#Cubs notes: Spring, HOF & convention

*Cubs’ Spring Training tickets go on sale Saturday, but you can get a head start on Friday via the Mastercard pre sale. Go to Cubs.com for more info.

*Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza were elected to the Hall of Fame on Wednesday, and the two took very different paths to get there. Griffey was the first player taken overall in the 1987 First-Year Player Draft. Who did the Cubs take that year? They had the fourth pick overall, and selected right-handed pitcher Mike Harkey, who zoomed through the Minor Leagues. He made 12 starts at Class A peoria in ’87, compiling a 3.55 ERA. In 1988, he went 9-2 with a 1.37 ERA at Double-A Pittsfield, then 7-2 with a 3.55 ERA at Triple-A Iowa. Called up in September 1988, Harkey pitched in five games and was 0-3 but posted a 2.60 ERA.

The right-hander was projected to make the Cubs’ 1989 rotation. But he had tendinitis in his shoulder in Spring Training, and kept trying to work through it. But he didn’t have the same velocity, and opened the year in the Minors. Harkey then tore cartilage in his right knee in June, and missed the rest of the season. He was called up to the Cubs in 1990, and went 12-6 with a 3.26 ERA in 27 starts. He spent five seasons with the Cubs (26-21, 3.92 ERA, 71 starts), and now, is the bullpen coach for the Yankees.

Mike Piazza was selected by the Dodgers in the 62nd round of the 1988 Draft. In ’88, the Cubs tabbed infielder Ty Griffin with the ninth overall pick. Griffin spent five seasons in the Minor Leagues, played another four years in Independent Leagues, and never made it to the big leagues. Another note from 1988: Robin Ventura was selected by the White Sox 10th overall, immediately after Griffin. Andy Benes was the first player taken overall by the Padres.

*On Friday, the Cubs are expected to announce the attendees for the Cubs Convention, which will be held Jan. 15-17. The event is sold out. We’ll post the list as soon as it is released.

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