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Greatest Chicago Cubs Sluggers Of All-Time
The loveable Cubs have not won a World Series in almost a century, but that doesn't mean the team hasn't had its share of home run hitters over the years. We took the top 10 home run leaders in Cubs history and have sorted them with a bit of information on each during their time with the team. Some names might be missing when you think of actual power hitters, but that's because this is a list based on actual all-time numbers and no other factors. Enjoy!
Sammy Sosa-Even though he played for a few other teams and is currently with the Texas Rangers (as of 2007), Sosa has played most of his career with the Cubs, from 1992 through 2004. He leads all Cubs players with 545 home runs with Chicago, and he's had some of the most incredible seasons of any player with any team. In 1998, Sosa competed with St. Louis' Mark McGwire in what was likely the greatest home run race in baseball history. Sosa finished with 66, but McGwire had 70. Either way, both players topped the record that had been held by the Yankees' Roger Maris for almost 40 years. Sosa hit 63 homers the following year, but still was trumped by McGwire's 65. Then he finally led the National League with 50 homers in 2000. In 2001, Sosa became the first player in history to have three 60-plus homer seasons, hitting 64, but this time he was overshadowed by Barry Bonds' record-breaking 73. In the years that ensued, Sosa's production started to drop off and he left via trade to the Baltimore Orioles in 2005.
Ernie Banks-Hall of Famer Ernie Banks is one of the most popular players in Cubs history, and he played his entire career in Chicago. In fact, Banks' nickname is "Mr. Cub." On the field, Banks played from 1953 to 1971, clubbing 512 home runs and is the all-time leader in RBI with the team (1636). Unfortunately one of the things Banks is remembered for is never getting to play in the postseason. He also coined the phrase, "Let's play two," professing his undying love for the game. Banks won the National League MVP Award in both 1958 and 1959, the former being Banks' best slugging year with 47 homers.
Billy Williams-Billy Williams began his Cubs career in 1959, though his first full season with the team was 1961 when he won the National League Rookie of the Year Award. Williams, along with teammates Ron Santo, Fergie Jenkins and Ernie Banks, never got to play in a World Series game. But his contributions to the team were enormous, as he hit 392 home runs as a Cub including a career best 42 long balls in 1970, to go along with 129 RBI and a .322 batting average. Williams was traded to Oakland before the 1975 season, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987.
Ron Santo-Also considered to be a lifetime member of the Cubs' family, Santo played his entire career in Chicago, though his final season (1974) was with the cross-town White Sox. Santo clubbed 377 home runs with the Cubs, and was one of the greatest slugging third basemen in baseball history. His best overall season was 1964 when he hit .313 with 30 home runs and 114 RBI. Santo also won five straight Gold Glove Awards from 1964-1968 and was a nine-time National League all-star. He also has battled diabetes for most of his adult life, something he didn't disclose as a player until very late in his career, and recently had both of his legs amputated as a result. Today Santo is a Cubs broadcaster and still one of the most popular players in team history.
Ryne Sandberg-Though second baseman Sandberg played in 13 games with Philadelphia in 1981, he was traded to the Cubs and played the remainder of his career in Chicago, retiring in 1997. Sandberg was the Cubs' third baseman in 1982, but the signing of free agent Ron Cey prompted the team to move him to second base, where he became a Gold Glove winner and perennial all-star. But aside from his prowess on the field, Sandberg had quite the power stroke for a second baseman, hitting 282 home runs as a Cub, including a career best of 40 with 100 RBI in 1990. And even though Sandberg is another Cub that never made it to the World Series, he did play in two National League Championship Series, 1984 and 1989. Elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 2005, Sandberg is currently the manager of the Peoria Chiefs (Cubs' single-A affiliate).
Gabby Hartnett-Hartnett was a catcher who played almost his entire career with the Cubs, from 1922 to 1940. Battling injuries during his career, Hartnett rebounded from arm trouble in the late 1920s to hit 37 homers with 122 RBI with a .339 batting average in 1930. In all, Hartnett hit 236 home runs as a Cub and won the National League MVP in 1935. He also became the Cubs' manager in 1938. And unlike some of the players before him on this list, Hartnett played on four Cubs' teams that won the National League Pennant (1929, 1932, 1935, 1938). But each time the Cubs lost in the World Series.
Bill Nicholson-Outfielder Nicholson played for the Cubs from 1939 to 1948, hitting 205 homers as a member of the team. He played on two Cubs teams that won the NL pennant, 1939 and 1945; and his best season was 1943 when he belted 29 homers with 128 RBI and a .309 batting average. In 1949, Nicholson was traded to the Phillies, and he played in Philadelphia until retiring in 1953.
Hank Sauer-Though outfielder Hank Sauer played for several teams during his 19-year career, he had his best years as a member of the Cubs. He played in Chicago from 1949 to 1955, and hit 198 homers as a member of the team. His best overall season was 1954, when he clubbed 41 home runs with 103 RBI and a .288 batting average; but it was in 1952 when Sauer won the NL MVP Award with 37 homers and 121 RBI.
Hack Wilson-Wilson only played a few years with the Cubs (1926-1931), but during that time hit 190 home runs. The outfielder had one of the best years of any player in major league history in 1930, hitting 56 homers with 191 RBI and a .356 batting average. The 191 RBI is a record that stands today, and one that many think will never be broken. Even more amazing is the fact that Wilson was only 5'6" and 195 pounds-not exactly the stature of a typical power hitter. The 56 home runs in 1930 was a National League record that stood until 1998. Wilson also helped lead the Cubs to the NL pennant in 1929.
Andre Dawson-Dawson (nicknamed "The Hawk") played most of his career as a member of the division rival Montreal Expos, but helped the Cubs to the NL East title in 1989 despite sub par numbers. In all, Dawson was a Cub from 1987 to 1992, hitting 174 home runs with the team. Dawson's first year with the Cubs was his best, and his best in the big leagues, as he hit 49 homers with 137 RBI and a .287 average, earning him National League MVP honors. Dawson went on to play for the Red Sox and Marlins before retiring in 1996.
Honorable Mention-Mark Grace, Leon Durham, Andy Pafko, Aramis Ramirez, Jody Davis, Shawon Dunston, Rick Monday, Keith Moreland, Jimmy Ryan, Cap Anson, Jim Hickman, Dave Kingman.