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Chicago Cubs - All Time Best Chicago Cubs Players by Position

By John Svolos, Chicago About.com Sports Editor

Chicago Cubs - All Time Best Chicago Cubs Players by Position

Pitcher Greg Maddux makes the list of Chicago Cubs greats.

© Doug Benc/Getty Images
Who were the best players ever to wear a Chicago Cubs uniform? Here's my list, and please note that players had to have a minimum of five good years with the Cubs to be considered.

(Did we get it wrong or do you agree? Who do you think we overlooked? Name your picks here.)

PITCHERS

  • Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown Hall of Famer's stats are extraordinary even for the dead-ball era. 26-6 with a 1.06 ERA for the great 1906 Cubs team that lost the World Series to the hitless wonders on the South Side. Six consecutive 20-win seasons, five with an ERA under 2.00. 20 innings pitched, no earned runs in the 1907 and 1908 World Series wins against the Ty Cobb Tigers.

  • Fergie Jenkins Hall of Famer delivered six consecutive 20-win seasons through 1972. Strikeout to walk ratio over 7.0 in his 1971 Cy Young winning season, with 24 wins.

  • Greg Maddux The first five and the last of his 17 consecutive seasons with over 15 wins, including the 20-11, 2.18 ERA 1992 season that sent him on his way to Atlanta at age 26, where he repeated his Cy Young award three more consecutive times. 17 Gold Gloves?!

  • Bruce Sutter Hall of Famer work-horse reliever absolutely dominated hitters with his splitter, seven times appearing in sixty games, five times pitching over 100 innings, seven times with an ERA under 3.00, Cy Young winner in 1979 with 37 saves and a 2.22 ERA for fifth place Cubs. 1.34 ERA with 129 SO's and only 23 walks for 1977 Cubs. Earned a World Series ring with the 1982 Cardinals.

  • Lee Smith Finished his eight year career with the Cubs with four straight 30-save seasons before delivering two 40 save seasons for the Cards. Consistent low 3's ERA in Wrigley, seven times with a better than 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio (32 walks and 112 SO's for 1985 Cubs), numbers that shine except by comparison to Sutter, who he succeeded.

CATCHER

  • Gabby Hartnett Hall of Famer foreshadowed need for lights with "Homer in the Gloamin." Hit 37 of them while batting .339 for the 1930 Cubs. These were halcyon days, as Hartnett helped deliver four National League Championships in nine years. A .297 hitter during his 19 years with the Cubs, including .354 at the age of 36, he was a top-ten in slugging percentage 7 times. MVP for the 1935 Cubs, winners of 100 games and the Pennant. Remarkable .990's fielding percentages four years in a row (1935-1939) during five-year run as an All-Star stand out.

FIRST BASE

  • Mark Grace Career .303 hitter, including 9 .300 seasons with the Cubs, never struck out more than 56 times in a season. Hit .647 in the 1989 NLCS five game series against the Giants. Four gold gloves, eight top-ten batting averages. 511 doubles in his career, including 51 for 1995 Cubs.

SECOND BASE

  • Ryne Sandberg Hall of Famer beats out underappreciated Billy Herman, an anchor of the 1930's Cubs that dwarf the accomplishments of all other Cubs rosters (hit .341 for 1935 Pennant winners). Ryno hit .300 five times, stole 30 bases five times (54 in 1985), hit 20 homers six times (40 in 1990). MVP of 1984 Cubs team that restored the franchise. All that, while winning 9 Gold Gloves at second base. One of a handful of the best second baseman of all time.

  • Roger Hornsby Take a look at the 1929 season that Rogers Hornsby gave the Cubs: .380, 39 homers and 149 RBI at the age of 33. Best single season numbers ever in a Cubs uniform.

SHORTSTOP

  • Ernie Banks Underappreciated. Greatest Cub player of all-time. In a league that featured Henry Aaron, Willie Mays and Frank Robinson, among others, he was the back-to-back MVP in 1958 and 1959; he led the league in homers, extra base hits and RBI's multiple times while playing virtually every day at shortstop for six straight years. No whining about the withering sun by this immortal. The only legitimate 500-homer career in a Cubs uniform, in my view.

THIRD BASE

  • Ron Santo Love Ron, and he's the clear choice. But why'd they let go of the guy who won back-to-back batting titles, hit .354 and .339 for the 1975 and 1976 Cubs (winners of 75 games)? To get Bobby Murcer? Ron had four .300 seasons, four straight 30 homer seasons, eight All-Star seasons, and five Gold Gloves. A great player on the teams that fell just short of immortality.

OUTFIELD

  • Billy Williams Hall of Famer with five .300 seasons, five 30 homer seasons, six All-Star seasons, including two brilliant years for the 1970 and 1972 Cubs (.322, 42 HR's and 129 RBI in 1970). Eight top tens in Slugging, ten top tens in hits, 9 top tens in homers. He was a very good player for a very long time.

  • Hack Wilson Barrell chested 5'6" power-hitting Hall of Famer, storied example of the evils of drinking, his short career includes five straight .300 seasons for the Cubs with a chemically unaided 56 homers in 1930 (but with the benefit of a remarkably live ball -- the league hit .303 that year), the year he drove in the still-standing record 190 RBI. Hit .471 in the 1929 World Series against the devastating Philadelphia A's, but famously lost two balls in the sun in the 7th inning of a Game 4 in which the Cubs went on to blow an 8-0 lead, losing 10-8.

  • Kiki Cuyler Hall of Famer with .321 lifetime average and 328 stolen bases, including 43 for the 1929 League Champs, hitting .360. The 1929 Cubs lineup had a perfect balance of speed, average and power. But so did the Philadelphia A's, who also had pitching. (Connie Mack used Lefty Grove as a closer 6.3 innings, no runs, 10 SO's and a walk against the extraordinary Cub lineup.)

  • Honorable Mention to Riggs Stephenson Third member of 1929 outfield with Cuyler and Wilson that all drove in 100 runs. Eight straight .300 seasons for the Cubs, including years of .338, .344, .362 and .367. He hit .444 in the four game 1932 World Series loss to the Babe Ruth Yankees.

MANAGER

  • Frank Chance Hall of Famer player-manager led the Cubs to the last two World Series wins, 1907 and 1908, both over the Detroit Tigers. At that time, the Cubs played at West Side Park, prior to moving to Wrigley Field in 1915, where they yet to win a Championship.
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