Big surprise: Kyle Schwarber plays the role of hero again for Cubs in World Series Game 7

Big surprise: Kyle Schwarber plays the role of hero again for Cubs in World Series Game 7

CLEVELAND - Kyle Schwarber is your World Series Game 7 hero.

You can take out Schwarber's name and put in any number of players — Ben Zobrist or Kris Bryant, even Albert Almora Jr. or Miguel Montero or Mike Montgomery.

But Schwarber ignited the rally that etched this team of destiny into the record books forever...and added another chapter to his legendary story.

The designated hitter drilled a single to open the top of the 10th inning off Indians reliever Bryan Shaw. Almora Jr. pinch-ran for Schwarber and came around to score the eventual game-winning run three batters later.

This came after the Cubs blew a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning and then were forced to sit through a rain delay before extra innings began.

"It just tells you about the culture we have," Schwarber said. "We're not going to quit, ever. I can't be prouder to be on this team."

Of course, the fact Schwarber even played in Game 7 was downright incredible after blowing out his knee on April 7.

All Schwarber did was hit .412 in the World Series with a .500 on-base percentage, collecting seven hits in four games in Cleveland after not even recording a base hit in the regular season.

The 23-year-old slugger had three hits in Game 7, including beating out an infield grounder in the first inning.

As he ran through the first base bag, he looked at Cubs fans, pointed and bent his knee repeatedly, as if to say, "Injury? What injury?"

He stole second base a few pitches later without a throw.

On his second hit, Schwarber smashed a 112 mph rope into the right field corner, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

"[My leg] is fine, man," he said. "Then I get thrown out at second and I'm like, 'Ahh! I don't run as good as I should!"

The Cubs missed Schwarber's bat in the lineup at Wrigley Field, when he was deemed not healthy enough to play the outfield.

With Schwarber at DH, the Cubs won three of four games in Cleveland.

Schwarber said this championship "definitely" means more to him after his tough personal journey this season.

"I was out after the third game of the year," he said as teammates showered him with champagne inside the Cubs' locker room at Progressive Field. "I thought my season was over. For these guys to stick with me and push through it with me, it means a lot. It really does mean a lot."

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’

How Cubs' high-priced roster would be impacted by MLB’s financial proposal

How Cubs' high-priced roster would be impacted by MLB’s financial proposal

Part of MLB’s Tuesday financial proposal that riled up the players union involves a salary sliding scale that would theoretically spotlight the growing gaps between haves and have nots among players.

This part of the proposal, reported by MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, would mean players with the league’s highest salaries take the biggest pay cuts, and it could have a disproportionate effect on a Cubs team with one of biggest payrolls in game.

The Cubs entered 2020 with a projected luxury tax payroll of $216.65 million, fourth in MLB behind the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers. Prior to baseball’s shutdown, three Cubs were set to make at least $20 million this season in Jason Heyward, Yu Darvish and Jon Lester — who holds three of the four most lucrative contracts in franchise history. 

MORE: MLB Players Association is 'disappointed' with league's financial proposal

Seven other Cubs were set to make at least $10 million — Kris Bryant (the club’s union rep), Anthony Rizzo, Craig Kimbrel, Tyler Chatwood, Kyle Hendricks, José Quintana and Javy Báez. 

In March, the players agreed to take prorated salaries for this season based on the number of games played. According to Heyman, Tuesday’s proposal would entail minimum salary players not making 100 percent of their prorated salaries, but close to it. 

Heyman added the league’s top paid players would take about a 50 percent cut off their prorated salaries and therefore make 20-30 percent of their full salary over the proposed 82-game schedule.

ESPN's Jeff Passan and Jesse Rogers reported the breakdown of potential salary cuts. The figures still amount to players making several million dollars, though they also reflect how a 1/4 of the Cubs 40-man roster (those making at least $10 million) could take a big hit.

Though the players association characterized Tuesday’s proposal as “extremely disappointing,” it’s the first of what will be a long week of negotiations. 

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MLB Players Association is 'disappointed' with league's financial proposal

MLB Players Association is 'disappointed' with league's financial proposal

Major League Baseball has a new approach to reducing the financial toll of playing without fans. And it's highly unpopular within the players association.

The economic proposal the owners presented the MLBPA on Tuesday included additional pay cuts, on top of the players’ already prorated salaries, according to multiple reports. Those cuts would affect all players but range depending on the player's pay, with the highest-paid players taking on the largest burden.

The players association characterized the proposal as “extremely disappointing,” and described the cuts as “massive.”

ESPN reported that the highest-paid players could receive less than 40 percent of their full-season salaries. MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported that it could be as low as 20-30 percent for the likes of Mike Trout, Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer.

“We made a proposal to the union that is completely consistent with the economic realities facing our sport," MLB said in a statement. "We look forward to a responsive proposal from the MLBPA.”
Tuesday’s proposal abandoned the idea of a 50-50 revenue split, which the owners floated two weeks ago. Although the revenue split was not formally presented to the players, when reports of the owner’s plan became public, it received immediate pushback.

First of all, the union opposed a system associated with salary-capped leagues. The players association has been consistent for decades in its stance against a salary cap.

Secondly, the owners and players were at odds over the interpretation of their March agreement. In late March, players agreed to prorated salaries for the upcoming shortened season. The owners claimed that the language of the agreement allowed them to revisit the issue of player pay if the season had to go on without fans. The union disagreed.

MLB’s first financial proposal to the players association avoids a clash over revenue splitting but does nothing to address the latter concern.

Pay cuts are just one aspect of the upcoming financial negotiations.  Tension in financial negotiations has revealed just how far the players and owners are from agreement on health-and-safety protocols as well.

Gordon Wittenmyer contributed to the reporting of this story.