From my adolescence through today, the Cubs have been quite stable at the third base position. This stability came courtesy of Aramis Ramirez for many years until his defection for Milwaukee and, lately, Kris Bryant. By all accounts, it looks as though the hot corner is spoken for for the foreseeable future, seeing as Kris can pretty much do it all on the baseball field (he went deep again last night, tying him with Colorado's Nolan Arenado for the most in MLB).
However, that simply wasn't the case before A-Ram blew into the Windy City in a Trade Deadline deal that was really more like highway robbery from the Pirates in the summer of 2003, right in the thick of the playoff race.
A couple of stabilizing presences on the corner infield.
Before Aramis brought his 30+ homer power to the Northside of Chicago, the Cubs used over 100 different unfortunate souls to try and plug the hole vacated by Ron Santo. The position was said to be "cursed" (we sure do love to blame our failings on voodoo magic 'round these parts) after the bitter trade which forced good, ol' number 10 to finish his career on the other side of town in 1974.
From that point on, countless has-beens. never-wases and busted prospects were rotated throughout the years in a futile effort to bring stability to the infield... Buechele, Fanzone, and *shudder* Gary Scott, for example.
Exhibit A in prospect over-evaluation
That said, they weren't all bad. Bill Madlock was easily the cream of the crop and won a couple of batting titles at the beginning of his career while calling Wrigley home. Unfortunately, the ownership family for which the field was named were notoriously cheap and a touch bigoted. So, they refused to give the outspoken Madlock the raise he quite obviously deserved and instead went out and spent even more money on a decrepit Bobby Murcer.
Other former stars like Ron Cey, Gary Gaetti and Vance Law righted the ship for brief periods of time each; nevertheless, it felt like the Cubs were throwing a new third-sacker on the diamond each and every Opening Day for decades.
In 2006, when A-Ram had only been in town for a couple full seasons, WGN produced a music video to "honor" this futility. Set to the tune of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," the great majority of also-rans were rattled of, rapid fire, as the Superstation's entertainment reporter, Dean Richards, did his best Billy Joel impersonation. It was all in good fun and I remember it airing on Cubs rain delay coverage a few times during that lackluster season.
I guess there's a passing resemblance between the two.
Now, as an avid music nut with a special spot in his heart for cheesy parodies, this tune stuck with me throughout the years. The only thing about the original piece that bothered me was the inconsistencies among the images of the players they used as their names were blared; some were baseball cards (poorly cropped, at that), others were publicity head-shots, still others were obviously the first hit to be found via a Google search. These flaws always bugged me.
Since that time, I've since gone to and graduated from college with a degree that required an awful lot of video and audio editing work. Furthermore, I've also established this humble blog centered around baseball cards. What I'm trying to say, is that I now have the ability, the motive and the medium to recreate the "Who's Been at Third Since Santo?" video, using my CATRC to clean up the image selection.
The only downside is that I don't have the proper equipment for a job like this one. While I'd much rather be using programs like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Audition for a project like this, I no longer have access to the computer lab of a private university. Thus, I had to settle for bare-bones: Windows Movie Maker and Audacity. Even so, I'm still pretty happy with how it turned out (otherwise, I wouldn't be showing it).
Without further ado, I present to you my version of "Who's Been At Third Since Santo?"
Please let me know what you think, be it in the comment section below or on the video itself on YouTube.
Also, after watching that roll call of insignificance, if you're a Cubs fan, please join me in giving thanks for blue-eyed basher that we have firmly entrenched at that position today (and for the foreseeable future). Woof.
Furthermore, while we're on the topic of "curses" and positional black-holes, now that third is filled, I think a new crater has opened up in right. Like third, this one began with the bitter trade of a fan favorite (Sammy Sosa) and since 2005, only Kosuke Fukudome has stuck around longer than two seasons (and we all know how that ultimately turned out). Names like Jeromy Burnitz, Nate Schierholtz, David DeJesus, Milton Bradley, Cliff Floyd, Jacque Jones, etc. have been chewed up and spit out in that time.
Here'es hoping Jason Heyward gets his act together - we don't need another 30-year pit of quicksand!