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In memoriam: Remembering the Cubs we lost in 2021

Rest in peace.

Dick Tidrow
MLB Photos via Getty Images

At year’s end, it’s a good time to reflect and remember those that we lost throughout the year.

In the baseball world in general: Hall of Famers Henry Aaron and Don Sutton, former Yankees infielder and American League President Bobby Brown, longtime Red Sox player and broadcaster Jerry Remy, former Cy Young winners Mike Marshall and LaMarr Hoyt, former All-Star pitchers J.R. Richard and Mudcat Grant, and numerous other notables including Del Crandall, Joe Cunningham, Ray Fosse, Bill Freehan, Rennie Stennett, Bill Virdon and Stan Williams.

There were also 11 members of the Cubs family who passed away in 2021, 10 players and a coach, so let’s remember them here.

I wrote articles about four of these men during the past year.

Wayne Terwilliger

At the time of his passing at age 95, Terwilliger was the oldest living former Cub. Among other things Terwilliger did in a lifetime in baseball, from that link:

It was what Terwilliger did after his playing days that’s worth remembering, as shown in the photo at the top of this post, which was taken when he was with the St. Paul Saints. He managed in the minor leagues, was a big-league coach with the Senators (under Ted Williams) through 1972, then, as noted in the tweet, became a Twins coach from 1987-94, winning two World Series rings. He had a nice retirement send-off the day before the ‘94 strike began. He was 69 years old.

You can read more about Terwilliger’s career at the link.

Dick Tidrow

Affectionately known as “Dirty Dick” or “The Dirtman” due to his unshaven look, Tidrow was an effective reliever for the Cubs from 1979-82. From the link above:

The Cubs acquired him from New York in May 1979 for Ray Burris, and he immediately put up good numbers as a setup man for Bruce Sutter. In 1979 he appeared in 63 games for the Cubs, posting a 2.72 ERA, 1.247 WHIP and 3.1 bWAR. The following year, he tied Ted Abernathy’s franchise record for games pitched (84) and had a 2.79 ERA, 1.293 WHIP and 2.5 bWAR. That record for games pitched still stands; it was tied again by Bob Howry in 2006.

More, including video, at the link.

Chuck Hartenstein

The tall, thin righthander was known as “Twiggy,” and he had a very good year for the Cubs as they contended briefly in 1967. He regressed in 1968 and got on Leo Durocher’s bad side, as noted in his SABR biography:

Me and John Boccabella got sent to Tacoma.

When we came back up, both of us had been flying all night to get back there from Tacoma to Chicago. We were playing San Francisco at the time and at some point in the game, they brought me in. I got a few guys out here and there and then Jack Hiatt — their catcher — I got a ball up to him and he hit a fly ball to right that dropped into the bleachers.

As soon as the game was over, we were walking out and the traveling secretary hands me an envelope. I said, “What is this?” He said, “Leo didn’t talk to you? Well, this is your ticket to go home.” I went right from there to Leo’s office. He and I had a…discussion. it was probably a little louder than most. Then I went upstairs to the GM, Mr. [John] Holland, and I said, “Mr. Holland, I hate to have to ask you this. You guys have treated me great all the way through, but I just cannot get along with your manager. Would you please trade me?” Sometime during the offseason, they traded me to Pittsburgh.

Well, get on Leo’s bad side, you get traded, and it was a bad deal for the Cubs, who got no one of use in the deal. Meanwhile, Hartenstein pitched effectively for the Pirates, Cardinals, Red Sox and Blue Jays through 1977.

More at the link above.

Juan Pizarro

Better known for some good years with the White Sox in the 1960s, Pizarro was acquired from the Angels in July 1970 for a spare-part reliever named Archie Reynolds. (Interestingly, at other times in his career Pizarro was involved in trades that included Wilbur Wood, Dick Ellsworth and Hawk Harrelson.)

He pitched well for the Cubs as a spot starter in 1971, including September 16 against the Mets, when he threw a six-hit shutout and homered for the only run in a 1-0 win.

He coached briefly in the Cubs farm system in the 1990s at Rockford. More at the link above.

Other former Cubs who passed away in 2021:

  • Hy Cohen pitched in seven games for the Cubs in 1955, his only big-league season. He was 90.
  • Solly Drake played 65 games for the 1956 Cubs, mostly as a center fielder. He was 90.
  • Vito Valentinetti pitched in 51 games for the Cubs in 1957 and 1958. He was 92.
  • Adrian Garrett was a catcher/first baseman for the Cubs in 1970 and again from 1973-75. He was 78.
  • Ken Reitz, better known as a Cardinal, was the Cubs’ regular third baseman in 1981. He was 69.
  • Joe Altobelli was a Cubs coach from 1988-91 and also served as interim manager for one game in 1991 after Don Zimmer was fired. Altobelli was 88.
  • Doug Jones pitched in 28 games for the Cubs in 1996. He was 64.

Let’s take a moment today to remember these men, all part of the fabric of Chicago Cubs history.