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 12 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.
12 in Cubs History
Few players have garnered the type of publicity and attention that former Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano did when the team signed him to an eight-year contract before the 2007 season. Soriano, who had belted 46 home runs for the Washington Nationals the season before signing with the Cubs, delivered on his contract in his first few years, helping the team to back-to-back playoff appearances and making two straight All-Star Game appearances.
Unfortunately for the Cubs, Soriano’s remaining years weren’t quite to that level from a team-perspective, but he had a very solid career with the team, as he hit 181 home runs and drove in 526 RBI in his seven seasons in a Cubs uniform.
A slew of players have worn the uniform while playing for the Cubs, but it could be argued that Soriano is one of the most successful. Shawon Dunston could certainly give him a run for his money, and before all is said and done, current slugger Kyle Schwarber could give him a run for his money as well.
Outside of uniform number, there are several notable Cubs factoids pertaining to the number “12.” When the team officially adopted their moniker in the 1903 season, they went on to have 12 straight winning seasons, and they appeared in five World Series and won two of them during their first dozen years as the Cubs.
Notable “12’s” for the 2016 Cubs
12 – The number of Cubs players that had five or more home runs during the 2016 season. Kris Bryant led the team with 39 long-balls, and he was trailed closely by Anthony Rizzo, who blasted 32 long-balls. Both Willson Contreras and Jorge Soler hit 12 home runs apiece during the regular season.
12 – The number of hits that Aroldis Chapman gave up in 26 and 2/3rd innings following his acquisition from the New York Yankees.
12 – The number of strikeouts registered by John Lackey in 13 postseason innings as he quietly had the second-best strikeout-per-nine-innings rate on the Cubs during their playoff run (Jake Arrieta had the best number as he posted a 10.07 per nine.) Aroldis Chapman also had a strong postseason, striking out just over 12 batters per nine innings.
12 - The number on Schwarber's back as he pulled off one of the biggest miracles in World Series history, coming back just six months after a torn ACL and delivering several huge hitts as the Cubs came back from a 3-1 deficit against the Cleveland Indians.
Did You Know?
The Cubs have had 12 players lead the National League in home runs, including legends like Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, and Sammy Sosa. They even had a player lead the league with 12 home runs, as Cy Williams accomplished that feat way back in 1916.