Board of Traders: My Least-Favorite Former Cubs

Board of Traders: My Least-Favorite Former Cubs

When news of Jared Allen's new deal with the Chicago Bears broke, the Twitter was awash with reaction from all sides. While most reaction from Bears fans welcomed the mulletted DE with open arms, the sentiment from Minnesota Vikings followers was, um, less than congratulatory.

The wake of the announcement gave rise to the trending of "#trader," as in "Allen is a trader for going to the Bears." And just in case you're not too familiar with Twitter, allow me to share a few examples with you:

This tweet also displays the oft-fouled your/you're swap, or trade, which, while an endangered species among the erudite, has found a safe haven in the Twitter aviary. And just in case Bears fans start feeling all high and mighty, realize that the fallout from Julius Peppers signing with the Green Bay Packers was at least as bad:

Okay, so that last little gem appears to be from a Packers fan. Still, it was just too great not to include; low-hanging fruit and all that. But perhaps we should cut all those folks some slack; maybe those Vikes fans were simply telling the world that Allen prefers the barter system to modern currency. It does seem to figure than an avid hunter would be possessed of myriad pelts that could be exchanged for goods and services. Or maybe they're saying that he deals in stocks and bonds.

As a self-proclaimed wordsmith (you know, someone who's real good at words), I am both intrigued and repulsed by the blatant misunderstanding of the English language evident in social media. I you'll indulge me on this tangential, yet still somewhat expository, detour, I'd like to share two such offenses.

More than once, I've read about someone lamenting their weight, claiming to be "obeast." Of course, that could very well be due to too much ice cream, which is an entirely other problem for the folks who "lack toast and tolerance." Thankfully, while I'm often a breadless bigot, I can at least consume dairy products.

But since we're on the topic of intolerance and traders, I want to take a look at some of my least-favorite expatriate Cubs. I didn't use any concrete baseball metrics here, unless there's a sabermetric value for douchebaggery (dbagWAR?).

Milton Bradley

Wow, talk about low-hanging fruit.  I'm pretty sure MB is one of the least-liked characters in the history of sports.  He threw slammed empty bottles at fans' feet, tore his ACL during a histrionic display following what he felt was a bad call, and was generally an a-hole.  But he also put up a .999 OPS in 2008, which prompted Jim Hendry to look past the antics in offering Bradley a 3-year, $30 million contract.

In his lone season with the Cubs, Bradley played in only 124 games, hitting Gatorade coolers with more success than he did baseballs.  If fact, he often seemed reluctant to swing at many good pitches, content to draw walks.  Bradley had no such qualms with swinging at his wife though, as he was twice arrested on domestic violence charges.

It's funny to think that bringing Carlos Silva to town would be viewed as a great coup, but that's exactly how I, and I would guess nearly all Cubs fans, felt when the man who looked like Bartolo Colon's eating coach came to Chicago in the Bradley trade.  So I guess he was more traded than trader, but you get the point.

Sammy Sosa

It's getting harder to dislike Sosa these days, as he's become little more than a sad caricature of the man who once electrified the Wrigley faithful by sprinting out to his station in right.  But he also quit on the team, the final straw in a career pocked with acts of suterfuge.  The corked bat, the juiced muscles, the Radio Raheem ghetto blaster pumping out more salsa than Old El Paso and Pace combined.

Tom Loxas wrote a while back that a Sosa/Cubs reunion isn't likely in the near future, but I do believe it's inevitable.  After all, he appears to be a vampire these days, so he's got plenty of time for fans and the organization to come around.

Rafael Palmeiro

I was too young to pay attention to, or even understand, the rumors swirling around Palmeiro's departure from Chicago, but even had I never heard about them, he's given me reason enough to make this list.  If there's one thing worse than a cheater, it's a liar, and this floater is both.

He threw teammates under the bus and testified under oath that he had "never used steroids, period."  That emphatic finger-wagging was pretty convincing, but in the end, Palmeiro was disgraced.

Ryan Theriot

What?  How can you put The Riot on the list?  He was so gritty and gutty and sneaky athletic and other euphemisms for white athletes.  I loved him for all the same reasons other Cubs fans did; namely, he was the kind of guy who made you feel like you could have played the sport if only you'd have tried a little (or a lot) harder.

