2009 Chicago Cubs carry a disheartening historical significance

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs
Derrek Lee (Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Fans were treated to an outstanding year by the longtime hero

Derrek Lee played his final game as a Chicago Cub in 2010 before being traded away to the Atlanta Braves for a bucket of balls and expired Subway coupons. Lee struggled in 2010, and the team was never competing, but in 2009 he put on one last big show for Cubs fans. This felt like his last hurrah.

Lee’s 2009 season was incredibly underrated, and he put up a season that was on-par with some of Anthony Rizzo’s best seasons. His 35 homers in 2009 were the second-best by a Cubs first baseman in decades (Lee’s 46 in 2005 was the best). He hit .306/.393/.579 with a 150 wRC+, .972 OPS and 5.2 fWAR. Outside of 2005, this was a career year for Lee and his last full one as a Chicago Cub.

For a guy who gave so much, it was sad that 2009 ended up being the last year we would see of his prime. He would be out of the big leagues after 2011. In addition to Lee, Lou Piniella, Ryan Theriot and Ted Lilly would see 2009 be their final full-seasons as Cubs before being traded away or retiring during the 2010 season.

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There are some other fun things to note about 2009. It ended up being the year that the Cubs brought in 18-year old Willson Contreras to the organization. We saw how that turned out. It also saw the Cubs defeating the Cleveland Indians at Wrigley Field on June 19 by a final score of 8-7 in 10 innings.