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BCB After Dark: Reinforcements

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks who was the best mid-season acquisition in Cubs history.

Chicago Cubs Kenny Lofton, 2003 NL Playoffs
Kenny Lofton
SetNumber: X69419 TK3

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the coolest club for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Let’s keep tonight’s good times rolling. Come on in and celebrate with us. Free entry to any Cubs fan. Grab a table before they’re all gone. 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.

The Cubs stunned the White Sox tonight, 4-3 on a walk-off three-run home run by Christopher Morel. I was going to ask tonight if this was the biggest win of the year (so far), but I realized it would take me too long to research that and still get this up and published at a reasonable hour. But it was the kind of shocking win that makes you believe that maybe this team can make some noise this year. The Cubs were dead in the water and losing 3-0 in the eighth and it was only that close because after Jose Cuas walked the bases loaded with no outs in the top of the inning, Michael Fulmer bailed him out by striking out the next three hitters—Luis Robert Jr., Yoan Moncada and Andrew Vaughn. And then Nick Madrigal, of all people, hit a home run in the bottom of the inning.

I didn’t quite give up on the Cubs tonight, but I did turn off the telecast and turned on Pat and Ron and listened to the end of the game while I worked in the kitchen after the seventh inning. Unfortunately for me, the rules of baseball fandom dictate that I now spend the rest of the season in the kitchen.

Last night I asked you if you thought Pete Crow-Armstrong should make his major-league debut this year and whether or not he will make his debut. You mostly think that’s a bad idea as 66 percent of you voted to delay Crow-Armstrongs start until at least next season. And 74 percent of you think that the Cubs will do exactly that—leave him in the minors.

ere’s the part where I talk about jazz and and movies. You’re free to skip ahead to the baseball question at the end. You won’t hurt my feelings.

Tonight we’ve got some Bird, featuring the great Charlie Parker playing “Funky Blues.” This is from a 1952 release. Besides Bird, there are a lot of great musicians on this one—Ray Brown on bass, Oscar Peterson on piano, Barney Kessel on guitar—heck, you can see them all listed on the video. Unfortunately, there is only one extant “live” video of Parker playing and I’ve featured that here before. It’s this one of Bird and Dizzy playing “Hot House” on the Dumont Network. There are a couple of other silent videos of Parker playing that have had the music added in later. So this is just a recording.

I had promised to finish up my thoughts on Purple Noon (1960), but after reading what I wrote on Monday night/Tuesday morning, I realized that I didn’t have any more to say about Purple Noon that I couldn’t throw into my discussion of The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999). And I’m not ready to write about that film yet, although I have watched it this week. I thought I’d seen it before but apparently I hadn’t. Or my memory is really getting bad as I get older.

So tonight I’m just going to ask you to list a movie that you’ve been meaning to see and just haven’t gotten around to watching yet. If you’re meaning to see Oppenheimer or Barbie and haven’t yet, tell us. I have seen every Wes Anderson-directed film except Asteroid City and it’s been on Peacock for a week and I haven’t pushed play yet. I’ll probably also get around to watching The Super Mario Bros. Movie, although that’s not so much my choice as it would be a chance to spend some time with my daughter.

When director William Friedkin died last week, it was often mentioned that he thought that Sorcerer (1977) was the film that he directed that he thought held up best. I don’t think I’d ever heard of Sorcerer before the obituaries, but once I found out that it was based on the 1953 film The Wages of Fear, directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, my curiosity was peaked. I love The Wages of Fear, so now I really want to watch Sorcerer.

You can also tell us about older films that you want to see. If there’s a movie I’ve written about, either in the Winter Noir Classic or elsewhere, that you’ve wanted to watch but haven’t yet, you can list that. I still haven’t gotten around to seeing Federico Fellini classic 8 1/2. I know I can’t be much of a film scholar without being familiar with that one, for example. I don’t know if that’s what I’m going for, however.

So tell us what film have you been meaning to see and just haven’t yet. It can be a new release or an old classic.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the jazz and movies.

Jeimer Candelario has been a big bright spot since he came over from the Nationals at the trade deadline. His 0 for 2 with a walk tonight dropped his stats with the Cubs to .391/.462/.565. If the Cubs make some noise in the postseason, it very well could be because of the acquisition of Candelario. He could be the best mid-season acquisition in Cubs history.

But before we can say that, we’re going to have to ask what is currently the best mid-season acquisition in Cubs’ history. I’m using the word “acquisition” instead of “trade” so that we can include Gary Gaetti and Jim Edmonds, both of which were signed after being released by other teams. Also, with all due respect to Hank Borowy in 1945, I’m going to limit it to players acquired after the start of divisional play.

I’m also just want you to count the season that they were acquired. Certainly Rick Sutcliffe and Aramis Ramirez had great long Cubs careers, but for tonight, we’re only counting what they contributed in that first partial season.

I’m also only counting playoff seasons. I guess it doesn’t matter how well Nomar Garciaparra hit for the Cubs in 2004. The point is they missed the playoffs.

The candidates are:

Dennis Eckersley—1984

Rick Sutcliffe—1984

Gary Gaetti—1998

Kenny Lofton—2003

Aramis Ramirez—2003

Jason Kendall—2007

Jim Edmonds—2008

Rich Harden—2008

Fernando Rodney—2015

Aroldis Chapman—2016

Cole Hamels—2018

Andrew Chafin—2020

I’ve helpfully provided links to Baseball-reference so you can look up the stats yourself.

I wanted at least one player from every playoff team. But the best mid-season pick-up in 1989 was Luis Salazar, and while he was good after coming over to the Cubs, he also joined the team in late August and played in just 25 regular season games. The big 2017 acquisition was José Quintana, and while he was fine in 2017, I didn’t feel like throwing that trade out for discussion. The next biggest pick up in 2017 was Alex Avila, and that was for Jeimer Candelario and I don’t think that trade needs to be re-hashed either.

However, if you want to vote for one of those, vote “other” and tell us about it in the comments.

So what was the best mid-season acquisition in Cubs history (since 1969)?


What was the best mid-season acquisition in Cubs’ history?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Dennis Eckersley
    (1 vote)
  • 53%
    Rick Sutcliffe
    (210 votes)
  • 0%
    Gary Gaetti
    (1 vote)
  • 4%
    Kenny Lofton
    (18 votes)
  • 7%
    Aramis Ramirez
    (28 votes)
  • 0%
    Jason Kendall
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Jim Edmonds
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Rich Harden
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Fernando Rodney
    (1 vote)
  • 30%
    Aroldis Chapman
    (122 votes)
  • 1%
    Cole Hamels
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Andrew Chafin
    (1 vote)
  • 1%
    Someone else (leave in comments)
    (5 votes)
395 votes total Vote Now

Thank you to everyone who stopped by this week. I also want to thank the Cubs and Christopher Morel for making this place a lot more gleeful this evening. Please recycle any cans and bottle. Tip your waitstaff. Get home safely. And join us again next week for more BCB After Dark.