Results tagged ‘ Rick Sutcliffe ’

7/25 Maddux memories

Rick Sutcliffe remembers when Greg Maddux first joined the Cubs in 1986 and watching the skinny right-hander pitch. There was one game in Maddux’s first year when someone hit a ball that should’ve resulted in a triple but the hitter stopped at second. That seemed puzzling to Sutcliffe. Maddux had been struggling, and Sutcliffe had experienced something similar his second year with the Dodgers. Apparently, Maddux was tipping his pitches, and the runner at second could send a message to his teammates.

Sutcliffe, Maddux and pitching coach Dick Pole figured out what was happening, and obviously, the young pitcher developed a plan.

“When the next season started, Greg would show the runner at second his change-up, and then he’d change it to a fastball,” Sutcliffe said Friday. “You’d see people in the opposing dugout, saying, ‘What’s going on?’ It turned everything around for him.”

Maddux went on to win 355 games, strike out 3,371 batters, win four Cy Young awards, and on Sunday, he’ll be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame induction ceremony will air on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. CT live on MLB Network and simulcast on and the At-Bat app.

The Cubs have a contingent in Cooperstown to help celebrate Maddux’s induction, including chairman Tom Ricketts.

Maddux wasn’t just a good pitcher, he was a great teammate. Sutcliffe recalled the July 1987 game when Padres pitcher Eric Show hit Andre Dawson in the head with a pitch as pay back. Maddux was pitching that game, and had every intention of hitting the first batter he faced the next inning. But Maddux knew before the game that he was headed to the Minors if he didn’t win that day.

“He says, ‘I don’t care if I ever get another win, I’m hitting the first guy,'” Sutcliffe said. “He hit Benito Santiago at 95 miles an hour. I don’t know if he ever threw a pitch any harder than that. he gained the respect of everyone he played with by doing that.”

Maddux lockered next to Sutcliffe, who said it eventually got to the point where the young pitcher was teaching Sutcliffe things about the game.

There is one thing, though, that always irked Sutcliffe.

“It used to make [Ryne] Sandberg and I so mad — we’d go out to the parking lot and people would go crazy [for autographs],” Sutcliffe said. “Greg would put on that Mickey Mouse hat of his and walk right through the fans to his apartment. They’d say, ‘It’s the bat boy — I’m not going to bother the bat boy.’ Shoot, you’re talking about a Cy Young winner there.”

— Carrie Muskat

8/10 A review of 8/8/88

I know this is a few days after the 25th anniversary date, but finally found the play by play (put together by SABR and Cubs historian Ed Hartig) from the first night game at Wrigley Field on 8/8/88 vs. the Phillies that was postponed by rain. Just posting to give you something to read before Cubs face Cardinals on Saturday night:

Top 1st:
Phil Bradley, HR to LF
Milt Thompson, groundout, 5-3
Juan Samuel, flyout, 8
Mike Schmidt, foul popup, 3

Bottom 1st:
Mitch Webster, single to CF
Ryne Sandberg, HR to LF
Mark Grace, lineout, 3
Andre Dawson, struck out swinging
Rafael Palmeiro, flyout, 8

Top 2nd:
Lance Parrish, groundout, 3 unassisted
Chris James, foul popup, 3
Ricky Jordan, single
Steve Jeltz, single, Jordan to third
Kevin Gross, popup, 6

Bottom 2nd:
Vance Law, foul popup, 3
Damon Berryhill, double to LF
Shawon Dunston, flyout, 8
Rick Sutcliffe, walk. During this AB, Berryhill advances on wild pitch
Webster, groundout, 3

Top 3rd:
Bradley, groundout, 5-3
Thompson, groundout, 5-3
Samuel, double to RF
Schmidt, groundout, 6-3

Bottom 3rd:
Sandberg, walk
Grace, sacrifice, 3 unassisted, Sandberg to second
Dawson, groundout, 5-3, Sandberg to third
Palmeiro, single to RF, Sandberg scored
Palmeiro caught stealing, 2-4

