There are many people in the world who share July 27th as the date they were born.
I’m not so sure any of them have as cool of a name as former Cub, Bump Wills. I wrote this article for today’s Baseball Digest. Happy birthday there, Bump. Check out the excerpt and then click the link to see the entire write-up.
Alex Rodriguez. Leo Durocher. Joe Tinker.
A future Hall of Famer, a current Hall of Famer and one of the greatest players to wear a Chicago Cubs uniform of all-time.
What do they all have in common? They were all born on today’s date, July 27. What else do they have in common? I decided not to focus today’s feature on any of them.
Those three names are well known. We know about A-Rod and how he quickly reached the 500 mark, and then not long after that, the 600 plateau in home run calculations. We know about the BALCO findings, and that he finally admitted to using substances in the early part of the new millenium. We know that he came up with Seattle, signed the largest contract in MLB with the Texas Rangers at 10 years/$252 million and then topped that with a 10 years/$272 million contract when he joined the New York Yankees. We know about his willingness to play third base because Jeter was already the captain and resident of the shortstop position with the Yankees and of course, we know about the ‘Cameron and the popcorn’ incident. (I like calling it an incident. Makes it seem like a big deal while of course, it was not).
Durocher? We know that he was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1994 by the veterans committee, won at least 500 games with three different teams, is listed tenth all-time in victories by a manager and finally put an end to the horrible ‘College of Coaches‘ idea that existed with P.K. Wrigley’s Chicago Cubs.
Speaking of the Chicago Cubs, baseball historians and poetry fans alike are well-versed in the likes of Joe Tinker. The man that leads off in the ‘Tinker to Evers to Chance’ poem helped lead the Chicago Cubs through their greatest decade and their last world championship in the early 1900′s.
The three of them have been celebrated time and time again. I have decided they’ve had their birthday cake and eaten, too. (In the case of Rodriguez, it may have even been fed to him by Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson or some other Hollywood startlet). To truly celebrate a birthday in this space and recognize a player few know anything about and some know very little, we need to highlight the career of the deserving, yet relatively unknown.
I present to you: Elliot Taylor ‘Bump’ Wills.
Go Cubs Go!