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Sammy S-O's-Eh?
2005-01-30 23:03
by Mike Carminati

"If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well

It were done quickly. If th' assassination

Could trammel up the consequence, and catch

With his surcease success—that but this blow

Might be the be-all and the end-all!—here,

But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,

We'd jump the life to come."

MacBeth, William "Author" Shakespeare.

So the other shoe dropped and the Cubs traded Sammy Sosa to Elba, er, Baltimore. They received one-time starting second baseman Jerry Hairston Jr. and a couple of prospects.

We're told that the Cubs came out ahead because the O's, desperate to fend off the new, nearby Nationals' good PR, gave up too much to get Sosa while not requiring the Cubs to take on any of his salary. Sosa is not the player he once was, but he should remain effective in Baltimore.

The ultimate reason for his untenability in Chicago was not directly due to his decline. His decline, however, did make the silliness that occurred in the final game of the season enough cause for the Cubs to feel they needed to dump him.

The O's get a marquee player to go along with Miguel Tejada and Javy Lopez to help put fannies in seats. It's not as if Sammy will do much to help with the Orioles' biggest problem, pitching. Nor will he help them reach the summits that the Yanks and Red Sox will undoubtedly scale.

The Cubs trade a 500-homer, future Hall of Famer, and possibly one of the best players the franchise has had in its 135-year history. They apparently will fill his spot in right with Hairston, who was used by the O's in right 27 times last year and would be one of the worst-batting starting right fielders in the business. There are also rumors of the Cubs enlisting Jeromy Burnitz, but one most remember that they also lost their starting left fielder (Moises Alou). I just hope Sosa consults former Red Sox savior and current Cub shortstop, Nomar Garciaparra, before he leaves town.

Whatever happens to the Cubs, what is Sosa's place in the Cubbie pantheon? Here are the franchise leaders in career Win Shares. Sosa's eighth:

NameFirstLast#YrsWSBat WSField WSPitch WSWS per Yr
Cap Anson1876189722381338.140.60.717.3
Billy Williams1959197416350304.645.00.021.9
Ryne Sandberg1982199715346249.693.60.023.1
Ernie Banks1953197119332265.
Ron Santo1960197314321254.666.90.022.9
Gabby Hartnett1922194019319212.1107.80.016.8
Stan Hack1932194716316250.665.70.019.8
Sammy Sosa1992200413290255.334.90.022.3
Mark Grace1988200013269233.
Jimmy Ryan1885190015265213.743.87.317.7
Mordecai Brown19041916102371.80.0233.823.7
Frank Chance1898191215236213.422.10.015.7
Phil Cavarretta1934195320230204.625.00.011.5
Charley Root19261941162230.80.0220.713.9
Joe Tinker1902191612222122.699.40.018.5
Bill Hutchison1889189572203.70.0216.531.4
Johnny Evers1902191312218161.456.80.018.2
Billy Herman1931194010213150.461.20.021.3
Frank Schulte1904191512210172.335.90.017.5
Bill Nicholson1939194810202179.723.30.020.2

But Sosa had fewer seasons with the Cubs than any of the others ahead of him on the list. What if we look at Win Shares per season:

NameFirstLast#YrsWSBat WSField WSPitch WSWS per Yr
John Clarkson1884188741668.00.3158.241.5
Larry Corcoran18801884518510.60.7173.537.0
Terry Larkin187818792737.50.064.836.5
Jim McCormick188618861331.30.131.933.0
Bill Hutchison1889189572203.70.0216.531.4
Hack Wilson192619316165142.622.70.027.5
Topsy Hartsel1901190112724.
Fred Goldsmith1880188341059.00.795.126.3
Gus Krock188818881260.00.025.626.0
Tommy Leach1913191425140.
Jake Weimer190319053720.00.072.324.0
Mordecai Brown19041916102371.80.0233.823.7
Ryne Sandberg1982199715346249.693.60.023.1
Ron Santo1960197314321254.666.90.022.9
Bill Dahlen189118988183120.361.70.022.9
Jimmy Sheckard190619127160127.
Clark Griffith1893190081828.90.1173.422.8
Bill Madlock1974197636759.
Sammy Sosa1992200413290255.334.90.022.3
Billy Williams1959197416350304.645.00.021.9

Then, Sosa is 19th. Sammy's place in Cub history is assured though he probably was never as good as the hype (Chuck D was right) or as bad as the Cub fans now believe him to be.

One thing the trade seems to presage that neither club will make the playoffs this year. They will both be involved in very different division and wild card races but I would not be surprised to see them finish with the same record.

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