Chicago Cubs: 25 best all-time players in franchise history

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Chicago Cubs / Gabby Hartnett
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Chicago Cubs Greatest All-Time Players: No. 9 – Gabby Hartnett

player. 9. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. . Gabby Hartnett. 9. Catcher

WAR: 52.7

Any time you have a 20-year big league career and 19 of them were spent with one club, it’s usually a sign that you had pretty tremendous success. Such is the case with No. 10 on our list, Gabby Hartnett.

The backstop made his debut with the Cubs as a 21-year-old in 1922 in pretty disappointing fashion. He managed just a .194 average and was a major weak spot for the club offensively in a pretty limited 31-game sample size. I’m guessing if you told folks after that initial season he’d hang up his spikes with six All-Star selections and an MVP to his name, they’d have called you crazy.

From there, Hartnett established himself as a force with the bat and behind the dish. To this day, he has the fourth-highest dWAR in Cubs history (13.3) and eighth-highest oWAR (48.5). Throughout his twenties, he was a very solid ballplayer. But when it was in the next decade he left his biggest mark on the game.

From 1933 to 1938, he ran off six consecutive All-Star appearances with a cumulative .308/.373/.485 slash line – good for a 131 OPS+ while appearing in an average of 118 games annually.  In 1935, he brought home NL MVP honors after putting up a .949 OPS – the best mark of his career.

Catchers are all too often underappreciated. But Hartnett was of a rare breed – one who could receive, throw and hit with the best of them. He earned baseball immortality for his work in 1955 when he was enshrined in Cooperstown.

Accomplishments & Awards

  • NL MVP
  • Six-time All-Star