Bryan LaHair was one of the few reasons to watch the Chicago Cubs in 2012. LaHair was a remarkable feel-good story. After spending most of his career as a minor-league journeyman with the Seattle Mariners and Cubs, LaHair got an opportunity as an everyday first baseman against right-handed pitchers.
LaHair was reportedly designated for assignment on November 20, 2012. After Anthony Rizzo became the everyday first baseman in late June, LaHair was out of place in the outfield. His bat had also cooled off significantly from when he hit 10 home runs in the first two months. Management felt like LaHair wasn’t worth keeping as a left-handed power hitter off the bench.
How should fans remember LaHair? The simplest way to remember him was as the player who went from minor-league journeyman to MLB All-Star to Japan… all in 15 months. With that said, I’ll remember him for two more things: his first impressions and his last impression.
When LaHair was given a one-month tryout in September 2011, he played well enough to earn a chance to make the 25-man roster in 2012. LaHair exploded onto the scene. He started April with a .390 batting average, 14 RBIs, five home runs and a 1.251 on-base-plus slugging percentage (OPS). That hot start helped LaHair get chosen for his first All-Star Game.
The success didn’t last. He was benched for most of the second half. That didn’t stop him from making one last impression in Game 162. Against the Houston Astros, LaHair hit a solo home run to left field. In the ninth inning of a 4-4 tie, LaHair finished his career with a walk-off RBI single.
In 2013, LaHair will probably play baseball in Japan. At age 30, there’s a good chance that the walk-off single will end up as his final MLB at-bat. Maybe LaHair will eventually find work as a fourth or fifth outfielder. That seems unlikely.
The Cubs also completed a trade with the Texas Rangers. The Cubs traded relief pitcher Jake Brigham. The Rangers traded Barret Loux and a player to be named later. In 2012, Loux was the 2012 Double-A Texas League Pitcher of the Year. He had a 14-1 record with a 3.47 ERA. Originally, the Cubs acquired Brigham when they traded Geovany Soto to the Rangers on July 31.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid-90s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood’s(notes) 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie’s defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and “4th & 26” in a span of three months. HERE is his Twitter.
More from Yahoo! Contributor Network
Chicago Cubs Reportedly Re-sign Shawn Camp to One-Year Contract: Fan’s Take
Chicago Cubs Are Taking Many Risks in 2013 Starting Rotation: Fan’s Take
Chicago Cubs Reportedly Sign Starting Pitcher Scott Baker for $5.5 Million: Fan’s Take
Mike McCarthy Must Micromanage His Use of Kicker Mason Crosby: Fan’s Observation