Something I’ve always enjoyed about Chicago Cubs fans – partly in a serious way, and partly in a wry, ironic way – is that we tend to make heroes out of guys for reasons that have very little to do with their baseball ability. I suppose that’s probably true in most fan bases, though I’d argue that, when it happens elsewhere, those fans don’t always know they’re loving on a guy despite some rough edges in the talent department.
Cubs fans knew the score with John Baker. Brought in on a minor league deal before the 2014 season, Baker was a quality veteran backstop who could handle a pitching staff, mentor young players, and, well, probably not hit a ton. That’s the way it is with back-up catchers you snag on minor league deals, so there wasn’t really any disappointment when Baker proved to be pretty much what was expected. He’s now reportedly off to join the Mariners on a minor league deal (Jon Heyman), and he’ll probably make some fans there, too, despite being something short of a superstar.
That’s not to say he didn’t have some bright moments on the field. He had a huge game in June, and then who could forget his double-duty win in the marathon game back in late July. But most of the affection fans felt for Baker was tied to a variety of good quotes (even as recently as this week) and great pictures:
— Amanda Kaschube (@amandakaschube) January 21, 2015
In 2014, this happened. Wrigley Dugout never sounded so good. pic.twitter.com/laKz9iQuyF
— John Baker (@manbearwolf) December 31, 2014
— Manu (@ManuclearBomb) January 28, 2015
Best of luck to Baker in Seattle, and may the fans there appreciate him as we did.