December has been an impactful month over the years for the Chicago Cubs.
We’ll start our trip back in time with the ghost of Christmas past to revisit two of the most significant events in Chicago Cubs history. After the 1940 season, Cubs owner Phillip Wrigley had finally decided it was time for night games at Wrigley Field. All the equipment and materials were in place when on December 7, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the United States was thrust into World War II. The very next day, Wrigley donated all the materials to the armed forces.
That wasn’t the only “what could have been” moment though. If you think the Brock for Broglio trade was the worst thing the North Siders ever did you might want to consider this fail. In December 1934, Wrigley passed on the offer of a minor league Pacific Coast League player who would dominate baseball for over a decade, Joe DiMaggio.
That’s right, Joltin’ Joe could have worn blue pinstripes. In fact, the San Francisco Seals offered Wrigley DiMaggio and cash. Wrigley declined, fearing DiMaggio’s knee injury. Oh, and the Seals offered Wrigley a buyback if DiMaggio didn’t work out.
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Continuing on our journey with the ghost of Christmas past, Greg Maddux signed with the Braves in December 1992 after a long and public dispute with the front office, and in December 2011, in the first trade of their new regime, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer traded future batting champion DJ LeMahieu to the Colorado Rockies.
Capping off this list of less-than-ideal December happenings, it was in December 1960 the College of Coaches was introduced.
It wasn’t all bad news in past Decembers though. Moises Alou was signed in December 2001, Mordecai “Three-Finger” Brown was traded to Cubs in December 1903 and in December 1965 Randy Hundley and pitcher Bill Hands were acquired from the Giants. All of these players would go on to have success and in the case of Alou a fateful role in Cubs lore.
One beloved Cub that features significantly in our December of Cub events is Ron Santo. The longtime third baseman was traded to White Sox in December 1973. Santo returned to the Wrigley Field radio booth in 1990, and after 20 seasons he passed away in December 2010 from the complications of Type-1 diabetes. One year and three days later, Santo was posthumously voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
December isn’t over so who knows if another major moment in the December of Cubs history has yet to be made. Will the team trade Yu Darvish before the New Year? We’ll have to wait and see.