Theriot was traded to the LA Dodgers, along with Ted Lilly in July of 2010 and was traded from LA to the St. Louis Cardinals in November of that same year.  Upon arriving in STL, Riot was quoted as saying: "Now I'm on the right side of the rivalry."  Okay, admittedly, I don't really dislike Theriot.  And from a competitive standpoint, his quote was pretty much dead on.

But I still had a little rabble, rabble moment because those words stung, man.

Ted Lilly

I have no qualms with Theodore Roosevelt Lilly III's performance or professionalism, either while on the North Side or elsewhere.  However, he is a serial killer and that is something I cannot condone.

Nomar Garciaparra

Ramon-spelled-backwards wasn't a trader so much as his groin was.  As if understanding that his trade had brought about the first Red Sox World Series title in nearly 9 decades, Nomar's own body 86'ed his Cubs career.  It's less Garciaparra himself I dislike and more the disappointment and frustration that accompanied his tenure in Chicago.

Carlos Zambrano

Zambrano had the potential to be great; he was the Cubs' Opening Day starter in 6 consecutive seasons (2005-10) and in 2008 he threw  the first and only Cubs no-hitter since Milt Pappas tossed one in 1972.  But the same drive that made him great also led to his downfall.  I used to think Zambrano, whose rumored trade to Miami is what prompted me to join Twitter in the first place, was fiery and competitive, his antics a harmless expression of his exuberance.

For instance, on July 19th, 2004, the Cubs faced the Cardinals and Big Z was the center of attention.  He hit Jim Edmonds with a pitch in the first inning, loading the bases.  When Edmonds came up in the 4th, he smashed a home run and spent a while admiring his work.  Z was clearly heated, yelling at Edmonds as he rounded the bases.  When they faced off in the 6th, Carlos blew his opponent away on 3 straight pitches and then wagged his finger at Edmonds, Dikembe Mutombo-style.

In the 8th, Scott Rolen broke a 3-3 tie with a 2-out, 2-run homer.  Who was up next?  Edmonds, of course.  Knowing he was not long for the game anyway, Z plunked the batter and immediately walked off the field without even waiting to be tossed.  At the time, it was some of the most aggressively entertaining baseball I had ever seen, as if Vince McMahon had scripted it.

But then Zambrano's rants became more caustic, his actions costly.  He went from merely explosive to destructive, an aggressively-growing cancer that had to be excised at great financial cost to the team.

Honorable mention

Matt Garza (who signed in Milwaukee, near his fellow trader, Peppers), Brant Brown (though I feel sorry for him more than dislike him), Carlos Marmol.

Fan Voting

Wow, the response to this list has been pretty great today.  I think it'd be irresponsible to call it overwhelming, but I feel very comfortable calling it whelming.  Yes, my Twitter notifications and the comment section have been whelmed with thoughts and names.  With that in mind, I had to jump back on here to update, since I know many people might not ever get to the comments and I think it's important to give the readers their just due.

Most Disliked: Todd Hundley (I'm hoping that his inclusion, while it came after the initial publishing and at the behest of those other than myself, has now validated it in the myopic eyes of my colleague, Gunther Dabynsky), Mel Rojas, LaTroy Hawkins, and Ian Stewart.  These guys were mentioned often enough that I felt they required a little more recognition; my reasons for excluding them can be found in the comments below.

Well, except Stewart; he stole a bunch of the Cubs' money, played like hot garbage (when he wasn't nursing a perpetual injury), and then had the right to complain about it.  His dbagWAR was very high.

Honorable Mention: Dave Kingman, Dave Martinez, Juan Pierre, Jacque Jones, Goose Gossage, Fred McGriff, Brian McRae, Mark Grace, Moises Alou, Jerry Hairston Jr, Jeromy Burnitz, Todd Walker, Jim Edmonds.  There were more names thrown out there, but many of these either appeared multiple times or were kind of surprising (Grace).

In fairness, most of these former Cubs don't necessarily fit the Twitter-misnomer definition of trader.  But whatever, I do what I want!  Seriously though, Bradley sets the bar of dislike so high that most other guys can walk right under.  It's like the old joke: two guys walk into a bar; the third guy ducks.

