Yesterday, we started our countdown of the top ten Cubs news stories of 2011. Click here for the stories that ranked six through ten. And now for the top five!
5. Honoring Ronnie
Throughout the calender year the Cubs organization did a great job honoring Cubs legend Ron Santo, who passed away in December of 2010. It started at the Cubs Convention in January and continued in Spring Training and on Opening Day, when his family threw out the first pitch and sang the Seventh Inning Stretch. On August 10, a statue of Santo was unveiled outside Wrigley Field before the Cubs game against the Nationals. Pat Hughes did a great job all seasons long telling stories about Ronnie on Cubs radio broadcasts in addition to putting together a book and a CD on his longtime partner.
4. Goodbye Hendry
Jim Hendry tenure as the Cubs general manager, which started in the middle of the 2002 season, concluded on August 19 when he was relieved of his duties by Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts. Ricketts notified Hendry that his days were numbered on July 22, but Jim wanted to stay on to finish signing draft picks and making trades before the deadline. Although some of his moves were often criticized, such as Alfonso Soriano's contract and the Milton Bradley trade, Hendry will be fondly remembered on the North Side for leading the team to the playoffs three times and for his friendliness and loyalty.
3. Z Blows Up
Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano continued to make headlines for the wrong reasons when his emotions once again got the best of him on August 12. Z had yielded five home runs to the Atlanta Braves and in his frustration attempted to throw at Chipper Jones. Zambrano was ejected from the game, cleaned out his locker and claimed that he was retiring. He spent a stint on the disqualified list and did not pitch the remainder of the season, leaving his future with the Cubs in question.
2. Cubs Net Theo
The Cubs landed one of the brightest minds in baseball on Oct. 21 when Theo Epstein took over as their President of Baseball Operations. He had already agreed to a five year contract with the squad on Oct. 12. Epstein has already begun to put his stamp on the team, trading Tyler Colvin, DJ LeMahieu and Sean Marshall in order to build his own core of young players. The addition of Epstein along with general manager Jed Hoyer and VP of scouting and player development Jason McLeod gives fans hope for brighter days ahead.
1. Santo Elected to HOF
Without a doubt, the biggest story of the year is Ron Santo finally getting the call from Cooperstown. Santo will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July, a long overdue honor. Friends, fans and family members only wish that Ronnie was here to find out the news. He was very vocal about his wish to be enshrined in the Hall during his lifetime. None-the-less, the ceremony will be a great way to continue to honor and remember Santo.
That's it for now, but I'll keep you posted on Everything Cubs as always!