The Cubs had a lot of connections to the 2021 World Series
On the five-year anniversary of the Cubs’ epic World Series, another team took home the coveted championship trophy.
The Atlanta Braves won it all Tuesday night, beating the Astros in Game 6 of the 2021 World Series. Former Cub Jorge Soler was the MVP, earning his second World Series trophy (both of which were clinched on Nov. 2).
While Soler didn’t play a major role in the postseason for the 2016 Cubs (he appeared in only 2 games against Cleveland in the World Series), he was a force for the Braves this fall. He crushed 3 homers and drove in 6 runs in the World Series, including a 3-run shot to kick off the scoring in Game 6 Tuesday night. He hit .300 with a 1.191 OPS over 23 World Series plate appearances.
But Soler wasn’t the only former Cub to take home a World Series ring this autumn. Here’s the full list:
The Cubs traded Pederson to the Braves during the All-Star Break in July and the veteran helped stabilize the Atlanta outfield after Ronald Acuña Jr.’s season-ending knee injury.
Pederson wasn’t much of a factor in the World Series (.067 average, .243 OPS in 17 plate appearances) but he had some clutch hits on the road to the Fall Classic. He smacked 3 homers and drove in 9 runs between the NLDS and NLCS, including pinch-hit homers in Games 1 and 3 of the NLDS to account for Atlanta’s only runs in both contests.
For the second straight postseason, Pederson finished the year smoking a cigar on the field and sporting a championship T-shirt and hat.
The 38-year-old journeyman reliever took home his first World Series hardware in his 14th season in Major League Baseball.
Chavez, who was a revelation in the Cubs bullpen in the second half of 2018 (1.15 ERA in 32 games), emerged as a big part of the Braves bullpen this season. He began the year with the Los Angeles Angels but was released in March and picked up by Atlanta in April.
Chavez shuttled between Triple-A and the majors but found success in Atlanta, posting a 2.14 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 33.2 innings over 30 appearances (4 starts) in the regular season.
In the playoffs, he did not allow a run over 6.1 innings, making multiple appearances in each series along the way.
The veteran speedster was also on the 2018 Cubs, notching 6 stolen bases and 5 runs scored in 14 appearances. Gore has carved out a nice role for himself as a pinch-runner on playoff teams in recent years, winning a World Series ring with the 2020 Dodgers and 2015 Royals.
He was on the World Series roster with the Braves but did not appear in a game against the Astros.
This one is something of a gray area. Smyly never pitched a game for the Chicago Cubs. He was signed by the team prior to the 2018 season knowing he was going to miss most of the year in recovery from Tommy John surgery. Smyly made only 1 appearance in the Cubs system — a 1-inning start for Class-A South Bend. That winter, the Cubs dealt him to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later.
The veteran southpaw threw 126.2 innings for the Braves this season, spending most of his time in the starting rotation. He was moved to the bullpen for the playoffs, notching a trio of appearances between the NLCS and World Series.
Smyly gave up 3 runs in 4 innings against the Astros in the Fall Classic, striking out 6 batters.
Willson Contreras’ brother, William, did not appear in the World Series but was on the Braves roster. The 23-year-old catcher made his MLB debut in 2020 and appeared in 52 games for Atlanta in 2021.
Veteran catcher Jonathan Lucroy appeared in 2 games for the Braves in the regular season and will take home a World Series ring for his efforts. He played 27 games with the Cubs at the end of the 2019 season.
Carl Edwards Jr. — who came 1 out away from the World Series-winning save for the Cubs in 2016 — will take home his second ring. He pitched just 1 game for the Braves in the regular season, allowing 3 runs in 1/3 of an inning.
At the same time, a few former Cubs were denied the game’s most coveted trophy:
Dusty Baker was at the helm for the Astros in 2021 and lost his second World Series (also 2002 with the Giants). Baker managed the Cubs from 2003-06 and came 5 outs from the World Series in 2003 in Chicago. He has not won a championship in a long, illustrious career as a manager (24 seasons).
Marwin González filled a lot of roles for the 2021 Astros and won it all with Houston in 2017. He got his start in professional baseball in the Cubs organization, signing as an international free agent out of Venezuela in 2006. He played in the Cubs minor league system until 2011, when he was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the Rule 5 Draft.
Martín Maldonado made just 4 appearances for the Cubs in 2019 before he was traded to the Astros for Tony Kemp. While in Houston, he became a stabilizing presence behind the plate and started every World Series game for the Astros.
Robel Garcia hit 5 homers for the Cubs in 2019 as an intriguing power prospect but was ultimately placed on waivers in July 2020. He appeared in 46 regular season games for the Astros in 2021, hitting a homer with a .423 OPS.
Kendall Graveman falls under the Smyly category as a “former” Cub. Graveman was signed by the Cubs in December 2018 and missed all of 2019 as he rehabbed from Tommy John, making 2 appearances in the minor leagues that year. He was granted free agency after the 2019 campaign and wound up on the Astros midseason in 2021. Graveman made 3 appearances in each postseason series this fall, including 4 innings in the World Series.