Over the weekend, former Chicago Cubs backstop Miguel Montero decided to hang up his cleats, announcing his retirement from Major League Baseball.
The Chicago Cubs acquired Miguel Montero back in 2015 in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for two minor league pitching prospects. The Cubs received a proven two-time All-Star who solidified things behind the dish.
Montero’s first season on the North Side was his best as a Cub. He was the team’s primary catcher playing in 113 games. On the year he smacked 15 home runs while driving in 53 runs to go along with a .248 batting average.
Despite a strong campaign, the Cubs had a young, talented up-and-coming catcher by the name of Willson Contreras. Contreras worked his way to the majors in the middle of June 2016 and started to steal some time from Montero right off the bat.
Friction begins to show
Montero wasn’t exactly thrilled with splitting time with Contreras and in limited action, his numbers suffered. He posted a .216 batting average, the worst of his entire career. In his 84 games played he only managed to drive in 33 runs, his fewest since 2007.
Montero let out his frustration about his playing time following the Cubs World Series victory. He publicly criticized manager Joe Maddon for his lack of playing time and lack of a role with the team during the World Series run.
His mouth finally got him in big trouble the following season when he publicly criticized Jake Arrieta after a game where they allowed seven stolen bases. His outburst ultimately led to him being designated for an assignment and being traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in the middle of the season.
Montero played 240 games for the Cubs where he hit .242 during his short stint with the team. He hit 27 total home runs while driving in 94 RBI.
Montero played a huge role in helping the Cubs win the World Series
Of course, Montero’s greatest moment as a Cub came in Game 1 of the 2016 NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Montero entered the game as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning with the bases loaded, two outs and the score tied at 3-3. Facing an 0-2 count, Montero blasted a grand slam into the right-field bleachers, giving the Cubs a 7-3 lead and Game 1 victory.
My family and I were lucky enough to attend this game and we always say it’s the greatest game we’ve ever witnessed in person. When that ball landed in the bleachers, Wrigley Field was sent into a frenzy like none other and to this day I’ve never heard the stadium louder than it was that night. It was a moment of a pure hysteria and a moment that should go down in Cubs lore forever.
Montero had another huge moment in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series against the Cleveland Indians which sometimes gets overlooked. Everyone knows that Ben Zobrist delivered the go-ahead RBI double in the tenth inning but Montero added another key insurance run.
With the bases loaded and one out, Montero came through with an RBI single through the left side of the infield. The backstop’s RBI turned out to be huge as the Indians ended up scoring a run of their own in the bottom half of the tenth. It provided the Cubs their 8-7 lead and ultimately helped them win their first World Series in 108 years.
Even though he struggled throughout the 2016 regular season, the Cubs may not have won the World Series without his contributions during the postseason. I know at least I will always remember him and think of him as a huge part of the Cubs World Series championship team. Thank you for being good Miggy.