Today is July 13, and a few former Cubs are (or were) celebrating birthdays on this date.
First up is a current player who was traded away by the Cubs to the Colorado Rockies as a prospect. D.J. LeMahieu was a second round draft pick by the Cubs in 2009, and worked his way all the way up to the Major Leagues by 2011 with stops at literally every level: Arizona Rookie League, and low Class A in 2009, high Class A in 2010, and double A, triple A, and the Chicago Cubs in 2011. The two-time All Star was dealt to the Rockies on December 8, 2011 with Tyler Colvin for Casey Weathers and Ian Stewart. While Theo Epstein and company made many a splash with trades over the years, this was definitely on the losing end of the spectrum.
Bill Caudill played three years with the Cubs (1979-1981). Over nine seasons in the big leagues Caudill won 35 games and notched 102 saves. He made 131 appearances with the Cubs in his three seasons. Despite not being on the Cubs roster in 1982, he was featured in the Topps set in Cubs uniform. I chose this card because it’s my birth year.
Jack Aker was born on July 13, 1940 and appeared with the Chicago Cubs for two seasons (1972 and 1973). It was the tail end of his career after making his major league debut on May 3, 1964 with the Kansas City Athletics. His final season was with the Mets in 1974. Aker’s 1973 Topps card is a beauty. The Wrigley Field ivy in the background on one of the most classic Topps baseball card designs of all time.
Clarence “Footsie” Blair played in 246 games with the Cubs from 1929 to 1931. The infielder had a career .273 batting average. Blair appeared in the 1979 TCMA Diamond Greats oddball set.
Gene Packard had an eight-year Major League Baseball career that included two years with the Cubs (1916, 1917). He won 10 games across those two seasons. Packard set a record in 1918 while playing with the Cardinals that would stand for 90 years. He gave up 12 runs, but did not suffer a loss. That feat was not accomplished again until 2008 when Scott Feldman did the same with the Texas Rangers. Cubs connection: Feldman was signed by the Cubs as a free agent in 2012 from the Rangers. He was later traded to the Orioles with Steve Clevenger for Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop. Packard doesn’t have a true Cubs card, so I improvised and made one with the Rookies App.
Finally, Frank Hiller went 18-17 with a 4.16 ERA with the 1950 and 1951 Cubs. Hiller also played with the Yankees, Reds, and New York Giants in his seven-year career. I used a 1950 press photo for this custom card.
Happy Birthday to those celebrating this Friday the 13th.