 in 1998!) before retiring after the 1999 season.

Why You Should Hate Him: July 12, 1992. Bobby Cox’s Cubs came to Chicago to take on Jim Lefebvre’s Cubs. Former Cub Mike Bielecki took the mound for the Braves against Frank Castillo (or, as the more hilarious Cub bloggers might call him, FRANCISCO CASTLE!!!). Blauser hit a solo homer in the second to give the Braves a 3-1 lead. He hit another one in the sixth to give them a 4-1 lead. The Cubs rallied behind three Rick Wilkins RBIs, and the two teams headed into the tenth inning locked at 4-4. Paul Assenmacher got two outs, but put two runners on for Blauser. Blauser responded with a three-run homer, and the Braves walked away with a 7-4 win. Blauser finished the day with a walk, three home runs, and five RBIs. Nice job, Cousin Larry!

Did You Know? Blauser actually has a managerial record! In 2006, Blauser managed the AA Mississippi Braves. They finished 58-80, but he managed eventual Cub Jose Ascanio! That’s cool, no?

The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time #4: Carl Everett “Lution Is Just a Theory”

Carl disproves the theory that gingers taste like strawberries.

On Carl Everett’s perfectly-flat planet, Kevin Mitchell is President of Earth, The New Girl is a great idea for a sitcom, and the Chicago Cubs are perennial World Series contenders. Oh, yeah, and dinosaurs didn’t exist because God didn’t mention them when he wrote the Bible. And God isn’t a liar, idiot. Or should I say, “God isn’t a liar, paleontologist?” Perhaps the reason Kenny Williams traded twenty-three players for Carl Everett is because Everett is #4 on the Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time.

Florida is a weird state. I guess when you’re the penis of the United States, you have to make yourself known for something more than old people, alligator attacks, and most recently Ozzie Guillen. So it’s really no surprise that Everett, one of the weirdest dudes in baseball, was born and raised in Tampa, Florida.

His Major League career began the day after his 19th birthday, when he was taken by the New York Yankees with the 10th overall pick of the 1990 draft. After confirming the fact that the draft wasn’t an elaborate ruse to trick him into going to Manhattan, which would then lift off into the sky and deliver him to Mars, where he would become a space god, ruling over a race of tiny, indigenous Martians, Everett signed.

Everett’s minor-league numbers were as unspectacular as the Virility Cloak knitted for him by his new Martian queen on the night of their nuptials. The Yankees probably weren’t too upset when the Florida Marlins returned Everett to his home planet state by taking him with the 28th pick of the 1992 expansion draft.

Everett packed his tin foil hat and paper pants and moved to Florida, where he began hitting the shit out of the ball. In his first year in the Marlins’ minor-league system, Everett compiled a .296/.374/.535 line with 16 home runs and 68 RBIs in 94 games. His performance was enough to earn him both a mid-season call-up and the attention of the six-breasted empress of Kepler-12 b.

On July 1, 1993, Everett made his Major League debut when Dallas Green’s New York Mets came to Joe Robbie Stadium to find out “just what the hell all this turquoise was about.” In the top of the 9th inning, with the Marlins holding a 7-3 lead, Everett was inserted into center field in place of…holy shit, Henry Cotto played for the Marlins? Everett got no action in the Marlins’ 7-5 win, but at least he didn’t get probed.

Everett got only two hits in 19 at-bats with the 1993 Marlins, so he spent much of 1994 in the minors. Not all of it, though. On May 13, 1994, Cub manager Tom Trebelhorn would square off with future (yes, Carl, he’s from the FUTURE) Cub manager Rene Lachemann, as the Marlins came to Wrigley Field. Everett started in right field against pitcher Willie Banks, who Everett insisted was a replicant of Ernie Banks from another dimension. Everett started the day 0-2, but in the top of the 7th inning, he came up with one out, runners on 1st and 3rd, and the Marlins trailing 1-0. Everett lined a single to left field to drive in the tying run. In Everett’s next at-bat, he singled off Dan Plesac. The hit clearly drove Plesac GODDAMN INSANE.

After the 1994 season, the Marlins, who were probably unappreciative that Everett was always tripping and falling UP, traded him to the New York Mets for Quilvio Veras. Veras. Meaning “truth.” WHAT ARE YOU HIDING FROM EVERETT, NEW YORK METS??? Everett spent three years with the Mets waiting for God to open up the heavens and take a bite of that giant apple in the outfield.

After the 1997 season, the Mets sent Everett to the Houston Astros for John Hudek. After only two really productive years in Houston (see a trend here?), the Astros sent Everett to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Greg Miller and Adam Everett. Why would the Astros trade away a guy who posted a .905 OPS and drove in 184 runs for them in two seasons? Well, physicist, let me explain. The Astros wanted to acquire Adam Everett. Adam Everett. Carl Everett. A. Everett. C. Everett. Abel. Cain. They HAD to be traded for one another. Don’t you see? Carl Everett would have slain Adam Everett if they had ever had to coexist in the same locker room.

Boston’s media was one of the first to unearth the true batshit nature of Carl Everett. And I say “batshit” with the absolute intent to offend you if you believe in Creationism. Because you’re an idiot. Everett stated that dinosaurs didn’t exist because the Bible never mentioned them. Dinosaur bones are man-made. And why wouldn’t we create such a farce. We faked the moon landing, after all. This caused scrotum-headed imbecile Dan Shaughnessy to give Everett the moniker “Jurassic Carl.” And that was the most clever thing that Dan Shaughnessy ever wrote. It makes absolutely no sense. As terribly unfunny as it is, “Creationist Carl” would have at least made some sense. Or “Carl Cameron.” Or “Carleton Heston.” Or “Carl Jennings Bryan.” Something, you pube-covered abomination of the very creation that Everett so championed. And don’t make any excuses for him about the timing. Jurassic Park was already seven goddamn years old when he said it. Dan Shaughnessy is as fresh as Bill Simmons. Wait, wait, “Karate Carl”!

Everett hit great with Boston. But that didn’t stop him from being traded. After the 2001 season, the Red Sox sent him to the Texas Rangers for Darren Oliver. As so often happens, Everett spent only two years in his return to Texas, presumably because he kept demanding to see the basement of the Alamo, where gremlins were kept in slavery solely to create the bones of Joseph Merrick. Again, he had hit well. Again, he was traded.

