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Tag: Frank Castillo

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 #17: “Sam-ME and” Bobby Abreu

The chickens are in the hen house!

When Bobby Abreu first became an MLB superstar, everyone said, “Hey, this guy hits like Sammy Sosa, except he draws walks and doesn’t seem like as big an asshole! And, hey, he sort of looks exactly like a rounder Sammy Sosa! I wonder if he does steroids, too!” Perhaps, everyone. Perhaps. At least if you were a Cubs fans, it certainly APPEARED that Abreu did steroids. He was a tormentor of Cub pitching, and he slugged his way to #17 on the Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time.

Bobby Abreu’s Major League Baseball career began on April 21, 1990, when he was signed by the Houston Astros out of Venezuela. Abreu was (apparently) only 17 years old when he played his first year of rookie ball. He batted .301/.358/.372 in 56 games with the Astros in the Gulf Coast League.

The somewhat speedy Abreu knocked his way around the minor leagues until 1996, when he was a September call-up for the Astros. He made his MLB debut on September 1, 1996, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. From the box score, it looks like Abreu was used as bait to draw out one of the Pirates’ pitchers since, although he pinch-hit for Houston pitcher Chris Holt, he didn’t actually get an at-bat. At least, I assume that’s what happened. I wasn’t there, people. CUT ME SOME SLACK.

The day after his thrilling Major League debut, Abreu actually got an at-bat against the St. Louis Cardinals. In the 6th inning, with his Astros leading, Abreu pinch-hit for Darryl Kile (RIP). Abreu flied out to left field, and the Astros went on to lose 8-7.

Abreu was the Astros’ starting right fielder on Opening Day in 1997, and his debut against the Cubs came later that year. On July 14, 1997, just moments after the Cubs had won their first game of the season, the Astros came to Wrigley Field. In the 7th inning, with the Astros trailing 6-3, Abreu pinch hit for Jose Lima (RIP). Abreu lined the third pitch he saw from Frank Castillo into left field for his first of many hits against the Cubs.

After the 1997 season, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays drafted Abreu with their sixth overall pick in the expansion draft. The Devil Rays then made the brilliant decision to flip Abreu to the Philadelphia Phillies for Kevin Stocker. Stocker was out of the league three seasons later. Abreu is still going sort-of strong after sixteen seasons in the league.

The majority of Abreu’s Cub-killery came during his nine years in Philadelphia, where he amassed 195 of his 284 career home runs and 814 of his 1,325 RBIs. Abreu was also durable as hell. He averaged nearly 157 games per season in his eight full seasons with the Phillies. At the trade deadline in 2006, the Phillies sent Abreu and Cory Lidle out of the National League. The Phillies swapped him to the New York Yankees for C.J. Henry, Jesus Sanchez, Carlos Monasterios, and Matt Smith.

Abreu spent two and a half years in New York before he was granted free agency at the end of the 2008 season. Abreu signed with the Los Angeles Angels, and he’s been on the West Coast ever since. LOST TO THE PACIFIC OCEAN.

Throughout the course of his career, Abreu’s statistics against the Cubs dwarf those he’s compiled against any other team. His .338 average is second only to his .340 against the Twins. He has a higher on-base percentage (.447) against the Cubs than he does against any other team. His .667 slugging percentage is nearly 100 points higher than it is against any other team, and his 1.114 OPS is tops. He has 16 home runs and 57 RBIs against the Cubs. That doesn’t sound all that impressive until you realize it came in only 60 games. That projects out to 43 home runs and 154 RBIs against the Cubs in a full 162-game schedule. Abreu has compiled nearly as many walks (45) as strike outs (48) against the Cubs. His 144 total bases against the Cubs are the most he has against any non-divisional opponent (at least for any significant period of time). He is an infuriating opponent.

Oh, hey, how about his performance at Wrigley Field? Well, I’m glad you asked. Abreu has hit more home runs at Wrigley (12) than any ballpark which he hasn’t called home. At visiting ballparks, his 38 RBIs in Wrigley are second only to Olympic Stadium and Shea Stadium. And his 1.182 OPS at Wrigley is his best at ANY stadium, home or away.

So, yeah, maybe Sammy Sosa, Jr. should have played a few years at the home of Sammy Sosa, Sr. Might have helped his career a little bit.

Why You Should Hate Him: July 24, 2003. Vincente Padilla took the mound at Wrigley Field against Kerry Wood. Abreu started in right field and batted fourth for Larry Bowa’s Phillies. And, hey, Marlon Byrd started in center field! Neat! Anyhow, the Cubs, in their battle for an NL Central title, took a 3-1 lead into the sixth inning. And then all hell broke loose, thanks to Abreu. In the top of the sixth inning, Wood loaded up the bases with two singles and a walk. Abreu launched a 1-2 pitch into the seats to clear the bases and give the Phillies a 5-3 lead. But the 6th inning was really just beginning! Three batters later, Todd Pratt hit an RBI single to make it 6-3 Phillies. Kyle Farnsworth came on in relief and allowed three out of the next four batters he faced (including Padilla) to reach base before being pulled for Mike Remlinger. Abreu came up with the bases loaded AGAIN and hit a sacrifice line drive to score Byrd and give the Phillies a 10-3 lead that they would not relinquish. In all, the Phillies sent FOURTEEN batters to the plate and scored nine runs on six hits in the inning. Abreu would finish the day 1-3 with a walk and five RBIs. And Kerry Wood’s arm would be FOREVER SAD.

Did You Know? His nickname is “El Comedulce,” which is Spanish for “the candy-eater.” Which is why, I guess, he’s sort of the fat Sammy Sosa.

The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time #51: Jeff “Eff” Fassero

Ed. Note: When I’m long gone from this world and tales are told of what I did to make a difference in this life, no one will have an answer that doesn’t, at some point, use the phrase “dick joke.” Whether I leave a legacy in the expanding world of penis jokes or not, though, I certainly don’t want to leave any unfinished business. Therefore, I’m rededicating myself to counting down up The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time. Love it or hate it, you and I WILL get through it. Together. (“Don’t You Forget About Me” swells in the background.) Now, let’s put lipstick on this pig.

The year is 2010. The Cubs are preparing for the start of another baseball season. Excitement is in the air in Chicago as the weather begins to warm and our hopeless hearts begin to thaw. Somewhere, Jeff Fassero is miraculously only 47 years old. How? How is this possible? Jeff Fassero was 45 years old when he played with the Cubs nearly a decade ago. Yet Jeff Fassero endures. He survives. He creaks. He drives slowly. He wears cardigan sweaters even in hot weather. He gets up twice in the middle of the night to pee. He checks in at #51 on The Top 79 Cub Killers of My Time.
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