Back in the great years of the 90s when I was playing travel baseball I moved from shortstop to Center Field, I made a diving catch in my first game in the outfield and it was a love affair from then on. My heroes turned into guys like Andruw Jones, Torii Hunter and the guy everyone hated because he was on the Cardinals but I have always liked. That man would be Jim Edmonds who in my opinion has the greatest catch in the history of the MLB while with the Angels (in those awesome uniforms that they should go back to). When Edmonds came to the Cubs in 2008 I was ecstatic and it helped that he played incredibly.
Jim Edmonds was drafted out of Diamond Bar High School by the California (yes California) Angels in the 7th round of the amateur draft in 1988. He played five years in the minor leagues before being a September call up in 1993 with the Angels. While in the minors Edmonds never made any top 100 lists as a prospect and ranking only as high as #9 in the Angels Organization. Thanks to an article by Chris St. John at SB Nation I was able to find a small report by John Sickels on what he projected Edmonds to be before the 1995 season, he states:
“Edmonds can expect to see his playing time diminish. While he showed some signs of developing as a hitter, his role will probably be reduced to fourth outfielder. This more closely suits his abilities.”
Edmonds proceeded to have a 30HR 107RBI year while batting .290 with an .888OPS earning himself his first All Star selection.
Over the course of his career Edmonds played for the Angels, Cardinals, Padres, Cubs, Brewers, and Reds. His best year was in 2004 with le sigh…..the Cardinals where he put up a 1.061(!)OPS batting .301 belting 42 HR’s and 111RBI. He also took home some hardware in ’04 after being swept out of the World Series by the Red Sox he won the Silver Slugger and a Golden Glove, while finishing 5th in the MVP race. What he will most be remembered for will probably be the walk off home run he hit in Game 6 of the NLCS.
Four years later the Cubs were primed to make another playoff run and in need of a left-handed bat. After having an awful time with the Padres where he hit under the Mendoza line he was released and the Cubs promptly scooped him up on May 14th, 2008. Edmonds was such a surprise for an already good Cubs team he hit 19HR’s in only 250AB’s, His OPS was also very good at .937! He had a couple multi homer games one coming against the White Sox but for me and hopefully all of you guys my favorite moment of Jim Edmonds was him catching the final out against the Cardinals to clinch the division, man, poetic justice. That was such a fun season, and Edmonds was a big part of helping the Cubs making the playoffs although they were swept out. That upper cut swing was really a thing a beauty. Also the way he stands in the box(referring to his very wide stance) looks a lot like this guy the Cubs have that has been tearing up the minor leagues you may have heard of him, his name is Kris Bryant.