This time, everyone’s favorite sucker, Kenny Williams, was involved in the deal. In a needless-complex deal, Williams sent Frank Francisco, Josh Rupe, and Anthony Webster to Texas on July 1, 2003. Despite hitting well with the White Sox, Everett found himself a free agent at the end of the 2003 season.

The Montreal Expos took a chance on Everett, mainly because they’re Canadian, and they’re lucky to even HAVE baseball players. After Everett struggled through a bad first half north of the border, Kenny Williams realized he still had players on his roster whom he HADN’T traded for Everett. Just over a year after trading for Cretaceous Carl the first time, Kenny sent Gary Majewski and Jon Rauch to Montreal to get him again. Kenny hung on to his prized image of the one true God for a bit longer this time, but after the 2005 season, Carl was again a free agent.

The Seattle Mariners signed Everett prior to the 2006 season, but they dumped him at mid-season after learning that he was not, in fact, made of cheese as he had claimed. Everett finished up his 14-year Major League career with a .271/.341/.462 line, belting 202 career home runs and driving in 792 RBIs. He had slightly more success against the Cubs.

In 165 plate appearances against the Cubs, Everett hit .369/.421/.671, good for an absurd 1.092 OPS. His 41 RBIs against the Cubs are more than he has against any team except the Indians, Blue Jays, and Royals, and in around 100 fewer at-bats. Everett’s batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage against the Cubs are better than they are against any other team. In 91 plate appearances at Wrigley Field, Everett hit .369/.411/.583, with 4 home runs and 25 RBIs.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, all of those things exist.

Why You Should Hate Him: August 6, 1999. Remember when Kyle Farnsworth was a starter? Those were dark times. He started this 1999 game at Wrigley Field against the Astros. It didn’t go well. With two outs in the top of the first inning, Farnsworth served up a first-pitch, three-run homer to Everett. Everett drove in another run in the top of the 5th inning to give the Astros a 4-1 lead. Then, for good measure, Everett double off Steve Rain in the top of the 9th inning to give the Astros a 5-1 lead. Yep. Carl Everett drove in more runs that day than the other 49 guys involved in the game. WHERE’S YOUR MESSIAH NOW, CHICAGO CUBS?

Did You Know? Everett wasn’t just an idiot. He was an asshole both on and off the field. He was Milton Bradley before Milton Bradley was Milton Bradley. He had numerous altercations with umpires throughout his career, and he hated homosexuality and Wrigley Field almost as much as cavemen! So, if you’re gay in Wrigley Field, WATCH OUT! Carl just might try to set you straight. And nothing straightens out a little poof like you better than a good old-fashioned dick in your ass, right Carl?!

The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time #5: The “Bloody” Valentins

You son of a bitch.

When one thinks of the great families in baseball history, some names come to mind. The Alous. The Alomars. The Bondses. The Griffeys. The Ripkens. The…Cansecos? The Hairstons? But Cubs fans know that the greatest baseball family of all time is the Valentin family. Both Valentin brothers played in the National League Central, both tormented the Cubs, and both at one point sported terrible, porn star mustaches. And that’s why the Valentin brothers, Jose and Javier, are the fifth-biggest Cub Killers of My Time.

Mrs. Valentin’s assault on the Chicago Cubs began when she birthed Jose Valentin on October 12, 1969 in Puerto Rico. Six years later, she doubled the agony of Cubs fans by spawning a SECOND Jose Valentin on September 19, 1975. Yes, both Valentins are actually named Jose. The one you know as Jose is “Jose Antonio (Rosario) Valentin.” The one you know as Javier is “Jose Javier (Rosario) Valentin.” I knew Puerto Rico was an impoverished country, but they couldn’t afford a second name? SHIT’S ABOUT TO GET CONFUSING.

Older brother Jose was the first to break into professional baseball. On October 12, 1986, the San Diego Padres signed Jose as an amateur free agent. The free-swinging switch-hitter was actually pretty bad in the minors, hitting for little power, not getting on base a lot, and striking out quite a bit. Before he even saw Major League action, on March 26, 1992, Jose was shipped to the Milwaukee Brewers along with the awesomely-named Ricky Bones and former Cub Matt Mieske in exchange for Geoff Kellogg and…Gary Sheffield? Really?

Jose was a September callup for the Brewers at the end of the 1992 season. On September 17, 1992, the Brewers traveled to Boston to take on Butch Hobson’s Red Sox. Valentin started at shortstop. John Valentin. For the Red Sox. Jose didn’t see action until the top of the 8th inning, when he was called on to pinch-run for Paul Molitor. He came around to score his first MLB run on a BJ Surhoff triple two batters later. Jose only got four plate appearances during the 1992 season, and didn’t reach base once.

1993 was a big year for the Valentins. As Jose was appearing in 19 games with the Brewers, the Minnesota Twins drafted Javier in the 3rd round of the amateur draft. Jose began to establish himself as a legitimate Major League hitter, putting up a .245/.344/.396 line in 63 plate appearances.

Jose finally saw his first action against the Cubs on June 13, 1997. The Brewers traveled to Wrigley Field, and Jose started at shortstop, batting 8th ahead of fellow Cub Killer Jeff D’Amico. In his very first at-bat against the Cubs in the top of the 2nd inning, Jose launched a 2-run homer off Cubs starter Terry Mulholland to give the Brewers a lead they would not surrender. Valentin’s second at-bat in the 4th inning wasn’t much better. He lined a 3-0 pitch into left field for an RBI double. Valentin would finish the day 2-4 with 3 RBIs and a run scored, and his Cub-killing career was off.

Back to his little brother. Javier was also a switch-hitter, though with a fair amount more blubber and with a less sweet ‘stache than his big brother. After some decent years in the Twins’ minor-league system, Javier made his MLB debut as a September call-up. On September 13, 1997, the Twins were visiting the Texas Rangers. Javier was an 8th-inning defensive replacement for Terry Steinbach, but didn’t see any action at the plate.

Jose compiled 90 home runs and 343 RBIs in parts of 8 seasons with the Brewers, but on January 12, 2000, he was traded along with Cal Eldred to the Chicago White Sox for former-Cub Jaime Navarro and John Snyder, the guy from Dukes of Hazzard. Annoyingly for the Cubs, Jose had his best years with the Sox. In 5 seasons, he compiled a .247/.319/.483 line with 136 home runs and 379 RBIs.