Top 4th:
Parrish called out on strikes
James, groundout, 1-4-3
Jordan, triple to RF
Jeltz, struck out swinging

Rain stopped play, and game called at 10:25 p.m. CT

— Carrie Muskat

7/18 Top in-season trades

OK, readers, I know how much you like to debate all things Cubs. Here are my top six in-season trades (remember, it’s in-season, not off season). Agree? Disagree? I know you’ll comment:

1. June 13, 1984: Cubs receive RHP Rick Sutcliffe, RHP George Frazier and C Ron Hassey from the Indians for OFs Joe Carter and Mel Hall and Minor League RHPs Darryl Banks and Don Schulze.

The Cubs had a 1 1/2 game lead and the rotation was dealing with injuries when they made the deal for Sutcliffe, who was 4-5 with a 5.15 ERA at that point with the Indians. The right-hander finished the year 16-1 with a 2.69 ERA, won the Cy Young award, and helped the Cubs get to the playoffs for the first time since 1945.

Some say the Cubs gave away more than they got — dealing future World Series hero Joe Carter for Sutcliffe, who battled injuries. Sutcliffe also won 18 games in 1987, 13 in ’88, and 16 in ’89 with the Cubs. Hassey played 14 seasons in the big leageus, while Banks and Schulze never made it.

2. April 21, 1966: Cubs receive RHP Ferguson Jenkins, OF Adolfo Phillips and OF/1B John Herrnstein from the Phillies for RHP Larry Jackson and RHP Bob Buhl.

The deal was made nine days after the season began. The Cubs were desperate for pitching help, and picked up Jenkins, who was 22 years old at the time. The right-hander posted six straight 20-win seasons, and compiled a 167-132 record and 3.20 ERA in 10 seasons with the Cubs. He finished with 997 walks in 664 games.

Phillips delivered three productive seasons before he was dealt to the Expos. Buhl and Jackson combined for 47-53 mark with the Phillies, then retired. Jenkins, who also pitched for the Rangers and Red Sox, finished with 284 wins, and secured a spot in Cooperstown in 1991.

3. July 23, 2003: Cubs receive 3B Aramis Ramirez, OF Kenny Lofton and cash from Pirates for IF Jose Hernandez, Minor Leaguer RHP Matt Bruback and player to be named later. 2B Bobby Hill was sent to the Pirates to complete deal.

The Cubs were counting on young Corey Patterson to lead off and cover center, and he batted .298 in 83 games but suffered a knee injury on July 6. Lofton filled the leadoff spot, batting .327 in 56 games, while Ramirez was Mr. Clutch, hitting 15 home runs and driving in 39 runs in 63 games. The two, plus the late addition that year of first baseman Randall Simon, acquired Aug. 17, gave the Cubs the offensive spark they needed to reach the playoffs.

A solid defensive player, Ramirez stayed with Chicago for nine seasons, totaling 239 home runs and 806 RBIs. Hernandez was versatile and popular, but he was batting .188 at the time with the Cubs. He lasted 15 seasons in the big leagues, playing for nine different teams.

4. June 15, 1949: Cubs receive OF Hank Sauer and OF Frankie Baumholtz from the Reds for OF Harry Walker and OF/3B Peanuts Lowrey.

Walker was the 1947 batting champion, and ended up playing 165 games for the Reds before retiring. Sauer was 32 at the time of the trade, and had his best years ahead of him. he batted .367 in his first 39 games with the Cubs with 15 home runs and 45 RBIs. He belted 171 homers with the Cubs, drove in 100 runs three times, and won the MVP award in 1952. Baumholtz, a throw-in in the deal, developed into a solid center fielder and batted over .300 for five seasons with the Cubs.

