By Tony Andracki and JJ Stankevitz
This spring, we at Cubs Talk and White Sox Talk have decided to unify Chicago's two baseball teams into one in an effort to pick out the best players to grace each side of the city over the last 50 years. Each Wednesday during spring training, we'll roll out a different All-Chicago team, beginning today with the best Cubs and White Sox players from 1970-1979. If you didn't catch our first three installments, check out our 1980-1989, 1990-1999 and 2000-2011 teams.
Tony: There were quite a few Cubs guys from this era that many youngsters would even know. Guys like Steve Stone, Randy Hundley, Don Kessinger, Glenn Beckert. And then, of course, the Hall of Famers Ron Santo, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins. Stone didnt win his Cy Young until later in his career with the Orioles, but the Stone Pony pitched for both Chicago teams in the decade and has been a TV personality for each team at some point since. It was a close battle between him and Milt Pappas, but the novelty of having a guy like Stony Pony on the list was just too good to pass up.
JJ: There wasn't a whole lot separating Stone from the rest of the fifth starter pack here. Leaving Pappas off was tough, but at least we're not Bruce Froemming.
Tony: In a lot of ways, this was a simple list to compile. Williams, Santo, Melton and Allen were locks. May, Kingman and Madlock were great players and JJ and I both agreed they needed to be on the team, it was just a matter of where. Kingman earned the final bench spot thanks to his stellar 1979 season in which he led the league with 48 homers and a .613 slugging percentage while knocking in 115 and scoring 97. It was arguably the best single season power performance in Chicago in the decade, so we couldnt leave him off the list.
JJ: Well, Dick Allen might have something to say about that. His 1972 was the second best single season ever by a White Sox player, although in terms of pure power, yeah, Kingman probably has him beat. Allen only had a 1.023 OPS and 37 home runs that year.
Tony: Pitching was also pretty easy as two guys from each team earned the nod. The only question was for the fifth starter spot.
JJ: My god, look at that bullpen. That Terry Forster had to be bumped off the closer line is a real testament to its strength. I don't think we've had a better one in these all-city teams, and that's with the 2000s unit of Bobby Jenks, Carlos Marmol and Matt Thornton.
Tony: I cant say I didnt try for Hundley to be the All-70s catcher, but his numbers were just not very good in the decade and while Downing wasnt head and shoulders better, his .351 OBP was the tipping point.
JJ: It was a valiant effort, but Hundley only spent four years with the Cubs in the decade and owns a .296 OBP in his career on the North Side. And he doesn't get bonus points for his son being part of the deal that netted the Cubs Mark Grudzielanek and Eric Karros.
To the roster:
C: Brian Downing
1B: Dick Allen
2B: Bill Madlock
SS: Don Kessinger
3B: Ron Santo
LF: Billy Williams
CF: Chet Lemon
RF: Rick Monday
DH: Bill Melton
Utility: Carlos May
Utility: Dave Kingman
SP: Wilbur Wood
SP: Fergie Jenkins
SP: Rick Reuschel
SP: Jim Kaat
SP: Steve Stone
CL: Bruce Sutter
RHP: Goose Gossage
LHP: Terry Forster
Check back next week for the all-city team of the 1960s! Chuck and Kap will be back next week to offer up their thoughts on the roster, too.