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In memoriam: Remembering the Cubs we lost in 2023

Rest in peace.

Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

At year’s end, it’s a good time to reflect and remember those who passed away throughout the year.

In the baseball world in general: Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson and notables Dick Groat, Sal Bando, Tim McCarver, Tim Wakefield, Vida Blue and San Diego Padres owner Peter Seidler.

There were also 16 members of the Cubs family who passed away in 2023, so even though there are couple of days remaining this year, let’s remember them now.

Here’s a link to the article I wrote on one of these men during the past year.

Willie Hernandez

From the article:

He became one of the Cubs’ best Rule 5 picks ever. In 1977, Hernandez was one of the big reasons the Cubs contended for much of the season, posting a 3.03 ERA and 1.109 WHIP in 67 appearances covering 101 innings. He wasn’t quite as good the following two years but overall as a Cub he made 323 appearances (11 starts, which, why?) with a 3.81 ERA and 1.375 WHIP. All of that was good for 6.7 bWAR, perfectly fine for the sort of middle reliever he was.

The Cubs traded Hernandez to the Phillies May 22, 1983, a deal I covered just here recently in my trade series.

Hernandez passed away November 20 in Florida, six days after his 69th birthday.

A few notes on the 15 others, in alphabetical order:

  • Leo Burke was acquired by the Cubs in a 1963 trade and batted .235/.286/.321 with three home runs for them in 98 games from 1963-65, playing both infield and outfield. He passed away October 13, aged 89.
  • Dick Burwell pitched in five games for the Cubs in 1960 and 1961 and remained in the Cubs minor league system through 1965. He passed away May 1, aged 83.
  • Bill Campbell was signed by the Cubs as one of the first big free agent deals by Dallas Green before the 1982 season. He posted a 4.13 ERA and 16 saves for the Cubs in 144 games in 1982 and 1983. He passed away January 6, aged 74. In his later years Campbell lived in the Chicago area, in suburban Palatine.
  • Ron Campbell batted .247/.276/.325 with one home run in 52 games for the Cubs from 1964-66. He passed away February 2, aged 82.
  • George Frazier pitched in 123 games for the Cubs from 1984-86, and also pitched in World Series for the Yankees (1981) and Twins (1987), getting a ring in the latter. He passed away June 19, aged 68.
  • Rob Gardner posted a 3.98 ERA in 18 games (five starts) for the Cubs in 1967, and also played for the Mets, Indians, Yankees, A’s and Brewers. He passed away October 21 in his hometown of Binghamton, New York, aged 78.
  • Hobie Landrith, a catcher, played in 111 games for the Cubs in 1956, batting .221./.307/.311 with four home runs. He also played for the Reds, Cardinals, Giants, Mets, Orioles and Senators in a 14-year career. He passed away April 6, aged 93.
  • Dan McGinn pitched in 42 games (two starts) for the Cubs in 1972 and also played for the Reds and Expos. He passed away March 1, aged 79.
  • Bobby Morgan played in 126 games for the Cubs in 1957 and 1958. Primarily a second baseman, he also played for the Dodgers, Phillies and Cardinals. He passed away June 1, aged 96.
  • Joe Pepitone was a fine hitter and colorful player who played for the Cubs from 1970-73. He batted .284/.328/.454 with 39 home runs in 268 games for the North Siders and also played for the Yankees, Astros and Braves, winning a World Series ring in New York in 1962. He passed away March 13, aged 82.
  • Mel Roach, acquired by the Cubs in 1961 for Frank Thomas (see below), played in 23 games for the North Siders that year, then was dealt away. He passed away July 31, aged 90.
  • Ted Savage, an outfielder, played in 99 games for the Cubs in 1967 and 1968 before being traded to the Dodgers in a deal that brought Jim Hickman to the Cubs, and also played for the Phillies, Pirates, Cardinals, Reds, Brewers and Royals. He passed away January 12, aged 86.
  • Frank Thomas hit 23 home runs for the Cubs in 155 games in 1960 and 1961 and also played for the Pirates, Reds, Braves, Mets, Phillies and Astros before ending his career with five games for the Cubs in 1966. Overall Thomas hit 286 home runs in a 16-year career and later became known as “the other Frank Thomas” when the White Sox star played in the 1990s and 2000s. Thomas passed away January 16, aged 93.
  • Ron Tompkins posted a 4.08 ERA and three saves in 35 relief appearances for the Cubs in 1971. He passed away February 4, aged 78.
  • Danny Young pitched in four games for the Cubs in 2000, and passed away June 11, aged 51.

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