#1: Jerry Morales had a negative career WAR, but a positive season in Chicago
I dare you to find a deeper cut in regards to bizarre Cubs All-Stars than outfielder Jerry Morales. To put in perspective the pure randomness of Morales, a search in Getty yielded ZERO results to put into this article despite him playing throughout the 70s and early 80s. Truly, the man is a mystery.
Morales’ career is also a bit of a mystery by today’s standards. He stuck around in the Major Leagues for 15 years, longer than Law, Bell, and Altman and tying Byrd despite having a career WAR of -2.0. Of those years, he was an above-average offensive player in just four separate seasons, one of which was his lone All-Star nod with the Cubs in 1977.
Funnily enough, “Who’s Jerry Morales?” was the same question posed by the Chicago Tribune when he was acquired from the Padres in 1974. The addition of Morales signaled the end of the old Cubs team featuring Santo, Fergie Jenkins and Glenn Beckert, who was traded for Morales. Already, it was a pretty tough billing for Morales as he was tasked with leading a new, young era of the team ahead of the dismantling of the old, beloved core (sound familiar?)
In his four years with the team, Morales managed to hit around league average and even managed to lead the team in RBIs in 1975. In 1977 though, he’d put up a really strong slash line of .331/.391/.502 in the first half, perhaps the best stretch of his career and a flash of the brilliance some saw in him at the time. He was leading the National League in batting before the break, but like the Cubs were wont to do, he came back to Earth hard in the second half and never found that success again.
Every team has its fair share of random All-Stars and the Cubs are no exception. We always talk about the obvious stars and their greatest accomplishments, but it’s nice to occasionally look back and talk about the lesser-known names that still contributed great seasons to the history of the franchise.