Former Cubs’ Class-A affiliate, Kane County Cougars are coming off a huge 91 win season which featured a perfect post-season run to win their first Minor League title since the 2001 campaign.
Grudzielanek, 44, played with the Cubs for two seasons before moving onto the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals and the Cleveland Indians.
More from Chicago Cubs Prospects
- Where’s the love for Cubs prospect Matt Mervis?
- Cubs: Where Luis Devers ranks among team’s pitching prospects
- Cubs Minors: Jordan Nwogu had himself a week to remember
- Cubs: Jeremiah Estrada has the makings of a big league closer
- Top Cubs prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong is swinging a hot stick
He was originally acquired by the Cubs from the Los Angeles Dodgers alongside catcher Eric Karros in exchange for Chad Hermansen and Todd Hundley. In the year of the Bartman incident, the veteran infielder hit just three home runs, 38 RBIs and 38 doubles with a batting line of .314/.366.416 in 121 games.
Despite seeing his playing time cut in his during his final stint, Grudzielanek ended up hitting a solid .312 in the two years he spent with the Chicago Cubs. After the 2004 season, Mark would end up signing with the St. Louis Cardinals where he would appear in 137 games with a .294/.334/.407 clip under his belt.
The Cardinals that year would play their best as they sat at the top of the division with 100 wins while our Cubbies finished fourth behind the Milwaukee Brewers. After jumping between multiple teams over the last four years of his career, Grudzielanek found a spot to hang his hat for three years in Kansas City with the Royals.
On February 23, 2011, the 15 year infielder veteran with one of the most difficult names in professional baseball history, retired after being designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians just a year prior to his announcement.
He finished his playing career with a batting average of .289, 2,040 hits, 90 home runs, and 640 RBIs with one All-Star appearance (’96) and Gold Glove (’06) to add to his résumé. Just like Ryne Sandberg, Grudzielanek will be looking to make a name for himself as one of the finest managers in Minor League history, eventually landing himself a job with a big league club.
After all, he’s inheriting a team that has high expectations entering the new season.