Over the course of the next month, LWOSports will be breaking down the top five MLB players in franchise history for all 30 teams. This article will rank the top five Chicago Cubs players in franchise history from least to best by who had the biggest impact for the team. You can check out the other series articles here.
The Chicago Cubs certainly have an extensive history that dates all the way back to 1876. Fun fact, they originally started as the Chicago White Stockings. After a couple of name changes, they finally became the Cubs in 1903. Led by Hall of Fame players Frank Chance, Joe Tinker, and Johnny Evers, the Cubs made four World Series appearances between 1906 and 1910. In fact, they won two championships during that span, including what would begin a 108-year span between titles. Recently, the Cubs have revived their franchise by reaching the playoffs four straight seasons. Winning the World Series in 2016 was the culmination of the recent surge in success. With that said, here are the top five Chicago Cubs players in franchise history.
The Top Five Chicago Cubs Players in Franchise History
5. Billy Williams
Hall of Famer Billy Williams played with the Chicago Cubs franchise from 1959-1974, although his official rookie year was 1961. In fact, Williams won the Rookie of the Year Award after batting .278 with 25 home runs along with 86 runs batted in. Undoubtedly, his best season came in 1972 at age 34. Williams led MLB in batting average, slugging percentage, OPS, OPS+ as well as in total bases during that season. Amazingly, he only finished second in the MVP voting. Billy Williams comes in fifth on the top five Chicago Cubs players in franchise history.
Accolades in Chicago: Hall of Fame, Rookie of the Year, six-time All-Star, 1972 batting title.
Stats with the Cubs: .296 batting average, .364 on-base percentage, .503 slugging percentage, .867 OPS, 2,510 hits, 1,306 runs scored, 392 home runs, 1,353 runs batted in, 402 doubles, 87 triples, 86 steals, 911 walks, 934 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 5th in WAR, 3rd in offensive WAR, t-24th in batting average, t-31st in on-base percentage, 8th in slugging percentage, 10th in OPS, 3rd most games played, 4th in runs scored, 3rd in hits, 2nd in total bases, 5th in doubles, 8th in triples, 3rd in home runs, 4th in runs batted in, 5th in walks, t-40th in steals, 2nd in runs created, 2nd in extra-base hits, 5th in power-speed number, 1st in win probability added.
4. Cap Anson
Cap Anson spent 22 of his 27 year Hall of Fame career with the Cubs. Despite playing from 1876-1897, he clearly remains one of the greatest players in MLB history. Anson won four batting titles as well as leading the league in multiple single-season categories several times throughout his illustrious career. Additionally, Anson still stands as the winningest manager in team history. Cap Anson comes in fourth on the top five Chicago Cubs players in franchise history.
Accolades in Chicago: Hall of Fame, four-time batting champ.
Stats with the Cubs: .331 batting average, .396 on-base percentage, .448 slugging percentage, .844 OPS, 3,012 hits, 1,722 runs scored, 97 home runs, 1,880 runs batted in, 529 doubles, 124 triples, 247 steals, 953 walks, 321 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 1st in WAR, 1st in offensive WAR, 32nd in defensive WAR, t-3rd in batting average, 6th in on-base percentage, 32nd in slugging percentage, 16th in OPS, 2nd most games played, 1st in runs scored, 1st in hits, 3rd in total bases, 1st in doubles, 2nd in triples, 1st in runs batted in, 3rd in walks, 10th in steals, 1st in runs created, 6th in extra-base hits, 4th in power-speed number.
3. Fergie Jenkins
Fergie Jenkins spent 10 of his 19 overall seasons with the Cubs organization. During his tenure in Chicago, Jenkins enjoyed six 20 game win seasons along with a Cy Young Award in 1971. In fact, he led MLB in wins with 24 that season. Additionally, he pitched an amazing 30 complete games during the season with three shutouts in 39 starts. Jenkins is routinely viewed as one of the most important players to ever put on the Cubs uniform. Therefore, Fergie Jenkins is third on the top five Chicago Cubs players in franchise history.
Accolades in Chicago: Hall of Fame, 1971 Cy Young Award, three-time All-Star.
Stats with the Cubs: 167-132 record, 3.20 earned run average, 1.123 WHIP, 2,038 strikeouts, 600 walks, 154 complete games, 29 shutouts.
Franchise ranks: 1st in WAR for pitchers, 34th in ERA, 5th in wins, 11th in WHIP, 15th in strikeouts per nine innings, 6th in games played, 3rd in innings pitched, 1st in strikeouts, 11th in complete games, 4th in shutouts, 5th in strikeout to walk ratio, 2nd in win probability added.
2. Ryne Sandberg
Ryne Sandberg deservedly checks in at number two on the top five Chicago Cubs players in franchise history. Sandberg is easily one of the best overall players in Cubs history when you consider how dangerous he was on offense. However, you must remember how great he was on defense as well. The 1984 MVP won an amazing nine Gold Gloves during his 15 years in Chicago. Interestingly, Sandberg only registered 76 triples with the Cubs, however, 19 of those came in the 1984 season alone. He led the majors in runs scored three times, triples once, home runs once and total bases once. To this day, Ryne Sandberg remains one of the most beloved Cubs of all time.
Accolades in Chicago: Hall of Fame, 1984 MVP, 10-time All-Star, nine-time Gold Glove winner, seven-time Silver Slugger.
Stats with the Cubs: .285 batting average, .344 on-base percentage, .452 slugging percentage, .796 OPS, 2,385 hits, 1,316 runs scored, 282 home runs, 1,061 runs batted in, 403 doubles, 76 triples, 344 steals, 761 walks, 1,259 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 3rd in WAR, 5th in offensive WAR, 3rd in defensive WAR, t-39th in batting average, t-29th in slugging percentage, t-33rd in OPS, 4th most games played, 3rd in runs scored, 4th in hits, 5th in total bases, 4th in doubles, 14th in triples, 5th in home runs, 7th in runs batted in, 9th in walks, 4th in steals, 6th in runs created, 1st in power-speed number, 7th in win probability added.
1. Ernie Banks
Certainly, it will be tough to top Ernie “Mr. Cub” Banks on the top five Chicago Cubs players in franchise history list anytime soon. Banks spent his entire 19-year career in a Cubs uniform, enduring many bad seasons while in Chicago. 1958 and 1959 proved to be his best seasons as he won MVP both years. During the 1958 campaign, he led the majors in home runs, runs batted in, as well as slugging percentage, total bases and games played. Additionally, in 1959 Banks led the majors in runs batted in as well as games played. The 500 home run club member was consistently great throughout his Hall of Fame career.
Accolades in Chicago: Hall of Fame, two-time MVP, 14-time All-Star, 1960 Gold Glove winner.
Stats with the Cubs: .274 batting average, .330 on-base percentage, .500 slugging percentage, .830 OPS, 2,583 hits, 1,305 runs scored, 512 home runs, 1,636 runs batted in, 407 doubles, 90 triples, 50 steals, 763 walks, 1,236 strikeouts.
Franchise ranks: 4th in WAR, 4th in offensive WAR, t-26th in defensive WAR, 9th in slugging percentage, 23rd in OPS, 1st in games played, 5th in runs scored, 2nd in hits, 1st in total bases, 3rd in doubles, 7th in triples, 2nd in home runs, 2nd in runs batted in, 8th in walks, 3rd in runs created, 15th in power-speed number, 4th in win probability added.
There you have it, the top five Chicago Cubs players of all time. Certainly, these are all names that are synonymous with Chicago Cubs baseball.
Embed from Getty Images