Reminiscing on the time the Cubs traded Angel Pagan


Reminiscing on the time the Cubs traded Angel Pagan

As the Cubs almost pulled off a shocking trade Friday night, it got me thinking about another trade the organization probably wishes to have back.

Angel Pagan's name has been everywhere the past few weeks -- even in Taco Bell -- as the starting centerfielder and leadoff hitter for the World Champion Giants.

Cubs fans remember him when he was just a kid making his MLB debut in the 2006 season. He played 77 games that year for the Cubs and appeared in 71 the following season, getting time at all three outfield spots.

He only totaled 348 plate appearances in those two years, and the Cubs wound up trading Pagan to the Mets, the organization that drafted him in 1999.

Dealing a young outfielder with a career .716 minor-league OPS isn't exactly groundbreaking. But the Cubs did not come out on top in this one particular deal.

In January 2008, the Cubs sent Pagan to the Mets for outfielder Corey Coles and right-hander Ryan Meyers. Both guys spent just a year in the Cubs' minor-league system and then that was that. They were out of baseball after the 2008 season.

Pagan, meanwhile, has turned into a pretty good major-leaguer, having racked up a .281.334.415 line with 98 steals and 243 runs over the past three seasons, two of which were in New York before he was dealt to San Francisco prior to the start of 2012.

It's no Lou Brock for Ernie Broglio by any means, but it's still interesting to look back at. Good for Pagan for getting a ring, though.

Illini announce athletics hall of fame with Dick Butkus as first member


Illini announce athletics hall of fame with Dick Butkus as first member

Illinois announced Thursday the establishment of a university athletics hall of fame, and who better than Dick Butkus to be the first inductee?

According to the announcement, Illinois has discussed creating an athletics hall of fame to honor past student-athletes for years, but this is the first time it's been acted upon — not necessarily a surprise now that Josh Whitman, a former Illinois football player, is now in charge of the department.

"The University of Illinois has an incredible and storied history in athletics," Whitman said in the announcement. "Legendary names in sports history are found throughout the Illini record books, and we are excited to honor them in our new Hall of Fame. Since the athletic program's inception in 1890, some of the world's greatest athletes have competed in the orange and blue. Ultimately, as we begin to populate the Hall of Fame, our collection of recognized greats will compare favorably with that of any institution in the nation."

Butkus, of course, is the obvious choice to be the first announced member of the hall of fame's inaugural class.

Regarded by many as the best linebacker and defensive football player ever, Butkus spent three seasons in Champaign, twice a unanimous All-American selection. Playing both center and linebacker at Illinois, he finished in the top six in Heisman Trophy voting in 1963 and 1964, a shocking accomplishment for someone playing a position other than quarterback, running back or receiver.

Butkus made 374 tackles in three seasons and is one of just two players — the other being Red Grange — to have his number retired at Illinois. He is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame (thanks to his remarkable career with the Bears), and the annual award for the best linebacker in college football is named after Butkus.

"The University of Illinois has played an extremely important role in my life," Butkus said in the announcement. "I have many life-long relationships that began at the U of I and have always been proud to call myself a Fighting Illini. To be recognized in the inaugural class of the Athletics Hall of Fame is a terrific feeling. I'm very proud of what my teams and I accomplished, including the 1963 Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl victory. Thank you for this honor."

The Illini will announce the entire inaugural class in February, with induction coming next September.

Gustav Forsling out, Corey Crawford starting vs. Devils

Gustav Forsling out, Corey Crawford starting vs. Devils

Gustav Forsling will not travel and Corey Crawford will start when the Blackhawks face the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

Forsling, who is day-to-day with an upper-body injury sustained against the Calgary Flames on Monday night, did not practice on Thursday. Coach Joel Quenneville is still hopeful that the defenseman can play Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Blackhawks were switching lines again, putting Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane together on the top line. Marian Hossa took Kane’s place on the second line with Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov and Tyler Motte moved to the third line.

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“Yeah, I guess change can be good in this sense. We can probably produce a little bit more offense and have the puck a little bit more throughout the game,” Kane said. “I’ve played with Jonny a bunch before. Obviously, not as much lately. But I’m looking forward to it. It’ll be a fun way to play hockey. Obviously he’s one of the best players in the game, and probably in my mind the easiest player to play with. It’ll be fun to get back out there with him and try to create something, try to produce and have some fun with it.”

Meanwhile, forward Andrew Desjardins (lower body) continues to improve. Quenneville said Desjardins could be skating in the next day or so.