A baseball player saying thank you and/or goodbye to a fan base after being non-tendered -- essentially baseball's version of being cut or released -- isn't necessarily newsworthy. In the case of Kyle Schwarber and Cubs nation, however, there's a bit more than meets the eye.
Schwarber was non-tendered on Wednesday night. Thursday, he left a message for Cubs fans on Twitter:
Here's the text:
Chicago ... from being drafted, to playoffs 5 out of 6 years, to being a World Series champion! I want to thank all the fans for the overwhelming support these past 7 years of being in the organization. It never got old running out to left field and being able to give you guys a salute. It really is different at Wrigley. It was an absolute pleasure to go out there everyday and grind with the fellas for you guys and I'm forever grateful for my teammates, coaches, staff and the fans. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart! Until we meet again.
Schwarber was taken fourth overall in the first round of the 2014 draft out of Indiana University and made his MLB debut the following June. He was beloved immediately for his prodigious power. He homered 16 times in 69 games as a rookie and then made a permanent stamp in Cubs fan lore with his 2015 postseason.
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There was the two-run blast that put the Cubs up 3-0 in the Wild Card Game against the 98-win Pirates (he had already driven in the first run of the game, too).
How about the blast on top of the video board against the 100-win Cardinals the next round?
Though the Cubs were bounced in the NLCS in a sweep by the Mets, Schwarber ended up with five home runs in nine postseason games as a rookie.
The next season, he tore his ACL in the first inning of his second game. He was pronounced out for the season, but ended up making it back to DH in the four AL games of the 2016 World Series. He went 7 for 17 (.412). He drove home two in a 5-1 win in Game 2. He went 3 for 5, including a hit that started the game-winning rally in the 10th, in Game 7.
There were lots of highs and lows in the ensuing four seasons with Schwarber and the Cubs, but due to the 2015-16 playoffs, he will forever be held near and dear to the hearts of Cubs fans everywhere.