In our self aggrandizing way as baseball fans, we love to reminisce about the ‘good old days’ and moments to hang our hats on, especially when the present is bleak. As Chicago Cubs fans, for some strange reason, we love to live in the scope of past successes rather than look forward to a bright future.
As a long-suffering franchise that went over a century without winning a championship, it can be justified. It leads to those moments sitting back, replaying the best of the best in our heads, especially considering the team’s circumstances heading into the new season.
On the flip side, it is fun to turn to those moments and performances. This allows us to remember what it was like and what role it played in our love of the game. The Cubs have many of those moments scattered in the form of debuts, and we are here to countdown the top five.
Cubs: A sparkling debut for Thomas Diamond
Number five is a moment in the annals of Cubs history that will shock a lot of people. Thomas Diamond was drafted by the Texas Rangers 10th overall in 2004 before succumbing to Tommy John surgery in 2007. The Cubs claimed Diamond off waivers in 2009, and his debut came on August 3, 2010, at home versus the Milwaukee Brewers.
Facing an impressive lineup, which included Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, Diamond gritted out a gutsy 122-pitch performance in which the then 27-year-old finished with an impressive stat line of six innings, three earned runs, ten strikeouts and three walks. While it can be argued that there is nothing special about your typical six-inning quality start, it was different at this moment.
Diamond had worked his way back from surgery, the Cubs gave him a chance and he did not disappoint. The right-hander struck out Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart to begin the game. After a couple of hits and a walk, Diamond ended his first big league inning with a strikeout of Jim Edmonds.
He picked up a couple strikeouts in both the second and third, and when it was all said and done, he had finished with multiple strikeouts in five of his six innings. As it goes in baseball, sometimes luck doesn’t favor the bold as Diamond took the loss that day. His career as a whole never gained traction, and Diamond was out of baseball after one season. A fine evening in August, however, was a crowning achievement in his career.