Follow me on Twitter: @DEvanAltman

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  • fb_avatar

    How can Todd Hundley and Mel Rojas not be on this list?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Bruce Petalli:

    Dave Kingman
    Dave Martinez (banged Sandberg's wife)
    Felix Heredia (Ronnie Santo hated him)
    Juan Pierre
    Jacque Jones
    Candy Maldanado
    Todd Zeile
    Mitch Webster
    Kyle Farnsworth
    Goose Gossage

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    Was not a fan of Maldonado as a Cub. Yuk.

  • fb_avatar

    They are now. Antonio Alfonseca could be on there too. The curse of making such lists is that someone's always going to be left out. Hundley gets a pass because of Rebel and because he was once part of back-to-back-to-back HRs on 3 consecutive pitches, which is one of the coolest events I've ever witnessed. However, he was a big disappointment and kind of a turd.

  • What about GMs like Larry Himes for letting Greg Maddux leave?
    Also what about Moises Alou? A supposed veteran pro who only led his team down the tank by blowing up in Game Six, distracting the team from the task at hand, blaming fans, and then buying an airline ticket home assuming the team would lose Game 7.

  • fb_avatar

    Brian McRae-my most hated Cub of all time. Always ripping the organization. He really got under my skin.

  • I don't get how people could hate Brant Brown. His miscue didn't cost the Cubs anything ultimately, and he netted us our last 20 game winner (wins are meaningless) in trade.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    I think Santo made people hate Brown, though it's not as if that was intentional.

  • In reply to Gunther Dabynsky:

    Yes, plus he really helped them in 98. He had like 4 walk offs as well.

  • Hate to also point it out, but most of the names we've listed are minorities. To even things out, one should also include Marc Grace who best represents that 1990s Cub era of good time mediocrity? His legacy for me is someone (despite all those singles and doubles) who did not maximize his potential, preferring to be a beloved Mayor of Wrigleyville than a clubhouse leader mentoring young players in something other than the fine art of skirt chasing and 12-ounce arm curls. If we don't include him, then aren't we as Cubs fans just admitting that we prefer the company of a Good Time Charlie to a championship flag?

  • Ian Stewart should really be on here somewhere. I wanted him to succeed more than the average fan, but he was a prick on social media to the organization when he struggled. It really rubbed me the wrong way, especially seeing his thoughts in real time via Twitter. He, Brandon Phillips, and Ryan Braun are some of my least favorite active players.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to justinjabs:

    +1

  • fb_avatar

    Alou is an excellent choice as well. Heavy Twitter push for Hundley and Rojas, not to mention Marlon Byrd, Al Fonseca [sic] and Ian Stewart. #traders, every one.

  • Can't believe LaTroy Hawkins doesn't make the list...

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to North Side Irish:

    +1

  • fb_avatar

    I liked LaTroy Hawkins better as a former Cub than when he was on the team, since he was basically the same pitcher. That said, when he pitched against the Cubs, he'd give up walks, hits, and runs. So my distaste for him really went away quickly.

  • La Troy, Byrd, J Hairston, Burnitz, I could go on.

  • Did the twitterverse make up a new term, or is too illiterate to spell traitor? I bet the latter.

    You can't say that Peppers was a trader, because he was cut.

    I agree with Bradley on top, plus whoever the Cubs got for Lou Brock (and I'll leave it at that without trying to remember who it was).

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to jack:

    Also, the Twitterverse is definitely too illiterate to spell traitor. The used of trader was absolutely not ironic, nor did it even make sense in most cases of its use.

  • fb_avatar

    Ernie Broglio, right? I mean, he was supposed to be the key player in the deal.

  • How about the 'Crime Dog'? He was a piece of work. Had he tried, Fred could have been a big help. He acted like Wrigley was the last place he wanted to be. Refused the trade and played he as though he had already retired.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    What a waste that was.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to 44slug:

    McGriff? He had a slash line of .276/.361/.518/.879 as a Cub. You'd kill a puppy to have Rizzo do that.

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    He did, did he? Sure didn't seem to help in 01. When were those # from Pooch?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Those #'s were from his time with the Cubs ('01 & '02)

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mcgrifr01.shtml

    In '01 with the Cubs he slashed .282/.383/.559/.942

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    Well, sometimes numbers don't tell the whole story.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Either way, I don't like when numbers dont cooperate with my memories. :)

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