Chicago Cubs: Five underrated hitters from recent history

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Jacque Jones, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Jacque Jones

Jacque Jones had a nice run with the Minnesota Twins from 1999 to 2005. Over seven years, the outfielder collected 974 hits while hitting 132 home runs and driving in 476. He batted .300 or better twice while hitting over 20 home runs three times. He’s an overlooked part of those early 2000s Twins teams that made the playoffs a few times.

After the 2005 season, Jones became a free agent, and the Cubs signed him. It was a move that didn’t inspire a lot of excitement from Cubs fans, and after he went hitless in his first four games in 2006, fans were already growing impatient. Yet he homered against the St. Louis Cardinals in his fifth game, which helped to break the ice, and Jones took off from there.

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On a miserable 2006 team, Jones was quietly a bright spot, batting .285 while tying a career-high in home runs with 27 and adding 31 doubles. He then got off to a rough start in 2007, and it seemed confident that the Cubs were going to trade him.

It’s a good thing that they didn’t. After batting .233 in the first half, Jones batted .332 in the second half while driving in a whopping 46 runs. Without him, the Cubs would not have won the division that year. We have to give Jones a ton of credit; with his first-half struggles and all the trade rumors, it would have been easy to give up. Instead, he stuck with it and became a key contributor.

The Cubs did decide to move on after the 2007 season, trading Jones to the Detroit Tigers for Omar Infante (who never appeared in a game with the team).