The Chicago Cubs and the plethora of No. 21’s they’ve had

Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
Sammy Sosa, Chicago Cubs (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) /

Since the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa has retired, 11 players have worn the No. 21–and three players for multiple years.

Oh, Sammy. Since the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa was ‘run out of town’ for having a boom box, it was complicated. Eleven players have worn the No. 21, three for multiple years (Jason Marquis, Tyler Colvin and Junior Lake.) So in 16 years, 11 have worn the number. Bitter much? I’ll give you the answer. Yes.

Lake and Colvin were the ‘cream of the crop’ as far as Cubs prospects had gone. Lake came up and had an exceptional year, having a wRC+ of 112 and a slash line of .284/.332/.428. He fell downhill from there, but he had a successful season in Triple-A, and they traded from there.

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Colvin had some bad luck, mainly getting ‘speared’ by a bat in 2010. Wellington Castillo was up, and he had a broken-bat that was fair. Colvin checked that the ball was fair, and he got impaled by the bat. He missed the rest of the season, and he just wasn’t the same after that. He went on to play for the Cubs in 2011. He spent 2012 through 2014 with the Rockies and the Giants and was gone from the MLB.

The Cubs’ Steven Souza Jr. is wearing it currently. He’s posted a slash line of .176/.300/.412 with an OPS of .712. He’s on a one-year contract for $1MM, so that’s fine. Jason Kipnis has the same deal, as well. Although, Kipnis is rocking it. His walks are up (15.2%), but his strikeouts are as well (27.3%). But his BAbip is .471. Not bad for a small sample.

Here’s the list. The guys, as mentioned above, plus Tony Kemp (2019), Tyler Chatwood (2018), Mark Zagunis (2017), Tommy Hunter (2015), Scott Hairston (2013), Joe Mather (2012) and Milton Bradley (2009). Chatwood is No. 32, FYI.

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So what about Sosa? It’s about making amends with his team–and he doesn’t believe in that. At least that’s what I’ve found. It’s was all just hearsay. I don’t know what is going on with Sosa. My colleague Jake Misener holds a ‘special place’ in his heart. I don’t know about all that.