2009 Recap: Koyie Hill
Regardless of the type of hopes you may have had for the Cubs going into 2009, if I came back from the future and informed you that Koyie Dolan Hill would start every game between July 7 and August 9, you would have to resign yourself to the fate that the Cubs would not have a good year.
We have seen and enjoyed many otherwise unimaginable medical advances in the past century, but one thing modern medicine cannot do is rebuild a destroyed human hand to function as it once did. Much has been already said about Koyie Hill's three sawn-off fingers and their subsequent reattachment. He had the opportunity to sound like a 50s-era sports cliche when he instructed his surgeons to "arrange my fingers so I can grip a baseball bat. I mean, how John Tunis is that?
Some would argue that Hill shouldn't even have been here. After all, we had Hank White to back up Geo Soto. What else would you need? Of course, Hendry didn't seem to hold Hank in as much esteem as we do here, and let him go over money...dirty filthy MONEY! But it still wasn't the end of the world - after all, we had the ROY and therefore how often is Hill actually going to get to play?
Well, he played plenty, and unlike others such as Mike Fontenot, he managed to hit 30 points over his career average and improved immensely in throwing out runners, the more he got to play. Hill was hitting .240 at the start of his playing streak, and whether it was due to extreme fatigue or extreme being-Koyie-Hill, but his average was at .209 at its end, and that itself was up from the rock-bottom of .197. But, once he reverted back to his usual role, he managed to get it back around .240, which is pretty much more than you could possibly expect from Hill.
Hill is no answer to any catching question you may have - in fact, up until this year, I would not agree whatsoever that he is an adequate backup catcher. But in 2009, Koyie did throw out 40% of base stealers while hitting .237, and in this era of lousy catching, I had to admit that he has become an adequate backup catcher for the Cubs.
It could be due to increased opportunity, or finally growing into the role, or perhaps he adopted a more positive attitude after nearly losing his livelihood after his accident. No, Koyie Hill did not "save" us this year in our time of need. During his stretch as the starter, he did simply NOTHING offensively. However, the other five months of the year, he played pretty well when called upon. And, if he is able to simply replicate his 2009 production next year, it would be enough for me.