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REASON 35: BEYOND BARTMAN, CURSES AND GOATS


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#1 Oswego Chris

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 06:32 PM

Needless to say, I have been overwhelmed by the response to Brett's post regarding my book.  For those who have/are planning to purchase, I thank you and will attempt to thank you all personally.  For the next few days I will be previewing some of the 104 reasons from the book.  The font is not the same(another reason to buy!)...so just consider these teasers...

 

Reason 35 comes from Chapter 3, which deals with the Cubs' poor draft record.  I do not break down all 47 Cubs' drafts, but there have been enough to warrant a chapter of reasons.

 

Thanks again,

Chris

 

    REASON 35

TY GRIFFEN versus ROBIN VENTURA

In 1981 the Cubs hired Dallas Green away from the Philadelphia Phillies to be their General Manager and Executive Vice President. Mr. Green came in with his “Building a New Tradition” slogan and brought many of his top people from Philadelphia.  Coincidently (or not), with Green’s people in scouting and development, the Cubs’ drafts from 1981-1987 were pretty good. They were better than the first 16 years of previous Cubs’ drafts…combined.  There were some busts (Drew Hall, Vance Lovelace), but consider the players drafted between 81-87: Joe Carter, Shawon Dunston, Greg Maddux, Jamie Moyer, Joe Girardi, Rafael Palmeiro, Mark Grace and many key contributors like Dwight Smith, Jerome Walton and Damon Berryhill. 

Green departed the Cubs in 1987, and coincidently (or not) the poor drafts resumed. In 1988 the Chicago Cubs selected Georgia Tech 2B Ty Griffin with the 9th overall pick. Just one pick later, the Chicago White Sox selected Robin Ventura from Oklahoma State.  The selection of Ty Griffin over Robin Ventura warrants its own discussion.  Bad drafting has long been a Cubs’ habit, but in Reason 35 we will look at this one really bad choice. Let’s first compare the two players by using some statistics.

CATEGORY                                ROBIN VENTURA                   TY GRIFFIN

Batting average above .280    six times                       one time…in the minor leagues

Seasons over 20 HRS              nine times                                never….. not even in minors

90 RBI’s or more                       eight times                              nope

MLB All-Star games                   four                                         take a wild-guess

Gold-Glove winner                   six times                                  never made it to majors

I could include more categories, but I would be just piling on Mr. Griffin. Ty Griffin was a terrible pick compared to the guy taken just one pick after him.  Griffin only made it as far as AA, where he never hit above .237.  Ventura finished his major league career with 294 HRs, a .267 AVG and was a solid defender throughout his 16 years. 

How much different might the Cubs’ fortunes have been in the 1990s with Ventura in the line-up?  How different would the Cubs’ infield have looked with Ventura and Grace at the corners? (Yikes! Two lefties in the same Cubs’ line-up?! ) Ventura, known as an impeccable clubhouse leader, could have been a positive influence on the North Side.  Ventura’s foray into managing in 2012 proved to be successful and further cemented his image as a solid baseball man.  In any organization you never have enough quality people; the 90’s Cubs could have used Robin Ventura. The Cubs’ fortunes in the 90s could have been radically different with Robin Ventura playing third base at Wrigley Field.

A blunder such as taking Ty Griffin over Robin Ventura, Reason 35, is an example of why the Cubs are the Cubs. Ty Griffin did not make it to Wrigley Field as a player. Perhaps he visited, but he played as many games there as you and I. Dreadful decisions like these can doom a franchise and can extend historical losing streaks…for longer than a century!



#2 hansman1982

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 07:53 PM

But, but, but...God, if only we could have had a decent owner to go along with a progressive GM who brought in a crap-ton of talented folks.

 

Wait, we just did.

 

I can't want to eventually get the book!



#3 TWC

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 09:16 PM

For the next few days I will be previewing some of the 104 reasons from the book.  The font is not the same(another reason to buy!)...so just consider these teasers...

 

Oooh!  A different font?!?!  *SO* glad I bought the book today.  (Should be here tomorrow.  Thankyouverymuch, Amazon.com.)



#4 fromthemitten

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 10:00 PM

well at least no Cubs first rounders have had the shit beat out of them by Nolan Ryan, right? /everoptimisticcubsfan



#5 OCCubFan

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 06:31 AM

I bought the digital book and received it last night.



#6 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 07:02 AM

I decided to couple it with "The Book" by Tom Tango. I see some light reading in my future. When I get depressed from reading about all the ways the Cubs messed up, I can switch over to The Book and hurt my head some more.


