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2004 Chicago Cubs season

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

2004 Chicago Cubs
Chicago Cubs logo.svg
Major League affiliations
Record 89–73 (.549)
Divisional place 3rd
Other information
Owner(s) Tribune Company
General manager(s) Jim Hendry
Manager(s) Dusty Baker
Local television WCIU-TV
Superstation WGN
FSN Chicago
(Chip Caray, Steve Stone)
Local radio WGN
(Pat Hughes, Ron Santo)
< Previous season     Next season >

The 2004 Chicago Cubs season was the 133rd season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 129th in the National League and the 89th at Wrigley Field. The Cubs finished 89-73, good for 3rd in the NL Central. Despite the strong record, the Cubs faltered down the stretch and missed the playoffs, and the season is largely viewed as a disappointment as a result.

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  • Why the Chicago Cubs are Named After a Baby Bear and The Long, Weird History of Their Mascot


It was a weak ground ball to third base that ended over a century’s worth of baseball futility. On November 3, 2016, the Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years. Much like the Red Sox win in 2004 that also put the brakes on a similar streak, it propelled the Cubs into another stratosphere in terms of popularity. The following April, according to the Los Angeles Times, four of the top five player jersey sales were Cubs. Players appeared on talk shows and late night comedy sketches. Even the backup catcher had his moment in the sun, with a second-place finish on Dancing with the Stars. Despite this popularity, many people don’t know why the Chicago Cubs are named after a baby bear. After all, there are no longer any wild bears in Illinois. Here’s the story of how they got that name and the sad story of their real life bear mascots who used to join them in the dugout. Cap_ansonIn February of 1876, Chicago businessman William Hulbert (known for grocery stores and selling coal) formed the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. His Chicago White Stockings – called such because of the color of their uniforms and socks – were one of eight charter members, along with teams from Boston, Cincinnati, Louisville, New York, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Hartford. Play began in April that year with A.G. Spalding (yes, of ball fame) as player/manager. Later that year, the White Stockings would become the first National League champions. For the next decade and half, the Chicago White Stockings dominated the league. They were lead by baseball’s first superstar, Adrian Anson. In 1879, he was also named their captain and manager, forever earning him the nickname “Cap.” The team continued to win pennant after pennant with Anson gaining more and more influence with the club. By 1890, he even owned 13% of the Chicago White Stockings. That same year, a whole slew of players from every National League team left the league to form a more player-friendly one they dubbed, rather unimaginatively, the “Players League.” Because of this, Anson was forced to fill his roster with young, inexperienced players. So, the newspapers mockingly dubbed them the “Anson’s Colts.” It’s important to emphasize here that at this point in baseball history, team names weren’t necessarily created by anyone involved with the team. They were often, as we would call it, “crowdsourced” – perhaps a newspaper writer or a fan noticed a particular trait about the club and would conceive a nickname based on that. Unsurprisingly from this, they could be known by several different names. As for “Anson’s Colts,” the name got shortened to simply the Chicago Colts. Anson continued to manage and play for the Colts during the 1890s, but his numbers dwindled slightly from his insane peak, and his arrogance (like insisting that he play every day despite being 45 and somewhat past his prime) rubbed players the wrong way. His contract finally expired on February 1, 1898 and the team refused to resign him. Anson was mad, but his great playing career was finally over. As a snide joke, local newspapers began calling the team the Chicago Orphans in that they lost their “father” Anson. That name, too, stuck for several years. They were also sometimes called the “Rainmakers” because a number of their games were rained out that year. The Orphans (though, they were still called the Colts at times) were not a particularly memorable team from 1898 to 1901, even though