Chicago Cubs: Five players who would benefit from a mulligan
What if we gave five Chicago Cubs players a chance to start over on their Cubs careers? Here we look at five potential candidates.
The Chicago Cubs have had a lot of star players over the years who had memorable careers. Then there are those players who probably wish they could have a mulligan. Here, we look at five such players, starting with a catcher whose career didn’t quite go as planned.
Chicago Cubs: Todd Hundley
This wasn’t how it was supposed to turn out. Todd Hundley‘s father, Randy Hundley, is a Chicago Cubs legend. Todd Hundley had built a reputation as one of the game’s most prominent power threats from behind the plate. His 41 home runs with the New York Mets in 1996 at the time was a record for a catcher. In 2000, in just 90 games, he went deep 24 times.
That’s why a lot of fans were excited when the Cubs signed Hundley to a four-year, $23.5 million free-agent contract before the 2001 season. With a big hole at the catcher’s position, it was a signing that made a ton of sense for both sides.
It did not go well right from the beginning. Hundley became upset when his teammate, Damon Buford, wouldn’t give up #9 so he could wear it. Then, manager Don Baylor chose Joe Girardi to start at catcher on Opening Day, liking the matchup better, and Hundley complained.
It took Hundley five games to get his first hit and 17 games to hit his first home run. He didn’t hit a single home run between May 6 and June 18 before going down with an injury. By the end of the season, he was batting just .187 with 12 home runs.
2002 didn’t go much better, as he batted .211 with 16 home runs. At one point, he complained that it was too cold to hit at Wrigley Field early in the season. He was booed mercilessly by the hometown fans, and during one home game, he was caught flipping off fans while rounding the bases after hitting a home run. Hundley later claimed it was aimed at some Cincinnati Reds fans.
Both for his attitude and his struggles at the plate, it would have been nice for Hundley to get a do-over. The good news is that the Cubs later traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two key 2003 players, Eric Karros and Mark Grudzielanek.