Was Prior the biggest Cubs bust?

Mark Prior just won't go away.

It's still hard not to look at him and think what if?

Prior was supposed to be the Cubs version of Tom Seaver, Roger Clemens, Jim Palmer or whomever else he was compared to.

He threw easy 90's and could put it in a tea cup. He had the build. He had ice water running through his veins. He had perfect mechanics.

As it turns out not everyone believed that hype. There were some whispers back at the beginning of his career of PED use, when his velocity noticeably climbed during his last two seasons at USC. There were some analysts who predicted doom upon examining his pitching delivery.

Whether it was the freak injuries or the usage of PED's, Prior fell apart all too quickly.

We can go on and on about the disappointment that was his short career. It just makes me wonder if he was the biggest let down in Cubs history?

When you think about it, is the let down that much bigger than it was when it came to Kerry Wood?

Wood has had a much longer career, reinvented himself as a reliever, and was a closer on a 97 win team.

However, think back to when Wood came on the scene in 1998, just like Prior in 2003, he was simply dominant.

Who had the bigger hype at the time? Its pretty close.

Just like Prior, Wood was compared to greats like Nolan Ryan, and Roger Clemens. Was it a coincidence the Cubs gave him Ryan's #34?

According to a former Cubs exec that I spoke to, there was one area the two were incomparable, dedication. He told me that while Wood was always trying to do anything he could to pitch during those injury plagued years, Prior was busy pointing fingers and lying in a hot tub.

Either way you look at it, we all thought one of these guys was our meal ticket when they first arrived. When injuries took Wood's promise, along came Prior and you never thought it would happen all over again.

But then again, you are a Cubs fan so maybe you did?

 

Filed under: Uncategorized

Comments

Leave a comment
  • I think between the two you have to go with Prior even though Wood had the better raw stuff. Prior was suppose to be a can't miss guy and a once in a generation prospect. The total package...turns out maybe that was just from the neck down.

  • fb_avatar

    The thing about Prior is that I thought he was a bigtime competitor who like Wood was destroyed by an ignorant manager who beat the living crap out of their arms...You know I don't believe that Hendry was even honest about Prior's injury ever...I felt that things were far worse than they ever let on...

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I think Baker did have something to do with it, but Prior had so many things working against him that it was probably going to happen sooner or later. Baker probably made sure it happened sooner.

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    I think it is unfair to blame Dusty totally for this one. After all, when he himself played the game, weren't nine-inning complete games much more comman than they are now? And didn't Nolan Ryan and Bob Gibson have a resume featuring many games of 200+ pitches? Of course, that was before the fetish for tracking pitch counts took over.

  • It is still stunning to think how far and fast Prior fell. From the highs of 2003 to off the team and unwanted in 2006. More than Wood, more than any player, his career trajectory had the greatest impact on the Cubs of the last decade.

    But I wouldn't call Prior a "bust." That implies he never produced or that his potential turned out to be vastly different than predicted. The fact is he tore through the minors, was electric in 2002, a pitching God in 2003 and if he hadn't been injured chances are he would have remained one of the best pitchers in baseball.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    IOW, the modern-day equivalent of Bob Feller?

  • For the record, Sosa wore "Clemens #21". Prior, as any Cubs fan with a pulse would remember, wore #22 which was popularized by...Mark Prior.

  • In reply to mattlindner:

    Duh, had a brain fart late at night and just got up to change it. I had that in mimd cuz Prior wore #21 in college and Clemens wore #22 I believe at the time with NYY.

  • [totally personal opinion]

    Shawon Dunston was the biggest bust.

    Yes, he had a really nice career in Chicago. But consider that he was the top overall pick in 1982. I don't need to remind all over you that Doc Gooden was fourth overall that year, but there were a few others kids that were drafted early (Barry Bonds & Bo Jackson in round two but didn't sign) that also turned out well, and might have signed if picked at the top. David Wells, Jimmy Key, Todd Worrell, Will Clark and Randy Johnson were also selected in the top five rounds that year.

    Love me some Shawon, but the Cubs missed all over the place in the 82 draft

  • In reply to Tab Bamford:

    Every team in baseball, though, including the Mets (who later denied it), had Dunston at the very top of their board. Can't blame the Cubs for that one. Every team would have picked him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That is also true, Dunston was a consensus #1

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    To be fair the same applies for Prior. Everyone had him at the top of their boards. The only reason Minnesota passed on him for Mauer was because they didn't think they would be able to sign him, and considering the bonus he got, they probably were right.

