When Jon Lieber was signed, not everyone was excited. Some people said that he was too old, too fat, and too recently injured. And, of course, they were right.
This goatrider, however, was thrilled to see Lieber join the Cubs. He remembered a simpler time, when Jose Nieves was considered a shortstop prospect and Terry Adams was the closer of the future. It was that year that Jon Lieber joined the Cubs, traded by the Pirates for the baseball equivalent of peanuts (fun fact: Brant Brown's actual nickname? Peanut. True story*).
(*not actually true)
That year, 1999, was a painful time. Fans watched on as the wild card Cubs tool a nasty dive, bypassing mediocrity, and plunging straight into terrible. The lone bright spot was a solid effort by Jon Lieber as he delivered 200 decent innings. It wasn't much, really, just a taste of what was to come.
It was two years later that Jon Lieber cemented his place in Cubs' lore with a brilliant 20-6 record, compiled over 232 of the quickest innings you'll ever see. Lieber possessed a slider of gold to match his ass of lard. To this day, he remains the last Cub to win twenty in a season. And then, one year later, the wheels came off. Well, actually, that's not technically true. The elbow ligiment came off and Lieber's career as a Cub came to an end.
...or so we thought.
We were so stupid. STUPID!
Because last year Lieber was signed by the Cubs to a modest, incentive-ladden contract. It seemed like a reasonable signing at the time, and it sort of worked out. Kinda. Lieber pitched decently when he pitched, assuming one ignored a few painful outings again Cincy, and showed some of the old Jon. The problem was, he hardly pitched. For most of the season, he was sidelined with some sort of foot ailment and, possible, a pulled butt muscle. Or maybe that was Darryl Ward. I actually can't really remember as Lieber simply disappeared for the middle four months of the season. If I didn't know better, I'd say he might be a spy. Why else would be just vanish without a trace? Not even a parting phone call? I mean, have you ever seen him in the same room as Daniel Craig?
Just one more reason to admire Jon Lieber, American hero.
Anyway, last year was a bust for Lieber. He might pitch again, you never know, but it won't be with the Cubs.
As a word of farewell, let me just say that we'll miss you, Jon. You and your big ass truck.