Fun facts about Cubs' Kyle Hendricks' nickname and golf game

Fun facts about Cubs' Kyle Hendricks' nickname and golf game

We’re nearing the eight-year mark of the trade that brought right-hander Kyle Hendricks to the North Side. That trade sent Ryan Dempster to the Rangers but almost didn’t happen — the Cubs nearly shipped the veteran right-hander to Atlanta.

Suffice to say, the Cubs are happy with the deal.

Hendricks is the Cubs’ most steady starter and signed a contract extension through 2025 last March. Here are a few things to know about him.

1. Hendricks grew up in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. and attended Capistrano Valley High School. The Angels drafted him in the 39th round of the 2008 draft, but he opted to attend college.

2. Hendricks attended Dartmouth, graduating in spring 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in economics modified by math. The Rangers drafted him in the eighth round in 2011, so he finished his studies across two fall terms while pitching in Texas’ and the Cubs’ farm systems.

3. Hendricks’ nickname is “The Professor,” a nod to his Ivy League education and his pitching style. It’s also one of former Cub Greg Maddux’s nicknames, and both he and Hendricks are soft-tossing, command pitchers.

4. He doesn’t play that much but Hendricks is a scratch golfer. His dad, John, qualified for the PGA Championship in 1991 and previously served as a teaching professional.

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Cubs’ Opening Day starter competition down to Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks

Cubs’ Opening Day starter competition down to Yu Darvish and Kyle Hendricks

David Ross hasn’t made an official decision, but he’s whittled down the competition for the Cubs' Opening Day starter.

Ross told reporters in Arizona on Wednesday Yu Darvish or Kyle Hendricks will take the ball against the Brewers on March 26.

Darvish sported a 2.76 ERA in 13 starts post-All-Star break last season, striking out 118 batters compared to seven walks. Hendricks has been the Cubs’ most consistent starter the last four seasons sporting a 3.01 ERA in 118 games (all but one as a starter).

Jon Lester has started four of the last five Opening Days (2015, 2017-19) but is coming off a down 2019 in which he posted a career-worst 4.46 ERA.

Cubs' Yu Darvish has a weird party trick and it involves your blood type

Cubs' Yu Darvish has a weird party trick and it involves your blood type

Cubs’ pitcher Yu Darvish is even more talented than we realize. When he’s not throwing nine different types of pitches down at Wrigley, he can guess your blood type.

Yes, you read that correctly.

As Darvish has gotten more comfortable around the Cubs’ clubhouse, he’s revealed his hidden talent for guessing people’s blood types after having a conversation with them. Turns out, certain personality traits can be tells for different blood types. Who knew? Yu. 

"So, there is Type A. That person is organized. Type B isn't exactly selfish, but he goes his own way. Type O is laid back, a 'whatever happens' type of guy. AB is weird or different," Darvish explained to ESPN.

The only problem with this special talent is that most people don’t know their blood type off the top of their head. In Japan, where Darvish is from, it is more commonplace to have your blood type memorized. However, most of his teammates end up calling their families to confirm whether Darvish’s guess was correct.

"I almost gave my mother a heart attack," first baseman Anthony Rizzo said, whose own mother didn't even know his blood type. 

Apparently, Darvish has been doing this around the MLB for quite some time. 

"It all started during his free-agent year [2018], when we were meeting with teams," Darvish’s agent Joel Wolfe described to ESPN. "We were at one of his favorite spots in Dallas for dinner, after meeting with all these general managers and assistant general managers. All these new people for him. And he mentions something about one of them being Type A blood type. That struck me as odd. He says unusual things, sometimes, so I pressed him. And he said he could guess most people's blood type if he knows them. So, he guessed mine. I had to call my mom, but he got it right.”

“It's really about how they carry a conversation,” Darvish said, citing Kyle Hendricks as example of someone he had an easy time guessing. “I know Kyle because we have many conversations.”

It is fun to learn more about Darvish as he continues to open up and grow within the Cubs Clubhouse. In honor of Yu, we should all call our parents or doctors and ask them our blood type just in case we ever get the chance to talk to him. 

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