Jose just missed playing in the same organization as his little brother. Two years later, Javier was traded to the Brewers for Gerry Oakes and Matt Yeatman. Javier didn’t see any action for the big-league club, and months later he was traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Jason Conti.

While Jose hitting away on the South Side of Chicago, the Cubs were finally forced to face his little brother. On June 5, 2003, two days after Sammy Sosa was caught using a corked bat, the Tampa Bay Rays were finishing up a series at Wrigley Field. Javier started behind the plate, but didn’t enjoy the same success as Jose did in his debut against the Cubs. Javier went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts, grounding into a double play, to boot.

After the 2003 season, Javier was granted his free agency and, prior to the 2004 season, he signed with the Cincinnati Reds. A year later, Jose changed addresses, leaving the Windy City for the warmth and terrible fanbase of the Los Angeles Dodgers. After a year with the Dodgers, Jose finished out his career with the New York Mets and retired after the 2007 season with a career .243/.321/.448 line, 249 home runs, and 816 RBIs.

Unable to cope with the loss of his brother, Javier started bouncing around the Majors. After the Reds granted him his free agency at the end of the 2008 season, he spent the 2009 season getting signed and quickly released by the Washington Nationals and the Mets. IT WAS NOT MEANT TO BE FOR THE VALENTIN BROTHERS TO PLAY ON THE SAME TEAM. Javier hasn’t appeared in an MLB game since the 2008 season. Presumably, he’s now retired with a career .251/.310/.402 line, 45 home runs, and 210 RBIs.

Now, the fun part. The Valentin boys’ numbers against the Cubs. Let’s start with Jose, since he’s the eldest.

In 223 plate appearances against the Cubs, Jose has a .289/.386/.561 slash line. He’s slugged 12 home runs and driven in 32 RBIs. In half of his MLB season in which he faced the Cubs, he has an OPS north of 1.000. Considering how often Jose swings at eye-high fastballs, his 29 walks against 50 strikeouts against the Cubs are pretty impressive. His BA, SLG, and OBP against the Cubs are all in the top 4 against any opponent.

He’s even better at Wrigley Field, where he has a .300/.398/.564 slash line with 6 home runs and 18 RBIs in 131 career plate appearances.

Javier’s numbers are even more impressive, particularly since he was less of a hitter than his older brother. In 115 plate appearances against the Cubs, Javier has a .297/.383/.554 slash line. He has hit 6 home runs and driven in 20 RBIs, due largely in part to a ridiculous 2005 season in which he hit 4 home runs and drove in 11 RBIs in only 22 at-bats. His batting average alone that year was .545, and he OPSed a ridiculous 1.797. His home run and RBI totals are higher against the Cubs than they are against any other team.

Javier enjoyed Wrigley Field nearly as much as Jose did. In 71 plate appearances at Wrigley, Javier hit 3 home runs and drove in 15 RBIs while compiling a .313/.380/.563 slash line.

Why You Should Hate Them: Home runs, of course! Javier’s nut-punchers came on July 21, 2005 at the Great American Ballpark. The Cubs took a 5-4 lead into the 8th inning behind Greg Maddux, despite the fact that Jerry Hairston, Jr. led off the game for them. The Reds were still in the game thanks to a 4th-inning, 2-run homer off Javier’s bat. With the Reds still trailing 5-3 in the 6th, Javier hit another homer off Michael Wuertz. In the bottom of the 8th, it all fell apart thanks to Roberto Novoa. After a Wily Mo Pena single, Javier drew a walk. A bunt put Javier as the go-ahead run at second base. Novoa balked in the tying run, and Javier scored the go-ahead run when Ryan Dempster gave up a 2-run single to Austin Kearns. Dempster allowed 2 more runs, and the Reds held on for a 9-6 win.

I remember Jose’s hate moment vividly, because I was there on June 27, 2003. The Cubs grabbed an early 1-0 lead off Dan Wright at U.S. Cellular Field, but starter Matt Clement ran out of gas late in the game and allowed single runs in the 6th, 7th, and 8th to give the Sox a 3-1 lead. The Cubs improbably rallied for 2 runs in the top of the 9th off Tom Gordon and Billy Koch, so Dusty Baker brought on Antonio Alfonseca to hold the tie. He didn’t. After striking out Carlos Lee swinging, Alf served up a home run to Jose that still hasn’t landed. Fortunately, the fans at U.S. Cellular Field were totally cordial, and no one said a WORD to me as I exited the park!

Did You Know? Jose still apparently plays some second base, as he is the owner-manager of the Santurce Crabbers. LIKE THE CRABS IN HIS MUSTACHE, AMIRIGHT??? Javier probably owns a fast food joint somewhere, but who knows? He’s vanished from existence entirely.

The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time #6: Gary “Gentle” Bennett

I bet Gary Bennett makes a hell of a fruit smoothie.

In a sad week of news for former catchers named Gary, it’s only appropriate that Waukegan native Gary Bennett make his presence felt on HJE. Bennett spent his entire thirteen-year career as a backup catcher. He never played 100 games in a single season, and he played in only 587 MLB games. But that was plenty for the Waukegan Kid (I just made that up!) to cement his legacy as the 6th-biggest Cub Killer of My Time.

Gary Bennett’s Journey of a Thousand Major League Transactions began on June 4, 1990. The Philadelphia Phillies took the catching sensation of the Waukegan Bulldogs in the 11th round of the amateur draft. The 18-year-old pride of Waukegan East was assigned to the rookie-league Martinsville Phillies, where he was teammates with the slightly-more-successful catcher Mike Lieberthal.

After a couple of years of watching Bennett not hit in rookie ball, the Phillies promoted him to low-A ball. Then A-ball. Then high-A ball. Then AA. Then AAA. Bennett showed his amazing consistency by hitting terribly at all levels.

Bennett was a September call-up in 1995 and “earned” his first Major League appearance on September 24, 1995. The first-place Cincinnati Reds were in Veterans Stadium, and Bennett got a 6th-inning pinch-hit appearance with the Phillies trailing David Wells (holy shit, I forgot he was a Red) 5-0. Bennett struck out looking in his only at-bat of the 1995 season. If his MLB career had ended right there, he would have been like the bad version of Moonlight Graham. And he wouldn’t have gone on to torment the Cubs over the next decade.

