Cubs

Numbers Game: statistical oddities of the Cubs World Series title

Numbers Game: statistical oddities of the Cubs World Series title

Out with the old, in with the new.

The numbers 1908, 1945 and 1969 are now — more or less — ancient history for Cubs nation.

Now, Cubs fans get to memorize a new list of numbers and random statistics.

CSN Chicago stats coordinator Chris Kamka and Cubs reporter Tony Andracki compiled some interesting historical nuggets about the Cubs’ World Series championship over the Cleveland Indians:

— Dexter Fowler: first leadoff home run in a Game 7 in World Series history.  Appropriately, it tied for the franchise lead in postseason home runs with three others. The top four comprise the 1-2-3-4 spots in the Game 7 lineup (Fowler, Kyle Schwarber, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo). Fowler also joins Reggie Jackson and Mickey Mantle as the only center fielders to homer in a Game 7.

— David Ross: oldest catcher in World Series history to hit Home Run (39 years, 228 days) — and he did it in the final game of his Major League career.  In fact, he's the oldest player to homer in a World Series game with that game as the last of a career. Who previously held that distinction? Former Cub Shawon Dunston, whose final game was Game 6 of the 2002 World Series with the Giants. The previous oldest person to homer in a World Series Game 7 was Willie Stargell, who led the Pittsburgh Pirates to a championship in 1979. Those Pirates were also the last team to rally back from a 3-1 deficit while winning both games on the road until the Cubs just accomplished that feat again.

— During the course of Games 6 & 7, two Cubs became the second-youngest in World Series history behind Mantle to do something special. In Game 6 Addison Russell became second to only Mantle as youngest to hit a World Series grand slam. In Game 7, Javier Baez became second to only Mantle as youngest to hit a Game 7 home run.

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— Cubs are the third team in Major League history (following the 1950 Phillies in Game 3 and 1978 Dodgers in Game 3) to use three catchers in a World Series game. Of course, the Cubs are the first to have all three of those catchers record an RBI.

— Schwarber was the first non-pitcher in World Series history to collect a hit without getting a hit during the regular season. He had seven hits in the 2016 World Series.

— This Cubs team is the first team to win a World Series despite suffering four postseason shutout losses along the way. The 1981 Dodgers had previously been the only team to suffer as many as three. They’re the first team since the 1960 Pirates to suffer two Word Series shutouts and still win the series.

— Barack Obama joins Teddy Roosevelt as only US presidents to be in office for a Cubs World Series championship. Obama attains this feat just days before the 2016 election.

— Theo Epstein ended the Red Sox 86-year World Series drought. Then, he ended the Cubs 108-year World Series drought. And yet, he's 219 days younger than Bartolo Colon, an active pitcher.

— Kyle Hendricks became the first player since 1987 to pick-off a runner in a World Series Game 7 and the fifth overall.

— Addison Russell's nine RBI are the most ever by a Cubs player in the World Series.

— This is the first time since he became a full-time reliever in 2012 that Andrew Miller has allowed as many as four hits in an appearance.

More on the World Series victory

--Joy to the World: Cubs finally end 108-year Series drought

--Finally: The Cubs are World Series champs

--The wait –and the weight- is over: Cubs fans celebrate World Series title

--Barack Obama congratulates Cubs World Series championship

--Famous Cubs fans celebrate World Series title on Twitter

--Ben Zobrist becomes first Cub ever to win World Series MVP

--Numbers game: statistical oddities of the Cubs World Series title

--Jed Hoyer: Rain delay was ‘divine intervention’ for Cubs

​--Fans give Cubs a taste of home in Cleveland

--Ben Zobrist delivers exactly what the Cubs expected with massive World Series

--‘Dreams come true’: Bill Murray reacts to Cubs winning the World Series

--Big surprise: Kyle Schwarber plays hero again for Cubs in World Series Game 7

- Ryne Sandberg: World Series ‘made it able for me to live in the present’

Addison Russell is so over 2017: 'That's last year, don't want to talk about that'

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USA TODAY

Addison Russell is so over 2017: 'That's last year, don't want to talk about that'

MESA, Ariz. — “That’s last year, don’t want to talk about that.”

In other words, Addison Russell is so over 2017.

