Chicago Cubs fell victim to Carlos Beltran along with the rest of baseball
By Jake Misener
Longtime big-league veteran Carlos Beltran announced his retirement on Monday. The Chicago Cubs fell victim to his exploits regularly in the last 20 years.
It seems like Carlos Beltran has been playing forever. And, while former teammates like Carlos Lee garnered most of the attention for their offensive exploits against the Chicago Cubs, Beltran consistently lit up pitching on the North Side throughout his two-decade career.
This year, Beltran finally captured that elusive World Series championship with the Houston Astros. Sure, he hit just .231 with a .666 OPS, but he also brought a calming veteran presence to a very young Houston clubhouse. Oh, and it marked the first time since 2000 he hit below .250 in a season. That is the epitome of consistency.
Beltran played for seven different teams in his 20 seasons, compiling a 103 OPS+ in 2,586 regular season games. His all-around skill (he swiped 312 bags and hit 435 home runs) spoke for itself time and time again – perhaps on no bigger stage than come October.
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He played in two World Series – but his overall postseason body of work was stellar. He retires with a 1.021 OPS across 15 career postseason series, which will likely contribute to a plaque in Cooperstown someday.
In his farewell piece in The Players’ Tribune, one of Beltran’s quotes stood out to me.
"“You know, I don’t really care how many opportunities I get. I just want you to know that whenever you need me, I’m going to be ready for you.”"
And ready, he was – especially against the Cubs.
Cubs were a favorite target of Beltran
In his career, Beltran put up some eye-popping numbers against the North Siders. Of course, during the first-half of his career, he regularly played against Chicago as a member of the Astros, Cardinals and Mets.
In 83 career games against the Cubs, Beltran hit .311. If you’re keeping track at home, that’s his fourth-best mark against any opponent during his two-decade run. His .950 OPS? That’s his third-highest mark. And it’s not that he popped homers every time up. He hit just 15 homers in 349 plate appearances. He did what he always did – he took what you gave him.
He put up a 1.038 OPS at Wrigley Field, too. Regardless of where he played, he performed. It’s what made him one of the best players of his generation.
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In that farewell ode, Beltran thanked the game. But it’s all of us who should be thanking him.
With that in mind – Muchas gracias, Carlos.