The Rundown: Godspeed Glenn Beckert, Sosa Accepts Legacy, Kris and Jess Bryant Become Parents
I was sad to hear that Glenn Beckert passed away yesterday. He was a good friend of my father’s, a favorite of mine when I was a kid, and was always a gentleman.
The thing I remember most about Beckert is he never looked like a ballplayer. My dad worked in annuities and insurance and the retired second baseman resembled a lot of my father’s work colleagues. Mr. Beckert spent a lot of time with my father and was often a guest when we’d have summer parties. He’d come by occasionally after a home game, sit down with my dad for a beer and a half hour or so of conversation, and then quietly leave, always with no fanfare from our other guests.
We lost a great one today, Glenn Beckert. Glenn was My friend, my @Cubs teammate, and the best man at my wedding. He will be greatly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with the Beckert family. pic.twitter.com/JYgadyLPK8
— Fergie Jenkins (@fergieajenkins) April 12, 2020
In November of 1973, Beckert was traded to the Padres for Jerry Morales. It was such sad news that my mother actually cried and I was pretty upset, too. In ’71, I had developed somewhat of a kinship with the four-time All-Star because he helped me with my batting stance during my first year of Little League. Beckert hit .342 that summer and I used to think that by helping me, he may have also helped himself. That’s just how seven-year-olds think.
Beckert was good at basketball, too. He taught me how to shoot a jump shot — and this will really age me — after he saw my pathetic excuse of a two-handed set shot.
1973 was also the beginning of the end of my father’s association with the team. The Cubs started breaking up the core from their exciting 1969-71 run and free agency was just a few years away. By the time the 1974 season started, GM John Holland had traded Fergie Jenkins, Ron Santo, and Beckert. A year later, Billy Williams was traded to the A’s for Manny Trillo and Darold Knowles, and the break up was complete. After the ’74 season, my dad’s contract with the team was terminated.
It didn’t matter much to him at the time. By ’75, the only player my dad represented was White Sox first baseman Tony Muser, and that was only because they were roommates in Tinley Park after my parents split. Once Muser was traded to the Orioles, my dad was just a regular financial advisor with regular clients.
When my father passed away in 1978, Beckert was nice enough to attend his services. He wasn’t the only member of the Cubs organization to attend, but he did give me the “you’re the man of the house now” speech that day. That was the last time I saw him. It’s hard to believe 42 years have gone by so quickly.
Cubs News & Notes
- Congratulations are in order for Kris Bryant and his wife Jess on the birth of their son, Kyler Lee.
- Jon Lester has a decent shot of reaching 200 career wins once baseball resumes, but is that, along with two World Series championships, enough to get him elected to the Hall of Fame?
- Sammy Sosa is no longer concerned with his legacy. “In a previous time of my life, I would have argued about the Hall of Fame,” Sosa said Saturday during a Spanish-language interview with Tenchy Rodríguez and Hector Gomez of Z101Digital.com, as translated by Gomez on Twitter. “But with my peace, I’m happy. If it happens I’ll be happy, if not I’ll be happy too. My numbers can’t be erased from the box scores.”
- Bleacher Report recapped the epic 1998 home run race between Sosa and Mark McGwire.
- Joe Maddon said that Game 4 of the 2016 NLDS was “the linchpin” for his team’s historic World Series run.
- Ernie Banks is the all-time best MVP at shortstop in the history of the game.
- A radical realignment that has been considered by MLB would put the Cubs in a Phoenix-based division that includes the Rockies, Diamondbacks, Giants, and Athletics.
- At least some Cubs players would welcome a 2020 season full of scheduling oddities and asterisks. “I love that people are getting creative and making a strong effort,” infielder Nico Hoerner said about one scenario being discussed in which all 30 teams would convene in the Phoenix area to start the season sometime next month.
- In baseball sim action yesterday, Kyle Hendricks out-pitched Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty in the North Siders 3-2 victory over St. Louis in what would have been an Easter edition of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball at Wrigley Field. Sean Holland has the CI recap.
- The Strat-O-Matic Cubs continued their impressive early season run, improving to 8-1 at home while jumping to a two game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central thanks to a 3-0 win. Jason Kipnis provided all the offense with a 5th-inning three-run jack and Yu Darvish earned his second win of the season. The faux-Cubs are now 11-5 on the season.
- I’ve been keeping Strat-O-Matic team statistics, and right now Javier Báez and Kyle Schwarber are driving the offense. Craig Kimbrel has saved five games so far.
Apropos of Nothing
I wonder if Angels fans are starting to tire of Maddon’s ongoing affinity for the Cubs. I mean, he manages Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani, Anthony Rendon, and Justin Upton now. You’d think he’d have more to talk about than his five years in Chicago.
Odds & Sods
We had a clause added to band performance contracts when I used to run shows at SXSW that prevented the indie talent from playing Wagon Wheel. It was the most popular cover song at the time, and I just wanted to avoid having to pay royalties. Let’s hope ASCAP and BMI don’t come after Mike Bryant.
As we wait for baseball to return, new Grandpa Mike Bryant wrote a song about his son Kris and the Chicago Cubs! @cubs pic.twitter.com/AXzPWVisSN
— Cubs Insider (@realcubsinsider) April 12, 2020
MLB News & Notes
Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. is treating simulated baseball with all of the fervor and excitement that real games command.
If you want to watch the Players League via MLB The Show 20, here’s how.
Legendary Dodgers manager Tommy LaSorda gave a Hall of Fame COVID-19 pep talk over the weekend, complete with filter mask and sanitary gloves.
José Canseco still dislikes Álex Rodríguez, as this Easter message indicates.
On this date in 1967, Tom Seaver made his debut with the Mets.
The Chinese Professional Baseball League made its regular season debut this weekend.
Astros manager Dusty Baker thinks one change to baseball as a result of the ongoing pandemic will be the death of high-fives.
Today’s topic for debate.
Do people automatically assume Sammy Sosa took steroids because he broke Roger Maris’ home run record? The list he showed up on for a failed test includes Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, and Roberto Alomar, yet we’re cool with them. It’s very possible to gain 40 pounds w/o steroids. pic.twitter.com/c1Vm07jNHd
— Greatest Show on Dirt (@greatestondirt) April 13, 2020
They Said It
- “Glenn Beckert was a wonderful person who also happened to be an excellent ballplayer. Glenn was a familiar sight at Wrigley Field and numerous Cubs Conventions, and he always had a memory to share of his time on-and-off the field with his beloved teammates.” – Chicago Cubs organizational statement
- “You have to be able to let go. I have faith in god that one year not far away I will be able to go to Chicago and we will figure out any misunderstanding, that grudge that we still have between us.” – Sammy Sosa
Monday Walk Up Song
Wagon Wheel by Darius Rucker. Just trying to keep the heat off of Mr. Bryant. You can help, too, by clicking the link and watching.