  • In reply to Tab Bamford:

    Tab, you are right on. Maybe we have to do another post on actual Cubs busts...this was more about Prior reminding me who was a bigger disappointment him or Wood?

  • fb_avatar

    I just went back and looked at the first couple of picks after prior was picked, and there lye Mark Teixeria. So just think what if. Is he the cubs biggest bust no. mark at least gave us a couple of good years. If you look at people like Felix Pie, josh Vitters,ext. They have given us nothing. now there may be more i am forgetting but that is my opinion. Your thoughts.

  • In reply to Larry:

    The word was that the Cubs were set to take Texeira had the Twins taken Prior.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Exactly John, no one mentioned the Cubs and Prior in that draft until about the week before it took place. It was supposed to be Mark Teixeira all the way but a lot of teams were scared off when he broke his ankle his senior year at Georgia Tech.

    Ah the possibilites...

  • In reply to Larry:

    I feel I have become the resident Josh Vitters apologist : ) While I have been a little dissapointed thus far, he just turned 22, played a full year at AA last year, was young for his league, and actually had a pretty solid season. Playing last year at 21, I'm not sure what Vitters should be giving anyway. It's now when my expectations for Vitters are ramped up. 22-23-24 is when the expectations should be realized.

    I agree with you on Prior. Not the biggest bust. PED's or not, he was the #! reason in 2003 we came within 5 outs of the WS. He was absolutely unreal. Outside of the Red Barron's 16-1 run in 84, it was, in my lifetime, the best Cubs pitching season.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to dgedz27:

    I don't think Vitters is a huge bust at the moment, but when he came out, there was a lot of hype around him. that is why i think he a started to bust a little

  • In reply to Larry:

    And let's not forget Corey Patterson, who since has been like a traveling show, now in Milwaukee. But to be fair, he was on his way to an all-star season when he had the injury. So he and Prior were somewhat in the same boat.

  • Biggest let-down by far, considering the trajectory. (At least in my lifetime.) We thought we were set to dominate. Instead it was wait and wait.. and wait....

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    Yeah, for sure. For 2, 3 years I kept telling myself, "When Prior's back completely healthy, it's gonna be 2003 all over again." Gut wrenching to think about it, even now.

    But I can't say biggest bust. Along with '89, '03 was my favorite Cubs season ever. He was a big part of that. Never seen a pitcher so dominant. That dominance combined with his multiple injuries and that Sox player's statement that year have since made me wonder if it was all just PED's. Maybe he's admitted it now, I haven't followed it.

  • In reply to Dan Bradley:

    For me, no player got my hopes up higher than Prior and Wood -- but especially Prior. He probably had the biggest fall from peak to valley-- in the shortest time-- than any Cubs player I can remember.

  • My pick for the biggest bust is Ty Griffin.

    Did he even get past Double A ball?

  • In reply to Alex:

    Nice! Look at our run of 1st rounders after Palmeiro. It was ten years of pure garbage, all the way up to Kerry Wood.

  • In reply to Alex:

    Earl Cunningham never made it out of A ball, was one pick behind Frank Thomas. Cubs hyped him as a phenomenal athlete, which maybe he was. Best year was in Peoria when he hit .239. 19 HRs but a 10/145 walk to strikeout ratio. Athleticism didn't translate to baseball.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Oh those Jim Frey drafts were something!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Cunningham didn't have near the hype Griffin did when he got drafted. Great player at Georgia Tech, but got a ton of national press from his play on the US National Team.

    The funny thing is that the Cubs could have picked Robin Ventura to play 3rd base, but passed on him to draft Griffin.

    OUCH.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    earl cunningham! I remember him! man, that walk to strikeout ratio is an eyesore! don't know if i've ever seen worse. just looking at that makes the hair fall out of my nutsac! Have to agree that Prior was the biggest fall, but not the biggest bust.

  • I remember a lot of people wrote that coming out of college, Prior had a very easy pitching motion, like he was playing catch. Sometime later, after he was no longer being coached by Tom House, a bio mechanics expert, his pitching motion was described as violent. I wonder if it was the Cub coaching or the lack of Tom House that did in Prior?

  • In reply to SFToby:

    It's a good question. Some might even say House was the culprit himself, very controversial guy at the time.

