While it may not feel like baseball season in the Windy City yet, Opening Day is rapidly approaching for the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs, as we are just 14 days away from the first game of their title defense.
With just two weeks to go until the regular season begins, we figured it would be fun to start off a countdown of sorts to help fans get pumped up for the coming year.
14 in Cubs History
Nine players in the history of the Cubs wore the number "14" on their jerseys, but none were as famous as Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks.
Banks spent his entire big league career with the Cubs, belting 512 home runs and establishing himself as one of the greatest players of his generation. He was the first African-American player to ever suit up for the Cubs, and he quickly became an icon that endeared himself to generations of Cubs fans with his gregarious personality and warm-hearted spirit.
The number "14" is also significant in relation to the Friendly Confines themselves. Astute Cubs fans will know that Wrigley Field opened in 1914, and although the Cubs didn’t move into the stadium until 1916 (when the Federal League’s Chicago Whales disbanded and Charles Weeghman got the Cubs as part of a settlement with Major League Baseball), it quickly gained a reputation as one of the great cathedrals of the game.
Notable "14’s" for the 2016 Cubs
14 – The number of combined RBI and Addison Russell and Anthony Rizzo (the team’s two highest RBI contributors) racked up in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians.
14 – The number of strikeouts that the Cubs’ bullpen combined to rack up in the NLCS win over the Los Angeles Dodgers (Mike Montgomery led the way with five in four appearances in the series).
14 – The number of strikeouts that the four Cubs starting pitchers combined for in the NLDS triumph over the San Francisco Giants.
14 – The number of home runs Javier Baez put up despite not having a consistent starting position in the lineup.
14 – The number of combined RBI for Jason Hammel and Jake Arrieta, as the two pitchers tied for the team lead for RBI among pitchers.
14 – The number of runs that Albert Almora scored during the regular season. He also drove in 14 RBI on the year.
Did You Know?
Most baseball fans know that Frank Robinson was the first full-time African-American manager in baseball history, but it was Ernie Banks who has the distinction of being the first ever African-American manager in a game.
That feat was achieved during a contest in 1972 against the San Diego Padres when Banks took over for ejected Cubs manager Whitey Lockman. The Cubs ended up winning that game, and Banks went down in baseball history as the game’s first black manager.