they did feature a young Frank Chance (of “Tinkers to Evers to Chance” fame). In 1901, the upstart American League raided talent from the National League, leaving Chicago media to again joke about their ball club’s nickname. They now called them the “Remnants.” By 1902, they were earning a reputation for filling the holes left by the American League with young players or, as veterans sometime called them, “cubs.” In a Chicago Daily News article published on March 27, 1902 about the upcoming season, the writer referred to the team as the “Chicago Cubs,” with the title of the piece being “Selee Places His Men – Manager of the Cubs is in Doubt Only on Two Positions.” It goes on, “Frank Selee will devote his strongest efforts on the team work of the new Cubs this year…” Now, it was common at this time to call young baseball players “cubs,” but what made this a little different was the choice to capitalize the “C”– making it a proper noun. There has been some speculation that this wasn’t intentional, but perhaps a typesetting error, given that the article content seems to refer to the young players on the team as the “cubs” and not the whole team. However, the sub-headline of the piece would seem to refer to the whole team, so perhaps it was intentional. Either way, this caught on and for the next several years, “Cubs” became one of the accepted names of the team, along with “Colts,” “Orphans,” “Remnants,” and “Microbes,” with the latter originally intended as an insult because of the ongoing dispute between St. Louis and Chicago about the flow of the bacteria-filled Chicago River. However, by 1907, the team was almost universally referred to as the Chicago Cubs. chicago-cubsThe next year, in 1908, the team embraced the name and started taking it literally. Despite having won the World Series in 1907 and the year previous in 1906 setting a record of winning 116 games (a mark only matched in baseball history by the 2001 Seattle Mariners), they thought it was necessary to have a good luck charm in the form of a mascot. (At the time, team mascots were taken very seriously as genuine good luck charms, rather than just a marketing move for kids and the like.) Thus, they brought aboard a Boston bull terrier puppy named Bud. However, fans didn’t take to a dog being the mascot of a team commonly called the Cubs. So, the team got a person and put them in a weird-looking polar bear suit. Fans liked that a lot more, though history wasn’t kind to the photos of the team with the polar bear. In 1910, the team got a real live cub to be their mascot. That didn’t work out so well, however. At the beginning of the season, they had a baby black bear shipped from Spokane, Washington to Chicago. Predictably, the bear was cranky and liked to bite the players in the dugout. So, the team took the bear cub and put him in the dugout of their hated rivals, the Giants. Their intentions for the bear were not kind. Chicago baseball writer Charles Dryden wrote at the time, “We hope [Giants manager John McGraw] kicked the stuffing out of the little beast to get even, for it has been biting the regular Cubs on the ankle and we have enough cripples on the team.” chicago-cub2A few years later, the team brought in an Alaskan black baby bear named Clara Maduro. Despite the cute photos, the Chicago Tribune reported that the bear was “too strong and determined in its ways to be among peaceable people.” They were forced to send the bear to the Lincoln Park Zoo. In 1916, a Montana bear that was on its way to the stadium to entertain fans escaped its crate and made its way into a tailoring factory. It was promptly shot. But the team was undeterred and got another bear mascot, named Joa, who lived in a simple circular cage outside of the Weeghman Park (later, renamed to Wrigley Field). As you might imagine from the conditions in which he lived, he was surely, once clawed a player and was often seen chewing his steel chain in an attempt to free himself. Nearly a century later, the Cubs debuted another bear mascot – his name was Clark and he was animated. The origin story the team concocted was that the cartoon Clark had heard stories growing up of his great-grandfather Joa’s exploits as the Cubs’ mascot and was inspired to follow in his footsteps… Of course, had he actually known anything about Joa’s sad tale he might have run the other way instead. Nevertheless, after the team’s World Series win, Clark the Cub was seen partying with the team and marching in the celebration parade with them.



