Chicago Cubs infielder Addison Russell went from top prospect to World Series champion before writing a much darker chapter in his personal story.
I still remember the day the Chicago Cubs acquired Addison Russell.
Upon hearing the news, I immediately left my hometown’s Fourth of July fireworks display and rushed home to break out my laptop and write it up. Trading right-hander Jeff Samardzija? Not such a big deal. The writing was on the wall for months prior.
But landing Russell in the deal? Now that was something to get excited about. Russell added to a loaded Cubs farm system, coming over as Baseball America‘s 14th-ranked prospect in the game at the onset of 2014. By the time the sun rose in Arizona next spring? He’d ascended to third.
And, as Chicago went from laughingstock to perennial contender, Addison Russell became a mainstay in the lineup. The two shooting trajectories – both that of Russell and of the Cubs – hit their peak in 2016, when Russell became the only Chicago shortstop not named Ernie Banks to drive in 95 runs as the Cubs won their first title in 108 years.
But as quickly as he stole the show, he faded into the backdrop, appearing in only 110 games in 2017 as rumored domestic abuse allegations arose against the young infielder. Major League Baseball investigated, but we never really heard anything concrete.
Until this summer.