Chicago Cubs should consider retiring Gabby Hartnett’s number

Wrigley Field / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images)
Wrigley Field / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Barry Brecheisen/Getty Images) /

In 1982, Ernie Banks became the first Chicago Cubs player to have his number retired by the organization.

Since Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, was immortalized by the Chicago Cubs, several others received the same treatment as they should. Legends such as Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, and Greg Maddux have all had their numbers retired.

Who should be the next to join them? Right away, a few names come to mind. Of course, Kerry Wood, Sammy Sosa, Andre Dawson, and Mark Grace. Each individual listed more than deserving to have their numbers blowing in the wind during ballgames.

With that said, one name stood out to me when checking the teams’ all-time hitting leaders. In 1955, Gabby Harnett was inducted into the baseball hall of fame. He had spent all but one season of his career with the Cubs from 1922-1940.

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Loyalty is everything and almost rare these days. Granted, the game has evolved into a much filthier business as time passed.

Currently, Hartnett is seventh on the Cubs all-time home run list with 231. Former third baseman Aramis Ramirez jumped ahead of him before his departure, sitting with 239. Sandberg, whose number was retired in 2005, ended his Cubs career trailing Hartnett (1,063) by 90 RBI.

Teaming with Hack Wilson, Hartnett had his best year in 1930. That season, the Cubs ended the campaign 90-64, unable to top the St. Louis Cardinals who would lose in the World Series. While Wilson set a Major League record with 191 RBI, Hartnett hit .339 with 37 homers and 122 RBI.

Not taking away from Wilson, again, who ended that season with 56 longballs. To be a fan around this time frame would have been surreal. Carrying on.

While I sit here and make a case for the team to retire his number, I’ll admit it’ll be difficult to do so. Why? Because Javier Baez wears the same number. Right now, Javier’s future with the team is unclear, given the financial situation.

Several contracts are set to expire soon, meaning the team needs to decide who they will bring back long-term. Last week, the Cubs selected shortstop Ed Howard with the 16th overall pick during this year’s Major League Baseball draft.

Next. Cubs sign undrafted free agent. dark

A move that had some fans paranoid about Javier’s standing with the organization: what they fail to realize is how important it is to acquire the best talent despite who you have on the roster. However, with that said, it could possibly be a sign of what is to come.

If Theo Epstein decides to hang onto Baez, then No. 9 may not be retired until the young shortstop is an elderly man. If it comes to that, then it should be in honor of both Hartnett and Baez like Jenkins/Maddux with 31.