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We Already Miss You, Junior Lake

Junior Lake burst on the scene in 2013 like no other Cub this side of Tuffy Rhodes and Emilio Bonifacio. While his red-hot start cooled to an eventual .284 with a .332 OBP over 64 games in that rookie campaign, he proved Theo Epstein prescient in his warning to then-manager Dave Sveum that Lake would do some things that would amaze - for both better and worse. Now he's in the Baltimore organization, having been traded for reliever Tommy Hunter. We here at the Beachwood loved Junior Lake; he provided multiple moments of happiness and made our lives better because of it. Let's take a look.

1. Rookie Year Highlights.


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2. From the Cub Factor vault, June 16, 2013:

Wishing Upon A Starlin: Starlin Castro lost another two points on his batting average this week and six points on his OBP, which puts his slash line at .241/.277/.337. His career average is now .290 with a .329 OBP. On Sunday he committed his 10th error of the season.

Junior Lake's slash line in Iowa: .383/.434/.489.

It's time.

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3. Junior Lake Not Sure If He Hit A Home Run.

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4. Junior Lake Makes Bang-Up Debut.

On a day Matt Garza owned the Cubs' headlines and Jeff Samardzija owned the Colorado Rockies, the major-league debut of Junior Lake might have been the most important on-the-field event for the Cubs so far this season.

"Since I've been here, that's our first kid that's come up and really looked like a major-leaguer," second-year manager Dale Sveum said, "and was aggressive, aggressive on the bases. He did a great job."

In the most impressive debut for a Cubs rookie since Starlin Castro more than three years ago, Lake doubled inside the bag at third on the first pitch he saw, stole third on the next pitch and added two singles in a 3-for-4 night that included his regular-season professional debut in center field as the Cubs defeated the Rockies 3-1 on Friday.

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5. Junior Lake Slides Into Outfield Door.

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6. From the Cub Factor vault, July 22, 2013:

The Legend of Dioner Navarro: On Sunday, Navarro struck out in a pinch-hit appearance, leaving a runner on and disappointing his legion of followers. On Monday, he not only hit a home run but got plunked in his next at-bat. Dioner!

More importantly, last week we said Dioner was the only fun guy on this team. Now we can add Junior Lake to what is now a list.

Lake and Navarro - sounds like a prog rock folk art band that will sometimes tour with Neil Young as Lake, Navarro and Young. In another guise, they will play as Crosby, Stills, Lake and Navarro.

Mad Merch: Have you gotten your The Junior Lake Effect t-shirt yet? Sounds like an jam-oriented pyschedelic rock outfit with acid guitars and gospel-prog blues keyboards. And yes, they do Hendrix covers.

Deserted Cubs: Sadly, Tony Campana is still in Reno (.289/.352) so he can't steal home against the Cubs this week.

We miss Tony, too.

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7. Junior Lake Breaks Bat Over His Knee.

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8. From the Cub Factor vault, July 28, 2013:

Week in Review: The Cubs split a four-game series in Arizona and then swept the Giants in San Francisco. Can anyone truly say it's not The Junior Lake Effect?

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9. Junior Lake Wears Wrong Uniform.

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10. From the Cub Factor vault, May 10, 2014:

The Junior Lake Show: Homered, doubled twice and drove in six runs against the Cardinals. Also committed a bone-headed error. Yes! That's why we love him here; he keeps both teams in the game.

He's on pace to hit 17 HRs and drive in 50 - a pace dictated by his limited playing time. Free Junior Lake!

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11. Junior Lake Shushes Marlins Dugout.

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12. From the Cub Factor vault, May 19, 2014:

The Junior Lake Show: All Junior did was get on base in all six games last week, including a 3-for-6 performance with one HR and six RBI against the Cardinals and a pinch-hit walk against the Brewers. All told: 8-for-21 with 2 HRs and eight RBI.

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13. And then it went something like this . . .

Jul 7, 2014 ... The Junior Lake Show: Who?

Jul 14, 2014 ... Junior Lake: Seeking advice from Senior Lake.

Jul 20, 2014 ... The Junior Lake Show: Soon appearing in Des Moines.

Jul 28, 2014 ... The Junior Lake Show: Drowned in a sea of Cub.

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14. Awesome Junior Lake Bat Flip.

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15. Junior Lake hitting .333 in three games with a .500 OBP for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk. He has three walks and a stolen base.

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Comments welcome.

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