Chicago Cubs All Time Starting Lineup

Best at each position, in one season, in team history

A look at the all-time starting lineup for the Chicago Cubs in the team's history. It's not a career record - it's taken from the best season any player had at that position in team history to create a lineup.

Starting pitcher: Greg Maddux

Chicago Cubs Victory Celebration - Wrigley Field Marquee
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1992: 20-11, 2.18 ERA, 268 IP, 201 H, 199 Ks, 1.011 WHIP

Rest of the rotation: Mordecai Brown (1909, 27-9, 1.31 ERA, 342.2 IP, 246 H, 172 Ks, 0.873 WHIP), Grover Cleveland Alexander (1920, 27-14, 1.91 ERA, 363.1 IP, 335 H, 175 Ks, 1.112 WHIP), Rick Sutcliffe (1984, 16-1, 2.69 ERA, 150.1 IP, 123 H, 155 Ks, 1.078 WHIP), Ferguson Jenkins (1971, 24-13, 2.77 ERA, 325 IP, 304 H, 263 Ks, 1.049 WHIP)

Maddux had two stints with the Cubs, and won the first of his four consecutive Cy Young Awards during the final year of that initial tenure with the team. The rest of the rotation has three Hall of Famers and a pitcher who won a Cy Young that season in Sutcliffe, who went 16-1 and helped lead the Cubs to the NL East title in 1984. "Three-Finger" Brown was one of the best of his era, as was Alexander. The No. 5 starter is Jenkins, who won 20 games or more seven times in eight seasons.

Catcher: Gabby Hartnett

1935: .344, 13 HR, 81 RBI, .949 OPS

Backup: Rick Wilkins (1993, .303, 30 HR, 73 RBI, .937 OPS)

The Hall of Famer Hartnett is best known for one of the most famous home runs ever, the "Homer in the Gloamin" in 1938 that sparked the Cubs to the pennant. He had his best season statistically three years earlier. The backup is Wilkins, whose tenure in Chicago was short, but he had an incredible 1993 season when he hit 30 of his 81 career home runs.

First baseman: Derrek Lee

2005: .335, 46 HR, 107 RBI, 1.080 OPS

Backup: Cap Anson (1886, .371, 10 HR, 147 RBI, 29 SB, .977 OPS)

A modern-era first baseman just beat out one of the original stars of the major leagues as Lee earned the spot based on his 2005 season, when he led the NL in hitting and hit 46 homers. The backup is Anson, a Hall of Famer who was the first to have 3,000 hits in his career.

Second baseman: Rogers Hornsby

1929:.380, 39 HR, 149 RBI, 1.139 OPS

Backup: Ryne Sandberg (1990, .306, 40 HR, 100 RBI, 25 SB, .913 OPS)

Four Hall of Famers played second base for the Cubs, and if you ask who was the greatest second baseman in Cubs history, it's Sandberg. But Hornsby had the best season for a Cubs second baseman in 1929, winning the NL MVP in his last great season. Ryno held down second base for 15 seasons in Chicago and went to 10 All-Star games.

Shortstop: Ernie Banks

1958: .313, 47 HR, 129 RBI, .980 OPS

Backup: Bill Dahlen (1894, .359, 15 HR, 108 RBI, 43 SB, 1.011 OPS)

An easy call in Banks, who actually played more games at first base in his career but came up as a shortstop. He was an 11-time All-Star who won back-to-back MVPs in 1958 and 1959. The backup is from the 19th century in "Bad Bill" Dahlen, who had a 42-game hitting streak in 1894.

Third baseman: Ron Santo

1964: .313, 30 HR, 114 RBI, .962 OPS

Backup: Heinie Zimmerman (1912, .372, 14 HR, 99 RBI, 23 SB, .989 OPS)

Santo, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2012, was a slick fielder and dependable hitter for 14 seasons. He was the only third baseman to ever drive in 90 runs or more in eight consecutive seasons. The backup is Zimmerman, who was sixth in MVP voting in 1912.

Left fielder: Billy Williams

1970: .322, 43 HR, 129 RBI, .977 OPS

Backup: Riggs Stephenson (1929, .362, 17 HR, 110 RBI, 1.006 OPS)

Here's another Hall of Famer for the starting lineup in Williams, who was an iron man in left field at Wrigley Field for 16 seasons. He was second in MVP voting in 1970. The backup is Stephenson, who had a .336 career average but was rarely a full-time player, except for a great year in 1929.

Center fielder: Hack Wilson

1930: .356, 56 HR, 191 RBI, 1.177 OPS

Backup: Andy Pafko (1950, .304, 36 HR, 92 RBI, .989 OPS)

Wilson's 190 RBI in 1930 remains a big-league record more than 90 years later. And those 56 homers were an NL record for 68 years, until Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa both broke the record. The backup is Pafko, a five-time All-Star who also played third base in his career but was a center fielder by 1950.

Right fielder: Sammy Sosa

2001: .328, 64 HR, 160 RBI, 1.174 OPS

Backup: Kiki Cuyler (1930, .355, 13 HR, 134 RBI, 37 SB, .975 OPS)

Sosa has been linked to performance-enhancing drugs, but it's impossible to ignore those statistics. His 160 RBI in 2001 was a career-high. The backup is Cuyler, who led the NL in stolen bases four times and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1968. He barely beats out another Hall of Famer in Andre Dawson, who was spectacular in 1987.

Closer: Bruce Sutter

1979: 6-6, 2.22 ERA, 37 saves, 101.1 IP, 67 H, 110 Ks, 0.977 WHIP

Backup: Lee Smith (1983, 4-10, 1.65 ERA, 29 saves, 103.1 IP, 70 H, 91 Ks, 1.074 WHIP)

Sutter, a Hall of Famer, is one of the few relievers to win a Cy Young award, as he did in 1979 for the Cubs. The backup was at one point the all-time saves leader in Smith.

Batting order

  1. Rogers Hornsby 2B
  2. Gabby Hartnett C
  3. Ernie Banks SS
  4. Sammy Sosa RF
  5. Hack Wilson CF
  6. Billy Williams LF
  7. Derrek Lee 1B
  8. Ron Santo 3B
  9. Greg Maddux P