I hope you’re off to a lovely start to your week. Whatever lies ahead – it might not be a normal Thanksgiving Week for any of us – I hope it’s some version of nice.
• This weekend I wrote a little bit about the Ian Stewart trade, the first trade of the Theo Epstein era, and very likely the worst move of that era (nothing like getting your worst shot out of the way first). Over at The Athletic, Nick Groke took a stab at the worst move for every organization throughout their history, and then ranked them. You shouldn’t be surprised at the choice for the Cubs (no, it isn’t the Ian Stewart trade), which was the infamous Brock-for-Brolio deal. The full trade was actually Lou Brock, Jack Spring, and Paul Toth to the Cardinals for Ernie Broglio, Bobby Shantz, and Doug Clemens back in 1964, and it ranked as the 9th worst move on the list of 30. Brock famously took off for the Cardinals and became a Hall of Fame mainstay there, but less famously, Broglio stunk for the Cubs, and was out of baseball in a couple years. Toth and Spring were non-factors after the trade, so at least the Cubs didn’t whiff in multiple ways. Then again, Shantz and Clemens were also quite bad for the Cubs in their short tenures there, so the whole thing was really a disaster.
• At least the number 10 trade on the list was the Cubs *acquisition* of Ryne Sandberg. The worst move of all-time, of course, was the Red Sox trading Babe Ruth to the Yankees for $100,000.
• Having dismissed the case and then refiled in the proper jurisdiction, Tony La Russa’s DUI case gets pushed back a bit, which only drags things out further for the White Sox and their new manager:
Tony La Russa's new pre-trial court date is December 28. pic.twitter.com/B6hoUkfBb9
— Josh Nelson (@soxmachine_josh) November 23, 2020
• You’ve gotta believe both La Russa and the White Sox would prefer some kind of plea long before that conference, but the problem for them is that this is La Russa’s second DUI charge. And we don’t know the particulars of this one (beyond his attempt to big-time his way out of an arrest). Maybe it’s a really bad one. Maybe the best plea offer on the table includes jail time. This is all so ugly, and that’s before you get to the fact of how irresponsible, reckless, and inexcusable the offense was in the first place.
• This is just a fun, fantastic read about the energy – non-baseball edition – Theo Epstein brought to leading the Cubs:
Boxing after losses, all-night celebrations, running steps at Nortre Dame, breaking into Wrigley with Eddie Vedder and so much more. Story with @PJ_Mooney on what it's like working with one of the most competitive baseball execs ever, Theo Epstein. https://t.co/CPAjLndP6w
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) November 22, 2020
• Among the anecdotes, the celebration after clinching the National League pennant in 2016:
“It was basically a souped-up version of a high-school house party [at Jon Lester’s house],” [former Cubs exec Scott] Harris said. “Around 5 a.m., the night finally felt like it was winding down. Theo grabbed me and said, ‘Harris, we’re going to bars.’ I said it was 5 a.m. and there are no bars open. So, without skipping a beat, he said, ‘Fine, we’re going to Wrigley.’”
Harris recalled Vedder’s driver taking him, Epstein and Vedder on a ride to Wrigley Field that only lasted a few blocks.
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt more out of place in my life,” Harris said. “A rock legend, a soon-to-be Hall of Fame executive and some kid who looks like he’s 12 are standing outside Gate K of Wrigley Field asking to sneak in.”
A few grinning security guards quickly obliged the group’s request, and the trio had their run of the place. They headed to the clubhouse, picked up bats and started throwing batting practice to each other in the cages.
• There is no other answer:
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) November 23, 2020
• Light therapy, Batman, gift wrap, oral care, watches, and much more are your early Black Friday deals at Amazon today. #ad
• Bryan is doing a side project, so if you’re interested, make sure to follow him and hit him up:
This winter, in addition to my posts @BleacherNation, I’m going to write 500 words on each Cubs transaction and email to whoever wants. For free, tho maybe will try to raise $ for charity later.
If you’d like in, DM me your email or email me (address in bio). Thx!
— Cubs Prospects – Bryan Smith (@cubprospects) November 23, 2020
George Altman was a 2X All-star slugger for @Cubs, smacking 27 HRs & leading NL w 12 3Bs in '61. Went to the Tokyo/Lotte Orions in the Japanese Pacific League and became a hero. Here's his amazing @sabr story https://t.co/AXRVIKYZ9u pic.twitter.com/aWwGBPwFcH
— SABR BioProject (@SABRbioproject) November 22, 2020