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BCB After Dark: Don’t sell me short

The nightclub for night owls, early-risers and Cubs fans abroad asks who was the greatest Cubs shortstop of the expansion era.

Sports Contributor Archive 2017
Shawon Dunston

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: The afterparty for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. We’ve saved you a table near the stage. Make yourself at home. The show will be starting soon. Bring your own beverage.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

Last night I asked you who you thought was the greatest Cubs center fielder of the expansion era. Your choice, with 57% of the vote, is Dexter Fowler. Fowler only played two seasons on the North Side, but of course one of those seasons was the World Series season. Fowler is still a fan favorite in Wrigleyville, even though he hasn’t played for the Cubs since 2016. I’m sure that helped push him to victory in the voting despite his short tenure with the team.

(And for those of you who said “Jim Edmonds,” he played 85 games for the Cubs and had a 1.1 bWAR with the team.)

The Cubs are still playing the Padres on the West Coast as I write this, so I can’t tell you how the game went. But if you want to continue to discuss tonight’s game with the Friars, feel free to do so here.

On Tuesday nights/Wednesday mornings I normally don’t do a movie essay and I normally just put in a random jazz track to give you something to listen to while you read. But Monday night after the Cubs defeat in San Diego, I watched the 1959 film Odds Against Tomorrow, starring Harry Belafonte, Robert Ryan and Ed Begley Sr. The film was good, not great, and Belafonte in particular stood out to me for his performance. But I’m bringing it up here because the movie had a soundtrack by pianist John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet.

So I decided feature the main theme from the movie by John Lewis. The rest of the Modern Jazz Quartet also play on the soundtrack, which formed the base of a 22-piece orchestra.

So here’s John Lewis with “Odds Against Tomorrow.” [VIDEO]

We’re running out of positions to pick the greatest Cubs players of the expansion era. I feel that three positions are so obvious that it’s pointless to poll them: second base is Ryne Sandberg, left field is Billy Williams and right field is Sammy Sosa, no matter how much you love Andre Dawson.

So that leaves catcher, closer or relief ace and shortstop, and I’m not sure how big a competition shortstop is going to be. But let’s try it out and have our vote for the greatest Cubs shortstop since 1962 today.

The candidates are:

Don Kessinger (1964-1975): Kessinger was a six-time All-Star. His hitting stats don’t look that great today, but he played in the second deadball era and shortstops weren’t supposed to hit for power back then.

Ivan DeJesus (1977-1981): The retroactive defensive stats love DeJesus, and he was always a threat to steal when he got on base, which was more often than you might remember. The Phillies must have seen something in DeJesus, because they traded Ryne Sandberg to get him.

Shawon Dunston (1985-1995, 1997): Dunston always seemed to get hurt just as he was about to break out with the bat. Had that rocket arm at short. A two-time All-Star.

Ryan Theriot (2005-2010): The starting shortstop for the back-to-back division title teams in 2007 and 2008. Was very good at getting on base and stealing bases.

Starlin Castro (2010-2015): A three-time All-Star with the Cubs, Castro was saddled with being one of the few good players on those difficult rebuilding teams of the late Jim Hendry/early Theo Epstein era. Was very good when he first arrived in the majors.

Javier Báez: (2014-present): I don’t need to explain El Mago to you. A two-time All-Star.

So who is the greatest Cubs shortstop of the expansion era?


Who is the greatest Cubs shortstop since 1962?

This poll is closed

  • 13%
    Don Kessinger
    (27 votes)
  • 1%
    Ivan DeJesus
    (3 votes)
  • 13%
    Shawon Dunston
    (27 votes)
  • 0%
    Ryan Theriot
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    Starlin Castro
    (5 votes)
  • 68%
    Javier Báez
    (142 votes)
206 votes total Vote Now

We’ll see you again tomorrow night. Thanks for stopping by.