As it was, Bennett got a handful of at-bats in the 1996 season, and a couple of them came against the Cubs. On September 8, 1996, the Cubs sent Jaime Navarro to the mound against the Phillies at Veterans Stadium. Bennett started behind the plate and went 0-2 with 2 strikeouts and a walk before being pulled for a pinch hitter. Unfortunately for the Cubs, it wouldn’t be the last time they faced the Waukegan Whammer.

After giving him just 19 MLB at-bats, the Phillies granted Bennett his free agency. He signed with the Boston Red Sox prior to the 1997 season, but didn’t see Major League action that year, so the Phillies brought him back for the 1998 season. He appeared in 9 games that season, 36 in 1999, and 31 in 2000. At the 2001 trade deadline, after parts of 6 seasons with the Phillies, Bennett was traded to the New York Mets for fellow catcher Todd Pratt.

Bennett got just one plate appearance in New York, but he got a base knock! The Mets sold his 2.000 OPS high, trading him to the Colorado Rockies exactly one month after acquiring him. The Rockies sent Ender Chavez back to the Mets. Yes, ENDER Chavez. He’s a different person than Endy Chavez. Don’t be racist.

Bennett finally found himself a starting position in 2002 with Colorado. He played 90 games and hit .265/.314/.354 with 4 home runs and 26 RBIs. The Rockies didn’t bring him back, though, so he signed with the San Diego Padres for the 2003 season and for his first in a series of one-year contracts. From Baseball-Reference.com:

December 23, 2002: Signed as a Free Agent with the San Diego Padres.
September 30, 2003: Granted Free Agency.
December 22, 2003: Signed as a Free Agent with the Milwaukee Brewers.
October 14, 2004: Granted Free Agency.
November 29, 2004: Signed as a Free Agent with the Washington Nationals.
October 28, 2005: Granted Free Agency.
December 2, 2005: Signed as a Free Agent with the St. Louis Cardinals.
October 31, 2006: Granted Free Agency.
November 28, 2006: Signed as a Free Agent with the St. Louis Cardinals.
October 29, 2007: Granted Free Agency.
December 17, 2007: Signed as a Free Agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
November 5, 2008: Granted Free Agency.

Suffice it to say that Gary Bennett got around more than a promiscuous person who enjoys sex with multiple anonymous partners. Throughout his journeyman career, Bennett hit .241/.302/.328 with 22 home runs, 192 RBIs, 74 doubles, and even 3 triples. His numbers are eerily Bako-esque, and they tell me that I should have figured out how to throw with my right hand and made a go of it as a backup catcher in the Major Leagues. I MAKE BAD LIFE CHOICES.

Another bad life choice (I’ve done stand-up; I know my way around an AMAZING transition) was the Cubs ever pitching to Gary Bennett. In 105 plate appearances against the Cubs, Bennett compiled a slash line good enough for (GASP) a starting catcher. He hit .286/.365/.451 against Cub pitching with 3 home runs and 12 RBIs. I blame Bennett’s best year against the Cubs on Juan Pierre. In 2006, Bennett hit .520/.586/.960 and collected all 3 of his homers and 9 of his 12 RBIs against them. Five of the 13 hits Bennett had against the Cubs went for extra bases that season, and he drew twice as many walks (4) as strikeouts.

To put Bennett’s numbers against the Cubs in perspective, here is where they rank in comparison with every other team against whom he has at least 50 plate appearances:

BB (1)
BA (2)
OBP (2)
SLG (1)
OPS (1)
HR (2)

Gary Bennett went through Cub pitchers like he went through contract-signin’ ink.

Why You Should Hate Him: In late August of 2006, the Cubs trekked down I-55 to face the eventual World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Though starter Juan Mateo pitched well, the Cubs got blanked 2-0 in the first game by Jeff Suppan. The second game featured a lineup that shockingly didn’t make Aramis Ramirez drink a bunch of paint thinner. Here are the other 7 position players in that lineup:

Juan Pierre
Freddie Bynum
Michael Barrett
Jacque Jones
Phil Nevin
Matt Murton
Ronny Cedeno

WE’RE SO SORRY, ARAMIS! PLEASE COME BACK! The cardinals scored a run early off Cubs starter Rich Hill, but Phil Nevin homered off of Cardinal starter Chris Carpenter in the 8th to tie the game. Dusty Baker went to Roberto Novoa to preserve the lead. Bad move. Novoa sandwiched two outs around a Preston Wilson base hit and steal. Bennett stepped to the plate and smacked a 2-1 single into center field to give the Cardinals a walkoff win.

The next day, Dusty, who clearly didn’t give a shit about his job at this point, sent Les Walrond to the mound. Yes, against the Cubs’ biggest rival in their own house in late August, Dusty trotted out a rotation of Juan Mateo, Rich Hill, and Les Walrond. And, hilariously, TWO OF THEM PITCHED WELL ENOUGH TO WIN. Walrond was not one of those two. He gave up 6 runs (5 earned) in just 2 2/3 innings before turning the game over to the highly-touted 2006 Cub bullpen. Ironically, David Aardsma, Michael Wuertz, Roberto Novoa, and Will Ohman held the Cardinals in check for the next 5 1/3 innings.

And then…BOB HOWRY!

In the bottom of the 9th, with the game tied 6-6 Howry got a pair of groundouts, but not before loading the bases with 2 singles and a walk. With the bases loaded and 2 outs, Bennett came to the plate. He served the second pitch he saw from Howry into the seats for his second walkoff hit in two days, this one a grand slam. And somewhere, an idiot ran onto a field in agony.

Did You Know? Bennett was voted Class Least-Likely to be Named in the Mitchell Report, but he WAS, and he even confessed his transgression just so he would look cool and get to third base with the captain of the pom squad.

The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time #7: “You Can Call Me” A. “Or You Can Call Me” J. Pierzynski

Michael Barrett lives the American dream.

