Cubs’ Schwindel reflects on ‘craziest year’ of career originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Frank Schwindel found himself in a moment of reflection recently.
A year ago Friday, he was playing for the Las Vegas Aviators, the Triple-A affiliate of the Oakland A’s, and having a strong season.
Two weeks later, Schwindel suited up for the Cubs for the first time, in the aftermath of their trade deadline selloff that included dealing franchise cornerstone Anthony Rizzo.
“It’s been a crazy career for me, but I think this has been the craziest year,” Schwindel said this week.
Schwindel, who turned 30 in June, was an unknown name to Cubs fans when the team claimed him off waivers from Oakland a year ago this coming Monday.
He had 14 career big-league games under his belt and was joining his fourth organization after stints with Kansas City, Detroit and Oakland.
Last July alone was a rollercoaster for Schwindel. He earned his first promotion to the A’s at the end of June, played eight games before being sent back to Triple-A, and then was designated for assignment.
The Cubs claimed him off waivers, and with Rizzo still manning first base, assigned him to Triple-A Iowa.
It wasn’t long before Cubs fans began to know Schwindel’s name. After the Cubs’ selloff, he was one of the first players called up from Iowa.
“It’s just a whirlwind, rollercoaster of emotions,” Schwindel said. “I don’t think I could have ever expected this.”
He ran with his first extended big-league opportunity and took the league by storm, earning National League Rookie of the Month honors in August and September — the only full months he played last season.
“I was happy enough the Cubs took a chance on me, threw me in Triple-A for that week or whatever,” Schwindel said. “When all those moves happened, it kind of went off from there.
“Just an unbelievable feeling and pretty cool to reflect back on it.”
Schwindel reached cult hero status in Wrigleyville last season, batting .326/.371/.591 with 14 home runs and 43 RBIs in 64 games and has become a fan favorite.
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With the winding road Schwindel has experienced in his career, did he ever have any doubts he would receive the type of opportunity he got with the Cubs?
“I was always confident in my ability, but they always say right place, right time is half the battle,” Schwindel said. “Some days are easier than others to try and keep grinding through it.
“I believed in myself and made it happen last year. I’m just trying to get back to that and get back to the player I know I can be.”
Schwindel’s 2022 has also been a rollercoaster. He got off to a slow start at the plate and was briefly optioned to Iowa in April before being recalled less than 24 hours later.
He dealt with a back issue in spring training and said this week he never felt 100 percent. It resurfaced in June when he was running out a groundball, and he missed close to a month before returning from the injured list Thursday.
Now healthy, Schwindel is optimistic he can get back into a groove. He was on a good run in June before going on the IL, batting .278/.328/.407 in 15 games.
As he nears his one-year mark in a Cubs uniform, Schwindel is grateful and looking to keep things going.
“I’m very thankful that the Cubs took a chance on me,” Schwindel said. “They saw something they liked, and I had to prove them right.
“It’s been a lot of fun. Just gotta keep doing it and keep going and get hot again and go from there.”
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