Cubs Opening Day lineup -- whom would you like to see?

No, not the Cubs lineup that will take the field. I'm talking about the hideous photo banners that the Cubs hang around the landmark red marquee above the front gate at the beginning of every season. Here's how they looked last year ...

2012 Opening Day banners

2012 Opening Day banners

Lots of recognizable, popular names like Wood, Soto, Johnson, Dempster, Soriano, and Byrd; and exciting newcomers such as Castro, Barney, Maholm, Garza, and Sveum. But the Cubs were so unsure that fans would know some of the banner honorees that they put their names in the photos. They didn't feel the need in 2011 ...

2011 banners

2011 banners

Or in 2010, the first "banner" year, when they only found seven worthy players, plus "Sweet Lou" ...

2010 banners. Note the workmen. I took this photograph just as installation was completed.

2010 banners. Note the workmen. I took this photograph just as installation was completed.

(By the way, the production values went way down last season. The banners looked flat in terms of color and contrast compared to the two previous years.)

Who will get the nod this year? Returning rising stars Castro, Barney, and probably Rizzo; and veteran Soriano; and the manager will no doubt come back to the banner lineup. But who else? They need to pick 7 more players! I'm gonna guess that injuries may keep Garza out of the rotation at the beginning of the season, but not off the facade. So that leaves 6 to pick. Maybe Marmol, but don't they want to deal him? Don't they want to deal Garza, now that we mention it? How much enthusiasm can you generate for players that many fans know the Cubs are looking to dump? It's a problem, especially since fans don't seem to know or recognize many of the players to begin with, as we noted about pitchers and catchers in our first ChicagoNow blog.

Who would you put on the banners? Let us know by commenting below. We'll take a survey and maybe help the Cubs decide!

My vote? Forget the banners entirely. Perhaps my use of the word "hideous" in the second sentence of this blog was a clue that I don't like them. When the 2010 banners went up I wrote this blog about them, comparing Wrigley Field to my refrigerator.

But others may enjoy the banners and find them a suitably festive decorative element appropriate for celebrating the beginning of a new year. Since 2013 will be the 100th season of professional baseball at the beloved ballpark located at Addison and Clark (not always known as Wrigley Field, and home to the Cubs for only 98 of those seasons), maybe they should feature historic Cubs, like Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, Frank Chance, Mordecai Peter Centennial Miner Three-finger Brown, Fred Merkle (YES! Merkle not only failed to touch 2nd base in 1908 while on the Giants, making it possible for the Cubs to play in and win their last World Series ever, but played on the Cubs themselves, and at Wrigley Field, from 1917 through 1920), and others. They could print them in a sepia tone to evoke the spirit of victorious Cub teams of yesteryear.

Or favorite Cubs from the more recent past: Banks, Santo, Williams, Jenkins, Maddux, Sandberg etc.

How about broadcasters? Jack Brickhouse, Vince Lloyd, Harry Caray, Steve Stone, Len Kasper, Bob Brenly (oops -- I mean Jim Deshaies), Pat Hughes, and RON SANTO! But not Chip Caray or Thom Brennaman!

Let us know what you think. Enter your banner candidates in the comments section below! You can vote for any of my suggestions above, or submit new ones of your own. Thanks!

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Now go ahead and let us know whom you'd like to see up against the wall ... I mean on the facade. Thanks!

Comments

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  • How about Jack Quinlan and Lou Boudreau ?
    They were probably the best announcer team the CUBS ever had!

  • In reply to PANAMALIMITED:

    For sure! Be fun to see all those microphones and earphones up on the facade instead of mitts and bats.

  • I do like the banners for Opening Week. I think it's festive and makes it exciting and different. I like yourTinkers, Evers, etc. idea for the 100th season, although I think most people will associate the centennial with next year, so I'd stick with the current players for 2013. Agree with Castro, Barney, Rizzo, Sveum and Soriano. Not a fan of Garza or Marmol, but I'm guessing they'd be on it. Shark gets my vote. This starts getting tough. How about that new guy Fujikawa? DeJesus maybe? Castillo? Schierholtz and/or Hairston, Russell or Stewart? I would have liked to see Campana on there (sadness).

  • In reply to KT KC:

    Thanks, KT. Where you say "it starts getting tough" defines where the Cubs are now. Fans will show up and ask "Who's that?" Even with names on the photos.

  • In reply to Floyd Sullivan:

    By the way, will we see you up in the 500s this year?

  • In reply to Floyd Sullivan:

    Yes. I'll be up there for about 16 games. We split with a season ticket holder. With people selling tickets at prices I can't resist on stubhub, I will probably be picking up some extra day games. I have tickets to one game already in Kane County and my husband is going to play this year on a local team, so I have lots of baseball in store for me this summer. Can't wait.

  • In reply to KT KC:

    I should be there a lot this summer. I'll look for you up in the 500s. Otherwise, say hello if you see me at the top of 206!

  • How about Mike Royko? He knew more about being a Cub fan than anybody. And he'd spin in his grave if he knew he was up there.

  • In reply to LIexile:

    He could be up there smirking. He was the original guy who used to define each Cub season as the X year of their rebuilding program. But he would date it back to 1945. Some of us are more merciless, as in, this the 105th year of the Cubs' rebuilding program.

  • I guess the banners are supposed to create enthusiasm, but aside from the players you mentioned, who else has been with the team for any for more than one season? James Russell? Putting prospects (Josh Vitters? Louis Valbuena?) up seems a little silly. The nostalgia thing has been over played. There's no good answer to a bad question. Maybe the Cubs should create enthusiasm the old fashion way...win ball games.

  • In reply to Roy on the Rooftop:

    They have a new ad agency, based in Chicago instead of New York. Maybe there are a couple of Cub fans on the account so they'll have some understanding of their target audience. The new marketing person was last at General Mills in Minnesota. Is she a Cub fan? Does she get it? I agree. Scrap the crap. Win.

  • In reply to Roy on the Rooftop:

    "Maybe the Cubs should create enthusiasm the old fashion way...win ball games." I like the way you think, Roy. I agree that the nostalgia thing has been overplayed...for the 69 Cubs. I love that team, but enough already.

    I would like to see them honor players like Chance, Brown, Root, Hartnett, Cavarretta, Hack...though. I think it's about time some of them also got their due. The centennial would be a great opportunity for that.

  • In reply to KT KC:

    Totally agree. There was a sign or plaque on the wall under the first base seats that listed Cub greats. There wasn't one player from that 1908 team. I took a picture of it. I'll have to dig it up and post it.

  • This came from a friend via email:

    "I'm not a Cubs fan. I am a fan of certain Cubs, however. So, I would say put up banners of the Hall of Famers, now that I have renewed respect for that organization with the addition of Ron Santo--but they didn't have to wait until he was dead."

  • Make it obvious to those Cubs that are not part of the future plans and just put up the young guns? No Marmol, Garza or Soriano. Put up Rizzo, Soler (bad spelling probably) Castro etc...

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