  • fb_avatar

    Mark prior can not be labeled a bust no matter how you look at it. He had major league success and if not for the wheels falling off in 03, would have lead the cubbies to the works series. The problem with prior was .overwork and bad mechanics. Maybe a list him.as a disappointment, but never a bust. Bust = lance Dickson, earl Cunningham or any other first round pick who never did anything to live up to their hype.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Rich Cap:

    Wow.. I see auto spell on my cell phone is not my friend today. Lets try that again...

    Mark prior can not be labeled a bust no matter how you look at it. He had major league success and if not for the wheels falling off in 03, would have lead the cubbies to the world series. The problem with prior was overwork and bad mechanics. Maybe list him as a disappointment, but never a bust. Bust = lance Dickson, earl Cunningham or any other first round pick who never did anything to live up to their hype.

  • In reply to Rich Cap:

    Cunningham is one of my "favorites" because of all the hype and then how spectacularly bad he was in Class A, which was as high as he ever got.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Well Lance Dickson is the first one that comes to my mind. He was the #4 ranked minor leaguer and I don't think he ever saw a major league mound. Terribly disappointing.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Hal McCarty:

    Dickson did pitch in the majors, making 3 starts the year he was drafted, 1990. 3 bad starts, and was never heard from again. I think he hurt his elbow shortly after that.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Rich Cap:

    whatever happened to Lance Dickson? I remember how he tore through the minors that one year whenever it was and i can't remember how it all ended for him. He sure looked promising at the time with his rich hill-like curveball

  • Well, you got me started thinking about the question of Prior as the biggest Cub bust. Ty Griffin! Then Dunston was mentioned- not a complete miss but far from expectations. Then Lance Dickson came to mind, then Brooks Kieschnick, then Vic Harris, then Jackie Curtis. Curtis made me think of Jackie Davidson. What of Karl Pagel, I wondered. Earl Cunningham? Gary Scott? Now I have a head ache, I am cranky and late for work. I'm gonna settle on Larry Himes.

  • In reply to Hubbs16:

    Karl Pagel! He was the first bust that I remember. Supposed to be a power hitter. Minor leagues weren't followed as closely then but I remember hearing great things about Pagel, was anticipating him coming up, waiting....waiting...

    Just looked him up and he had a HUGE line in AAA at age 24, .316/.436/.617 with 39 HRs and 100 walks. New school stat guys would have loved him.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Hubbs16:

    I like Gary Scott, that's a good one, and Brooks Kieschnick, wasn't he supposed to be the next Brooks Robinson. What about Mike Harkey? He was good for a little bit, but never seemed to do much and I can't remember how he ended. or from the same era, Shawn Boskie.

  • "Bust" and "letdown" are two different things. Off the top of my head, I'd have to say Lou (Luis) Montanez (3rd overall) or Ryan Sweeney (6th overall?) for busts, and yeah, I could agree that Prior was big letdown.

  • In reply to Norm:

    Do you mean Ryan Harvey? That guy was awful. Great batting practice power....glad scouts put more emphasis these days on in-game power but it wasn't uncommon a while back to dream on a guy based on what he could do in the batting cages. Close call between Earl Cunningham and Ryan Harvey as the worst power hitting draft pick of all time.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Norm:

    Is Montanez still kicking around the organizatio?. He played for the Cubs as recently as last year, yes? I realize after an exile with the Orioles. what about Frank Castillo? Jeremi Gonzalez? Didn't he die recently? Lots of pitchers who started out promising but never amounted to much. Jeff Pico, etc. the list goes on and on.

  • I would not label a player who made it to the major and then had
    a major injury a bust. All of the names mentioned above were
    real bust . Dunston was a good player, but not the star most
    people envisioned

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I agree, emartinezjr. I think after that comeback that hit him in his pitching arm is what did him in. He couldn't seem to put anything back together after that.

  • Kevin Orie was a bigger let down. We had spent years trying to get a 3rd baseman to replace the Great Ron Santo and then this kid comes along and is suppose to put all that to rest. He teases us with a stellar rookie year showing promise in 114 games and .275 BA.Then his sophmore year, 112 games and 10 more PA's then his rookie year and just like that, BUST!

  • In reply to lokeey:

    Gary Scott too!

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ya, his time in ML was horrendous!

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to lokeey:

    Cubs screwed Orie up as I recall... They moved him up and down from the minors to the pro's like a yo-yo his sophmore season..

  • My two cents worth...

