Thanksgiving Day Cubs

Do you remember Chris Denorfia?

He homered as a pinch hitter leading off the 11th inning to beat the Royals, 1-0, on Sept. 28, 2015.

Denorfia appeared in 5 more games during his only season with the Cubs, for a total of 103.

That's not many games. Yet it is 2 more than the combined 101 played by the 6 Cubs who were born on Thanksgiving Day.

Here are profiles of each, in chronological order by their year of birth:


FRANK CORRIDON (born Nov. 25, 1880; 19 games, 1904)

Corridon joined the Cubs as a 23-year-old rookie.

The right hander pitched in 12 games, starting 10 and completing 9. He gave up 3 or fewer runs in 6 of his starts, including a 2-1, 5-hitter at Brooklyn on June 7.

When Frank Chance was injured, Corridon played first base in 6 games, starting twice, and he took over in left field once.

His pitching record was 5-5, with a 3.05 earned run average, and his batting line was .224/.237/.241 when he traded on July 20 to the Phillies for first baseman/outfielder John Barry.

Barry played exactly 100 games for the Cubs that year and next before being dealt to the Reds.


Corridon was 59-48 for the Phillies in 1904-05 and 1907-09, then 6-14 for the Cardinals in 1910, to conclude his big league career 60-47, with a 2.80 ERA.

He pitched in the minors in 1911 and 1913, then retired at age 32.

He was 60 when he died in 1941.


PETE NOONAN (born Nov. 24, 1881; 5 games, 1906)

A catcher and first baseman, Noonan was poor hitter. In his 3 big

seasons, he slashed .205/.238/.282, for an OPS of .520 and an OPS+ of 64 -- less than two thirds of an average player.

But he was .333/.333/.333, .667 and 103 in his brief time as a Cub.

After batting .202 in 39 games for the Athletics in 1904, Noonan spent the next season with St. Paul of the American Association and posted a .295 average.

The Cubs signed him as their third-string catcher for 1906, behind long-time fixture Johnny Kling and newly acquired veteran Pat Moran. He never appeared behind the plate as a Cub, however.


Noonan pinch hit in the Cubs' 6th game, on April 17, then was idle for more than a month, until May 21, when he singled home a run as a pinch hitter.

He made outs as a pinch hitter on May 24 and June 28, and gave Chance a rest by taking over at first base after the Cubs had opened a big lead in an eventual 11-1 win at Boston on June 20.


On July 1, Noonan and pitcher Fred Beebe were traded to the Cardinals for Jack Taylor, who had won 90 games for the Cubs in 1898-1903, including 23 and 21 the final 2 seasons. He had been sent to St. Louis amid suspicions that he had taken bribes to affect the outcome of City Series games against the White Sox.

Taylor would win 19 more games in 1906-07, his final 2 seasons.

Noonan's big league career ended in 1907 as well, after he played 118 games for the Cardinals, making his career total 162.

He continued playing in the minors in 1908-111 and 1914-16, all in the Class B New York State League.

He was 34 when he retired and 83 when he died, in 1965.


BILLY ROGELL (born Nov. 24, 1904; 33 games, 1940)

Rogell was born in Springfield, Ill., but played high school ball in Chicago.

He made his big league debut in 1925, at age 20, and closed out his 14-season career as a Cub, at age 35.

He spent his first 3 years with the Red Sox, then 10 with the Tigers, including 1935, when he went 7 for 24 in the World Series against the Cubs.


Rogell played 1,482 games, 1,237 at shortstop. For the Cubs, he appeared in 15 games at short, 9 at third base, 2 at second base, 13 as a pinch hitter and 4 as a pinch runner.

His career slash line was .267/.351/.370, for an OPS of .722 and an OPS+ of 85. A prototypical infielder of his time, he hit only 42 home runs in 5,921 trips to the plate.


His last homer was his only 1 for the Cubs, a game-tying, eighth-inning, 2-runs shot as a pinch hitter at Brooklyn. The Cubs scored again in the inning to take the lead, then surrendered 3 runs in the bottom half and lost, 5-4.

Rogell's 7 other hits as a Cub were singles and he had only 1 other RBI.

He slashed just .136/.164/.186, .350, for an ignominious OPS+ of -2.

Rogell played 11 games in the minors in 1941, then called it quits. He lived until 2003, dying at age 98.


RUSS MEERS (born Nov. 28, 1918; 43 games, 1941-47)

A left-handed pitcher, Meers was 36-22 in 104 minor league games in 1939-41, capped by 16-5 at Nashville of the Southern Association before being purchased by the Cubs on Aug. 1, 1941.

He made his big league debut at Wrigley Field on Sept. 28, suffering a loss against the Cardinals despite allowing only 2 runs, 1 earned, on 5 hits and no walks in 8 innings. He struck out 5.

