Ranking the top 25 Chicago Cubs players of all-time is a tall task, considering the franchise dates back more than 140 years. The Cubs have not been one of the most successful franchises in baseball history, but there have been some great players that have worn the Cubbie blue.
Some of these Cubs legends played well before television was invented, but the numbers still speak for themselves. Others helped the Cubs break the longest curse in professional sports history, earning them a permanent space in Cubs lore.
Each day I will break down five of the best to ever put on the Cubs uniform, and give my biased opinion on why they are ranked in that spot. This wasn’t easy, and leaving off some of my favorite current players was not an easy decision to make, but it simply had to be done.
And without further ado, here are the greatest players in Chicago Cubs history (Numbers 10-6):
10. Frank Chance
Most Cubs fans can recite the famous double-play combination in the early 1900s of Tinkers to Evers to Chance. First baseman Frank Chance was the best of that group and begins the top-10 of this countdown.
Chance is the Cubs’ all-time leader stolen bases with 402, and he is in the top-10 in several other statistical categories. It’s almost impossible for Cubs fans to believe this, but Chance made four World Series appearances with the Cubs, including winning the title in 1907 and 1908.
In 15 seasons with the Cubs, Chance posted an on-base percentage of .394. Chance was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946 by the Old Timers Committee.
9. Gabby Hartnett
Catcher Gabby Hartnett played 19 seasons with the Chicago Cubs and was a perennial All-Star during that time. Hartnett made six consecutive All-Star appearances from 1933-1938 and was named MVP of the National League in 1935.
Hartnett sits inside the top-10 in a number of Cubs offensive and defensive categories and was one of the stars of baseball during the 1930s. Hartnett has seemed to be overlooked by a large majority of Cubs fans, but he lands at number nine on this list.
In 1955, Hartnett was elected to the Hall of Fame, capping off an illustrious career. There have been some solid catchers in the history of the Cubs, but Hartnett was by far the best to ever play that position.
8. Cap Anson
Cap Anson is the only player on this list to have played his entire career in the 1800s, making it hard to compare him to more recent greats. His career numbers are simply too hard to ignore, as is the fact that he spent 22 seasons with the Cubs.
Anson is the Cubs all-time leader in hits (3,012), runs (1,722), runs batted in (1,880), doubles (529) and WAR (84.8). It’s hard to find a top-10 list that doesn’t include the Hall of Fame player that played three different infield positions.
The stats might tell you that Anson was the best to ever wear the uniform, but the game was too different at the time. Anson did have a legendary career with the Chicago Cubs, but there are a few players that simply mattered more to the franchise.
7. Greg Maddux
Greg Maddux is arguably the best player to ever put on a Cubs uniform, but some of his best work was done with the Atlanta Braves. Still, the “Mad-Dog” checks in at number seven on this list.
Maddux spent just 10 of his 23 seasons with the Chicago Cubs, and you won’t see his name in the top-10 in all-time Cubs stats leaders. Still, Maddux was an 8x All-Star, 4x Cy Young winner, 18x Gold Glover winner, and won the ERA title four times during his career.
He won his first of four-straight CY Young Awards in 1992, and had 47 complete games with the Cubs in 10 seasons. Maddux received 97 percent of the vote in his first time on the Hall of Fame ballot.
Maddux is wearing a Braves cap in Cooperstown, but Cubs fans consider him one of their own. Watching Maddux carve up opposing lineups will never get old.
6. Ron Santo
Your grandparents might tell you that Ron Santo was their favorite player, and others will tell you about his work on Cubs radio broadcasts. Santo is beloved by Cubs fans, and he is the sixth-best player in Cubs history.
The Hall of Fame third baseman was a nine-time All-Star as a member of the Chicago Cubs and also won five Gold Glove Awards. Santo ranks second in Cubs history with a positional player WAR of 72.1
Santo collected 2,171 hits as a member of the Chicago Cubs and his 337 home runs are fourth-most in team history. Unfortunately for Santo and his teammates, the Cubs never made the playoffs during his career.
His number is retired with the Chicago Cubs, an honor that will become a theme with some other names coming up on the list. Santo was beloved for a reason, as he was one of the best to ever play at the “Hot Corner.”