Greg Maddux

Looking back on the five pitchers to win the Cy Young award with the Cubs

Looking back on the five pitchers to win the Cy Young award with the Cubs

Although he is officially on his way to Philadelphia, Jake Arrieta will go down as one of the best Cubs pitchers ever.

Arrieta, of course, recently signed a multi-year deal with the Phillies. While he struggled at times in 2016 and 2017, he will always be remembered for his dominant 2015 season in which he won the Cy Young Award, just the fifth Cubs' pitcher to do so.

Arrieta's 2015 campaign approached Rick Sutcliffe territory in the sense that he dominated from the mid-point on. In 15 starts post-All Star break, he went 12-1 with a miniscule 0.75 ERA, an MLB record.

Sutcliffe, on the other hand, went 16-1 with a 2.69 ERA in 20 starts with the Cubs after they acquired him from the Indians in June 1984. His tremendous run with the Cubs helped him become the first pitcher to win the Cy Young after being traded during the season.

For the sake of comparison, here is how Arrieta's Cy Young season matches up with the four Cubs to win the award before him:

Jake Arrieta (2015): 33 starts, 229 innings pitched, 22-6 record, 1.77 ERA, 236 strikeouts, .185 BAA

Greg Maddux (1992): 35 starts, 268 innings pitched, 20-11 record, 2.18 ERA, 199 strikeouts, .210 BAA

Rick Sutcliffe (1984): 20 starts, 150 1/3 innings pitched, 16-1 record, 2.69 ERA, 155 strikeouts, .220 BAA. (Total: 35 starts, 244 2/3 innings pitched, 20-6 record, 3.64 ERA, 213 strikeouts, .251 BAA)

Bruce Sutter (1979): 62 games (no starts), 101 1/3 innings pitched, 37-for-47 in save opportunities, 110 strikeouts, .186 BAA

Fergie Jenkins (1971): 39 starts, 325 innings pitched, 24-13 record, 2.77 ERA, 263 strikeouts, .246 BAA

Ultimately, all five pitchers posted dominant campaigns en route to winning the award. While no Cub has won the Cy Young since Arrieta, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks finished second and third, respectively, in the 2016 voting.

With Lester, Hendricks, Yu Darvish, José Quintana and Tyler Chatwood, the Cubs' rotation in 2018 could rival the 2016 group that led the MLB with a 2.96 ERA.

If things go right, there is a good chance one of the aforementioned pitchers joins the list as the sixth Cub to win the Cy Young.  


Five of the best Cubs baseball cards ever


Five of the best Cubs baseball cards ever

I have been collecting cards as long as I can remember.

Some of my fondest childhood memories include the day the first baseball card packs of the season were available. At the time, I survived on allowance, so getting a few packs at a time was a treat; I couldn’t just go out and buy an entire box of packs like I can now.

Anyway, those brightly colored packs of mid-1980s Topps were everything to me. In fact, I stumbled upon a card shop a few years back that still sold packs of the cards from my childhood, so I bought some. I already own all the complete sets, but I bought them anyway just to have the unopened packs. Just looking at them makes me happy.

To celebrate Topps releasing its 2018 Series 1 product on Wednesday, I present six of my favorite Cubs cards:

1977 Topps No. 634 — Paul and Rick Reuschel

The powder blues! The mustaches! Those glasses! The fact that they had the names flip-flopped!

This card is a masterpiece. Paul Reuschel pitched in 198 career games. Only once did his team win in shutout fashion, against the Dodgers on Aug. 21, 1975, with Paul pitching 2.2 innings in relief. The starter? His brother Rick.

1987 Classic Update Yellow No. 124 — Andre Dawson

One of the most impressive action shots I’ve ever seen on a baseball card.

You can pin it down: July 7, 1987. Eric Show was pitching to Dawson in the third inning after Dawson homered in the first. The same image was also on the cover of the July 20, 1987, issue of Sports Illustrated.

1987 Donruss No. 36 — Greg Maddux

Maddux was drafted 31st overall by Cubs in 1984, and his No. 31 was retired by both the Cubs and the Braves. (Bonus: Tom Glavine was drafted 47th overall in that same round, and his No. 47 was retired by the Braves.)

In the days before the internet, the Donruss designation of “Rated Rookie” was how we knew who to look out for. Though for every Maddux, there was a Johnny Abrego. Either way, here’s Maddux with a sweet mustache.

1992 Upper Deck No. 780 — Turk Wendell

The man who brushed his teeth between innings. His 1994 Collector’s Choice and Pinnacle cards showed him jumping over the third-base line. The back of his 1992 Gold Leaf Rookies card pictured him eating black licorice. His 1999 Fleer Tradition card gave us a glimpse of his necklace, which featured teeth and claws of various animals. The man of many superstitions. We will never forget him.

2005 Topps Retired Signatures — Ron Santo

Even though he retired some years before I was born, Ron Santo was always my favorite Cub. Two reasons: one, we share the same birthday, and two, he had his own pizza restaurant. There is no better combination in life than baseball and pizza.

Podcast: Ranking the greatest Cubs of all-time

Podcast: Ranking the greatest Cubs of all-time

I distinctly remember the first time I went to see the Cubs play at Wrigley Field as a youngster.

My late father, Marshall, and my mother, Lila, took my brother, Bruce, and me to see the Cubs play the Atlanta Braves on a beautiful June day.

I can see the green grass and the ivy in all its glory and the Cubs going through their warmups before the game began. I was instantly captivated and hooked for life.

This was going to be my team.

Little did I know that at that moment, my life was about to be filled with a stunning amount of losing from my favorite team.

My brother was just as caught up in the emotion of that day. He picked the White Sox as his team and it began a lifelong rivalry, the memories of which he and I treasure to this day. Both of us have seen our team win a World Series when we both wondered if we would ever experience that glorious moment. Both of us have seen our share of amazing players and sensational moments.

On what would've been Ernie Banks' 87th birthday, here is my idea of The 10 Greatest Cubs of my lifetime:

10. Anthony Rizzo

9. Kris Bryant

8. Andre Dawson

7. Greg Maddux

6. Ron Santo

5. Sammy Sosa

4. Ryne Sandberg

3. Fergie Jenkins

2. Billy Williams

1. Ernie Banks

Who are the Top 5 Cubs of your lifetime? Where do guys like Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant fit in? And what will that list look 20 years from now, in 2038?

We debated on the latest CubsTalk Podcast

And here is everybody else's list of the Top 5 Cubs of their lifetime:

Kelly Crull

1. Ryne Sandberg
2. Andre Dawson
3. Greg Maddux
4. Bryzzo
5. Jake Arrieta

Tony Andracki

1. Sammy Sosa
2. Mark Grace
3. Derrek Lee 
4. Ryne Sandberg
5. Jake Arrieta

Jon Graff

1. Andre Dawson
2. Sammy Sosa
3. Greg Maddux
4. Ryne Sandberg
5. Bryzzo