Ryan Dempster, Paul Maholm, Reed Johnson, and Geovany Soto all are sent packing while the Cubs get 5 minor league players in return. If I had to make a snap judgment right now, I’d have to call the Cubs losers in the trade game. And the losing started when Ryan Dempster said no to the Atlanta trade.
As a 10 and 5 player, Dempster has a certain set of rights when it comes to trades, and I fully support those rights. But if media reports are to be believed, Dempster had listed the Braves as a team that he would be willing to go to in a trade, and then changed his mind when the Cubs actually agreed to a deal that would send Ryan to Atlanta. Apparently Dempster really wanted to go to the Dodgers. While that’s great for him, it put the Cubs on the wrong side of the scale when it came time to negotiate a deal with L.A. It’s hard to drive a hard bargain when in a trade when one side knows the other side has no other option.
This is where I really credit Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein. When the Dodgers offered far less than what the Cubs thought Dempster was worth, they just said no. They put the ball back in Dempster’s hand and said we can work out a deal to NY or Texas; or you will just stay in Chicago (and all the fans will know you blocked the Cubs future progress) .
So instead of getting a Major League ready Randall Delgado from Atlanta for Demspter, the Cubs end up sending both Paul Maholm and Reed Johnson for two lower level minor league players.
Then they trade Soto for minor league pitcher Jake Brigham. My friend Steve over at One Strike Away…Twice likes Brigham as a potential 4th or 5th starter in the rotation. I’ll take that in return for an oft injured and disappointing Geo Soto.
Then back to Dempster. With the deadline rapidly approaching, the Cubs went back to the Rangers and worked out a deal that would send Ryan to Texas for two more minor league players.
Look, I know the Cubs were going to lose Dempster after the season anyway and should be happy that they got some mid-level prospects back in return instead of nothing, but the truth is, it seems like the Cubs didn’t get what us fans thought Dempster would bring in return. After all, if Andrew Cashner brought Anthony Rizzo, shouldn’t Dempster have also brought a top of the list prospect?
Volume 4 – Donnie Moore
Less than 18,000 men have played Major League Baseball, that’s it. Think about that, if every player that ever played in the Majors sat in the stands at Wrigley Field, the place would be half empty.
When put in those terms, it seems like we baseball fans would have a fairly solid handle on almost all the players that have played the game. Yet for the overwhelming majority of those players, their careers are nondescript. They pass like a blur, only to be remembered by friends and family or on the pages of the Baseball Encyclopedia and Baseball-Reference.com.
So to be remembered for playing Major League Baseball is a special thing. Why they are remembered though is a different story.
Some are remembered for great careers; Ruth, Aaron, Jeter.
Others are remembered for the events of just one game; Don Larsen, Harvey Haddix
And still others are remembered for just a single play or pitch or at-bat; Fred Merkle, Al Downing, Brant Brown, Ralph Branca. It’s this category that our latest ‘He Was A Cub’ falls into.
The moment we remember came on Oct 12th 1986 in game 5 of the ALCS as Donnie Moore was pitching to Dave Henderson.
Moore and the California Angels were leading Boston 3 games to 1 in the best of 7 series as they headed to the 9th inning with a 5-2 lead over the Red Sox in Game 5. I think there is little doubt that if that game was being played today; Donnie Moore, the team closer, would have been brought in to start the inning. However the Angels stayed with starting pitcher Mike Witt. Witt allowed a leadoff single to Bill Buckner (who went on to play a significant role in Game 5 of the WS that year), then struck out Jim Rice before giving up a two-run home run to Don Baylor. Witt then got Dwight Evans to pop-out to third base. With left-handed hitting Rich Gedman due up, the Angels went to the bullpen and brought in lefty Gary Lucas. On his first pitch, Lucas hit Gedman. So with a 1-run lead and a runner on first, Donnie Moore comes in to face Dave Henderson. Henderson gets to a 2-2 count before fouling off two more pitches……….and then it happens…………….
Donnie Moore was drafted by the Cubs in the first round of the supplemental draft in January of 1973. He signed that summer and was sent to the Cubs rookie league team. In 1974 he played for the Cubs single and double A teams. He was a combined 11-16 with a 3.26 era as a starter. In 1975 he again pitched for AA Midland. As a starting pitcher, he was 14-8 with a 2.97 era. That season’s minor league performance earned Donnie a September call-up to the Cubs.
Donnie Moore made his Major League debut on September 14th 1975 against the Philadelphia Phillies. Coming into the game in relief of starter Steve Stone, the first batter Moore faced in his career was future HOF third baseman Mike Schmidt with two runners on base. Schmidt hit a single that ended up scoring both runs with the help of an error by catcher George Mitterwald. Moore pitched in 3 more games that fall.
