Countdown to Opening Day: 19 Days…No. 19 takes us back to our ‘Roots’


Nate Schierholtz wears No. 19 now – but in those old-time uniforms was a pitcher who is more famous for what he gave up than what he accomplished. Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

19 Days to Opening Day and the history with No. 19 in Cub lore is short. There is a guy who wore the number for only the 1934 season that die-hard Cub fans know – Charlie Root. He wore five different numbers over his 16 seasons with the Cubs. However, it was slim pickins once you delve into Cub history with the number.

In Root’s rookie season in 1926 he won 18 games then led the majors with 26 wins the next year over 309 innings. Despite a dominating performance on the mound, he finished fourth in MVP voting. Root went 19-6 in 1929 to help the Cubs win the National League Pennant, but went 0-3 in his World Series starts while he gave up seven home runs. One of those seven home runs was Babe Ruth’s famous “called shot” at Wrigley Field.

Root is about as close as anyone has gotten with No. 19 in Chicago, tallying 201 wins in his career. At least a Cub is a part of baseball history that everyone knows about. Even if he is the one who served it up instead of hitting it out.