Eric Karros and the old wound

There were a hundred things I wanted to say when I saw the pictures of the World Series Cubs hat that Eric Karros showed to the world on the eleventh anniversary of what I will always think of as That Game.

The ten-year anniversary of this event last year gave me a chance to write a few things about it, but basically I had hoped that the awkwardness of commemorating eleven years–all the way up to perhaps twenty years–meant that the sting of October 14 wouldn’t be so bad in the years ahead. But Eric Karros clearly had other ideas.

I never really thought of Eric Karros as a Cub. True, he was along for the ride in 2003, and the video footage he made of that season will probably see the light of day at some point in the future. But he was a Dodger for his peak years from 1995 to 2000, and they knew he was nearing the end of his career when they traded him to the Cubs after the 2002 season.

One season in a Cubs uniform is a rare thing, now that I think about it. Even Rich Harden–the blippiest blip on the Cubs radar I can think of from the pre-Epstein era–had two seasons with the team. But Karros had just the one, back in 2003. Timing is everything, and his timing for being with the Cubs was amazingly good.

Have you ever seen a Karros jersey around Wrigley Field, even when he was with the team? It wouldn’t surprise me to know that a few were sold, but I can’t imagine it was very many. And you might still see a Soriano or a Wood jersey here and there, but a Karros jersey?

And this probably goes without saying, but I had to look up the number he wore with the Cubs. It was 32, because the 23 that he wore with the Dodgers had already been retired by Ryne Sandberg. Teams retire jersey numbers because nobody wants to see Ryno’s memory watered down by a transplant from LA.

It sounds like I’m being hard on Eric Karros, and I am. By revealing his 2003 World Series cap to the world, he either didn’t think about how Cubs fans would react to it, or he just didn’t care. Which is fine, because his heart was always in Los Angeles, anyway. The Cubs were his biggest one-year professional payday at $8 million + in 2003, but he’ll always be known in Los Angeles much more than he ever will be in Chicago.

So you don’t care about us, Eric Karros, and we don’t care about you, either. It certainly would have been different if you had gone all the way back in 2003, and that cap had actually seen the light of day when it really mattered. But it didn’t, and we’re still waiting for the day when we can buy a $50 World Series cap for ourselves. The wait will continue for at least one more year, but it will hopefully end some day in the not-so-distant future. And we all thought the same thing back in November of 2003, didn’t we?

R. Lincoln Harris is a guest contributor for Wrigleyville Nation. He also writes for,,, and Thanks R. Lincoln for the contribution!

Photo: Eric Karros Topps Stadium Club / Keith Fujimoto / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 / Alteration: None