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

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
4 of 25
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs Greatest All-Time Players: No. 22 – Jimmy Ryan

Outfield. . Jimmy Ryan. 22. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. 9. player

WAR: 37.3

Outfielder Jimmy Ryan spent almost his entire 18-year career with Chicago, racking up over 2,500 hits in the big leagues. Really, his inclusion on this list boils down to consistency – because this was a guy you could chalk up for a .300 average year-in and year-out throughout his entire career.

Ryan is one of just eight with more than 2,000 hits in his Cubs career and is the all-time franchise leader with 142 triples. In 1888 and 1889, the 5-foot-9 speedster turned in the best two-year run of his career, hitting .326 and getting on base at a .391 clip. In ’88, he led all of baseball with 182 hits, 33 doubles, and 16 home runs.

Although he never really recaptured quite that level of dominance, Ryan put his head down and got the job done for nearly two decades. He swiped 370 stolen bases in Chicago – the third-most of any player to ever put on the team’s uniform.

Really, it was just a different era – one far different from the power-led decades of recent memory. And it makes what Ryan did even more impressive. Let’s take 1888 as an example. The league average hitter slashed .239/.291/.320 that year. Meanwhile, the Chicago outfielder hit .332/.377/.515 – good for a 174 OPS+, making him nearly twice as valuable as a league-average player.