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A Belated Cubs Birthday Celebration: Willson Contreras's Best Moments

Celebrating Willson Contreras's birthday by checking out some of his top moments in a Cubs uniform.
Willson Contreras Chicago Cubs All-Star Voting

Photo: Cubs/Twitter

Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras has been one of the top catchers in the league so far this season. With a slash line of .295/.407/.505 that also includes four home runs and 10 RBIs, it’s clear that he’s made an easy case to start this year’s All-Star Game for the National League.

Whether he’s hitting a clutch home run or picking off a runner from first with his cannon-like arm, Contreras has always played the game with passion and intensity that is almost incomparable to everyone else in the league. The Cubs backstop celebrated his 30th birthday on Friday, so what better way to celebrate than by reminiscing on some of his top moments in a Cubs uniform?

6/19/16: A Memorable First Pitch

Two days prior to this night, the Cubs called up the young Venezuelan native at the beginning of a home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Although he made his debut that night behind the plate, Contreras never got an at-bat. That changed on this night, and let’s just say it didn’t take long at all for him to make his presence known. Without hesitation and without taking a pitch, the right-handed slugger knew exactly what to do with the 81 MPH meatball from Pirates pitcher A.J. Schugel: send it over 400 feet to dead center.

11/7/16: Willson’s Clutch Hit and a World Series Ring

After eliminating the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers from the 2016 playoffs, a World Series showdown with the Cleveland Indians was up next. Cubs fans know the story: the Indians won Game 1, the Cubs won Game 2, Cleveland dominated for the next 2, and then Chicago made a historic comeback that concluded with arguably the best Game 7 in World Series history and the Cubs’ first championship in 108 years.

Appearing in every game of the playoffs that year, Contreras hit .256 with a home run and five RBIs, including this clutch RBI double in Game 7 of the World Series that eventually led to the rookie winning a World Series ring.

A Cannon for an Arm

If someone asked, “Hey did you see Willson Contreras’s ridiculous throw to pick off a runner?” Cubs fans would have to respond with, “Which time?” Contreras has been an anchor for the Cubs' defense since he came into the league in 2016. Whether it’s a pinpoint throw to the shortstop to pick off a runner trying to steal second, or back picking a runner on first that was caught sleeping, Contreras’ defensive instincts are out of this world.

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It’s tough to pick one single favorite pickoff from Contreras, so here’s a video that highlights several of his defensive web gems. With that being said, the one from 2016 where the rookie throws out Stephen Piscotty of the St. Louis Cardinals by almost half a mile is awesome. Just saying.

5/11/18: Contreras’ Monumental Bobblehead Day

Contreras established himself as the Cubs' everyday starting catcher in 2018, so it was only fitting for the star to have his own bobblehead. Facing the White Sox at home in a crosstown matchup, the righty showed out by dominating Sox pitching to the tune of a four-hit day with two home runs, one of which was a grand slam, two doubles, and seven RBIs. Contreras's monster day led the Cubs to an 11-2 win.

7/17/18: Willy Makes the All-Star Team

Contreras posted a strong first half of the 2018 season that included a .279 batting average with seven home runs, 19 doubles, five triples, 34 walks, and an .818 OPS. Those numbers easily got him elected to start for the National League in the Midsummer Classic in Washington D.C. that year, and Contreras expressed his excitement in the bottom of the third inning by smacking a leadoff home run.

5-11-19: Willson Walks It Off

In a 2018 season that ended with the Cubs falling to the Milwaukee Brewers in the division, there was still tension among the fan bases when the Brewers made their first visit to Wrigley Field in 2019. After a rainy back-and-forth game that saw both teams muster up only one run for their pitchers, extra innings were in the cards. In the bottom of the 15th inning, Contreras decided to end things by crushing his first career walk-off home run, which topped the Brewers 2-1.

It’s pretty head-scratching to Chicago Cubs fans as to why ownership hasn’t decided to extend Contreras yet, but I’ll save that for another time. For now, let’s just enjoy the good times the backstop has brought to the franchise and hope one day we can all say: It's a great day because the Cubs have extended Willson Contreras.