The headline of this David Kaplan article at NBCSportsChicago.com reads:
Podcast: Ranking the greatest Cubs of all-time
The article, though, asks only about Cubs of “your lifetime,” and then wonders what the top all-time Cubs list would look like in 2038, after the current crop of young Cubs retires.
Quite some time ago (2006-07), I ran a Top 100 Cubs of all-time series and updated it in 2010. It could probably use another update, though I suppose that will have to wait, what with the 2018 season starting up soon.
As we begin 2018, though, I will stand by the top 10 I originally had when I made the list in 2006. In order:
Ernie Banks, Cap Anson, Sammy Sosa, Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams, Gabby Hartnett, Ron Santo, Mordecai Brown, Fergie Jenkins, Billy Herman
Nine Hall of Famers, and one player we’ve discussed plenty here, who might also belong in the Hall. (That’s a discussion for another time, I think, not the point here.)
Thus I think in order to knock any of those players out of the top 10, any player from the current group would have to post a Hall of Fame career, or close.
There are, in my opinion, only two current Cubs who might post a career that good: Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. Whether they will do so or not, obviously, remains to be seen.
If one of them does, I think that would knock Herman off the list. If two of them do, it would knock Fergie off the list. When I originally made this list, I made it clear that I was ranking these players solely for their contributions as Cubs — that’s why Greg Maddux, for example, ranked 18th.
I’m of the opinion that Rizzo should be signed to a contract extension, perhaps even now, so that he finishes his career as a Cub. He’s the face of the current franchise and, as a first baseman, could well be productive into his late 30s. Hall of Fame? Unless he suddenly begins having bigger years than he’s had up to now, I don’t see it. Hall of Very Good for Rizzo, I’d say, perhaps 400 career home runs (he’s got a chance to hit his 200th this year) and close to 2,000 hits, maybe somewhere between 60 and 70 bWAR.
Bryant? Well, I’d love to see him complete his career as a Cub, but it’s entirely possible that after 2021 he heads to free agency and a different team.
Let’s assume he doesn’t, and wraps up his career as a Cub. If he can continue as a third baseman, that makes his path into the Hall easier, as there simply aren’t many third basemen who hit like this. I still suspect KB will wind up as an outfielder somewhere down the line.
But the beginning of his career suggests a potential Hall path.
I’m going to go out on a limb, then, and say that in 2038, the Top 10 Cubs of All Time list will look like this, presuming both Rizzo and Bryant finish their careers as Cubs:
Ernie Banks, Cap Anson, Sammy Sosa, Kris Bryant, Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams, Gabby Hartnett, Ron Santo, Mordecai Brown, Anthony Rizzo
Now it’s your turn.