Before you didn’t watch A.J. Pierzynski cheat the White Sox into the 2005 World Series, there was probably already something in your gut that made you hate him. Your gut was absolutely right. The nicest thing that fellow asshole Ozzie Guillen could say about Pierzynski is, “If you play against him, you hate him. If you play with him, you hate him a little less.” For one thing, I didn’t know assholes could smell their own. For a second thing, there is no way Ozzie Guillen said that as eloquently as that quote is written. For yet another thing, when even OZZIE GUILLEN thinks you’re an asshole, it’s time to take some serious stock of your life. Though Pierzynski’s numbers against the Cubs have dropped in the last few years, I have no qualms about placing the infuriating mullet of A.J. Pierzynski at #7 of the Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time.

Anthony John Pierzynski grew up in Orlando and played high school baseball on a presumably-loaded team that included Johnny Damon. We had a pretty decent team when I played high school baseball, and it was still a huge deal when college scouts showed up at games. It was an even bigger deal if our guys went on to play at big schools. It was a massive deal if they got scouted by pros. And people went absolutely catatonic if those guys got signed to pro contracts. So I’m always amazed when two eventual Major League players play on the same high school team. I suspect Pierzynski was as insufferable as a 17-year-old as he is in life, but that’s beside the point.

After Pierzynski graduated high school, he had the option to play baseball at the University of Tennessee, where his mullet would not only be accepted, but openly celebrated. There would be parades of Mustangs as far as the eye can see, a terrible Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, and a commissioned van mural in his mullet’s honor. Sadly for both the Cubs and for mullet junkies everywhere, Pierzynski chose instead to sign with the Minnesota Twins on June 9, 1994.

Pierzynski was that rare combination of catcher, lefty hitter, and unapologetic asshole that the Twins needed. Pierzynski hit enough for a catcher, and, early in his career, he wasn’t so awful at throwing out baserunners. So, the Twins made him a September call-up at the age of 22, and he made his MLB debut on September 9, 1998. Pierzynski replaced Twins starter Terry Steinbach behind the plate in the bottom of the 5th inning. Pierzynski grounded out in his first MLB at-bat in the 6th, but in the top of the 8th, Angels reliever Trevor Wilson began what SHOULD have been a popular trend, drilling Pierzynski with his second pitch.

Pierzynski had brief call-ups in 1999 and 2000 before finally lasting a full season on the Twins’ roster in 2001. On June 17 of that year, the first-place Twins came to Wrigley Field to take on Kerry Wood and the first-place Cubs. Pierzynski started at catcher and hit 7th in a lineup that included eventual Cubs Jacque Jones and Matt Lawton (and Corey Koskie, to an extent). Pierzynski was delightfully awful, popping out to shortstop and later getting drilled by Kerry Wood before being retired in his last two at-bats on strikeouts by Courtney Duncan and Kyle Farnsworth. The Cubs won 5-4, and it is my sincere hope that Kerry Wood was brought back this year solely to drill A.J. Pierzynski one final time.

In 2002, Pierzynski compiled a .300/.334/.439 line for the Twins and was named to the All-Star Team. He had an even better year in 2003, but he was still A.J. Pierzynski. Rather than soiling Golden Boy Joe Mauer by having him learn under Pierzynski, the Twins sent Pierzynski to the San Francisco Giants in an astonishingly lopsided trade. The Twins got back Boof Bonser, Francisco Liriano, and Joe Nathan. The best part of the deal for the Giants was that Pierzynski was only around for a year before they released him. He certainly made his impression felt during that time, particularly if you were the testicles of Giants’ trainer Stan Conte. Pierzynski denies the incident ever happened, but the Giants gave up an awful lot of talent for a guy they only kept around for a year, only to release him for nothing.

Since Ozzie Guillen had already castrated the training staff of the Chicago White Sox, they signed Pierzynski prior to the start of the 2005 season. That’s where Pierzynski has done most of his Cub-killing in the course of his 14-season career. In 181 plate appearances against the Cubs, the normally light-hitting catcher has compiled a .304/.376/.447 line with six home runs and 30 RBIs. During the forgettable 2006 season, Pierzynski went 9-19 against the Cubs with two homers, five RBIs, and an absurd .474./.565/.789 line.

The most notable moment of Pierzynski’s career for a Cubs fan is, of course, the events of May 20, 2006. In a moment that would epitomize the meatball nature of the Crosstown Series for years, Cubs catcher Michael Barrett punched A.J. Pierzynski in his stupid face. Barrett took offense to the way Pierzynski plowed him over and then slapped his hand onto home plate, which sent the poorly-washed crowd at U.S. Cellular Field into a frenzy. Pierzynski didn’t really deserve to be punched in the face, as it was a clean play. However, Pierzynski deserved to be punched in the face. Period. I could never muster up the ire for Michael Barrett that many Cubs fans had toward him after his altercation with Carlos Zambrano in 2007. That’s because Barrett lived out all of our fantasies by planting a clenched fist on A.J. Pierzynski’s asshole jaw.

Why You Should Hate Him: I don’t feel like this really needs an explanation, but it’s very clearly July 1, 2006. The Cubs had followed an agonizing ending to the 2004 season with an unwatchable 2005 season. They started the 2006 season right where they left off, only this time with Juan Pierre! If you were still watching by July 1, you might remember this infuriating little game. Greg Maddux started for the Cubs at Wrigley Field and pitched well enough, giving up four earned runs in six innings. He left a 5-4 Cubs lead to the bullpen. A bullpen that included the likes of Scott Eyre and Ryan Dempster. Pierzynski was already 2-3 off Maddux with a pair of singles, but things would get worse. Well, better for him. Worse for humanity. In the top of the 7th, Dusty Baker inexplicably failed to leave Maddux in the game to face Paul Konerko, opting instead to go to Scott Eyre. Eyre worked a full count to Konerko before giving up a game-tying solo home run. The Cubs got the lead back on a Jacque Jones solo shot in the bottom of the 7th, and they led 6-5 into the top of the 9th. Dempster came on to close out the game and got two quick outs. Then, Dempster gave up a slow grounder to Ross Gload for a base hit. Then, Dempster walked Jermaine Dye. Then, Dempster served up a three-run homer to A.J. Pierzynski. How any Cubs fan can ever enjoy watching Ryan Dempster pitch is absolutely beyond me. The Cubs went down meekly in the 9th inning against the human tarp that was Bobby Jenks, and the Sox won 8-6.