    I think it is gr8 that Prior is trying to make a come back. It seems to me that Prior gave it his best when he was playing. His perseverance should be lauded and not debated as a choice between "bust" or "letdown."

  • In reply to GoCubs:

    He certainly seemed to try and hard to come back. We don't know for sure. Tom's source seems to indicate otherwise.

  • I agree with those who say Prior wasn't a bust. He did have some very good years in the minors and two crazy years in the majors. My vote are Ty Griffin and Earl Cuningham. Didn't Cunningham have some sort of strike out record for a time in the minors? Neither of them did anything to help the Cubs...ever.

  • Even though last year we had a great draft, it's still good that
    we have a new scouting director and more staff.

  • "For of all sad words of tongue or pen
    The saddest are these: It might have been."

    John Greenleaf Whittier

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    That would have been a great quote in the piece.

  • Great debate! I like Dan's word of "trajectory." Prior was on a steep climb and while we all thought he may "level off", we expected the leveling off to still be pretty dominant. To go from top prospect to top young pitcher in the game, to cy young candidate (he should have won in 2003) to absolutely nothing, all in the span of four years, is incredible. I think he would be my biggest disappointment, but I usually associate the word bust with someone who never did anything at all, despite loads of hype. Ryan Leaf always comes to mind...Much tougher to be a bust in baseball than in football, since so many are drafted or signed and so few make it. Felix Pie would be a good one. Didn't he make it up to the top 20 prospects in all of baseball?

  • Ok so maybe bust is a misleading headline. I did focus on the word letdown in the post. We all know Prior delivered in 03, simply one of the best years from a pitcher I have witnessed. If you are talking busts I think Dunston, Patterson, etc would be included in the discussion.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    trainwreck i think is a good word. From top 3 I think in Cy young voting to every body part breaking down.

  • If anyone is interested, I made my list of 10 worst draft picks almost a year ago and it includes many of the names we've talked about. Excuse the format as it didn't translate right from the old ChicagoNow software, but the info is all there. Here's the link...

    http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2011/03/cubs-all-time-worst-draft-decisions-2/

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, that list is brutal.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John - That article is so depressing. How can anyone say the cubs are cursed when you look at how inept their scouting has been in the last...I don't know say...100 years! Good scouting = quality players = winning. Isn't it ironic that the closest they came was 2003 when they actually had players they drafted as the stars?? When they did something mildly right in the draft...they almost won!

  • In reply to jimmy mac1:

    Exactly -- and you have to include ownership. Wrigley was too cheap to invest in scouting and the Trib initially gave Dallas Green and Andy McPhail some rope, but they lost patience quickly and went into win-now mode. Cubs need to stay the course this time.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    just read through the list. very good reporting, remember most of those guys and still waiting for them to come to fruition. What was even more remarkable was the paltry 2 comments you had for that excellent list! I guess that was when you were just starting out, the following seems to have grown exponentially since then!

  • Mark Prior is easily the biggest Cubs bust I can remember. From what I remember he was supposed to win 4 or 5 Cy Young awards , one would have been nice . Who would have thought he was made out of balsa wood and broke down for everything??

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    Cubs needed better modeling glue.

  • fb_avatar

    I'd rank SorryOhNo right up there. Since signing with the Cubs every season has been below his career averages up to that point. Combine that with the length and amount of his contract and he's been a bust.

  • I think his first year was one of his better overall years. He hit well, still had some speed, and threw out a ton of baserunners from LF -- but other than that, I agree. Hasn't been worth the contract at all.

  • Yeah, except Soriano was instrumental in the Cubs winning two divisional titles. So that's wrong. Cute nickname though.....

    Bust to me is complete and utter failure to achieve any of the goals expected of you.

    For example: If a team trades Adrian Gonzalez for you and you hit a ton in the minors then come up to the majors and you're so bad that the first thing that team does is use it's biggest trade asset to acquire a replacement for you......that strikes me as a bust. For them at least. I hope he'll be swell here.

