Given all of the top prospect lists, team rankings, PECOTA projections and proposed MLB rule changes lately, I feel like we haven’t had much of a chance to discuss the various Major League players who were actually on the field for the Cubs last season.
Today, we will.
In 2016, Addison Russell hit .238/.321/.417 at shortstop for the Chicago Cubs. He was an All-Star, who played Gold Glove caliber defense and even received down the ballot MVP votes.
Of course, he did a lot more than that – like helping the Cubs win the World Series – which is why you must read Bob Nightengale’s (USA Today Sports) take on the young Cubs shortstop and how he plans to stay humble after completing the best year of his professional life.
According to Nightengale, Russell’s heritage and impressive resume might soon help him become one of MLB’s multicultural leaders. “Russell’s mom is Filipino. His biological dad is African American. He was raised by a Caucasian father. His wife is half-Filipino and half-Caucasian, and they have two kids.”
And, of course, his professional resume through his 22nd year on Earth is as impressive as any player in baseball (Per Nightengale):
- Became the youngest Cubs player to make the All-Star team.
- Helped lead the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years.
- Tied a World Series record with six RBI in a game.
- Became the youngest player since Mickey Mantle to hit a World Series grand slam.
- Hugged Michelle Obama at the White House.
- Tried to put a dance move on video in front of the famed Abraham Lincoln portrait in the White House dining room.
- Got a shout-out from legendary boxer Manny Pacquiao.
- Hung out with Grammy-nominated hip-hop star Chance the Rapper.
- Received a dinner invitation from his idol, former NFL star Eddie George.
- Got the keys to Pensacola from Mayor Ashton Hayward, with two Addison Russell Days scheduled next winter.
But Russell’s story and accomplishments extend well beyond that.
Head over to USA Today Sports to learn about Russell’s complications as a baby, his life as a child, and how he helped his raise his younger siblings while they helped him achieve his dream:
“Addison has changed more dirty diapers than I ever have as a parent,” Milany says. “Without him and his sister (Kailani, 21), we wouldn’t be able to work hours we worked. He saved us $250 a week for day care. Really, when he’s done with baseball, he could be the greatest babysitter that anyone would ever want.”
Nightengale gets into much more of Russell’s plan for the future both as a player and a regular human being. I’m positive you’ll leave the article with a glowing impression of the Cubs young shortstop:
“You make the sacrifices to accomplish the things in life that you want, and even if you accomplish them pretty early, you’ve got to keep it going,” Russell says. “I’m not talking about just baseball. But family, faith, everything to become the best man I can possibly be.
“Really, I just want to make my family proud.”
Oh, and by the way, Nightengale reveals that Russell’s full, birth name is “Geoffreye O’Neal Addison Robert Watts Jr III.” So, yeah, this is a can’t-miss piece. Be sure to check it out.