2/3 Where were you …
… on Feb. 2, 2005? That’s the day the Cubs traded Sammy Sosa and his 574 career homers to the Orioles in exchange for Mike Fontenot, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Dave Crouthers. Chicago also signed free agent Jeromy Burnitz to a one-year, $4.5 million contract, part of the never-ending search for left-handed power. “Obviously, it’s a historic day,” Cubs GM Jim Hendry said at the time of the deal. “Everybody feels like it was the right thing to do.” Sosa hit 14 homers and drove in 45 runs in 102 games in his only season with the Orioles. He played with the Rangers in 2007 before retiring.
What about the others? Hairston batted .261 in 114 games with the Cubs in 2005, Fontenot spent that year in the Minors, getting called up for seven games in April-May. Crouthers never made it to the big leagues but retired in Spring Training in ’05. In a September 2005 interview with “Inside the Ivy,” he said he left the game because of anxiety issues. Crouthers credited the Cubs staff, particularly pitching coach Larry Rothschild and Hendry, for being supportive. “My decision really had nothing to do with the Cubs or being traded,” he said. “It just got to the point where I didn’t feel like I could compete.” He re-enrolled at Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
Burnitz hit 24 homers and drove in 87 in 160 games with the Cubs, batting .258 with a .435 slugging percentage. He played one more season with the Pirates in ’06 before retiring.
– Carrie Muskat