Open Mic: My Favorite Cubs of the '90s

Katelyn GrabarekSenior Analyst IAugust 6, 2008

While I've read many books on the Cubs' history in my life, I thought that when doing this Open Mic, it might be more appropriate to find the best Cubs players from the '90s rather than all-time. 

We'll just head around the diamond and take a look at some of my favorite Cubs.

Starting pitcher:  Greg Maddux

How can you argue with Maddux's numbers?  While Maddux only played for the Cubs for three years in the '90s, he won three Gold Gloves and had some great seasons.  In 1992, Maddux went 20-11 throwing four shutouts in his last season of the decade with the Cubs.

Catcher:  Joe Girardi 

While Girardi only played for the Cubs from 1989-1992, no one can argue with the way he handled a pitching staff.  In 1992, Girardi hit .270 while playing with a bad back.  Girardi, who is now managing the Yankees, was always known for his ability to call a game.

First Base:  Mark Grace 

Hands down the Cubs player of the decade.  Grace was not a high draft pick in 1985, but turned out to be a diamond in the rough.  Beginning in 1991 Grace led the league in putouts for three straight seasons.  In 1995 Grace led the league in doubles with 51.

Second Base:  Ryne Sandberg 

How can anyone argue with a Hall of Famer?  Sandberg was one of the premier second baseman of all time.  In 1990, he led the league with 40 home runs.  That season he also hit .306 and drove in 100 runs.  Sandberg also ranks among the Cubs' top five career leaders in many offensive categories.

Third Base:  Gary Gaetti 

Throughout the '90s, the Cubs struggled to find a steady third baseman, as was the trend until they acquired Aramis Ramirez from the Pirates in 2003.  However, no one can forget Gaetti's two run homer that clinched the Cubs' wild card birth into the 1998 playoffs over the Giants.  Gaetti batted .320 down the stretch that season in 37 games, including eight home runs and 27 RBI. 

Short Stop:  Shawon Dunston 

Dunston played for the Cubs from 1985-1997.  He led all NL shortstops in putouts three times.  Dunston had his best year at the plate in 1995 when he batted .296 and drove in 69 runs.  In 1988, Dunston led the Cubs with 30 stolen bases and made his only All-Star appearance.

Outfield:  Sammy Sosa 

How can you argue with this one during the '90s?  Sosa came over in 1992.  Mostly everyone's fondest memories of Sosa are from the 1998 season when he chased Mark McGwire for the home run title, falling short with 66 home runs. 

Outfield:  Andre Dawson 

Over five seasons with the Cubs, Dawson led the Cubs' offensive chage.  He had three seasons with more than 100 runs batted in, and led the team in home runs three times.

Outfield:  Glenallen Hill 

During his two stints with the Cubs, Hill put on batting practice clinics hitting mammoth home runs.  Hill came to the Cubs in 1993 and batted .345 with 10 home runs in only 31 games.  Hill was quite a force off the bench in his second stint with the Cubs.  In 1999, his final year with the club, Hill hit .300 with 20 home runs and 55 RBI in only 99 games.  Hill is still the only man to hit a home run on to one of the rooftop apartments. 

Manager:  Don Zimmer and Jim Riggleman 

I couldn't help but like both of these guys.  While I grew up knowing mainly Riggleman and constantly yelling "Pull 'em Riggleman" at the television set,  I have come to find out that some of my first words were "Zim" for Cubs manager Don Zimmer. 

Both men came in to revive Cubs teams that were underachieving.  Zimmer had some success, taking the Cubs to the League Championship in only his second season of 1989.  Zimmer was also the National League Manager of the Year that year.

Riggleman also saw the postseason in his fourth year as manager of the Cubs.  Riggleman was helped in 1998 by the additions of veterans like Kevin Tapani and Terry Mullholland, and rookie Kerry Wood.  Riggleman was fired at the end of the 1999 season. 

Broadcaster:  Harry Caray 

The man is a legend.  No one will ever sing the seventh inning stretch the same way.  The phrase "Holy Cow!" helped get fans attention, and his butchering of players' names was uncanny.  Caray died in 1998 before seeing the Cubs make the playoffs.