Bookends

Carrie Muskat had a recent blog which included a list of current and former players set to attend the Cubs Convention next weekend. Two names on the list caught my eye. Andy Pafko is the last Cub centerfielder who was an all star at that important position. Brett Jackson could be the next.

Or not. Either way, center field has been a dry hole for the Cubs for sixty years and counting.

I remember most of those years, but Pafko was before my time. He’ll be 89 in late February. He was an all star four straight years for the Cubs beginning in 1947. A couple of those all-star seasons, he played third base, but in 1945, at age twenty-four he roamed center for the Cubs in the World Series. In ’51, he was in left field for the Dodgers when Bobby Thomson hit the famous shot.

As far as Pafko’s physical condition, he accepted the Cubs’ invitation, so that’s a good sign. Just as Pafko is by far the oldest, Brett Jackson, at 21, will be the youngest player in the delegation, by two years. (Cashner is 23.) The Cubs seem to like Jackson a lot, and if they’re like me, they’re just aching to have a kid in center field, finally, who is a worthy successor to Pafko.

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