Popular Top 10 First Basemen in Chicago Cubs Franchise History
Continuing on with my series, I ranked my top 10 first basemen in Cubs franchise history.
While Ernie Banks was by far the best power hitting first basemen the Cubs have ever had, he played more games at shortstop so he will not be part of this list.
While the rankings are somewhat subjective, as they always are, I looked closely at each player’s 162-game average during his tenure with the Cubs, as well as whether he was a part of any Cubs playoff teams.
I hope you enjoy this and follow the series as it continues. As always, I look forward to your input.
10: Dee Fondy, 1951-1957
Cubs Career Totals: .285 BA, 66 HR, 327 RBI
162-Game Average: .285 BA, 14 HR, 68 RBI
While not all that well known to Cubs fans, myself included, Fondy put up serviceable numbers at the position following the departure of Phil Cavarretta.
He had his best single season in 1953 as he posted a .309, 18, 78 line, all of which were career highs.
9: Vic Saier, 1911-1917
Cubs Career Totals: .265 BA, 53 HR, 378 RBI, 116 SB
162-Game Average: .265 BA, 11 HR, 76 RBI, 23 SB
While he was not a part of the World Series teams, Saier was a great defensive first basemen and one of the better power hitters of his era.
He was also one of the better base stealing threats at the position.
8: Leon Durham, 1981-1988
Cubs Career Totals: .279 BA, 138 HR, 485 RBI
162-Game Average: .279 BA, 24 HR, 85 RBI
All-Star Appearances: 2
Silver Sluggers: 1
While the lasting memory Cubs fans will have is the ground ball between the legs, Durham was a very productive first basemen in his time with the North Siders.
He had his best season for the 1984 playoff team, posting career highs in home runs (23) and RBI (96) while finishing 12th in the NL MVP voting.
7: Bill Buckner, 1977-1984
Cubs Career Totals: .300 BA, 81 HR, 516 RBI
162-Game Average: .300 BA, 13 HR, 86 RBI
All-Star Appearances: 1
1980 NL Batting Title
In his seven seasons with the Cubs, Buckner hit over .300 four times including hitting .324 in 1980 to win the NL Batting Title.
Buckner also finished in the top 20 in MVP voting four times in his tenure with the Cubbies.
6: Charlie Grimm, 1925-1936
Cubs Career Totals: .296 BA, 61 HR, 697 RBI
162-Game Average: .296 BA, 7 HR, 85 RBI
Grimm did it all for the Cubs, as he was a great hitter, stellar fielding first basemen, and even a player manager for five years.
His best season came in 1929 as he hit .298, 10, 91 and finished 14th in MVP voting.
5: Derrek Lee, 2004-Present
Cubs Career Totals: .300 BA, 132 HR, 425 RBI
162-Game Average: .300 BA, 30 HR, 98 RBI
All-Star Appearances: 2 (one start)
Silver Sluggers: 1
Gold Gloves: 2
2005 NL Batting Title
The Lee for Hee Seop Choi trade was one of the best in franchise history, as the addition of Lee has been one of the key factors of the Cubs recent success.
While he has lost some power, Lee’s 2005 season was one for the ages. He won the batting title with a .335 average, and added 46 home runs and 107 RBI. He also had an NL highs of 50 doubles and 199 hits.
4: Phil Cavarretta, 1934-1953
Cubs Career Totals: .292 BA, 92 HR, 896 RBI
162-Game Average: .292 BA, 8 HR, 74 RBI
All-Star Appearances: 4 (one start)
1945 NL MVP
While he did not have traditional first basemen power, Cavarretta was the face of the franchise until Ernie Banks came along, and he was a big reason for the teams trip to the World Series in 1945.
He was the NL MVP that season, hitting .355, 6, 97 and winning the NL Batting Title. He then hit .423, 1, 5 in the World Series loss.
3: Frank Chance, 1898-1912
Cubs Career Totals: .297 BA, 20 HR, 590 RBI, 400 SB
162-Game Average: .297 BA, 3 HR, 75 RBI, 51 SB
Hall of Fame
Chance was not only the first basemen on the 1907 and 1908 world champions but he was also the teams manager.
He holds the record for career steals by a first basemen with 376, as well as the single season record with 67 in 1903.
2: Mark Grace, 1988-2000
Cubs Career Totals: .308 BA, 148 HR, 1004 RBI
162-Game Average: .308 BA, 13 HR, 85 RBI
All-Star Appearances: 3 (one start)
Gold Gloves: 4
The hits and doubles leader of the 1990s, Grace was a staple for some terrible Cubs teams in the early ’90s.
What he lacked in power, he more than made up for with clutch hitting and great fielding.
1: Cap Anson, 1876-1897
Cubs Career Totals: .329 BA, 97 HR, 1879 RBI
162-Game Average: .329 BA, 7 HR, 134 RBI
Hall of Fame
Batting Titles: 2
RBI Titles: 8
Anson is one of the best players of the dead ball era, heck in baseball history, and his career numbers are insane. That ‘stache alone screams out Hall of Famer.
He was an incredible contact hitter, striking out only 294 times in 10,112 plate appearances in his time with the Cubs.
His 21 home runs in 1884 were unheard of for that time, and his 2,076 career RBI are third all-time.
He even pitched three games in his career, recording a save in the process.