Chicago Cubs: What if these five things never happened in Cubs history?
Chicago Cubs: What if Corey Patterson hadn’t gotten injured?
Some fans might wonder what this story is doing on the list; Corey Patterson isn’t nearly as big of a name as the other players on this list are. At least, he’s not now.
Many fans might forget that Patterson is one of the most significant prospects the Cubs have ever had; Baseball America ranked him as the No. 3 overall prospect before the 2000 season and No. 2 overall in 2001. After brief major league stints in 2000 and 2001, he got called up for good in 2002 and was decent. In 2003, he really started to break through; on July 6, he was batting .298 with 17 doubles, 13 home runs, 55 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases.
However, it was on July 6 against the St. Louis Cardinals that he injured his knee while running to first base; Patterson would miss the rest of the season. That prompted the Cubs to acquire Kenny Lofton and Aramis Ramirez from the Pittsburgh Pirates, which had its effects on 2003 and beyond.
Yet Patterson was never the same. He came back and was decent in 2004 but struggled in 2005 and, at one point, earned a demotion to the minors. After that season, he bounced around to a few different teams and last played in the majors in 2011.
I’ll admit this story has a bit of a personal feel to it. I met Patterson back in 1999 when he was playing for the Lansing Lugnuts of the Single-A Midwest League. He was kind to my family and me, and I sincerely hoped that he would make it big. It didn’t happen; if he had never gotten hurt, there’s no telling what he might have accomplished.