Derrek Lee’s Cubs career has been over for a few days now, but he returned to Chicago today as a member of the Atlanta Braves, and went 0-4 in his debut. I wish Derrek nothing but the best of luck the rest of the season, and hope that he finds a good team this off season as well.
When we look back at Lee’s Cubs career a few years from now, I think we will realize that he has been rather under appreciated during his time here. Lee played in Chicago for seven seasons, and will go down as one of the best hitters in the team’s history. Ridiculous statement? Let’s look at the numbers.
These ranks come from all seasons since 1901, for hitters with at least 3000 plate appearances while playing for the Cubs
Lee ranks #11 All-Time in batting average (.298).
Lee ranks #7 All-Time in on-base percentage (.378).
#4 in slugging percentage (.524).
#3 in OPS (.903) behind Hack Wilson and Sammy Sosa.
#9 in OPS+ (128)
#26 in WAR (19.8)
#11 in HR (179)
#26 in hits (1,046)
#14 in doubles (239)
#14 in extra base hits (428)
While Lee’s final season here has been rather disappointing, his overall career here has been fantastic. He will go down as one of the most productive hitters the Cubs have ever had, and his defense at first base is second to none. In an era of Cubs baseball that included controversy after controversy, Lee was the quiet and steady presence that just kept producing.
Hopefully when we look back at Lee’s time here in a few years, after we’ve had enough time to forget whatever it was he did this year, we can appreciate just how good he was as a Chicago Cub.