A look back at the Chicago Cubs pitcher: Carlos Zambrano
This is one of many segments here at ChiCitySports.com looking back at players who have helped contribute to the success of their respective teams. Specifically in this article, we will be looking at pitcher Carlos Zambrano who played for the Chicago Cubs from 2001-2011.
Zambrano was signed by the Chicago Cubs as a free agent in 1997 and made a debut at his first game on August 20, 2001, pitching against the Milwaukee Brewers in the second game of a doubleheader. He came in strong as he retired nine of the first ten batters faced. He had thrown 74 pitches, earned seven runs, and walked four batters.
His 2002 season was started at the Triple-A Iowa Cubs but was quickly called back to the big leagues where he pitched in sixteen games during the first three months of the season. He logged sixteen starts for the Cubs with four wins and eight losses. Overall he finished the season with a 4-8 record and an ERA of 3.66 in 32 games. The Cubs’ record that season was 67-95 landing them in fifth place.
Carlos Zambrano maintained being in the Cubs’ starting rotation and started 32 games with an ERA of 3.11 and 13 wins in the fourth spot in the rotation. He was able to improve his statistics the following year by lowering his ERA to 2.75 and increasing his strikeout total to 188. His record was the best for the Cubs staff that year with a 16-8 record.
The Cubs pitcher had a strange injury come up in the early season and was diagnosed with “tennis elbow” but it was later traced to his use of the internet from him keeping up with his family in Venezuela. Carlos Zambrano had an excellent year batting in 2005 with a .300 batting average and one homerun. As a pitcher, his ERA went back up to 3.26 starting in all 33 games that season.
At the start of his 2006 season, he was the starting pitcher for the Cubs for the second year in a row and had similar results to the first season. Along with his excellent pitching, he also hit three home runs in the second inning, his first one of the season. He finished off his 2006 season with a record of 16-7, 210 strikeouts, an ERA of 3.41, and an MLB-leading of 115 walks.
in 2007, Carlos Zambrano walked off the field after only four innings and was booed by the audience after another poor performance. He later in an interview and retaliated against fans saying
“I thought these were the greatest fans in baseball, but they showed me today that they only care about themselves. That’s not fair, when you are struggling, you want to feel like you have their support. I don’t accept their reaction”
He apologized for these remarks the following day. According to ESPN, his apology was as stated
“I’m a grown man. I know when I make a mistake. I know what I’m
doing. I know when I have to come to whoever I offended. I don’t
think somebody has to tell me what to do,”
In 2008, Carlos Zambrano continued to have issues with his throwing arm from rotator cuff tendinitis and made his first start back, after missing two starts, on September 14 and he no-hit the Astros 5-0. It was the first no-hit for the Cubs in a long time since Milt Pappas on September 2, 1972. Zambrano gave up one walk, threw ten strikeouts, and threw 110 pitches in his 14th win of the season.
The 5-0 game where Carlos Zambrano no-hit the Astros.
Carlos Zambrano’s batting highlights.
Ending of career
Carlos Zambrano would end his career by walking off the field after being ejected for throwing two inside pitches at batter Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves on August 12, 2011. This was Carlos Zambrano’s final appearance with the Cubs. He cleaned his locker out from the visiting team’s clubhouse and told the team’s personnel that he was retiring. The next day Zambrano was suspended for 30 days without pay and was prevented from attending anything club related. He bounced around a few teams for a while until April 2019 when he signed with the Chicago Dogs of the America Association of Professional Baseball, he ended up going 4-1 with an ERA of 5.16, and finally announced his retirement again on January 17, 2020.
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