    As for disappointment, I go for Wood over Prior simply because Prior at least got to follow Wood. Wood was the first Cub pitcher that simply blew your mind. There wasn't a Cub pitcher that could blow the opposition away since....fergie? Sutcliffe was an import. Maddux was homegrown but he was more accuracy and smarts than stuff. No when Wood took the mound and he felt it, the other team was toast. unfortunately, Riggeman threw him into that playoff game when he clearly shouldn't have ( Something that make no sense to me.) and then went through the Dusty young arm meat grinder....At least he's salvaging his career as a reliever and a great dude. But Wood allowed Cub fans to dream in ways that no other pitcher, even Prior, really could.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to felzz:

    In his 5 seasons before he signed with the Cubs, Soriano AVERAGED 154 G, 37 HR, 97 RBI, a .283 BA and 33 SB. Again, that was an average season. In his 5 seasons with the Cubs? 129 G, 26 HR, 73 RBI, a .266 BA and 11 SB. That's a bust.

  • That's not a bust, that's not living up to your contract. If any of the Cubs current outfielders other than Soriano put up those numbers this year we'll be jumping for joy.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Really? You'd be jumping for joy if one of the Cubs' current OFs had those numbers at Soriano's salary?

  • Good points, Wood was more dominant at times but had control issues and would beat himself something Prior never did.

  • Prior is definitely the biggest disappointment in my lifetime. Sure Kerry Wood had more electrifying stuff, but Stoney told us that Prior had better mechanics and forecasted hall of fame type longevity. With Wood we had seen Texas phenoms flame out before so it wasnt a surprise, but like the article says Prior resembled Palmer or Seaver
    I vaguely remember before drafting Prior some conversation about his youth training regimen. Because of the injury risk, investing in young pitchers seems to be a crapshoot. Have there been any published studies about most successful programs for developing young pitchers? I think Hammels came from the same youth program as Prior....maybe Strasburg too.

  • I was just looking at some past drafts and Ben Christensen jumped off the screen.

    This guy was supposed to be a top pick in the draft in 1999. Then he beaned the guy in the head that was standing in the batting circle, because he claimed the guy was trying to time him before he stepped up to the plate.

    So then he drops in all the draft lists because people were concerned of his emotional state and lands with the Cubs who had a low 1st round pick.

    He was a guy I didn't like and was happy to root against him. I was glad he never made it to the Cubs.

  • Not a bad one, and Mike Harkey has to rank pretty high

  • Prior gets a bad rap in the cojones department. Remember that brutal collision at second base in 2003 that injured his shoulder? He missed around 2 starts. A year or so later when a line drive fractured his elbow, he came back around a month later. Blame the Cubs trainers and docs for that one. The Cubs exec who dissed him is covering up their incompetence.

    I give him credit for hanging in there and trying to recapture some of the magic. He certainly doesn't need the money.

  • fb_avatar

    I can't put Prior in the "Bust" category because he actually had big league success for the Cubs. To me, busts are guys who either never reached the majors or were given big free agent contracts and were massive failures, like Todd Hundley and Mel Rojas.

    But the first names that come to mind when someone says Cubs and Bust are Gary Scott, Ben Christiansen, Lance Dickson, Earl Cunningham, Ryan Harvey (and almost every 1st round pick of the Jim Hendry GM era), etc.

    I also think it never helps a prospect when a GM starts publicly comparing them to star players. Just a couple I can remember Hendry saying during his after-draft interview during a ballgame: Ryan Harvey is similar to Dale Murphy. Luis Montanez is similar to ARod. Comparisons to star players or Hall of Famers doesn't benefit a prospect in any way, it just puts more pressure on the player and primes the fans to consider them failures if they do not become star players themselves, and do it almost overnight once arriving in the majors.

  • fb_avatar

    No--thread related: Rumors are leaking that Selig is close to a decision regarding the Red Sux someone. It is believed that Selig believes the Red Sux are entitled to only one player, and a name being tossed around is Josh Vitters. This came via MLB Radio.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I hate auto-correct. I meant to say compensation, not someone.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Thanks Mike, heard that as well.

  • Have not read the other comments, so I apologize if I'm rehashing old arguments.

    Prior is not a bust. He was a major league pitcher for several seasons. He had that one luminous year where he had a claim to stake for the Cy Young award. Mark Pawelek was a bust. Luis Montanez was a bust. Not Prior.

  • fb_avatar

    I'm fine with that. Vitters will never be more than a UT. Let Boston have him and be done with this entire debacle. The only reason Cubs fans hold Vitters in such high regard is because the cupboard has been so embarrassingly bad that he is actually a top ten prospect. On Boston, he'd have a tough time cracking that list, and at any rate, I'd trade Vitters for Epstein 100 times out of 100 opportunities. Which leads me to this thread. Perhaps the article should be who WASN'T a bust. Off the top of my head, over the past 30 years: Wood, Prior, Dunston, Castro as far as first round talent -- all are, or have been difference makers, even if it was only for a few seasons. Jury is out on guys like Javier Baez and Brett Jackson. Let's face it, the Cubs are where they are because they have less than stellar annual drafts. Here's hoping that changes going forward, I'd certainly hate to rehash this article five years from now. Signed, Epstein's Mother.

