Cubs History: Remembering Jim Edmonds and the summer of 2008

(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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This guy will always be remembered for his lengthy stints with both the Angels and Cardinals, but this eight-time Gold Glove winner played a role on the North Side more than a decade ago.

The 2008 Chicago Cubs were an anomaly of sorts. Winners of 97 games during the regular season, the magic immediately faded during a first-round sweep by the vaunted Los Angeles Dodgers. Spectacularly, the decision to sign Jim Edmonds ended up as a catalyst to a strong year and postseason birth.

Who would have thought a well-respected teammate such as Edmonds would arrive at the Friendly Confines and make the impact he did for the organization? The most straightforward answer is nobody. Edmonds did, however, experience an end-of-career resurgence in his abridged time with Chicago.

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The Cubs were in a spot to take the risk in their signing of Edmonds. How often does a player of that caliber come around? In the two seasons leading up to a trade with the San Diego Padres, Edmonds was exactly a replacement-level player. The veteran had then struggled with the Friars to start the year, leading to his release and subsequent addition to the Cubs’ ranks.

Through his 26 games in San Diego, Edmonds slashed a paltry .178/.265/.233 before his triumphant push in the Windy City. In Edmond’s case, all hope seemed to be lost, until that is, he was given the opportunity to rebound. And rebound, he did. The outfielder arrived mid-May, and while things did not get off to any better of a start in the first couple of weeks, he caught fire by June.

With the Cubs, Jim Edmonds caught some Wrigley magic.

Edmonds slashed .319/.419/.667. He knocked six home runs, drove in 19 runs, walked at a 15.1 percent clip, and ended the month with a 172 wRC+. The average came back down to earth in July, yet he managed a .600 slugging percentage and a 145 wRC+.

August was much of the same as he still produced at a reasonable rate above replacement-level. In a ten-game stretch midway through the month, despite hitting .087, Edmonds managed a well above-average .364 OBP, evident by nine walks. The 38-year-old closed the regular season out on a high note in September, hitting another four home runs and managing a 14.6 percent walk rate.

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Things, unfortunately, stagnated in the NLDS as Edmonds hit just .200 over ten plate appearances. The Cubs went quietly into the night and thus closed the book on Edmonds’ time with the Cubs. As brief as it was, Edmonds brought a bright spot to the lineup. He will forever be enshrined in the category of players one may have forgotten were once on the team. Albeit brief, the summer of Edmonds in Chicago was a fun one.

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