Was Ed Lynch even trying to field a competitive team by 2000? I’m guessing the Damon Buford signing was one of the reasons listed when Lynch was sent packing in the summer of 2000. I imagine the conversation between Andy MacPhail and Lynch went something like this:
ANDY: So, I think you know why you’re here, Ed.
ED: Because Willie Greene is playing third?
ANDY: Well, now that you mention it, yeah. That’s part of it.
ED: Is it because of EY?
ANDY: Good point. I forgot about him. Yeah, him, too.
ED: Well, I promise we’ll get better.
ANDY: It’s too late for that now, Ed.
ED: But, Andy-
ANDY: Damon Buford, Ed? Damon freaking Buford? I mean, I’ve defended a lot of your moves to my bosses, but how do you expect me to explain my way around Damon Buford?
ED: He’s had some okay years-
ANDY: No, Ed. He hasn’t. You’re fired, Ed. Get the hell out of my office.
And so Ed Lynch’s reign as the Cubs’ G.M. was over. Damon Buford’s reign as the Cubs centerfielder was not, however. Buford fumbled around in the outfield and flailed away at the plate for two years at the turn of the millennium.
Is this seriously a baseball card?
The most maddening part of Buford’s game was his Willie Mayes Hays (circa Major League II) conviction that he was a power hitter. He wasn’t. But feel free to keep screwing yourself into the ground on your ridiculous swings, Damon. We’re in a hurry to get to 65-97.
Buford also gets negative points for being one of the stopgap centerfielders to suck so badly that the Cubs had to rush Corey Patterson’s development and render him useless. More negative points for attending Southern Cal.
Low Point: May 16, 2001. Buford was released from the Cubs because Gary Matthews, Jr. was a better option in center. Ouch.
Did You Know? Buford’s father Don also played for Southern Cal and in the majors for the White Sox and the Orioles. He also would have made this list had he played for the Cubs.