Donnie spent all of the 1976 season and half of 1977 back in the Cubs minor league system. For the remainder of the ’77 season as well as 1978-79, Donnie would be shuttled back and forth between the Cubs major and minor league teams.
During his career with the Cubs, Moore pitched 233 innings over 141 games. His record was 14-13 with a 4.44 era.
Just after the 1979 season ended, Donnie was traded by the Cubs to the St. Louis Cardinals for Mike Tyson. Moore started the year on the Opening Day roster, but was sent back to the minors in May for the remainder of the 1980 season.
Donnie spent all of the 1981 season in AAA until he was purchased in September in what was basically a rent-a-player deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Moore pitched in 3 games that month for the Brew Crew before being returned to the Cardinals after the season.
The next spring Donnie was traded to the Atlanta Braves. Like he had done with the Cubs and the Cardinals, Moore spent the next two seasons moving back and forth between the Major League team and AAA. It wasn’t until 1984 that Donnie spent the entire season in the majors. That year he had a 2.94 era and was the primary closer in a closer-by-committee bullpen.
That winter he was taken by the California Angels in the Free Agent Compensation draft. It was a great pick for the Angels and Moore. Donnie had what would be his best career season. He was 8-8 with 31 saves. He made his only All-Star team and finished 6th in the AL MVP balloting. It was perfect timing for Moore as he became a free agent after the season. The Angels re-signed Moore for $2M over two years, a huge contract at the time.
Although 1986 wasn’t as good for Moore as ’85 had been, he still was 5th in the AL in saves and the team made it to the playoffs.
After the heartbreaking loss in the ’86 ALCS, 1987 was not kind to Moore. Because games 6 and 7 of the previous years ALCS were in Boston, the fans were getting their first chance to “greet” their players after the Championship Series loss, and they vented their disappointment at Moore the most. Donnie was routinely boo’d by the home town fans early in the season; and although he didn’t pitch horribly, he started out by blowing 2 of his first 5 save chances and gave up runs in 5 of 6 outings. Eventually, Donnie ended up spending most of the 1987 season on the DL.
That winter Moore was re-signed as a free agent again by the Angels for $1M. Moore had a poor season in 1988 and was released by the Angels on August 26th.
Donnie was signed as a free agent by the KC Royals in 1989 and sent to AAA. Unfortunately he didn’t pitch well there, a 6.39 era in 7 games, and was released in June. He never pitched in a professional game again. His last big league appearance came on August 7th, 1988 against the Chicago White Sox.
Just a month after his release from the Royals, Donnie Moore got into an altercation with his wife during which he shot her. Tonya Moore survived the shooting, but Donnie turned the gun on himself and committed suicide.
One can never know for sure what ultimately lead Moore to take his own life, but it’s clear that Donnie’s life changed both professionally and emotionally after giving up that home run to Henderson and it without doubt played a role in his eventual demise.
And so maybe Donnie Moore will always be remembered for one pitch that he delivered to Dave Henderson on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Anaheim in Game 5 of the ALCS………….
But just for one day………….let’s remember that………….
Donnie Moore was a Cub………………..
While the first half of the season was wrapping up and the league was holding its annual All-Star game, I was taking a vacation with my family around the east coast. We spent time in Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Cape Cod and then finished up with a day at Niagara Falls.
I’d like to say I got to see some baseball during the trip, but other than an hour at the Cape Cod Baseball Hall of Fame and a quick 15 minutes or so each morning checking the box scores, the past two weeks was strictly family and vacation fun. I’m not going to go through every detail of my trip, however I would like to mention a couple of things.
The great thing about the trip was, if it wasn’t going to include a lot of baseball, it was going to include another favorite topic, history.
I’m not exactly a Civil War or Revolutionary War buff (actually if I had to pick one period of time I’m most knowledgeable about it would be WWII), but I do appreciate getting a chance to learn about any U.S. History. The really great thing is that I have kids that are willing to learn as well. So while it’s always good to sprinkle in a day at the beach or a trip to the local park into the schedule, I am lucky not to have kids that are always trying ‘just to get through’ things so that they can get back to the hotel pool.
We started our trip in Philadelphia. I know everyone likes their local fireworks and backyard barbeques, but is there a better place to spend the Fourth of July than in the city that our Constitution and Declaration of Independence was written? We rose early that morning and went to see the Liberty Bell, then got a great spot for the parade just across the street from Independence Hall.
That night we watched the fireworks bursting in air above the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Spectacular! And yes, the next day I did run up the 72 steps and jump around. Just check out that 7 inch vertical.