Did You Know? If Bob Barker needed money this badly, I would have loaned him some.

Also, the ONE TIME A.J.’s mullet would have fit in perfectly, and he didn’t wear it? Lame.

The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time #8: “Everyone Doesn’t Like” Carlos Lee

Hey, it's Carlos Lee's penis! (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Carlos Lee likes killing the Cubs like a fat kid like Carlos Lee likes cake. For all of you atheist Cub fans out there, I understand your godless ways. After all, what sort of higher power would allow Carlos Lee to play all but 59 of his 1,952 career games wearing the uniform of Cub “rivals”? Old Testament, maybe? Wherever your faith lies, know this. If you didn’t scream “GOD DAMMIT” during at least one Carlos Lee’s 541 at-bats against the Cubs, then you’ll never understand why he pounded his way to #8 on the list of the Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time. And ignorance is no state of being.

One of the simplest ways to hit one’s way to Cub Killer status is to play well for a team that Cubs fans hate. Like the Astros. Or the Brewers. Or the White Sox. And play for exactly those teams, Carlos Lee did. El Burro, as my sources have confirmed he is sometimes called, was drafted out of his home country of Panama on February 8, 1994. At the time, Lee was “18” “years” “old” with a wife, a mortgage, and three kids.

Lee didn’t take long to start hitting like a mule. By the time he was “21” at high-A ball, he posted a .317/.357/.516 line with 17 home runs and 82 RBIs in 139 games. When he posted an .834 OPS the next season and then started off 1999 with a .928 OPS, four homers, and 20 RBIs in only 25 games, the Sox had seen enough.

So they traded him for Carl Everett.

No, wait. They called him up. Because Jeff Abbott was terrible. Lee made his MLB debut on May 7, 1999, when the Oakland Athletics came to town to take on pacifist Jerry Manuel’s Sox. Lee started in left field and, in his very first MLB at-bat against A’s starter Tom Candiotti, launched a solo home run. The Cubs immediately signed Tom Candiotti. The rest of Lee’s day was slightly less productive. He finished 1-4 with two GIDPs and an error, to boot. But, unfortunately for the Cubs, he had made The Show for good.

Lee’s debut against the Cubs came in interleague play that season. On June 11, 1999, the Sox rode ‘dat Red Line over by ‘dare from da Sout Side to da Nort Side to play da Cubbies at Wrigley Park in dat Windy City showdown. Lee started in left, which was as hilarious as watching Alfonso Soriano play left. Cubs starter Jon Lieber combined with Scott Sanders to hold Lee hitless in three at-bats, yet Lee still managed to collect his first RBI against the Cubs on a run-scoring groundout in the top of the third. The Sox won 5-3, because everything you remember about the 1999 season is JUST EXACTLY as terrible as you recall.

Lee’s defense aside, the guy could hit. He spent six seasons in Chicago and compiled a .288/.340/.488 line with 152 round-trippers and 552 RBIs. After the 2004 season, Lee was sent to the Milwaukee Brewers for Luis Vizcaino and alleged-World-Series-hero-in-the-World-Series-that-never-happened, Scott Podsednik. By the way, remember toward the end of the 2007 season when the Cubs claimed Podsednik? Holy shit, Jim Hendry. Holy shit. Because Kenny Williams has more luck than brains, Lee’s offensive line dipped during the 2005 season, and the White Sox cheated their way all the way through the goddamn World Series.

Just a quick reminder follows:

YOU’RE A CUBS FAN! HA HA HA HA HAAAAA!

Lee rebounded in 2006 enough for the Brewers to make a trade deadline deal with the Texas Rangers. The Brewers sent Lee and Nelson Cruz south, and they got back Julian Cordero, Francisco Cordero, Kevin Mench’s elephant skull, and Laynce Nix. Holy shit, the Brewers suck at trades. Lee was great for his half year in Texas, but no one gives a shit, because it’s BASEBALL in TEXAS.

Speaking of which, the Rangers didn’t re-sign the portly slugger after they finished a distant third in the AL West. So the Astros swooped in and signed Lee to an absurd 6-year, $100M deal. “Absurd how?” you say? In the past two years, Lee has posted OPSes of .708 and .788, respectively. He has cashed $19M worth of paychecks both years. AND YOU WENT TO COLLEGE, IDIOT.

In the course of his 13-season career, Lee has compiled some good numbers. Some might say his numbers are better than Andre Dawson’s. And to those people, I say, “Die.” And I will not be addressing any of your arguments, because you are already dead to me. Andre Dawson is awesome, and Carlos Lee is filled with butter. Nevertheless, Lee currently stands at .286/.339/.491 in his career with 349 home runs and 1,286 RBIs.

This is the part where I tell you about his numbers against the Cubs. Do shots…NOW.

Lee has faced the Cubs in 139 games, more than against any other team in the league. And he’s made the most of it. He has compiled a .294/.349/.558 against the Northsiders in 598 plate appearances. Those numbers don’t look too far off his career line until you consider his numbers against the rest of the league.

Lee has hit 38 home runs against the Cubs alone. That’s more than he’s hit in the 216 interleague games he’s played. That’s literally double the number that he’s hit against any other team (the Indians and Royals are tied at 19). He has driven in 104 RBIs against the Cubs. That is 26 more than he’s collected against the second-place team (the Pirates). He’s drawn 47 walks, nearly 10 more than his 38 against the Cardinals. His .558 slugging percentage is behind only his .570 against the Giants and .561 against the Phillies. He has over ONE HUNDRED more total bases against the Cubs than he does against any other team in baseball. More obnoxiously, Lee loves doing his damage at Wrigley Field, where he has a career .299/.345/.592 line with 23 homers and 57 RBIs in only 73 games.

If I wasn’t so sure he’d shatter into a million pieces the second he pulled on a Cubs uniform, I’d almost think they should have tried to trade for him at some point.

