By Dave Wischnowsky–
Santa isn’t the only one making a list and checking it twice this week. The Chicago Cubs are, too, as their search for an analyst to replace the late Ron Santo in the team’s radio booth is now underway.
On Thursday, the Tribune printed a list of 11 potential candidates to fill the seat beside play-by-play man Pat Hughes, who signed a new five-year contract. All of them have ties to the Cubs organization, and you know their names.
But, I thought that today, I’d share an interesting tidbit about each that you might not already know …
Doug Glanville is an Ivy League grad (his Cubs teammates called him the “rocket scientist”). He’s an author (Glanville’s first book, “The Game From Where I Stand,” was published in May). And he compiled 1,100 hits and a .277 average in nine Major League seasons (including a stellar .325 with 204 hits in 1999).
But, perhaps the most interesting thing about Doug Glanville?
His middle name: It’s Metunwa.
Former Cubs first baseman Mark Grace holds the proud distinction of collecting the most hits (1,754) in the decade of the 1990s. He also holds the less proud distinction of joining Pete Rose (2,045 hits during the ’70s) as the only major leaguers to lead a decade in hits and not be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In 1996, Hollandsworth was named the National League Rookie of the year after leading all NL rookies in hits, doubles, home runs, RBI and stolen bases for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Remarkably, his award was the fifth consecutive Rookie of the Year award for the Dodgers, an MLB record.
Hollandsworth’s ROY followed those of Eric Karros, Mike Piazza, Raul Mondesi and Hideo Nomo.
Just like fellow Cubs broadcaster candidate, Karros was born in Hackensack, N.J. Other famous natives of Hackensack (pop. 42,839) include former NBA coach – and “Czar of the Telestrator” – Mike Fratello, Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brothers and Alex Vincent, the child actor who squared off with psycho doll “Chucky” in the film “Child’s Play.”
“Sarge” spent three seasons patrolling left field for the Chicago Cubs during the mid-1980s, but in 1969, his playing career began 186 miles to the south for the now-defunct Decatur (Ill.) Commodores.
After 74 years in central Illinois, the Commodores – nicknamed after Stephen Decatur – moved to Wausau, Wis., in 1974 and became the Wausau Timbers. During its years in Decatur, the team was often called the “Commies” for short before that term became a slang term for “Communist.”
The former Cubs outfielder and University of Texas standout is a member of the College World Series All-Decade team for the 1970s. In fact, Moreland has the third most career hits in CWS history with 23 in three years (1973-75). Only Chicago Cub Sam Fuld of Stanford (24) and Dustin Ackley of North Carolina (27) have hit more.
On May 1, 2010, Moreland’s Longhorn number 3 was retired by the University of Texas.
Born in Chicago and raised in suburban Elk Grove, the 6-foot-7 Otto is reportedly the tallest pitcher in the history of the Elk Grove High School baseball program.
Otto also was a basketball standout for the Grenadiers, whose other notable alumni include Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha and John Loprieno, who spent 10 seasons during the 1980s and ’90s starring as “Cord Roberts” on the soap opera “One Life to Live.”
Plesace, who pitched for seven organizations during an 18-year big league career, holds the distinction of being the last Phillies pitcher in the history of Veterans Stadium.
He struck out the only batter he faced, Ryan Langerhans, to record the third out in the top of the ninth inning on Sept. 28, 2003.
Among Jewish pitchers in major league history, only Ken Holtzman and Sandy Koufax recorded more wins (107) and strikeouts (1,065) that Stone, who won the 1980 American League Cy Young Award for the Baltimore Orioles.
In 1995, Todd Hollandsworth ended a string of five consecutive Rookie of the Year winners for the L.A. Dodgers. Sixteen years earlier, in 1979, Sutcliffe began a streak of four straight ROY winners for Tommy Lasorda’s favorite ballclub.
Following Sutcliffe for the Dogers was Steve Howe, Fernando Valenzuela and Steve Sax.
Nicknamed “Wild Thing,” in 1993, Williams began wearing jersey number 99 – the same number that the character Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn wore in the film, “Major League.”
However, Williams claims that number change had nothing to do with the movie. Rather than trying to emulate Vaughn, Williams says he wore the number to honor former NFL star Mark Gastineau.
Do you agree with Dave? Post your comments below.
If nothing else, Dave Wischnowsky is an Illinois boy. Raised in Bourbonnais, educated at the University of Illinois and bred on sports in the Land of Lincoln, he now resides on Chicago’s North Side, just blocks from Wrigley Field. Formerly a reporter and blogger for the Chicago Tribune, Dave currently writes a syndicated column, The Wisch List, which you can check out via his blog at http://www.wischlist.com.