We then moved on to New York City. The Cubs were in town to play the Mets in the final series before the break. I was planning on going to one of the three games, but it just never worked out. Instead we visited Central Park, Bryant Park, Radio City Music Hall, Intrepid Air and Space Museum, and other iconic NYC landmarks like Times Square. It’s crazy to see all of the video boards lit up and running ads. It’s also just as fun to see yourself with your daughters, and hundreds of others, on a huge screen.
We also went to the 9/11 Memorial. I’d never been to New York before this visit, and so despite having full knowledge of course of what happened that day, it never really fully hits you until you stand there at the footprint of the World Trade Center towers and start reading the names of all the people that were lost that day.
We also saw the Statue of Liberty. I’ve seen every monument and memorial in Washington DC, all amazing in their own right, but to pass by the Statue of Liberty at sunset is something a picture can say a lot better than I can.
(You can click on this or any of the others pictures to see them in full size)
After New York, we went to Boston. I was in Boston last year to see the Cubs play the Red Sox and what I wrote about that trip last year has been my most viewed post.
This year I didn’t see a game, but I did see most of Boston. It is a beautiful city. We walked the Freedom Trail, spent a lot of time in the Public Gardens, and took a duck boat tour. I have a lot of great pictures from historical sites all around the city, but my two favorite are when my youngest daughter actually got to sit in the driver’s seat and “drive” the duck boat while we were on the Charles River.
As great as my daughters are about seeing historical sites and taking tours around different cities, they still need to have fun on vacation. So we went to Cape Cod for three days of Sun, beach and relaxation ( I also squeezed in a little baseball).
There are 10 teams in the Cape Cod league and it has produced many Major League players, enough so that they have their own Hall of Fame in Hyannis. It’s small, basically one room in the basement of the J.F.K. Museum, but it’s worth a stop if you are in that part of the world.
The real highlight of the trip to the Cape was the sunset sand dune tour we took of the National Seashore protected lands off Provincetown. We took the tour with Art’s Dune Tours. They are the best. If you ever want to feel like you are at the “end of the Earth”, take this tour.
And so now I’m back, and so is baseball. The Cubs have started the second half off great with a sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks and next up is Ozzie Guillen and the Miami Marlins. Lets Go Cubs!!!
Thanks to everyone that has been stopping by Wrigley Regular for the past 10 days, the whole year actually , I’ve been on vacation with the family and haven’t had a chance to add any new posts.
I will be back after the All-Star break, but until then you can read my post from last year on how to fix the All-Star Game, they implemented part of one of my suggestions for this year.
Or you can enjoy this number from Jimmy Buffett………….
If you are reading this post, you are most likely a fan of baseball. Maybe you’re a Cubs fan, or an Angels fan, or the Cardinals or Rangers or DBacks; it doesn’t matter the team, you are a fan.
Unfortunately with times such as they have been, it’s hard to just be a fan, now we find ourselves being judge and jury also.
We all watch the game through the window that sits in the middle of our living room. We don’t “know” the players, but we watch what they do. And we watch with a suspicious eye. We don’t want to, but we have to.
For a “baseball generation”, steroids have been a prevalent part of the game. Based on some estimates, upwards of 40% of the players used steroids. Ken Caminiti famously claimed back in 2002 that 85% of the players were using steroids. However, other than just a handful of admitted cases, the list of players that we know without doubt that took steroids is very small. Even the players that have been suspended for failing the leagues banned substance test have refused to admit taking the drug.
And so we watch through the window, looking for the Thorwald in the crowd, which I hate doing because it taints all the players. I particularly hate it when a great player like Jim Thome gets traded.
Yesterday Jim Thome was traded from the Phillies to the Orioles. Here is a player that has 609 career HR’s. He is tied for seventh on the all-time list. It should be headline sports news when a player of his caliber is traded. Think of Aaron going from the Braves to the Brewers, or Mays going from the Giants to the Mets. Yes these players were in the twilight of their careers, but it was headline news.
And no, I’m not saying that Thome is an equal to Aaron or Mays, but his trade deserves more of a mention than two sentences in the transaction column of the local paper. Yet that’s all he gets because he has played his entire career during the steroid era, even though he has never been implicated with steroids as far as I can remember.
So we are ambivalent to his 609 HR’s. And the thing that makes it worse, he’s actually tied on the all-time HR list with Sammy Sosa, a player that almost everyone assumes did use steroids.
I for one though, even if it’s just for the day, want to take a moment and just be a fan.
I want to acknowledge the great player that I’ve had the privilege to watch on tv and to see play in person. I want to think about all the home runs that Jim Thome has hit and not have to think about how he hit them.
Tomorrow I can be Mr. Jefferies again; today I just want to watch without suspicion.
You can watch this 2 minute video reviewing some of Thome’s career.
Good Luck in Baltimore Jim!