My Least Favorite Cub - Numero Uno - Danny effing Jackson
In the winter of 1990-91, we had Greg Maddux entering the prime of his career, but that was not going to be enough. We had a rapidly fading Rick Sutcliffe, the here today-gone tomorrow Mike Bilecki, and the wasted talent of Mike Harkey. Offense was not a problem on the 1990 Cubs - Ryne Sandberg had just led the league with 40 homers, Mark Grace and Shawon Dunston were establishing themselves as serious major league hitters, and remember we were only one year removed from the NL East title.
Therefore, it did not seem to be a bad move to bring in Danny Jackson as a highly prized and paid free agent.
A key member of the World Series winning Royals in 1985, a two time all star, who led the League in wins in 1988 with 23 and fresh off of winning a World Series with Lou Piniella's Cincinnati Reds, Jackson would go on to another World Series with Philadelphia in 1993.
But, whoa? What happened with us? Wasn't I just talking about 1990 and 1991 a second ago?
I was, and during that off-season, Jackson was signed to a 4-year, 11 million dollar contract to help solidify the Cubs' rotation. And all he managed to do in Cub pinstripes was win five (5) lousy games, lose 14, compile a 5.19 ERA, and contribute a miserable -2.1 wins below replacement value.
As a Royal, Jackson had a 3.3 ERA. As a Red, a 3.5 ERA. As a Cub? Yep, ka-boom! His first year as a Cub, he won exactly ONE game, while only making 14 starts due to what they like to call "malingering" injuries. His second and last year, he went 4-9 before he was traded to the Pirates, whereupon he helped them win their last title with a 3.36 ERA. The next year, in the first of several thousand Pirate Purges, he was traded again to Philly, where he put up a 3.5 ERA while winning twice as many games as he lost.
So, if you've followed the story, Danny effing Jackson pitched great everywhere else...but here with us. But lord knows there's been several such stories the past 40 years or so. Nomar Garciaparra comes to mind, somewhat, although he was starting on the downward side of his career. Bobby Murcer might be a bit far back for many of you. Think Jason Marquis, I guess, only even way, way more whiny,
Because the worst thing about D. F. Jackson was that none of the losses were ever, EVER his fault. The other team hit his best pitches, he didn't get enough support, the umpires were squeezing the plate, he was yanked too quickly, or left out too long....I just remember him not only as a prime example of bad money thrown after bad, and a crushing example of disappointment, but he was the poster boy for those people who are never, ever responsible for their own problems.
Everyone in Chicago is a "body-language" expert these days in regards to Bears' QB Jay Cutler - these meatballs would be having a field day with Danny effing Jackson. For a guy who had no trouble taking, at the time, a huge payday, he never acted like he was part of the team, never seemed like he wanted to be a Cub, and if the great numbers surrounding his stint with us wasn't enough evidence for you, his comportment would be.
Think Roger Dorn off of "Major League". Even more accurately, for those of you who might remember "Little Big League" about the little kid who managed the Twins, think of their high-priced pitcher, McGreevy, before they called his bluff. Arrogant, haughty, above it all.
That was Danny F--king Jackson, my least favorite Cub. I'd have a lot more to say about how I feel like he stole my wife and kicked my dog, and how about I would not be heartbroke if it ever came out that he got washed away in a flash flood, but I am thinking about the future of this blog, short-and-long term. If I ever saw him out in public, I'd cold-cock him and take my chances with our court system, I hated the son of a bitch so badly. I'd rather carry around Sammy Sosa's first aid kit all summer down in the Dominican slums wearing a big heavy gaudy "30/30" pendant from his cheesy-assed Sosa Jewelry Store from his cheesy ghetto 30/30 mall than be forced to say that Jackson deserved to be a Cub.
I hope Jackson spends eternity as a mop boy in Hell's 25-cent peep-show cinema.