Rick Sutcliffe played nearly 8 full seasons with the Chicago Cubs franchise, and during that time he made his presence felt a great deal, helping a struggling team reach the postseason on several occasions and winning some high honors for himself. He was always well received by Cubs fans and still is looked back upon fondly by many, particularly fans looking for a dependable, workhorse and winning pitcher like Sutcliffe was during his time with the team.
Sutcliffe came into the Major Leagues full time in the 1979
season. He was then with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and that year he
went 17-10 and logged over 240 innings.
He won the Rookie of the Year award and had a 3.46 ERA on the season. He then spent two more years with the Dodgers before moving to the American League and the Cleveland Indians.
He spent the 1982 and 1983 seasons with the team, and began 1984 there before being traded to the Chicago Cubs.
His 1984 season would go on to be a magical one with the team.
After his arrival with the Cubs, Rick Sutcliffe went on to go 16-1
with the team, an astonishing mark, and had a 2.69 ERA. All told he
was 20-6 on the year with a career best 213 strikeouts and he won the
Cy Young Award.
He also finished fourth in the league in the MVP race, and he led the Cubs to the postseason for the first time in 40 years. The San Diego Padres ended up defeating the Chicago Cubs in the playoffs, and Sutcliffe won the first game in the series and lost the last.
After subpar 1985 and 1986 seasons which were also partially
marred by injuries and other setbacks, Sutcliffe rebounded in 1987
with an 18-10 record. He finished second in the Cy Young balloting
for the year. Then, in 1989 he went 16-11 and led the Chicago Cubs
back to the postseason, their second appearance in five years after
40 years without a single shot.
He was sidelined for most of 1990 and 1991 once again, and then left the team following the season, signing with the Baltimore Orioles as a free agent. He played two years with the Orioles and one final season with the St. Louis Cardinals before retiring. Rick Sutcliffe now serves as a baseball analyst with ESPN.
Clearly his career never soared to the heights he potentially
could have, as he missed a huge chunk of his prime years with
injuries. However, he won the Cy Young, the Rookie of the Year, and
was a three time All-Star. With the Cubs, he won 82 games and lost
65, and for his career he had a 171-139 record.
Two of his three All-Star trips and his lone Cy Young came with the Chicago Cubs, and he twice helped the team to a postseason berth. For all of those reasons, even though some potential was left on the table with injuries, Rick Sutcliffe is still a Chicago Cubs fan favorite, and one of the real highlights of the 1980s for the team.
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