Meers spent 1942 with the Cubs' Class AA farm club at Milwaukee, going 4-2 with a 4.17 ERA. Then he missed 3 seasons while serving in the military.


He rejoined the Cubs in 1946, only to be plagued by shoulder trouble in spring training. When he finally pitched on May 29, he lasted only 1.1 innings, giving up 2 runs, 1 earned, on 2 hits and 2 walks.

Meers earned a win in his next appearance by throwing 3.2 shutout innings on June 4.

Six days later, he yielded a game-tying single in the ninth inning to the only batter he faced and became the loser when the runner eventually scored.

On June 23, Meers started again and surrendered 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk in 2 innings.

Over the next 4 weeks, he relieved 3 times. Then he was shut down for the season.


Healthy at last, Meers was called upon 35 times in 1947, 34 of them in relief, of which he finished 16.

He threw 64.1 innings, including 2 in his only start.

The season ended on Sept. 28. On Oct. 1, the Cubs sold Meers to Shreveport of the Texas League. He did not pitch at all the following year, then appeared in 8 games each for a pair of Class D teams in Virginia in 1949 and 1951.

His final big league record was 3-3, with a 3.98 ERA and an ERA+ of 97.

Meers died in 1994, at age 75.


CAL HOWE (born Nov. 27, 1924; 1 game, 1952)

Howe, a lefty pitcher, was just 17 when he signed with the Cardinals in 1942.

He played 34 games for 2 Class D teams that year, then was out of baseball until the Cubs signed him in 1948. he responded by going 18-4, with a 2.40 ERA, for their Class B team in Decatur, Ill.

But it took Howe 4 more seasons, with 4 more teams, in 4 more leagues, before he was called up by the Cubs in September of 1952.


On Sept. 26, at St. Louis, the Cubs took a quick lead in the first inning on 2 singles and a double play.

The leadoff batter for the Cardinals homered and they added 9 more runs before the Cubs scored again in the seventh.

Howe came in from the bullpen to begin the bottom of the inning. He struck out the first batter, then recorded 2 more outs.

He fanned the leadoff man in the eighth, too. He issued a walk before getting 2 outs, the last by Stan Musial.


By Opening Day of 1953, Howe was back in the minors, returned to Class A Macon of the Southern League, where he had been before his September callup.

He went 11-7 and 15-7 there in 2 seasons, then left the Cubs for the Reds, who kept him at their Class AA affiliate for 3 years, through 1957, when he retired at age 30.

In addition to his 1 big league game, Howe pitched in at least 450 in his 11 minor league seasons, going 99-70.

Howe lived until he was 83, dying in 2008.


RANDY VERES (born Nov. 25, 1965; 10 games, 1994)

A righty pitcher, Veres appeared in 29 games before becoming a Cub, all for the Brewers in 1989-90, then in 96 for the Marlins (47), Tigers (25) and Royals (24) in the 3 seasons after his stop in Chicago.

Between his release by the Brewers in April of 1991 and signing with the Cubs on Dec. 3, 1993, Veres also signed and was released by the Braves, Giants and Indians.


His debut as a Cub came on July 20, 1994, in the sixth inning, at Colorado. He walked a batter, then gave up a game-tying single before coaxing a double play.

He got 3 straight groundouts in the seventh and was lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth with 2 out and a runner on first. The pinch hitter walked, Mark Grace doubled home both runners and Veres earned the victory when the Cubs held the lead the rest of the way, winning by 9-8.


In his next 6 outings, Veres earned 2 holds while allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, 2 of them homers, in 4.2 innings.

On Aug. 3, pitching for the third straight day, he came in against the visiting Marlins with a runner on first and 1 out in the seventh. After a forceout, a single and a walk loaded the bases, but a groundout ended the inning.

The Cubs then scored 3 runs with 2 out in their half to go in front, 7-6.

But Veres gave up a first-pitch homer with 1 out in the eighth, then a double, single and go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth. The runner who had singled eventually scored, too, saddling Veres with 3 runs on 4 hits and a walk in 2.1 innings -- and the loss.


Four days later, he fashioned a 1-2-3 inning.

The next day, Veres was brought in with 1 out in the seventh, moments later the Giants had closed to within 4-3 on a 2-run triple. He fell behind in the count 3-1, then yielded a game-tying single.

That ended his day and, as it turned out, his time as a Cub.

A strike halted the season after games on Aug. 10 and it never was resumed.

In December, the Cubs released Veres, whose record had been 1-1 with 5.59 ERA in 9.2 innings.


He was 4-4 the next year with the Marlins, then 0-4 with the Tigers and 4-0 with the Royals.

In his 6-season career, Veres was 9-13, 4.60, with an ERA+ of 96.

He was 31 when he retired, after 1997. He was just 51, 11 days from his 51st birthday, when he died in 2016.

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