  • November 25, 2003: Derrek Lee was traded by the Florida Marlins to the Chicago Cubs for Hee-seop Choi and Mike Nannini (minors).[1]
  • December 2, 2003: Scott McClain was signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs.[2]
  • December 18, 2003: Todd Hollandsworth was signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs.[3]
  • March 23, 2004: Greg Maddux was signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs.[4]

Regular season

In 2004, despite the return of Greg Maddux and a midseason deal for Nomar Garciaparra, misfortune struck the Cubs again. They led the Wild Card by 1.5 games over San Francisco and Houston on September 25, and both of those teams lost that day, giving the Northsiders a chance at increasing the lead to a commanding 2.5 games with only eight games remaining in the season, but reliever LaTroy Hawkins blew a save to the Mets, allowing a three-run game-tying home run with two outs in the ninth. The Cubs lost the game in extra innings, a defeat that seemingly deflated the team, as they proceeded to drop 6 of their last 8 games as the Astros won the Wild Card. Despite the fact that the Cubs had won 89 games, this fallout was decidedly unlovable, as the Cubs traded superstar Sammy Sosa after he had left the season's final game early.

Season standings

National League Central

NL Central W L Pct. GB Home Road
St. Louis Cardinals 105 57 0.648 53–28 52–29
Houston Astros 92 70 0.568 13 48–33 44–37
Chicago Cubs 89 73 0.549 16 45–37 44–36
Cincinnati Reds 76 86 0.469 29 40–41 36–45
Pittsburgh Pirates 72 89 0.447 32½ 39–41 33–48
Milwaukee Brewers 67 94 0.416 37½ 36–45 31–49

Record vs. opponents

2004 National League Records

Source: [1]
Arizona 2–4 4–2 3–3 6–13 3–4 2–4 3–16 3–3 0–6 3–4 1–5 2–4 7–12 5–14 1–5 6–12
Atlanta 4–2 3–3 2–4 4–2 14–5 3–3 4–3 4–2 15–4 12–7 10–9 4–2 3–3 4–3 2–4 8–10
Chicago 2–4 3–3 9–8 5–1 3–3 10–9 2–4 10–7 3–3 4–2 3–3 13–5 4–2 2–4 8–11 8–4
Cincinnati 3–3 4–2 8–9 3–3 4–2 6–11 4–2 10–8 4–2 3–3 3–3 9–10 2–4 3–3 5–14 5-7
Colorado 13–6 2–4 1–5 3–3 1–5 1–5 8–11 2–4 2–4 1–5 5–3 2–4 10–9 8–11 1–5 8–10
Florida 4–3 5–14 3–3 2–4 5–1 3–3 3–3 4–2 11–8 15–4 12–7 1–5 4–2 2–5 2–4 7–11
Houston 4–2 3–3 9–10 11–6 5–1 3-3 1–5 13–6 2–4 2–4 6–0 12–5 2–4 2–4 10–8 7–5
Los Angeles 16–3 3–4 4–2 2–4 11–8 3–3 5–1 3–3 4–3 3–3 1–5 6–0 10–9 10–9 2–4 10–8
Milwaukee 3–3 2–4 7–10 8–10 4–2 2–4 6–13 3–3 5–1 2–4 0–6 6–12 2–4 1–5 8–9 8–4
Montreal 6–0 4–15 3–3 2–4 4–2 8-11 4–2 3–4 1–5 9–10 7–12 4–2 1–6 1–5 3–3 7–11
New York 4–3 7–12 2–4 3–3 5–1 4–15 4–2 3–3 4–2 10–9 8–11 1–5 1–6 4–2 1–5 10–8
Philadelphia 5-1 9–10 3–3 3–3 3–5 7–12 0–6 5–1 6–0 12–7 11–8 3–3 5–1 2–4 3–3 9–9
Pittsburgh 4–2 2–4 5–13 10–9 4–2 5–1 5–12 0–6 12–6 2–4 5–1 3–3 3–3 5–1 5–12 2–10
San Diego 12–7 3–3 2–4 4–2 9–10 2–4 4–2 9–10 4–2 6–1 6–1 1–5 3–3 12–7 2–4 8–10
San Francisco 14–5 3–4 4–2 3–3 11–8 5–2 4–2 9–10 5–1 5–1 2–4 4–2 1–5 7–12 3–3 11–7
St. Louis 5–1 4–2 11–8 14–5 5–1 4-2 8–10 4–2 9–8 3–3 5–1 3–3 12–5 4–2 3–3 11–1


  • April 1, 2004: Scott McClain was released by the Chicago Cubs.[2]
  • April 3, 2004: Trenidad Hubbard was released by the Chicago Cubs.[5]
  • April 12, 2004: Trenidad Hubbard was signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs.[5]
  • June 7, 2004: Sam Fuld was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 10th round of the 2004 amateur draft. Player signed July 9, 2004.[6]
  • July 30, 2004: Denny Hocking was signed as a Free Agent with the Chicago Cubs.[7]
  • July 31, 2004: Alex Gonzalez was traded as part of a 4-team trade by the Chicago Cubs with Francis Beltrán and Brendan Harris to the Montreal Expos. The Boston Red Sox sent Nomar Garciaparra and Matt Murton to the Chicago Cubs. The Minnesota Twins sent Doug Mientkiewicz to the Boston Red Sox. The Montreal Expos sent Orlando Cabrera to the Boston Red Sox. The Chicago Cubs sent Justin Jones (minors) to the Minnesota Twins.[8]


2004 Chicago Cubs
Pitchers Catchers


Outfielders Manager

Coaching Staff

Player stats


Starters by position

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI

Other batters

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Alex Gonzalez 37 129 28 .217 3 8


Starting pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO

Other pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO

Relief pitchers

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Iowa Cubs Pacific Coast League Mike Quade
AA West Tenn Diamond Jaxx Southern League Bobby Dickerson
A Daytona Cubs Florida State League Steve McFarland
A Lansing Lugnuts Midwest League Julio Garcia
A-Short Season Boise Hawks Northwest League Tom Beyers
Rookie AZL Cubs Arizona League Trey Forkerway




This page was last edited on 4 May 2018, at 15:18
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