Ultimate Cubs Lineup: Doug Glanville
What if you were tasked with winning one — and only one — baseball game and you were responsible for putting together the lineup to get you that W?
Here’s the thing: You can only form the lineup from guys who have suited up for the Cubs, even if it was for only one game or part of one season. This isn’t a list of the greatest Cubs players. It’s the Ultimate Cubs Lineup to win one big game.
That means you can select Mordecai “Three Finger” Brown (who pitched for the Cubs from 1904-1912 and again in 1916) or Anthony Rizzo (who led the Cubs to end the 108-year World Series drought).
You can choose Hall of Famers, All-Stars, role players, whoever. You can prioritize power, contact, defense, intangibles or whatever you think is necessary to win this one imaginary game. You can even hit the pitcher 8th or anywhere you see fit in the lineup.
Since the Cubs are a National League team, we are forming the roster with no designated hitter. To add another wrinkle of strategy, you can select one reliever to come in after the starting pitcher and one player off the bench who could come into the game at any point.
So which 11 current or former Cubs would you choose to go to battle with in a must-win game?
Former Cubs outfielder and current Marquee Sports Network contributor Doug Glanville provided his thoughts:
1. Kiki Cuyler – CF
2. Ryne Sandberg – 2B
3. Anthony Rizzo – 1B
4. Ernie Banks – SS
5. Billy Williams – LF
6. Sammy Sosa – RF
7. Gabby Hartnett – C
8. Ron Santo – 3B
9. Fergie Jenkins – P
Reliever: Bruce Sutter
Bench: Rogers Hornsby
I had many honorable mentions: Hack Wilson, Phil Cavarretta, Hank Sauer, Aramis Ramirez, Stan Hack and a whole host of pitchers (Greg Maddux, Jake Arrieta and so on).
I was torn about Lee Smith vs. Bruce Sutter, Kenny Lofton vs. Kiki Cuyler and if I was going for offense, I would have taken Kris Bryant over Ron Santo.
But how can you not take Rogers Hornsby? One of the greatest players of all-time and as an old man (33 years old), came to the Cubs and won the MVP. The guy was amazing.
Cuyler was an on-base machine and a menace on the basepaths. I had the honor of playing with Ryno and got to admire how he worked — this is one of the best second basemen of all time and he really did everything on both sides of the ball.
The Mark Grace factor was looming here at first base, but Rizzo is almost like a Grace with a little more pop. With Cuyler and Sandberg on base in front of Rizzo all the time, that’s great for run production.
Banks did everything well with a skillset that transcended every position and he had these intangibles — positive energy and leadership. Williams is a tremendous hitter, extremely durable and was still very effective even as he aged.
I had a chance to play with Sosa for quite a while and he was a tremendously impactful figure throughout his career. Of course there’s the race for the record with Mark McGwire in 1998, he brought a huge attention to the game and Chicago.
Hartnett was a tremendous hitter and when you think of him defensively, think of Willson Contreras but with fewer errors. He threw out more than 60 percent of would-be basestealers in multiple seasons in his career.
We know the iconic figure of Santo, the passion and love for Chicago. He’s just deserving to be in the moment to win a championship on this ultimate team. It was tough because you have Bryant and many great players to consider, but Santo matured like a fine wine as his career went on.
I went with Fergie for a lot of reasons, including his precision control. He’s going to allow the ball to be put into play, but that’s also why I have the defense I put together here. What I love about Sutter is his sinkerball — he’s a dominant closer that keeps the ball in the park and doesn’t walk guys.
Be sure to check out all of our Ultimate Cubs Lineups!