The Cubs shortstop went through a lot last year. He dealt with injuries that affected his foot and shoulder. He had a well-documented off-the-field issue involving an accusation of domestic abuse, which sparked an investigation by Major League Baseball. And then came the trade speculation.

The hot stove season rarely leaves any player completely out of online trade discussion. But after Theo Epstein admitted there was a possibility the Cubs could trade away one or more young position players to bolster the starting rotation, well, Russell’s name came up.

And he saw it.

“There was a lot of trade talk,” Russell said Saturday. “My initial thoughts were, I hope it doesn’t happen, but wherever I go, I’m going to try to bring what I bring to the table here. It’s a good thing that it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m happy being in a Cubs uniform, I want to be in a Cubs uniform, for sure. But there was some talk out there. If I got traded, then I got traded, but that’s not the case.”

No, it’s not, as the Cubs solved those pitching questions with free-agent spending, bringing in Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood to replace the departed Jake Arrieta and John Lackey. It means Russell, along with oft-discussed names like Kyle Schwarber, Ian Happ and Javy Baez, are all still Cubs.

While the outside world might have expected one of those guys to be moved in some sort of blockbuster trade for Chris Archer or some other All-Star arm, the Cubs’ young core remains intact, another reason why they’re as much a favorite to win the World Series as any team out there.

“I’m really not surprised. The core is still here. Who would want to break that up? It’s a beautiful thing,” Russell said. “Javy and I in the middle. Schwarber, sometimes playing catcher but mainly outfield. And then (Kris Bryant) over there in the hot corner, and of course (Anthony) Rizzo at first. You’ve got a Gold Glover in right field (Jason Heyward). It’s really hard to break that up.

“When you do break that down on paper, we’ve got a lineup that could stack up with the best.”

This winter has been about moving on for Russell, who said he’s spent months working to strengthen his foot and shoulder after they limited him to 110 games last season, the fewest he played in his first three big league campaigns.

And so for Russell, the formula for returning to his 2016 levels of offensive aptitude isn’t a difficult one: stay on the field.

“Especially with the injuries, I definitely wanted to showcase some more of my talent last year than I displayed,” Russell said. “So going into this year, it’s mainly just keeping a good mental — just staying level headed. And also staying healthy and producing and being out there on the field.

“Next step for me, really just staying out there on the field. I really want to see what I can do as far as helping the team if I can stay healthy for a full season. I think if I just stay out there on the field, I’m going to produce.”

While the decrease in being on the field meant lower numbers from a “counting” standpoint — the drop from 21 homers in 2016 to 12 last year, the drop from 95 RBIs to 43 can in part be attributed to the lower number of games — certain rate stats looked different, too. His on-base percentage dropped from .321 in 2016 to .304 last year.

Russell also struggled during the postseason, picking up just six hits in 36 plate appearances in series against the Washington Nationals and Los Angeles Dodgers. He struck out 13 times in 10 postseason games.

Of course, he wasn’t alone. That World Series hangover was team-wide throughout the first half of the season. And even though the Cubs scored 824 runs during the regular season, the second most in the National League and the fourth most in baseball, plenty of guys had their offensive struggles: Schwarber, Heyward and Ben Zobrist, to name a few.

“You can’t take anything for granted. So whenever you win a World Series or you do something good, you just have to live in the moment,” Russell said. “It was a tough season last year because we were coming off winning the World Series and the World Series hangover and all that. This year, we had a couple months off, a couple extra weeks off, and I think a lot of guys took advantage of that. I know I did. And now that we’re here in spring training, we’re going to get back at it.”

Cubs Talk Podcast: Discussing 5-man unit and where Montgomery fits into Cubs' plans

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USA TODAY

Cubs Talk Podcast: Discussing 5-man unit and where Montgomery fits into Cubs' plans

Jon Lester has arrived at Cubs camp, and he’s pleased with the new-look rotation full of potential aces. Kelly Crull and Vinnie Duber discuss the 5-man unit, and where Mike Montgomery fits into the Cubs’ plans.

Plus, Kelly and Vinnie talk Jason Heyward and Kyle Schwarber, along with the continuing free agent stalemate surrounding Jake Arrieta.

Listen to the full Cubs Talk Podcast right here: