Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Top Ten Chicago Teasers

The focus of this list is on young guys who had one really good season in Chicago, but then, for a variety of reasons, were never really heard from again.

10. Anthony Thomas The “A-Train” was a key member of the 2001 Bears who took the league by surprise in going 13-3. Thomas rushed for nearly 1200 yards that season and won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. With the Bears’ struggles the next few years came Thomas’ own struggles. Three unproductive years later he was gone, and last season was out of football.

9. Jay Williams His individual statistics (10 points, five assists) may not have been overly impressive as a rookie, especially when you think about the numbers Derrick Rose is putting up now. Still, the majority of Bulls fans and people around the league felt like Williams was on the path to stardom. Think a less quick Chris Paul with a better jump shot. We all know what happened next. A motorcycle accident cost Williams his career, and set the Bulls franchise back a few more years.

8. Mark Anderson After coming out of nowhere to record 12 sacks as a situational pass rusher in his rookie year, Anderson’s problems began when he was named a starter over Alex Brown heading into 2007. These last two years Anderson has really struggled, recording only six sacks total. There’s even more than a good chance that Anderson, once regarded as the next Dwight Freeney, might not be in the Bears’ plans for next season.

7. Brandon McCarthy Remember when Kenny Williams said McCarthy was untouchable the offseason after the Sox won the World Series? Even though he made only 12 starts and wasn’t on the team’s playoff roster, McCarthy appeared to have future stud written all over him. An up and down next season had the organization cooling on his potential. Williams then pulled a shocker by trading McCarthy to Texas for a mediocre prospect named John Danks, a move that upset most Sox fans at the time.

6. Corey Patterson
He’s a running joke in Chicago now, but people forget that Patterson actually had two pretty decent years with the Cubs from 2003-2004. In ’03, he was hitting right around .300 before he got injured halfway though the season and the next year he hit 24 home runs from his leadoff spot. Once considered a five-tool player and can’t miss prospect, the Cubs finally gave up on Patterson’s potential and traded him after the ’05 season to Baltimore.

5. Marcus Robinson Drafted by the Bears in the fourth round of the 1997 NFL Draft, Robinson set a club record with 84 catches, 1400 yards and nine touchdowns his second year in the league. His ability to catch the deep ball that season made rookie quarterback Cade McNown look well, not totally awful. After that breakout year, Robinson was never the same, as injuries slowed him down. He officially retied from the league last June.

4. Elton Brand
Brand was the only reason to watch the Bulls in 2000, becoming just the second rookie in league history to average 20 points and 10 rebounds. After a second solid year in Chicago, it appeared the Bulls had found their franchise player. That is until, Jerry Krause got involved. For some reason I still don’t understand, Krause felt like Brand would never be able to carry a team by himself, and traded him on draft night for the rights to Tyson Chandler. I know that Brand has been injured the last two seasons, but didn’t I hear that the Bulls have been desperately looking for a low-post scorer for some time now?

3. Rich Hill
Trying to solve the mysterious case of Hill is now no longer the Cubs’ problem, as they basically gave him to the Orioles for nothing. In 2007, his second full year in the league, Hill was the Cubs’ second-best starter, going 11-8 with a 3.92 E.R.A. It’s still puzzling what happened next. After having problems finding the strike zone in his first few starts last season, he was sent back down to triple-A Iowa, and then later to Rookie ball in Mesa.

2. Charlie Weis Okay, obviously not a young Chicago athlete, but how could you leave Weis off this list? His first year at Notre Dame, Weis put the Irish back on the college football map. It took him only seven games to earn a new 10-year contract. Now, after a combined record of 10-15 these past two seasons, Weis quickly went from being a coaching genius to a guy who is very much on the coaching hot seat.

1. Mark Prior Definitely the ultimate teaser. Prior’s ridiculous 2003 season (18-6, 2.43 ERA) had Cubs fans envisioning great things from this dynamic young power pitcher. Injuries ended up ruining his career way too soon. If Prior had stayed healthy, it’s likely the Cubs would not still be waiting 101 years and counting for a World Series title.


BettorFan said...

Great Top 10. I haven't heard some of these names brought up in a long time.

Brand, I wish he stayed.

Eli said...

I think Corey Patterson just struck out swinging at another eye-level fastball.
Nice list

Anonymous said...

Haha glad you included Weis, what a joke he is. On a side note I don't think Jay Williams was ever going to be anywhere close to Rose/Chris Paul. Good job though.

Anonymous said...

I vote to let Eli, Ricky and Phil continue the lists. Fire everybody else.

Matthew Olsen said...

How about you?

Do you want to write a list?

Anonymous said...

Watch Rich Hill turn into an ace now that he has left the Cubs.

Anonymous said...

That's how it works, in most cases. Play for the Cubs and suck, get released/traded, sign with some other club and become an All-Star.

Eric said...

If Prior weren't such a selfish ass-hole, I might actually feel sort of bad for him. Good post.

Phil Barnes said...

Danny's post today was fantastic and if you look at the numbers, Matt brings in 10x more page views than any of us. They have done a great job, and according to the responses, you look like the only one who thinks otherwise

Scott Phillips said...

a couple names I thought of,

Mike Caruso - how the hell can you start two full seasons in the majors and then play only 12 games after that? Completely fell off the face of the Earth.

Rashaan Salaam - nuff said.

Hee Sop Choi, Bobby Hill, Felix Pie - All had startling success in minors and or Spring Training and couldn't do squat with the Cubs.

Tuomo Ruutu - When your rookie year is your best season it is never a good sign.

Anonymous said...

a couple is two. unless you say a couple couple, than it's four.

Anonymous said...

i thought this was called top ten chicago sports not top ten south bend indiana. I mean come on, if your gonna include some nd stuff, at least dont put it in the top 5. If this was ever being discussed on the radio or any of the chicago top ten lists on this site for that matter, notre dame football would not even be in the concersation

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