Why You Should Hate Him: June 16, 2002. Don Baylor sent Kerry Wood to the mound to try to sweep away the White Sox in a three-game set at Wrigley Field. Wood was bad. Like, really bad. He lasted only four innings, giving up eight runs on…TWO HITS? Oh, I see. He walked six guys. Wood struck out Lee in the first, but then walked three straight to start the third with the Cubs up 4-2. A paragon of patience, Lee swung at the first pitch he saw. And hit it. Far. For a grand slam and a 6-4 Sox lead. Shockingly, Wood left the game in a 6-6 tie after walking the first two batters he saw in the fifth inning. Don Baylor went to Carlos Zambrano in the bullpen, and guess who came up again? Lee worked a full count off Zambrano before drilling his second home run of the game into the bleachers to give the Sox a 9-6 lead. Lee finished the day 3-4 with a walk and seven RBIs as the Cubs lost 10-7.

Did You Know? Carlos has a brother named Carlos, a daughter named Karla, a son named Karlos, and the dumbest family since George Foreman was allowed to breed.

The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time #9: Jose Valverde “Of the Douche”

Valverde exhibiting the poise and quiet dignity of an MLB player.

The worst part of the 2007 playoffs was not the Cubs getting meekly swept in three games by the Arizona Diamondbacks. It wasn’t Carlos Marmol spitting the bit in the 7th inning of Game One. It wasn’t Ted Lilly slamming his glove to the ground in frustration after serving up a go-ahead, three-run bomb to Chris Young in Game Two. It wasn’t even Mark DeRosa grounding into a double play with a 3-1 count, two men on, and the Cubs trailing by two in the 5th inning. No, the most infuriating part of the 2007 playoffs was watching professional asshole Jose Valverde preening around the mound at the ends of Game One, Game Two, and Game Three. The big right-hander whose body type earned him the nickname “Big Potato” dominated the Cubs and was happy to let the crowd know that he knew he dominated the Cubs. That is why Jose Valverde is the 9th-biggest Cub Killer of My Time.

Jose Valverde’s professional baseball career began when the Arizona Diamondbacks signed him on February 6, 1997 out of the Dominican Republic. Unlike a lot of young pitchers, Valverde wasn’t a failed starter converted to the bullpen. He was always ticketed for late-inning relief. Also, for acting like each of his strikeouts give blowjobs that cure cancer. Valverde was no great shakes in the minors, as he couldn’t consistently keep the bases empty.

Valverde did, however, keep a lot of those runners from scoring, so the Diamondbacks called him up in 2003, and he made his Major League debut on June 1. Cranky Cub broadcaster Bob Brenly brought his Diamondbacks into San Diego to take on the Padres. In the bottom of the 9th, the Diamondbacks had a 10-3 lead, so Brenly went to the 25-year-old Valverde. In a performance typical of his minor-league numbers, Valverde struck out three Padres, but also gave up two walks, a base hit, and a solo home run. But, hey, at least he got to dance like a complete asshole three times!

Valverde’s debut against the Cubs came later that season. On August 1, 2003, the Diamondbacks and Cubs matched each other blow-for-blow, each tallying a run in the 6th inning and two in the 11th before the Cubs finally broke through for a walkoff base hit from the newly-acquired Aramis Ramirez in the bottom of the 14th. Valverde did his job, though. He pitched a perfect bottom of the 8th, striking out Mark Grudzielanek and Sammy Sosa before getting Moises Alou to fly out weakly to short. DANCE, YOU FAT BASTARD.

Valverde pitched for five seasons with Arizona, compiling a 3.29 ERA and striking out 331 hitters. During the Diamondbacks’ 2007 NLCS run, Valverde saved 47 games, made the All-Star game, and somehow even showed up on NL Cy Young and MVP voting lists. Mostly because voters are idiots.

The Diamondbacks attempted to cash in on the fiery reliever’s success, trading him after the 2007 season to the Houston Astros in exchange for Chris Burke, Juan Gutierrez, and Chad Qualls. Valverde spent two years in Houston, saving 69 games and striking out 139 hitters against only 44 walks. He had a 2.93 ERA in Houston, and even managed a 10-5 record. He also set a record for the most elaborate, embarrassing celebration of saving a game for a fifth-place team. Because Jose Valverde is a total asshole on the mound, you see, and I really wish he had more than two Major League at-bats.

Since the Astros are the Astros, they didn’t re-sign Valverde after the 2009 season, so the Detroit Tigers swooped in an signed the bespectacled sideshow. Valverde has been even better in Detroit, saving 75 games and making two All-Star Games in the past two years and compiling a 2.59 ERA. If you’re into schadenfreude, you will at least be happy to know that Valverde has been terrible in has last three postseason appearances. Against the Colorado Rockies in 2007, and the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers in 2011, Valverde posted ERAs of 5.40, 6.00, and 8.31, respectively. Wait, that shouldn’t make you feel good at all. That means the only team against whom Valverde pitched well in the postseason was your Chicago Cubs.

LOUD, PROTRACTED SIGH.

Unlike some members of the T79, Valverde is undoubtedly a good player against the league. He has an impressive career 3.02 ERA and 1.170 WHIP to go along with 242 saves and 602 strikeouts against only 221 walks. However, Valverde’s numbers against the Cubs are embarrassing. Suppose, for example, you were a Cub who got a base hit off Valverde. That would put you in elite company. Valverde has allowed only SEVEN hits to the Cubs in 77 at-bats. That calculates out to a relatively unimpressive .091 batting average against. The Cubs haven’t fared much better without swinging the bats. They’ve drawn only ten walks in 88 plate appearances, for a .205 on-base percentage. That’s not quite as embarrassing as their slugging percentage off Valverde, though. That stands at .169. Of those seven base hits, only two of them were extra-bases (both solo home runs).

Impressed/depressed yet? No? Okay, I’ll continue. Valverde currently sports a microscopic 0.74 ERA and 0.699 WHIP versus the Cubs. In fact, in Valverde’s 24 1/3 innings of work against the Cubs, he has allowed only two runs on those solo home runs he surrendered. He’s even better (and almost impossibly more obnoxious) at Wrigley Field, where he has a 0.63 ERA, 0.698 WHIP, and twenty strikeouts in only 14 1/3 innings.

What I’m saying is that you might want to go ahead and avoid Wrigley Field during the Tigers’ mid-June trip this summer.

Why You Should Hate Him: OH HAI 2007 NLDS!

To be fair, I don’t know if that clip should make you hate Valverde or Diamondbacks “fans.” “Beat da Cubs” is the dumbest chant I’ve heard since I was in that cult.

