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.
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.
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.
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.
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. The Valentin brothers, Jose and Javier, are the fifth-biggest Cub Killers of My Time.
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.
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.
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 utter “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.
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 Jose Valverde dancing and preening off the mound at the end of Game One, Game Two, and Game Three. That is why Jose Valverde is the 9th-biggest Cub Killer of My Time.
After four years, six months, and 26 days, we have finally arrived at the top ten. 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 pronounce 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.