5. Aug. 13, 1913: Cubs receive LHP Hippo Vaughn from Kansas City Minor League team for RHP Lew Richie

The Yankees weren’t high on Vaughn after a 2-8 season in 1912, and the Senators claimed him on waivers. The Cubs found Vaughn in the Minors, and he became the best left-handed starter in team history, totaling 151 wins, 35 shutouts and five 20-win seasons. Vaughn still holds team marks for most wins by a lefty, most starts (270), most complete games (177), most shutouts, most innings pitched (2,216 1/3), most strikeouts (1,138).

6. May 25, 1984: Cubs receive RHP Dennis Eckersley and IF Mike Brumley from the Red Sox for 1B Bill Buckner.

Buckner was batting .209, and the Cubs had Leon Durham to take over at first. Eckersley was a starter at this point in his Hall of Fame career, and 4-4 with a 5.01 ERA in nine starts with the Red Sox when he joined the Cubs. He finished the season 10-8 with a 3.03 ERA, including two complete games, in 24 starts to help the team reach the postseason for the first time since 1945.

The Cubs parted ways with Eckersley on April 3, 1987, sending him to the Athletics for three Minor League players, David Wilder, Brian Guinn and Mark Leonette. Eckersley was 32, but he resurrected his career in Oakland, and finished with 390 saves over 12 seasons. Eckersley ended up in the Hall of Fame. Wilder, Guinn and Leonette never played for the Cubs.

— Carrie Muskat

11/6 Cubs search for color man

According to Comcast SportsNet Chicago, the Cubs will begin interviews this week with five contenders for the TV analyst job as they search for a replacement for Bob Brenly. The list includes Dan Plesac, Rick Sutcliffe, Eric Karros, Todd Hollandsworth and Gary Matthews. Plesac was a pre and post-game analyst for Comcast SportsNet before joining MLB Network. He also played for the Cubs in 1993 and ’94. Sutcliffe, another former Cubs pitcher, is under contract for one more year with ESPN.

Karros, played for the Cubs in 2003, was approached for the WGN Radio color job after Ron Santo died in December 2010. Hollandsworth is the current pre and post-game analyst on Comcast SportsNet Chicago. He has filled in for Brenly before. Matthews is currently a color commentator for the Phillies broadcasts. “Sarge” played for the Cubs from 1984-87 and was a member of Dusty Baker’s coaching staff from 2003-06. Brenly left to join the Diamondbacks TV broadcast team.

— Carrie Muskat

2/29 Lopez, the Cubs’ baby-faced assasin

Rodrigo Lopez is happy to be reunited with Rick Sutcliffe. The two were together with the Padres when Lopez was pitching in rookie ball and Sutcliffe was the pitching coach.

“He’s been like a son to me,” Sutcliffe said Wednesday. “I call him a baby-faced assasin. I heard it said a long time ago, Walter Alston said, ‘I can win with that guy,’ and ‘Lopey’ is that guy. Whatever you need — he’ll start, he’ll relieve, he’ll close. He’s not afraid of anything.”

Sutcliffe did make some minor changes with Lopez’s grip.

“I put him back where he was when I saw him there [with the Padres],” Sutcliffe said.

Lopez is 36 but looks young. He looked even younger in rookie ball.

“I said, ‘People look at you and they’re not sure if you’re tough or not,'” Sutcliffe said, “so I told him I wanted him to hit somebody, and he hit three people in a row. He got two outs and he hit three of them, and I said, ‘Whoa, I got it.'”

— Carrie Muskat

12/16 Kerry Wood fundraiser Jan. 13

Kerry Wood will kick off the Cubs Convention with “Woody’s Winter Warm-Up,” a celebrity mixer, on Jan. 13 from 8:30-11:30 p.m. CT at Harry Caray’s Tavern on Navy Pier.  Wood will be joined by friends, teammates and baseball legends behind the bar to serve drinks and food to fans — and compete for tips — to raise money for the Wood Family Foundation.  Players who will take part include Marlon Byrd, Matt Garza, Sean Marshall, Andrew Cashner, Geovany Soto, Starlin Castro, Ryan Dempster, Randy Wells, Welington Castillo, Darwin Barney, James Russell and legends Ernie Banks & Rick Sutcliffe. The event will include “meet and greet” opportunities with Cubs players, a premium open bar, a dinner buffet, auction and raffle. All  proceeds benefit the foundation. Plus, there will also be a special acoustic performance by the Plain White T’s.

