Sometime in the 2009, the Chicago Cubs will honor the number 31 and the players that wore it famously(Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddux). That's fine and dandy, I can't argue with what they've done. Jenkins is the best canadian-born pitcher ever in the major leagues and Maddux is the prototypical "finesse" pitcher that all non-power pitchers want to one day become.
What I question is...
1.) Why are the Cubs honoring 2 players with 1 number?
2.) Why honor 2 players who played half their careers or less as Cubs?
Out of Jenkins 19 seasons, 10 were as a Cub. The Cubs are correct in honoring Jenkins alone, seeing as that Jenkins' and the Cubs go hand-in-hand. However, they chose to honor Greg Maddux as well with the #31 celebration. That's where I gotta argue.
Maddux and the Cubs aren't synonamous, not at least in my mind. He was great in his early years as a Cub, but he left and made his name as an Atlanta Brave. That's where "Mad Dog" turned into "The Professor" and won most of his Cy Youngs and Golden Gloves. I realize that he got his Hall of Fame "locks"(300 wins, 3000 ks) in his 2nd Coming with the Cubs, but the Cubs traded him and he played 3 more years bouncing between the Dodgers and Padres.
Why honor a guy that you gave up on twice?
My distaste of some number retirings doesn't go beyond just the Cubs. My beloved Rays and the former ownership that enjoyed giving me headaches since "The Hit Show" Days (Thank god for poor aim and vision on my part for missing my tv with the remote when I seen Vinny CASHsteala managing Team Mexico). The Rays only 2 retired numbers are that of Jackie Robinson and Wade Boggs.
Wade BLEEPIN' Boggs!
In a controversial turn of events, Chuck LaMar tried to decide Wade Boggs' HOF plaque's hat fate when he stipulated that if/when Boggs became a HOFer...He'd be a Ray. It was basically a guarantee that he'd get in, seeing that 3,000 career hits cements you as a Hall of Famer. The Baseball Writers Association of America decided otherwise and he's wearing a Boston cap. However, the Rays still decided that it would be good to honor Wade Boggs by retiring his number.
A player who played 90% of his career with division rivals plays 2-3 lackluster years with a team and gets his number retired. Did Boggs give Vince Naimoli tampered chicken?
If the Rays are to have just 1 retired, it should be Fred McGriff. If "The Crime Dog" ever got into the "500" homerun club(he only needs a few), which is usually a lock into the Hall of Fame as a hitter as well, it'd be hard-pressed for someone to argue against McGriff's best years being with the Rays. He held/still holds Rays career records, which is something Boggs can't say. McGriff hasn't ever been tarnished by steroid rumors and is still seen on TV(Thank you Tom Emansky!).
Please Stu and Andrew, retire the Crime Dog's number!