It is an honor left to only the best of the best in team history. With new history being written, it is time to honor the Chicago Cubs past.
Some teams hoist banners. Others, such as the New York Yankees, have created new ways to honor the best of the best. Derek Jeter joined the Bronx legends in Memorial Park last weekend, as a matter of fact.
For the Chicago Cubs, flags with the retired numbers of great players fly high about Wrigley Field. To this day, only six numbers are bestowed such an honor. And each is deserving.
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However, the list is no where near complete. There are other names that deserve to fly high above the Friendly Confines. The amount of history in the team requires immortalization. And, it should start with one number.
Three is the magic number
Part of the reason the Chicago Cubs do not retire number is due to the lack of wearing numbers during the early history of the team. Players like Cap Anson and Frank Chance never wore numbers. Even so, one number is appropriate for the player’s name to fly about the field. That is the number three.
Mordecai Brown was one of the greatest pitchers in the early 1900s. With a career record of 239 wins and 130 loses, 49 saves and an ERA of 2.06, Brown earned election into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1949. He was the ace of the staff and led the Chicago Cubs to two World Series wins in four appearances. He spent 10 of his 14 professional years with the Cubs, finishing his career with a 55.4 WAR.
But why the number three? Due to a childhood injury, Brown only possess three fingers on his right hand – his pitching hand. And the finger he lacked was his index finger, considered crucial for pitching fastballs. This fact lead him to be dubbed “Three Finger” Brown. Ty Cobb is credited with saying Brown’s curveball was the best he ever saw.
In 1912, Brown established tthe Mordecai Brown School of Baseball, still active today. As is his Legacy Foundation, dedicating themselves to helping those with personal obstacles and adversities turn into all star performers. Indeed, his career is worthy of a flag above Wrigley Field.