Chicago Cubs: Who were the five best players on the 1998 team?

Chicago Cubs (DANIEL LIPPITT/AFP via Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (DANIEL LIPPITT/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Sammy Sosa / Chicago Cubs (JOHN ZICH/AFP via Getty Images) /

Who joined Sammy Sosa as key members of the 1998 Chicago Cubs?

The 1998 Chicago Cubs season didn’t culminate in a championship, a pennant or even a National League Central title. It still lives on in the memories of fans who bore witness to it, though – for countless reasons.

Young Texan Kerry Wood set the tone in early May, striking out 20 Houston Astros in a historic performance at Wrigley Field. By year’s end, closer Rod Beck had turned in the best season of his career – notching 51 saves and appearing in half of the club’s 162 contests. But as we all know, the story in the Windy City and across baseball was the home run race between Chicago outfielder Sammy Sosa and St. Louis Cardinals slugger Mark McGwire.

This weekend, the highly-anticipated ‘Long Gone Summer’ debuts on ESPN. With the 2020 Major League Baseball season on hold as the two sides continue an ugly back-and-forth, baseball fans will undoubtedly be clamoring over the program – which takes us back to one of the most exciting campaigns in the history of the game.

You’ll hear plenty about Sosa and the home run race from us here this weekend. But it’s worth remembering the other important contributors on the 1998 Cubs so you can head into ‘Long Gone Summer’ with a better understanding and remembrance of that club. Let’s go through the team’s top five most valuable contributors, based on Baseball Reference WAR.