A couple of years ago, I wrote articles about Cubs players who had played in exactly one game for the team from 1970-2009 and from 2010-19. I also noted a few from the last two years last December (so some of this article will look familiar). Matt Dermody was in last year’s article for his single appearance in 2020, but he’s no longer a one-game Cub, as he pitched in one game for the Cubs in 2022.
1970-2019 is 50 seasons. There were 15 one-game Cub players during that span.
Things are different now, with the franchise in something of “churn” mode, trying all sorts of players while trying to build Jed Hoyer’s “Next Great Cubs Team.” I’m writing this article now because over the last three seasons, there have been two-thirds as many one-game Cubs as there were in the 50 previous years — 10, in all.
Let’s remember some guys, including the ones I posted about last year.
Ian Miller, August 23, 2020
Miller’s single appearance in a Cubs uniform might have been the shortest ever. He pinch-ran for Jason Kipnis in the seventh inning of this game and four pitches later, Ian Happ grounded out to end the inning. Miller never appeared for the Cubs (or anyone else in MLB) again.
That’s it. That’s all Miller did as a Chicago Cub.
Brailyn Márquez, September 27, 2020
Márquez got this last-day appearance as a reward, and it did not go well — three walks, a couple of hits, three wild pitches, five earned runs.
Then he’s been hurt most of the last two years. Hopefully he’ll return to health and still be a contributor to the Cubs in the future.
He did strike out Jose Abreu in that 2020 game on a 99 mile per hour fastball [VIDEO].
Robert Stock, June 16, 2021
The Cubs needed a starter for a game in New York against the Mets and so Stock, who had been claimed on waivers from the Red Sox the previous winter, got the call — to face Jacob deGrom.
As it turned out, deGrom left the game after three innings due to an injury, but Stock allowed four hits, six walks and five runs. The Cubs lost the game 6-3.
He did get Pete Alonso on this called third strike at 97, which wasn’t really a strike [VIDEO].
Stock was the first Cubs player to wear No. 89, and is still the only one.
Six days after this game, Stock was claimed on waivers — by the Mets. He started two games for them, didn’t throw very well, and was released at the end of the season. He spent 2022 pitching for Doosan in KBO (Korea), where he went 9-10 with a 3.60 ERA and 138 strikeouts (and 83 walks!) in 165 innings.
Tyler Ladendorf, October 2, 2021
A number of Cubs were added to the active roster during the last week of 2021 due to some placements on the COVID-19 injured list, and three of them played during the final weekend against the Cardinals.
Ladendorf, a Chicago-area native (Maine West High School) who had played in 53 games for the A’s in 2016 and 2017, made his single Cubs appearance by pinch-hitting for Adrian Sampson in the fifth inning.
That was the first out of Jon Lester’s last inning as a major league pitcher.
Ladendorf spent 2022 playing for the High Point Rockers in the Atlantic League, where he hit .239/.304/.441 with 17 home runs in 91 games.
Tyler Payne, October 3, 2021
Payne pinch-hit for Alec Mills in the fifth inning on the final day of the 2021 season and caught the rest of the game.
He went 0-for-2, both strikeouts. Here, T.J. McFarland strikes him out in the seventh inning [VIDEO].
Payne spent 2022 at Triple-A Iowa, where he hit .298/.335/.397 in 48 games.
Joe Biagini, October 3, 2021
Biagini, who had several successful years pitching for the Blue Jays and Astros, including six games in the postseason for Toronto in 2016, signed on with the Cubs in December 2020 and spent the entire season at Triple-A Iowa.
Called up with those others the last week of the season, he pitched three shutout innings of relief in that final game, giving up two hits and a walk and striking out two. He was credited with the win when the game was stopped in the middle of the eighth.
Biagini signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays last winter and pitched reasonably well for them at Triple-A Buffalo this year (30 games, 3.46 ERA, 1.179 WHIP) but Toronto released him July 26.
Locke St. John, April 30, 2022
The guy who sounds like he should be a British secret agent threw an inning in garbage time in a 9-1 loss to the Brewers.
Specifically, the bottom of the eighth with the Cubs down by 6-1.
He made it a 9-1 game. St. John struck out the first two hitters he faced, then allowed a double to Willy Adames and back-to-back homers by Christian Yelich and Hunter Renfroe.
St. John was designated for assignment three days later and at the end of the waiver period, was claimed by the Mets, for who he toiled the rest of the year at Triple-A Syracuse, posting a 6.00 ERA and 1.429 WHIP in 29 games.
Conner Menez, May 13, 2021
Menez threw a scoreless eighth inning in a game the Cubs eventually lost 4-3 to the Diamondbacks.
He was sent back to Iowa and on June 23 was given his release so he could go pitch in Japan. He pitched in 15 games for the Nippon Ham Fighters, posting a 1.08 ERA and striking out 28 in 25 innings.
Menez has talent and is only 27. I wouldn’t mind the Cubs bringing him back.
Nicholas Padilla, August 23, 2022
The Cubs were allowed an extra player for this day’s doubleheader against the Cardinals and Padilla was the guy.
He relieved Adrian Sampson in the fourth inning, a rare bad outing for Sampson. Padilla threw 1⅔ innings and allowed two hits, two walks and a run, with one strikeout.
The strikeout was of potential NL MVP Paul Goldschmidt, so let’s have a look. Bonus: It was called by Pat Foley, guesting in the Marquee booth [VIDEO].
Padilla was sent back to Iowa, but was designated for assignment September 6 and was claimed by the White Sox.
Brendon Little, August 30, 2022
Little was the Cubs’ No. 1 pick (27th overall) in 2017, and had his share of struggles in the system. He was brought to Toronto for the series against the Blue Jays and made his MLB debut in the middle game of that three-game set.
It did not go well. He hit the first batter he faced, then fumbled a grounder in front of him that went for a hit, then Teoscar Hernandez smashed a three-run homer. It went a bit better after that as he retired two of the next three hitters he faced before being replaced by Michael Rucker.
At 26 and coming off that outing and a mediocre year at Iowa, I doubt Little is in the Cubs’ future plans. He might want to think about going to Korea or Japan to build up some value and perhaps after that a MLB team might take a chance on him.
Of these 10, Brailyn Márquez is really the only one who might cross his name off this list in the future, and I hope he returns to health and does so.
The others? They won’t be remembered by many, but we should take note of them as a small part of the long history of our favorite team.