The curse is finally broken! After a 108 year losing streak, the Chicago Cubs are once again World Series champions. While most Cubs fans live in Illinois, there are also a large number of loyal Cubs supporters in the Great Smoky Mountains. What is the connection between Chicago and Sevier County, you may ask? The Tennessee Smokies baseball team, located in Kodak, TN, is a AA minor league affiliate of the Cubs!
Several former Tennessee Smokies players helped the Cubs on their path to victory this year. Visit My Smokies did a little research to bring you a list of Chicago Cubs who got their start in the Smoky Mountains.
Chicago Cubs Who Played for the Tennessee Smokies
Kris Bryant is a third baseman for the Cubs. He started the 2014 season with the Tennessee Smokies. During the World Series, Bryant had two home runs, two RBI, and six runs scored. Bryant’s throw to Anthony Rizzo in the 10th inning of Game 7 ended the series.
Addison Russell is a shortstop for the Cubs. He played for the Tennessee Smokies in 2014. Throughout the World Series, Russell had one home run, nine RBI, and one run scored. Russell’s sacrifice fly to center field in Game 7 allowed Kris Bryant to score, giving the Cubs a 2 -1 lead in the top of the fourth inning.
Javier Baez is a second baseman for the Cubs. He played with the Smokies in the 2013 season. Baez hit a home run in Game 7. He was the co-MVP of the National League Championship Series.
Miguel Montero is a catcher for the Cubs. He played for the Tennessee Smokies baseball team in 2005 and 2006. Montero’s RBI single in the top of the 10th inning in Game 7 ended up being the winning run for the Cubs.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) November 3, 2016
Wilson Contreras is a catcher and left fielder for the Cubs. He played for the Smokies in 2015. Contreras had an RBI double in Game 7.
Jorge Soler is an outfielder for the Cubs. He played in 22 games for the Tennessee Smokies in 2014 and nine games in 2016. Soler started Game 2 of the World Series in right field instead of Jason Heyward
Carl Edwards Jr. is a pitcher for the Cubs. He played for the Tennessee Smokies in 2014 and 2015. Edwards made three appearances in the World Series and gave up two runs in 2 ⅔ innings pitched. In the 10th inning of Game 7, Edwards recorded the first two outs.
Kyle Hendricks is a pitcher for the Cubs. He played for the Smokies in 2013. Hendricks started Game 7 and allowed two runs in 4 ⅔ innings.
— MLB Stat of the Day (@MLBStatoftheDay) November 2, 2016
Albert Almora Jr. is an outfielder for the Cubs. He played for the Smokies in 2014 and 2015. In Game 7, Almora pinch-ran for Kyle Schwarber and scored Chicago’s go-ahead run.
Kyle Schwarber is a left fielder and catcher for the Cubs. He played for the Tennessee Smokies in 2015. In the third game of the regular season, Schwarber tore two ligaments in his left knee when he collided with centerfielder Dexter Fowler. In the World Series, he returned as a designated and pinch hitter.
In addition to the above players, a few Cubs players have made rehab appearances with the Tennessee Smokies: Jake Arrieta, Chris Coghlan, and Tommy La Stella. Brandon Guyer, another Tennessee Smokies baseball alum, played outfield for the Cleveland Indians during the World Series.
See Tomorrow’s Major League Stars in the Smokies
During your next vacation in East Tennessee, you’ll have the chance to see future Major League stars when you attend a Tennessee Smokies baseball game! The Smokies play from April through early September at Smokies Stadium, which is less than 20 minutes from downtown Sevierville. The ballpark is known for its affordable ticket prices, delicious food, special promotions, and fireworks shows on Friday and Saturday night home games. A trip to Smokies Stadium is the perfect way to spend an evening with the whole family during baseball season.
For more great vacation activities, check out our complete guide to things to do in the Smoky Mountains!