  • Realize the bust headline was harsh, it was more about the disappointment he and Wood provided, but the discussion has been fun

  • fb_avatar

    MLB Radio is reporting that Cespedes will arrive in Miami tonight, and he will visit with the Marlins tomorrow.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Got a bad feeling about that

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Cespedes has a visitors visa, which is good for two weeks, and it is believed he will visit with other teams before making his decision.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Tom, i'd like Cespedes but i'd be happier with Concepcion and Soler...One thing though, Theo and Co seem to have established a relationship with Cespedes so anything is possible..I hate the Marlins because in 2 years when all this crap blows up in their faces they'll deal all these guys for top prospects like they always do

  • fb_avatar

    Reports are saying Cespedes will sign with Miami. But again, some scouts have compared him to Marlon Byrd from previous posts I have read on this site. I am sure he is much better, but let's not get too upset until we see how good he is against MLB pitching. Would you rather be in the faction that sees him light it up with another team or the faction that pays $50/ticket to see a $30m-$60m bust on yours? While I agree he will probably be neither of those two, I do think he will be overpaid wherever he goes and aren't we, as Cubs fans, done with supporting that type of shopping? We're value shoppers now. If that guy turns out to be Marlon Byrd II on 5yr/$60m deal we'd all be pretty upset. I don't see production matching the hype, but I am no scout or anything. Pass.

  • This article and the subsequent comments remind me of the need for a little perspective. For all of the disappointment of the last decade, things really have improved.

    At the outset, it is worth noting that the Cubs have not always been lovable losers. In fact, between 1900 and 1945 the Cubs had ten
    World Series appearances, including four between 1906 and 1910 and three more in the 1930s. With rare exception, the Cubs fielded a competitive team almost every year up to 1945.

    The post-1945 Cubs are almost a mirror image of their predecessors. Winning seasons become the exception rather than the norm and there is a complete absence from post-season play for thirty-nine years. Other than a brief flourish of winning teams in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Cubs teams from 1946 to 1983 can be politely described as aspiring to mediocrity. Even the post-season appearances in 1984, 1989, and 1998 are aberrations in as much as each was preceded and followed by multiple years of losing baseball. Indeed, in the fifty-five year span from 1946 to 2000 the Cubs had only those three post-season appearances and only thirteen winning seasons. Let that sink in for a moment as you're considering "busts" and "disappointments."

    By comparison to the second half of the 20th Century, the Cubs have done relatively well between 2001 and 2011. They have had six winning seasons and three post-season appearances. There has not been a single decade of post-billy goat Cubs teams that can match that. The only ten-year span that even comes close is between 1966 and 1975 when the Cubs also had six winning seasons but no post-season appearances to show for it.

    The point is this - even with the injuries to Prior and Wood, the eventual meltdown of Zambrano, the various prospects who didn't pan out, changes in ownership, and debatable front office decisions, the Cubs have put together a decent, albeit not spectacular decade of baseball. Would I like to see it get better? Of course I would and I am optimistic that it will. But just for the sake of perspective, it is worth remembering that it has been much worse.

  • The only thing that matters is this market and organization should be nothing less than super competitive in it's own division just like the Cardinals have been. The couple of years where Hendry bought a couple of division titles doesn't impress me at all. There has never been sustained success and there is no reason for it. Excuse me if I don't give a poop about that so called success when compared to the miserable history you mentioned. Bottom line is it's seems to be all over now and we can rejoice that the stupid is over and done with.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Could not agree more. The Cubs should be the team that's the favorite in their division every season. Also, Hendry's "success" doesn't impress me either. If he were the one high on Cespedes I'd be worried. The state he left the team in belies his reputation as a great judge of talent.

  • fb_avatar

    I want to puke after reading that draft pick article from last year... God the early 90's were dark days after Maddux left town... I had an especially dark, hate filled place in my heart for anything to do with the 90's Braves from then on out..

