It’s not often you see a fan base and a player take to each other so completely, so quickly, as Cubs fans did with David Ross. It’s even less common when the player is a well-traveled back-up catcher in the twilight of his career.
But so it was with Ross and the Cubs, thanks primarily to his influence in the clubhouse, his affable personality, his positive vibe, and what proved to be a fantastic swan song in 2016. Ross not only played his usual stellar defense and was one of the most valuable pitch-framers in baseball, but he also hit .229/.338/.446 (101 wRC+), was worth 1.7 WAR in just 67 games, and ripped 10 homers.
It’s possible, though, that almost none of that will stand out in our memory when we think about Ross’s final season in the big leagues, and final year with the Cubs.
That’s because the final thing he did – the very last at bat of his career – was as dramatic as it gets. The kind of thing you would decry as lame, predictable, and unrealistic if you saw it in a Disney movie. Ross, 39, stepped to the plate in Game Seven of the World Series against the best pitcher going at that point, and did this:
That sixth inning home run, which came against Andrew Miller of all pitchers, gave the Cubs a run that they would later need to keep the game tied and headed to extra innings. More than that, it came just a half-inning after Ross entered the game with Jon Lester, who replaced starter Kyle Hendricks (are you sure you’re still bothered by that?).
Ross became the oldest player to homer in World Series Game Seven history with that blast, and it was the kind of for-ev-er moment we’ll always remember.
His playing days behind him, Ross decided to join the Cubs’ front office as a special assistant, where his popularity among Cubs fans might rival that of his bosses.
Today’s Bullets get into what he’ll be doing, if you’re curious.