It has become a tradition for a Cubs manager to have a favorite veteran player or two that he inserts into the lineup nearly every day much to the chagrin of their fans. Dusty Baker had Neifi Perez, Lenny Harris, Jose Macias, Freddie Bynum and Ramon Martinez just to name just a few; Lou Piniella had Koyie Hill.

Upon hearing the news Sunday that Piniella was finally retiring to tend to his ailing mother in Florida, Hill, a career .211 hitter with a total of five home runs over seven big league seasons, was inconsolable.

“That guy is like a father to me,” said a sobbing Hill. “When everyone else realized that I have the baseball ability of a toddler, Lou gave me the opportunity to catch big league pitching for the last 14 consecutive days. I even slightly fouled off a pitch when I was up to bat. It was unreal.”

By Jeremy Barewin