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Fan Favorites By The Numbers: Vance Law

The next entry in the Fan Favorites series is a nod to my grandmother, who simply loved Vance Law.

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You might well consider tabbing Vance Law as a "Fan Favorite" a stretch and I couldn't totally disagree. So why is he here?

Easy: He was my grandmother's favorite ballplayer on her favorite Cub team since I was born (1977). Law was a clean-cut "boy" (from BYU) who grandma just simply liked.

My grandmother is one of the ever-faithful you read about. She turns 87 this summer and has watched the Cubs for as long as she can remember. The only games she doesn't watch now are the West Coast starts that just run too late into the night.

I spent plenty of days after school growing up watching Cubs' games with her. So I have fairly fond and vivid (by my poor memory standards) memories of the 1989 season that excited her so.

It was Vance Law's second season with the Cubs. He had signed on as a free agent before the 1988 season. He was pretty solid that first season, batting .293/.358/.412, while sporting an OPS+ of 117 and a wRC+ of 118. He was rewarded with his only trip to the All-Star Game. I vaguely remembered him being considered a sound defender, but the advanced metrics aren't as kind.

The next season, the surprising Cubs ran to the postseason. Turns out, that was, offensively, almost in spite of Vance Law. Seven Cub regulars had an OPS+ over 100: only the catching tandem of Damon Berryhill and Joe Girardi and Law were under that mark.

For his part, Law batted .235/.296/.355 with a OPS+ of 80 and a wRC+ of 82 in mostly full-time duty. He was worth just 0.2 WAR, basically a replacement level player in an incredibly fun season to follow. In that painful postseason against the San Francisco Giants, Law was almost solely an observer. He appeared in just two games, striking out all three times he came to the plate (he did manage two hits and a walk in 12 PAs for the 1983 White Sox division winner).

The Cubs released Law in the offseason. He spent one year out of the game before playing a final season with the Oakland Athletics. All told, Law played 11 big-league seasons for five teams, batting .256/.326/.376 for a career worth 11.6 WAR.

The "Long Arm of the Law" may have had a fairly nondescript career. But he'll always have a place as one of my grandma's favorites and a division title for a Cubs' team we regard with fond memories.