Day 1 of the tournament saw some really surprising upsets (Rowengartner over Root, Ram-Ram over Cavaretta) and some ho-hum snoozers. But now we're back for the second day of heavy action in March (Meh)dness, as we strive to find out who the all-time greatest Chicago Cubs player really is.
This isn't scientific -- in fact, it's highly subjective -- but it should be fun. So crack a can of Remember When and see what we find on this path called...
Albert Spalding Region
1 Billy Williams vs. 16
Ramos is one of those guys every team has, the guy whose name real fans pull out when they're looking for someone on the fringe of obscurity. The mere mention of Domingo Ramos never fails to bring a smile to my face (see, I'm grinning as I type this), but he's no match for Williams.
Rick Reuschel vs. 9 Hank Sauer
Funny story: I used to work as a barkeep at an Applebee's and there was old dude who used to come in every day and pound Grey Goose martinis. He didn't look it at the time, but he used to coach basketball at The Citadel (Pat Conroy wrote a book about it) and claimed to have been quite the baseball player in his day too. He told me about a time the Cubs had him come up for a visit, during which he threw BP to the likes of Hank Sauer. And it is perhaps for that reason alone that he makes it past the husky hurler from Quincy, IL.
5 Rogers Hornsby vs. 12
Neither spent a majority of their time in the MLB with the Cubs, but Hornsby gets the nod as the better overall player.
Billy Herman vs. 13 Milt Pappas
Pappas gets the win here, mostly because he deserves some measure of condolence for the blown perfecto in 1972. He might still be salty about Bruce Froemming's calls, but he's got to be pretty pleased to get the W over Herman. 'Cause, you know, Milt Pappas reads Cubs Insider and has a vested interest in his performance in this bracket.
6 Kerry Wood vs. 11
Can Walton's 30-game hit streak possibly outweigh Kid K's 20-strikeout performance? C'mon, man! I loved me some Jerome Walton, but I've never seen anything like K-Wood chucking frisbees at a Houston Astros team populated by seasoned hitters. And then there was that damn Ricky Gutierrez, the only thing standing between Wood and the most dominating pitching performance of all time.
Take a moment and just bask in the awesomeness:
The Mayor of Wrigleyville collected more hits than any other player in the 1990's, though Kingman did hit a lot of homers when he wasn't striking out. I'm not sure there was a better storyteller than Grace either; perhaps he can now spin yarns about this tourney experience, as he moves on to face Kerry Wood.
Ed Reulbach vs. 10 Rick Sutcliffe
Reulbach was the last surviving member of the Cubs' 1908 title team and also pitched at Notre Dame. In a feat unfathomable in today's MLB, he pitched 2 shutouts IN ONE DAY against the Brooklyn Dodgers on September 26th, 1908. But The Red Baron couldn't be denied in his effort to move on.
Cap Anson vs. 15 Rick Monday
Rick Monday saved the flag and Cap Anson was a bigot. Stats be damned, Anson is this bracket's version of the Jamaal Tinsley- and Marcus Fizer-led Iowa State team, or perhaps Duke this year. If you're not familiar with the greatest play in baseball history, allow me to educate you.
Charles Weeghman Region
1 Ernie Banks vs. 16
No explanation needed, really.
8 Grover Cleveland Alexander vs. 9
Sharing a name with a president gets you love in these brackets.
5 Sammy Sosa vs. 12
In a battle of malcontents, Sosa was able to keep his ghetto blaster out of the reach of Big Z's bat-wielding fury. It's unclear, however, if the strange injury Sosa suffered while lifting his monstrous stereo (20 D Energizers) will hamper him as he moves on to face...
4 Greg Maddux vs. 13
As fun as it might be to work further with a guy named Heinie, Mad Dog took this one easily.
6 Kiki Cuyler vs. 11
If my real name was Hazen Shirley, I'd probably opt for Kiki as well. And since we've already had one Woody pass through to the next round, a W just wasn't in the cards for Mr. English.
3 Gabby Hartnett vs. 14
I remember once seeing a sign in the stands at Wrigley that read: "The only thing shorter than Doug is his ERA." Well, until his stay in this tourney anyway. He wasn't a pitcher, of course, but did take the bump in a couple of emergency relief appearances, posting a 0.00 ERA in 5 innings.
7 Charlie Grimm vs. 10
Grimm played at a time when nicknames were more imaginative than the Quade-esque proclivity for adding "y" to the end of everyone's moniker. Jolly Cholly (see, that's 2 "y"'s AND it rhymes AND they vernacularized "Charlie;" for my money, it just doesn't get any better than that) passes into round 2 over Beckert without much of a fight.
2 Fergie Jenkins vs. 15
Remember what I said earlier about how being named after a president gets you love? Well, even Theodore Roosevelt Lilly doesn't muster enough juice to get past the Canadian Cowboy, Ferguson Jenkins. These days, you hope to get 200 innings from an SP; Jenkins averaged over 267 IP in his 10 years with the Cubs, 4 times exceeding 300 IP. That's totes cray. I mean, totes magotes.
We're down to 32 now, so come back this weekend as the Sweet 16 is unveiled. Be sure to like Cubs Insider on Facebook and sign up on the email list below too; that way, you'll be updated right away on new posts.
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