Results tagged ‘ Randy Hundley ’

1/24 Remembering Ernie

Some of Ernie Banks’ former Cubs teammates and a few other notable Cubs players were in Mesa, Ariz., on Saturday, taking part in Randy Hundley’s fantasy camp. Here is their reaction to Banks’ passing on Friday:

* Glenn Beckert
“To me it’s a tragic thing, really a tragic thing. I lost one of my best friends. You don’t realize how close you were to some of those old athletes until something like this happens. He was great to play with. He was my best hitting instructor. In 1965, I came up as a young kid and he was still at first base. You can’t imagine the impact. I played with him for seven years. This has hit me hard. It’s hard think about losing a friend like that.”

* Randy Hundley
“Ernie was terrific to play with. I remember the first year I joined the ballclub, Leo [Durocher] was the manager. He called a meeting and he got on Ernie, he told Ernie that every time the pitcher threw over to first base, he wanted Ernie to tag the guy even if he had been standing there for five minutes. And Ernie did it without complaining with every runner that got on first base.

“He was a wonderful person to play with. He and I used to talk a lot when we were on the plane. He’d come over and sit with me and we’d talk about the game.”

“It was sad to hear that he had passed last night. I was very sorry to hear that. … We lost a wonderful person. I saw him the last time during the last couple of months. We missed him very much at the Cubs Convention. I sure wish I had been able to see him then.”

* Gary Matthews Sr.
“I mean, obviously, without a doubt, the greatest player, if not recognized player, in Cubs history. You know, I just saw him recently and he really looked happy. He looked good. He had lost a lot of weight. He was a guy for me who really loved life. He lived his life like that. The Cubs family is going to miss him, without a doubt. Just in terms of being the first black player the Cubs had and the home runs he hit. A shortstop that went to first just shows you what a great player he was, but he’s not here anymore, period. All fans are going to miss him.”

* Bob Dernier
“For me, if there was a monarch, a King Cub, he certainly filled that role. The way he treated me was just golden. He gave me a joyful welcome and sort of a big brother hug. I thought a lot of Ernie. I think we all did. He’ll be sorely missed, but he’s up there with [Ron] Santo and Harry [Caray] and a variety of others. They’re welcoming him now. He was the ambassador of Cubs baseball, no doubt. I just go by my own experience and he always treated me very kindly. I feel badly for the guys who played with him. I can feel their sadness because I know how I would feel if and when I lose a teammate. Not if, when. That’s part of the gig. They have to have a heavy heart.”

* Ed Lynch
“There are certain players who define an organization. For the San Francisco Giants, it’s Willie Mays. For the New York Mets, it’s Tom Seaver. I think Ernie Banks was that kind of player. He defined the Chicago Cubs. During the lean years of the 1950s he was the one bright spot for the fans. And he transitioned into the very good teams they had in the late ‘60s. From my experience being in Chicago as a player and a general manager I don’t think there was any more beloved player than Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. Just the name itself was indicative of the high regard in which he’s held by the fans, the city and the organization.

“I knew him well. We didn’t socialize or anything, but he knew that as the general manager, I was trying to make the club better and he was all for that. One thing about those guys –- Ernie, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Randy Hundley, Glenn Beckert –- all those guys legitimately rooted for the Cubs. They wanted the Cubs to win. And you felt that. You felt that support from all those guys and Ernie was one of them.

“It’s a huge loss, not only for the organization, but for the city and for baseball. You know, this guy wasn’t too far removed from Jackie Robinson. He was only six years removed. It wasn’t exactly a picnic for Larry Doby and Roy Campanella and that whole group that came in the 1960s. It was a still a pretty tough environment to not only work, but to succeed. And they succeeded. These were the type of people who encompassed what America was all about and that’s why he received the Medal of Freedom from President Obama because he deserved it. He blazed the trail. They were out there alone. They did it alone. I have the utmost respect for the players of that era who did it alone. They were the true trail blazers and Ernie was certainly one of those guys.”

Reported by’s Barry Bloom in Mesa, Ariz.

6/28 7th inning stretch singers

Former Ohio State basketball star Evan Turner will sing the 7th inning stretch Monday. On Tuesday, it will be Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic, co-hosts of the “Mike & Mike in the Morning” show on ESPN. On Wednesday, actor Thomas Ian Nicholas, star of “Rookie of the Year” and “American Pie” will lead the crowd and Ron Santo will do the honors Thursday. Former Cubs catcher Randy Hundley will sing Friday and another former Cub, Bob Dernier, will do so Saturday.

— Carrie Muskat

8/3 Ironman Hill

Koyie Hill is just the seventh Cubs catcher in the last 50 seasons to have started at least 20 consecutive games in one season behind the plate. Randy Hundley had at least one 40-game streak every season from 1967 to 1970, including a 79-game stretch from April 15-July 8, 1967. Besides Hundley, the list includes George Mitterwald, Tim Blackwell, Barry Foote, Jody Davis, and Damon Berryhill. Thanks to Ed Hartig for the research.

— Carrie Muskat


7/29 Gregg, Ironman Hill & quick hits

The one Cubs reliever who did not pitch Monday and Tuesday was Kevin Gregg. The right-hander is fine; he had pitched in seven of the team’s first 10 games since the All-Star break.

“I think [Lou Piniella] was trying to give me a day off,” Gregg said. “It was kind of weird having a day off, actually.”

Gregg has saved three of the last six games, and picked up save No. 21 on Sunday against the Reds. This is his third consecutive 20-save season and he’s the first Cubs closer to total 20 saves in his first season with the Cubs since LaTroy Hawkins had 25 in 2004.

There are no histrionics with Gregg. He’s very even keel.

“You never want to get too high, you never want to get too low,” he said. “Our job is to get people out. You get people out, and you walk off the field. That’s how I’ve always looked at it. That’s why I go up there, to get people out. I’m not going to celebrate that. I’m also not going to beat myself up for giving up a run because it happens. I’ve never seen anybody go through a season without giving up a run.”

And what does he think of pitchers who do a lot of fist-pumping and gyrations after a save?

“I don’t like it,” he said. “To each his own. It kind of looks like garbage out there, personally. Everybody does their own thing.”

You might see a little fist pump, though, from Gregg.

“Maybe after a big play I might give it one of these [fist pump] if it was a good play,” he said. “You won’t see me strike out a guy and do a little dance out there.”

* Koyie Hill started his 19th straight game behind the plate on Wednesday, the longest stretch since Damon Berryhill caught 25 in a row from May 13-June 9, 1989. The ironman duties are no big deal to Hill, who began the year as backup to Geovany Soto.

“Randy Hundley started 161,” Hill said.

Actually, Hundley started 156 games for the Cubs in 1968, played in 160, and totaled 1,385 innings behind the plate. The backups that year were Randy Bobb, who started two games, and Bill Plummer, who did not start a game. Hill, by the way, entered Wednesday’s game with 909 2/3 innings at catcher in his career.

* Carlos Zambrano was wearing a neck wrap on Wednesday. The problem? “Bad sleep,” he said.

* Ron Santo was scheduled to go with the team to Florida and Cincinnati but will miss the third city on the trip, and not be in Denver for the series vs. Colorado.

* B.J. Ryan made his first appearance in relief on Tuesday and pitched one inning for Triple-A Iowa. He threw about 11 pitches, and his fastball registered about 86-87 mph.

— Carrie Muskat