Chicago Cubs: Looking back at some awkward homecomings
Chicago Cubs: One of the most important players of the 2000s barely got anything when he returned to Wrigley Field
From 2003-2011 the hot corner for the Cubs was manned by two-time All-Star slugger Aramis Ramirez. As a Cub, he hit .294/.356/.531 with 239 homers, .887 OPS, and was consistently in the 120-140 wRC+ range per season. He was primarily known for his clutch walk-off homers he hit over his Cubs tenure.
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After his contract ended in 2011 and Theo Epstein took over, Ramirez inked a three-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. It was pretty much expected that he would be leaving in free agency, so it did not seem as though there were any hard feelings among fans. There were plenty of thank yous and YouTube tributes given to Ramirez when the news hit he was officially leaving Chicago.
Fast forward to April 9, 2012. It would be the “big return” for Ramirez to the Friendly Confines as the Brewers took on the Cubs in game one of a four-game set. In the first inning, Ramirez came to the plate and was greeted with very little.
There were some scattered cheers and a few claps with a boo here or there, but overall there was almost nothing. No standing ovation or even loud cheering. It was very odd to see a man who owns the sixth-highest spot in the franchise home run record book get so little of a reaction.
Ramirez, since retiring in 2015, has come back to Cubs conventions and games and has gotten warm greetings on those occasions. Fans still seem to remember him for the good he did; it just did not get recognized that one time. Was it lack of enthusiasm the fans had in general during that 101-loss season in 2012 rubbing off on occasion like that? Who knows.