I think all of us take some measure of pride in rattling off the names of Cubs players from days gone by; some of my personal favorites are Jeff Pico, Jim Sundberg, Rick Wrona, and Domingo Ramos. I’m sure many of you can bring to mind legions of random Cubs, some of whom will draw smiles and laughs at the mere mention of their name.
And then you’ve got the annual rite of counting how many former Cubs are playing for the teams involved in MLB’s postseason. When it comes to my least-favorite holiday traditions, this masochistic practice is rivaled only by the mandated airing of grievances during Festivus. But when it comes to my baseball team, there have been too few feats of strength lately.
Steve Buechele! Vance Law!
Perhaps that’s why it’s so enjoyable to spout out names from the past as they bubble up from our subconscious. Names, after all, have power. And even if said power serves only to flog us repeatedly with a historical cat o’ (ninety) nine fails, at least we can maintain some control over it.
Rich Garces! Paul Bako!
But when we think about the years in which the Cubs have actually been good, one of the names that is bound to come up is Mark DeRosa. He was a key part of back-to-back NL Central titles and was a fan favorite in Chicago. Personally, I loved his versatility (he played every position but C, P, and CF) and the fact that he always seemed to put the team ahead of himself.
As a former college QB at the University of Pennsylvania, DeRo brought both gridiron grit and Ivy League intellect to the diamond. Plus, he’s a Sigma Chi, which makes him alright in my book. When his playing career ended, DeRosa transitioned to television, catching on at MLB Network.
The guys over there don’t share Cubs fans’ existential qualms, but they still enjoy ticking off the names of former Major Leaguers. In fact, they’ve made a little game of it over at “Hot Stove,” a show hosted by Matt Vasgersian and Harold Reynolds. In “Wheel of DeRo,” everyone from current players to MLBN personalities takes a guess at how many of Mark DeRosa’s teammates they can recall by team.
Mike Harkey! Jeff Blauser!
Recently, the game’s namesake got in on the action, trying to name as many of his teammates as he could from the 2007-2008 Cubs. DeRosa eventually tallied 17 players from his time in Chicago, not a bad total for a guy who played for 8 teams over the course of a 16-year career.
Before you check out the clip of DeRo playing Wheel of Himself below, see how many guys you can name from those two magical seasons.
Rick Aguilera! Tom Goodwin!