Did You Know? I’m not just calling Valverde out for his mound antics. He’s legitimately an arrogant, immature asshole as evidenced by his childish comments after former batterymate Miguel Montero called into question his professionalism. Note that after Montero accepted Valverde’s invitation to confront him, Valverde didn’t even have the balls to challenge him. Seriously, fuck Jose Valverde.

The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time #10: Victor Di-“In a Fire”-az

What the hell are you looking at?

After four years, six months, and 26 days, we have finally arrived at the top ten Cub Killers of My Time. This final stretch is going to be equal parts fun and nightmarish. And we start with Jon Miller’s dream player: a Latino man who likes to have his name pronounced incorrectly. A man who has one of the shortest professional careers of any player on the T79. A man whose name I would suspect is more well-known by Cubs fans than by Mets fans, even though he played for the latter. A man whom I once drunkenly asked if he wanted a hot dog when he was playing right field on a cold May afternoon at Wrigley Field. Victor Diaz, the tenth-biggest Cub Killer of My Time.

Victor Diaz’s professional baseball career began when the Los Angeles Dodgers selected him in the 37th round of the 2000 amateur draft. Players selected that late in a draft don’t often make a big Major League impact, a fact to which the Cubs’ 37th-round selection, Donnie Bair, can attest. Of course, if fat, obnoxious, goombah idiot Tommy LaSorda were here, he would remind you that he BENT OVER BACKWARDS to make sure Mike Piazza, his godson’s kid, got drafted right after 1,389 other guys did, and HE was AWESOME.

Diaz was actually pretty successful in the minors, consistently posting OPSes north of .800 with good power. Because he was apparently known as “Baby Manny,” Diaz was the key player in a 2003 trade deadline deal that saw the Dodgers acquire Jeromy Burnitz.

Unfortunately for the 2004 Cubs, Diaz was a September callup the following season for his new team, making his MLB debut on September 11, 2004. For Cubs fans, it would be the worst tragedy to take place on September 11th since- Well, it SUCKED. Diaz started in right field for the Mets against Eric Milton and the Phillies. In his third big league at-bat, Diaz collected his first hit, a two-RBI double in the bottom of the 5th inning off Milton. Diaz finished the day 1-3 with a walk and a strikeout as the Phillies won a real pitchers’ duel, 11-9.

Diaz made his debut against the Cubs later that same month. If your heart is already hurting, it’s NOT indigestion. On September 24, 2004, the Cubs were in Shea Stadium riding a three-game winning streak and hoping to pound the 66-87 Mets. Diaz’s first at-bat against the Cubs resulted in a second-inning double off Cub starter Glendon Rusch. Diaz scored the only run the Mets would score that night when Jason Phillips subsequently doubled him home. Diaz struck out in his next three at-bats, and the Cubs tallied a tenth-inning run to give them a 2-1 win. With nine games left, a slight Wild Card lead, and 87 wins in the bank, a 90-plus win season and a postseason appearance was all but clinched! But I’ll get to that.

Diaz finished the 2004 season with a .294/.321/.529 line, and he was the Mets’ Opening Day right fielder in 2005. He appeared in 89 games for the 2005 Mets, hitting 12 home runs and driving in 38 RBIs. Unfortunately for Diaz, the Mets acquired fellow mispronounced T79er Xavier Nady after the 2005 season, so Diaz found himself back down in the minors.

After he saw action in only six games during the 2006 season, Diaz was traded to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Mike Nickeas. Diaz got only 108 plate appearances for the Rangers, but he still managed to hit nine home runs and drive in 25 RBIs. He finished the 2007 season with an impressive .538 slugging percentage, but he drew only one walk against 33 strikeouts. He hasn’t seen Major League action since. WHAT A SHAME.

Though Diaz’s career lasted less than a full season’s worth of games, the amount of emotional damage he caused Cubs fans is immeasurable. In 20 career at-bats against the Cubs, Diaz compiled a .400/.400/.800 slash line with two doubles, two home runs, and seven RBIs. He only started FIVE GAMES against the Cubs. I guess I can see why they called him Baby Manny.

I must be lucky. There was only one opportunity to see the legendary Cub Killer play at Wrigley Field, and I was there. On May 11, 2005, with the wounds of the 2004 season fresh in my memory, I mercilessly heckled Diaz from my seats down the right field line. It did nothing. Diaz went 2-4 with two RBIs and a double. I can assure you, however, that he heard an earful about his caught stealing and strikeout. And, hey, at least the Cubs still won, 4-3.

Why You Should Hate Him: Come on. September 25, 2004. In only his second career appearance against the Cubs, Diaz all but single-handedly ended their season. Mark Prior pitched brilliantly for the Cubs, giving up only four hits and not a single earned run in 7 2/3 innings. One of those four hits was a harmless 8th-inning single by defensive replacement Victor Diaz. FORESHADOWING. Though everyone blames LaTroy Hawkins for the events of that game, Ryan fucking Dempster was at least as culpable. After retiring Mike Piazza for the third out of the 8th inning, Dempster started the bottom of the 9th with a three-run lead. He struck out Todd Zeile, but then gave up back-to-back walks to Eric Valent and Jason Phillips. Somewhere, in front of a television, Lou Piniella screamed, “YOU’VE GOT A THREE-RUN LEAD! THROW FUCKING STRIKES!” Hawkins came on in relief. After retiring Jeff Keppinger for the second out, Hawkins served up a 2-2 cookie to Diaz. Diaz launched it into the stands to tie the game 3-3. To complete the asshole reliever trifecta, Kent Mercker took the mound in the bottom of the 11th. At least for a minute. Craig Brazell hit Mercker’s 1-2 pitch into the seats for a walkoff 4-3 win. The loss destroyed whatever fight the Cubs had left. The Cubs dropped another one-run game to the Mets the next day, during which Diaz and Brazell combined for four of the Mets’ eight hits. The Cubs went 2-5 down the stretch, and we all learned the true nature of hate.

Did You Know? Diaz went to Roberto Clemente High School right here in Chicago. According to Wikipedia, “Growing up, the Chicago Cubs were his favorite baseball team, and Sammy Sosa was his favorite player. It has been said that D├Čaz always wanted to do everything in baseball the way Sosa would.” Like ruin the 2004 season? WISH: GRANTED.