ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Cody Ransom usually sticks around just long enough for the player he's replacing to get healthy.
At 37 and in his 11th major league season, Ransom is showing the Chicago Cubs he's more than just a temporary replacement. Ransom clubbed a three-run homer Wednesday afternoon against the Los Angeles Angels, enabling the Cubs to climb back from an early three-run deficit and eventually win, 8-6, in 10 innings. The victory ended a three-game losing streak and sent the Cubs to Chicago on a high note.
"He's a true professional," Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney said. "Just the way he plays the game, the way he carries himself and the way he talks to umpires. He's definitely a great guy to have on our team."
Drafted in the ninth round by the San Francisco Giants in 1998, Ransom reached the majors in 2001 and then spent the next four seasons shuttling back-and-forth between the major league club and the minors.
He spent most of the next three seasons playing for the Seattle Mariners' and Houston Astros' minor league teams, made history by making the final out at old Yankee Stadium while playing for New York in 2008, and began the 2009 season as the Yankees' starting third baseman in place of injured star Alex Rodriguez.
Four seasons and four more teams later, Ransom homered and doubled in his first game a week after being plucked off waivers by the Cubs, helping them to a 4-2 win against the Cincinnati Reds on April 23. He continues to be handed opportunities to produce, mostly against left-handed pitching, and has delivered five home runs and five doubles in 72 at-bats this season.
Before last year, he never had more than 80 at-bats in a season.
"I'm getting a chance to play," he said. "I'm comfortable with who I am as a player, finally, and I'm confident in what I can do and what I can bring to a team. I don't try and do too much, get the work in on the days you're not playing and go out and try to do one thing a day to help your team win."
Ransom grew up in Arizona, survived a van accident that claimed the lives of two of his South Mountain Community College teammates in 1996 and went on to play at Mesa State in Grand Junction, Colo., and Grand Canyon University, where he was drafted.
He watched his father, Randy, work long hours as the owner of a small electrical contracting business. That work ethic has stuck with him all these years and prevented him from giving up, even as he was let go by one team after another.
"We're playing a game. What else can I ask for?" he said. "I don't want a real job. I watched my dad and his construction company since I was a little kid, seeing him work his butt off every day."
His work ethic, skill and determination is definitely something that has been noticed by his teammates.
"We definitely lean on him for certain things, so it's definitely nice to have someone like him who's been swinging the bat really well at the same time," Barney said. "It has been delightful having him on our team."