New ex-Cubs factor? Check out who’s headlining October originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Who knew the Cubs could leave such a big mark on the playoffs despite missing a postseason berth by 19 games?
As the Cubs sit at home this October following a 91-loss season, former Cubs are showing out and having decisive influences in the initial rounds.
Heck, one of their past managers, who famously missed advancing to the World Series by five outs, already clinched his second straight ALCS berth.
With five teams left, going into Game 5 of the NLDS, 12 ex-Cubs remain in the playoffs, including three who have had major impacts for teams still alive.
-Kris Bryant is 6-for-13 with a home run in the NLDS for the Giants — tied with 2015 for his third-most hits in a single postseason. He’s started at four different positions in the NLDS: all three outfield spots and first base.
-Kyle Schwarber is 6-for-19 with a pair of home runs. The first helped the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the AL Wild Card Game; the second came in Game 3 of Boston's ALDS win over the Rays.
-Joc Pederson has almost exclusively pinch-hit this postseason for the Braves but has made the most of those plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with two home runs.
He supplied all the Braves’ offense in their NLDS Game 3 win over the Brewers via a three-run homer.
Then there’s Dusty Baker, whose Astros advanced to a fifth straight ALCS this week. He's looking for his first World Series title as a manager in a career that already has him in the Hall of Fame conversation.
Maybe finally breaking the Billy Goat Curse also broke the ex-Cubs jinx made famous by Mike Royko — if you had more than two Cubs on your roster, you were doomed.
Now it seems the more ex-Cubs in October, the merrier.
And that's not even close to all the ex-Cubs that might have more to say this fall.
-San Francisco's Tommy La Stella has reached base in half his NLDS plate appearances through four games, going 3-for-8 with a pair of walks.
-Atlanta's Jesse Chavez allowed no runs and one hit in two NLDS appearances. Jorge Soler, who tested positive for COVID-19 this week, could be back sometime in the NLCS.
-Braves lefty Drew Smyly did not pitch in the NLDS. He missed all of 2018 with the Cubs while recovering from Tommy John surgery,
-Atlanta's Terrance Gore has five stolen base in 10 career playoff games, including one in the 2018 NL Wild Card Game in which he then scored the tying run late.
-Kendall Graveman, who missed all of 2019 with the Cubs due to Tommy John, is Houston’s setup man in a bullpen also featuring Brooks Raley.
-Martín Maldonado is influential in the Astros’ run-prevention and hit an RBI single in Houston’s ALDS-clinching win over the White Sox
And then there's former Cubs who already have been eliminated, a list that includes players who made headlines in the Division Series.
-Anthony Rizzo went 1-for-4 with a home run in the Yankees' AL Wild Card Game loss. Pederson hit a home run in the NLDS with one of Rizzo's bat.
-Former Cubs prospects Eloy Jiménez and Dylan Cease were eliminated in the ALDS with the White Sox. Another former Cubs farmhand, Billy McKinney, is on Los Angeles' NLDS roster.
-Ryan Tepera made headlines in the ALDS for controversial comments but only allowed one run with three strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings with the Sox. Craig Kimbrel struggled in the series vs. Houston.
None of this counts potential future Hall of Famer Jon Lester, who was not on the Cardinals' roster in their walk-off loss to the Dodgers in the NL Wild Card Game.