Tickets are $150 per person, or fans can reserve a booth for four people for $1,000, which includes tableside cocktail service.   Parking is available for $10 after 5 p.m. CT at the Navy Pier Garage.  For additional information or ticket sales, visit

— Carrie Muskat

3/11 How many home openers have you gone to?

Where were you on April 4, 1994? That’s the day Tuffy Rhodes led off the first inning of the Cubs home opener with a homer, connecting off Dwight Gooden, then hit another in the third, also off Gooden, and another blast leading off the fifth, again off Doc. That wasn’t enough, as the Mets topped the Cubs, 12-8, in the season opener.

How about April 4, 1989? In that home opener, Andre Dawson backed Rick Sutcliffe with a two-run homer in the fourth to lead the Cubs to a 5-4 victory over the Phillies.

Or, do you recall the April 9, 1982, game when Fergie Jenkins and Lee Smith combined on a six-hit shutout in a 5-0 victory over the Mets?

We’re looking for fans who have dutifully attended Cubs home openers several years in a row, and are willing to share some stories about how special Opening Day at Wrigley Field is. Send a note to, and include your name and email address and some details.

— Carrie Muskat

1/12 Cubs radio update

The Cubs and WGN Radio will not announce Ron Santo’s replacement as color analyst at the weekend Cubs Convention. Interviews are currently being conducted and an announcement was expected sometime before Spring Training games begin.

Santo died Dec. 3 at the age of 70. The Cubs will celebrate him during the Convention in a seminar called “Remembering Ronnie,” to be held Saturday at the Hilton Chicago. Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins plus Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundley, Milt Pappas and Jose Cardenal will share some of stories about their teammate.

Who will take over for Santo? It most likely will not be Mark Grace or Rick Sutcliffe, two fan favorites. Grace is currently an analyst for the Diamondbacks and does work for FOX TV, while Sutcliffe signed a new contract with ESPN. The Cubs and WGN Radio are looking for a former Cubs player to do the job, but they want someone who can commit to the full 162-game schedule.

— Carrie Muskat 

8/8 Lineup vs Reds

Blake DeWitt and Tyler Colvin were given the day off Sunday in the Cubs’ series finale against the Reds. Also, Geovany Soto is getting one more day off to nurse a mild ligament sprain in his right shoulder. And, Rick Sutcliffe will handle the seventh inning stretch duties. Here’s the lineup:

SS Castro
2B Baker
1B Lee
3B Ramirez
CF Byrd
LF Soriano
RF Nady
C Hill
P Diamond

— Carrie Muskat

3/5 No Vegas for Lou

Lou Piniella says he’ll skip the Cubs trip to Las Vegas March 12-13 against the White Sox. Piniella’s wife Anita is in town and was leaving March 14. The Cubs have split squad games both days, so Piniella will watch the half that stays back in Arizona.

Former Cubs pitcher Rick Sutcliffe, who has been a guest coach as well as providing some comic relief, was asked if he would make the road trip.

“I said, ‘Do you want to go to Vegas?’ He said, ‘I haven’t tried on a gray uniform in a few years,'” Piniella said of Sutcliffe, who never made a road trip in Spring Training when he pitched for the Cubs.

It’s one thing to ride the bus two hours from Mesa to Tucson and another to go to Vegas for 24 hours.

“We haven’t talked about Vegas,” Sutcliffe said. “I would go to Vegas to hang with you and Ozzie [Guillen].”

Instead, bench coach Alan Trammell will be the Cubs’ acting manager. On Saturday, Piniella and Guillen will meet for the first of five games between the intracity rivals.

“Maybe he can show me how to Twitter a little bit,” Piniella said.

— Carrie Muskat