Samuel Clemens Plays Center Field

On May 28th, a eulogy for Jim Edmonds‘ career would not have been out of place. He had been released by the Padres on May 9th after hitting a measly .178/.265/.233 during the first five weeks of the season, then caught on with the Cubs on May 15th and began his career in Chicago by going 3 for 24 out of the gates. Following his 0 for 4 performance on May 27th, his OPS stood at .455.

His body was breaking down, his bat looked slow, and he couldn’t even hit his weight with two franchises. It looked like time had taken its toll, and Edmonds was just done as a major league player.

Looks can be deceiving. On May 30th, his next time in the line-up, he went 3 for 4 with a double and a home run (his first extra base hits since April 21st) and he hasn’t looked back since. From that day through his two home run performance on Saturday, Edmonds hit .400/.446/.800 in 56 plate appearances. 11 of his 20 hits have gone for extra bases during that stretch, and only J.D. Drew, Milton Bradley, and Vladimir Guerrero have been more productive hitters since Edmonds started hitting again.

Edmonds line as a Cub stands at .311/.358/.581, even with his auspicious start to his career on the north side. For whatever reason, he was able to find a juvenation machine and resurrect a career that looked to be just about over. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of Edmonds death were greatly exaggerated, and Cubs fans couldn’t be happier about it.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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14 years ago

I’m glad the M’s didn’t sign him if only because I believe it would’ve staved off the inevitable collapse just long enough to perhaps keep Bavasi in tenure. Good for Edmonds, though, because just about everyone in the world had announced his complete demise. It’s amazing what playing for a winning team combined with not playing in the worst hitting park in the majors can do for a man’s psyche.