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 13 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.
13 in Cubs History
When the number 13 comes up, many Cubs fans immediately default to infielder Starlin Castro, who was one of the most entertaining players on the team during the down years at Wrigley Field before the team’s current run of success began. He is not, however, the player to have worn the number for the highest number of seasons.
That distinction belongs to Claude Passeau, who wore the number for nine years and was also the first Cubs player to ever wear it. In nine seasons in Chicago, Passeau posted a respectable 124-94 record with a 2.96 ERA and was named to four All-Star teams. He also finished in the top 10 in MVP voting during the 1942 season, as he went 19-14 and notched a career high 24 complete games.
In terms of the number 13 in Cubs lore, there are scant pickings for those craving statistical oddities or occurrences. One notable instance of the number is that’s the number of consecutive playoff appearances the Cubs made without a World Series title before Joe Maddon showed up to manage the club, and although he pushed that number to 14 with the team’s ouster from the 2015 NLCS, he made up for it by winning a title the next season.
Notable “13’s” for the 2016 Cubs
13 – The number of stolen bases Dexter Fowler had to lead the team in that category. He also hit 13 home runs for good measure.
13 – The number of combined regular season losses for Kyle Hendricks and Jon Lester. Fortunately for the Cubs, the duo also combined for 35 wins.
13 – The number of runs given up by the Cubs’ pitching staff against the San Francisco Giants in four games of NLDS play.
13 – The number of innings Lester pitched in the NLCS, as he scattered just nine hits and struck out nine batters.
13 – The number of strikeouts Cubs relievers combined to rack up in the NLCS. Oddly it was Mike Montgomery, not Aroldis Chapman, who led the bullpen in that category as he punched out five Los Angeles Dodgers.
13 – The number of times Javier Baez struck out in the World Series.
13 – The number of RBI that Addison Russell racked up in the postseason to lead the Cubs in that category. He also had 13 hits and 13 strikeouts in the playoffs to complete his triple play of 13-based goodness.
Did You Know?
Out of all of the numbers between 1-50 worn by Cubs players, the number 13 has been worn by the fewest players, as only 10 players have donned the jersey. Between Passeau’s tenure with the team and Turk Wendell’s usage of the number beginning in 1993, only one player wore the number 13 in the intervening 47 year stretch, as Bill Faul briefly wore it in the 1965 and 1966 seasons.