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Northside Neuman:

    I reserve my hate for Larry Himes. How could we be so stupid to let a former south sider into our inner workings. Him letting Maddux go for a paltry 100,000 will never be forgotten or forgiven by me. I don't blame the Braves at all. I lay it all on Himes.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Hal McCarty:

    More Stanton Cooks fault than Larry Himes... Cook was the Cub president and wouldn't budge on the extra dough...

    Shockingly, Stanton Cook is still alive and living in Evanston I believe... I would have thought his soul was already receiving hells fury by now... I wonder if he ever thinks about how he screwed up retaining the best right handed pitcher of the last 50 years over a quarter of a million bucks... Moron.

  • A starving man should appreciate any morsel of food he receives regardless of how he came by it. This is true even if his hunger is not satiated. Cubs fans have starved too long for any form of success to summarily write off two division titles as "bought." Are those division titles and other winning years fully satisfying? They are not. But considering their scarcity, they should not be so easily cast aside.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to RSBeast:

    You're a poet.

  • In reply to RSBeast:

    Hey RS, I enjoyed those years don't get me wrong but the teams Hendry didn't buy 2003/2004 were much better IMHO.

  • fb_avatar

    Tom, those teams were better and Hendry as a GM was at his pinnacle there...Lets not forget that if MacPhail had allowed Hendry to spend an extra 8 million on Pudge, the Cubs would have won the whole damn thing in 2003 regardless of Dusty and Bartman...Dusty gets a lot of the blame in 2004 however, bad choke at the end of that season and the following 2 years were brutal...Those teams in 2007/08 were flawed...They played for the long ball, questionable defense and no speed at all you can't win when you can't take extra bases ever.

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    No doubt. The only thing I really liked about the 08 team was the OBP. Too RH and pitching was far from scary, just solid. The 03 and 04 teams had much better top of rotation and defense. Yes, if Hendry would have gotten Pudge .....or even Palmerio at deadline? However Dusty deserves a lot of blame in 04 for sticking La Troy down everyone's throats after he proved he wasn't a closer.

  • fb_avatar

    Dusty's abuse of the pitching staff and his arrogance killed that team in 2004...LaToya was a joke!!! I still have nightmares about him closing...Eighth inning lights out, ninth inning knocked out!!! OUCH!!!!

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Sad part is Hendry got him to hold down the 8th like he was good at, in fact probably the best in baseball at. Hendry's offseason before 04 was stellar. Lee, Walker, Hawkins, Hollandsworth.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    and Nomar at the deadline...Talk about stealing the show..he even signed Merker who did actually pitch decent for us but is overshadowed by his conflicts with Stone and Chip Carray..That team was mismanaged because they were stocked..if anything Borowski's injury hurt the most..

  • In reply to Luigi Ziccarelli:

    Yes and yes. That is when I thought we had ourselves a pretty good GM....oh and how can we forget Maddux!

  • Ok Luigi just a few more comments and we break 100!

  • Ernie Broglio was the biggest Cubs bust ever. He was a pitcher with the Cardinals, and the Cubs acquired him in a 1964 trade for a young outfielder named Lou Brock. Brock played 15 more years and wound up in the Hall of Fame. Broglio went 7-19 with the Cubs, and was gone by 1966.
    --JRS

  • Prior was no different than hundreds of other pitchers. If your pitching arm isn't up and ready to come forward by the time your stride foot lands, you're looking for a career on the DL.

  • Biggest Cubs bust ever? Jim Hendry.

  • In reply to JoesGarage:

    Ha, although I did like him early on 03/04.

  • fb_avatar

    I can't believe people think Prior, Wood or Dunston are the biggest busts in Cubs history.

    How about this list of names: Ben Christensen, Todd Noel, Jay Peterson, Earl Cunningham, Ty Griffin, Dave Masters, Jackie Davidson.

    Those are all the Cubs first round picks between Dunston (1982) and Prior (2001) that never even made it to the majors.

    Luis Montanez, Jon Ratliff, Derek Wallace, Lance Dickson & Drew Hall had cups of coffee.

    Corey Patterson, Brooks Kieschnick, Kevin Orie, Mike Harkey & Derrick May sucked.

    Jon Garland, Doug Glanville & Raffy Palmeiro are the only ones who've at good careers.

  • In reply to Ken Roucka:

    Yeah Ken, all in all if you are looking at bust as biggest let down then Prior, Wood, Dunston would top the list. They had much more talent than the missed picks you mention.

Leave a comment