A Most Wonderful Old Friend is Hanging 'Em Up

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A Most Wonderful Old Friend is Hanging ‘Em Up

Chicago Cubs

I was at the back fields of Spring Training before the 2016 season when a buzz started to build over at the field where the big leaguers were stretching. I was nearby watching some of the prospects, but you couldn’t not be aware that something was happening. So a group of us headed over.

There, despite reports that he’d just signed with the Baltimore Orioles, was Dexter Fowler. An outgoing free agent who’d been so fantastic for the Cubs in the corner-turning 2015 season, Fowler was universally beloved by the players and Cubs fans alike. But it was just a one-year arrangement, and he was on his way out.

Except he wasn’t. To everyone’s surprise, including the players on the field that morning, Dex was back:

It was one of the most wonderful moments of the last decade of Cubs baseball, which was otherwise full of them. I still smile thinking about it.

And it’s one of the first things I’ll think about when I reflect on Fowler’s career, which he today announced is at an end:

There’s a reason Fowler was so well-liked by everyone he encountered, and his excellent play on the field was only a part of it. I can’t wait to find out what he’s doing next, and I hope it’s something in baseball. I’ve gotta believe he’s got more to give.

I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on Fowler’s choice of photo, which has him decked out in his Cubs gear. It’s where he won his World Series, yes, but I think it was also just a special time in his life. He spent only two years in the Cubs organization out of his nearly 20 in professional baseball. Felt like so much more.

All the best to Dexter Fowler and his family. I’ve gotta leave this with two other tremendous Dex moments, and you can probably guess them. They were the first and last homers of his Cubs career.

There was the homer that signaled this era was going to be different:

And there was the homer that announced that the Cubs really could do this thing:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.