Cubs: Jason Heyward continues to show he’s a true leader on this team

(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images) /

It’s been quite the journey for Jason Heyward in his Cubs career. From an underperforming 2016 that concluded with him being remembered more for a pep talk than what he did on the field to improving his work with the bat with each passing year, he’s made quite a mark on the North Side.

On Thursday, David Ross opted for a new-look lineup with a lefty on the mound, leaving Heyward on the bench. But with the game on the line in the bottom of the tenth, he turned to his veteran – who delivered a walk-off knock to complete the three-game sweep of the Mets.

"“It’s a new situation, but it’s a part of it,” Heyward told “To get where we want to be as a team, you’re going to have to do things you’re not always called on to do.”"

There are too many players whose egos seem to overshadow what a team might need. For all the flak Heyward catches from fans because of his contract, this guy has never put himself or his wants or desires ahead of what makes the Cubs better.

Cubs: Jason Heyward constantly puts others’ needs ahead of his own

On the field, in the clubhouse and in the community, Heyward has left an indelible mark on this franchise and city. When his career is over, he’s going to be one of those guys we look back on and realize we probably never appreciated him the way we should have as fans.

The 12-year big league veteran has been a vocal leaders on issues of inequality in the community, often volunteering and making donations to causes he champions throughout the city. This is what a role model looks like.

"“In 2020, when you saw a lot of people bringing more awareness, bringing more unity on these topics,” Heyward told recently, “everyone in our culture, being African American, knew that that wasn’t the end. We knew there would be more bodies. We knew there would be more casualties, more heartache. It was just the beginning. We weren’t planning on seeing it stop right then.”"

Thursday’s walk-off knock is what a lot of fans care about. The Cubs made it three-straight victories and head into the weekend’s series with some much-needed momentum. But Heyward is doing so much more than what he does between the lines. He’s a calming presence, a leader and someone who isn’t happy just leaving his mark on this team.

Next. Cubs need Kyle Hendricks to show up on Friday at Wrigley. dark

He wants to leave his mark on the world around him. The Chicago Cubs organization is better off with him, the City of Chicago is better off with him – and I hope that we, as fans, appreciate him in the way he deserves because this guy is the best.