"It's not the dress that makes you look fat, it's the fat that makes you look fat." - Al Bundy

 

"Ow" - Dylan Bundy


#7 TWC

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 08:28 AM

I decided to couple it with "The Book" by Tom Tango. I see some light reading in my future. When I get depressed from reading about all the ways the Cubs messed up, I can switch over to The Book and hurt my head some more.

 

Good call on The Book, Tim.  Heady reading, but worthwhile.



#8 college_of_coaches

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 03:40 PM

Brilliant!  I have often thought of this very issue, in part because I remember at the time that most experts had the Cubs picking Ventura for obvious reasons.  The most obvious of which is (was) the huge gapping maw at 3rd base.  Instead, the idiotic front office surprised everyone and decided to look for Sandberg's replacement.  Stupidity on so many different levels.

 

I seem to remember also that the White Sox altered Ventura's swing to conform to some organization wide system that the were implementing at the time.  Does anyone else recall this?



#9 Oswego Chris

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 06:46 PM

Thanks college of coaches..and you are one of the reasons by the way....I think you may be referring to the Walt Hriniak method the Sox were using which was a descendent of the Charlie Lau style

#10 college_of_coaches

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Posted 30 April 2013 - 08:24 PM

Yes, Walt Hriniak.  I remember there being some controversy over the fact that the White Sox made Ventura conform to the Hriniak method when he joined the organization.  The criticism was that Robin's swing didn't need adjustment. It certainly didn't stop Ventura from having a fine career, but it still makes you wonder what sort of impact this had on his overall batting.

 

I would expect that you'd have a section on my sobriquet -)  I chose the name because I'm a college professor, but I'm too young to have experienced the college of coaches-era.  I am old enough to recall a time in which it still existed in the memory of family members - family members who complained bitterly about it as if it were yesterday.  

 

BTW - I'm going to buy your book, I look forward to reading it this summer.



#11 Spriggs

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 06:50 AM

Brilliant!  I have often thought of this very issue, in part because I remember at the time that most experts had the Cubs picking Ventura for obvious reasons.  The most obvious of which is (was) the huge gapping maw at 3rd base.  Instead, the idiotic front office surprised everyone and decided to look for Sandberg's replacement.  Stupidity on so many different levels.

 

I seem to remember also that the White Sox altered Ventura's swing to conform to some organization wide system that the were implementing at the time.  Does anyone else recall this?



#12 Spriggs

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 06:53 AM

That's what I was wondering about. How were they viewed (Griffin vs Ventura) at the time of the draft? Was Griffin considered a reach at the time, or was he just a classic bust? Same thing for guys like Cunningham, Dickson, Harvey, etc. Sure, you can talk about guys they could have had and how much better they turned out, but what were the draft pundits saying at the time? Did the Cub busts happen just because they were Cubs or were the guys just NOT GOOD?

PS... my comments don't show up anymore when I am replying to a quote. Anyone else have this problem?

#13 MichiganGoat

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:17 AM

That's what I was wondering about. How were they viewed (Griffin vs Ventura) at the time of the draft? Was Griffin considered a reach at the time, or was he just a classic bust? Same thing for guys like Cunningham, Dickson, Harvey, etc. Sure, you can talk about guys they could have had and how much better they turned out, but what were the draft pundits saying at the time? Did the Cub busts happen just because they were Cubs or were the guys just NOT GOOD?

PS... my comments don't show up anymore when I am replying to a quote. Anyone else have this problem?

Um did this work???


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#14 MichiganGoat

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:17 AM

Spriggs - what browser, OS are you using?  Quotes seems to work fine for me on a PC with Chrome


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#15 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 07:45 AM

That's what I was wondering about. How were they viewed (Griffin vs Ventura) at the time of the draft? Was Griffin considered a reach at the time, or was he just a classic bust? Same thing for guys like Cunningham, Dickson, Harvey, etc. Sure, you can talk about guys they could have had and how much better they turned out, but what were the draft pundits saying at the time? Did the Cub busts happen just because they were Cubs or were the guys just NOT GOOD?

PS... my comments don't show up anymore when I am replying to a quote. Anyone else have this problem?

I don't have a problem with it either. Windoze 7 Firefox. You were having this problem the other day as well.


"It's not the dress that makes you look fat, it's the fat that makes you look fat." - Al Bundy

 

"Ow" - Dylan Bundy





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