#5: Beware the Red Baron
When it came to the 1984 season, the Chicago Cubs where not expected to do much. Finishing no higher than third in the NL East since 1973, and winning just 71 games in 1983, no one thought much about the team. The team did not listen. Before the season, the team acquired Gary Matthews, as mentioned before. Still, the team was not complete.
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Going into June 13, 1984, the Cubs stood with a record of 34-25. On that day, the team made a trade that would change everything. The Cleveland Indians possessed a pitcher by the name of Rick Sutcliffe, who was showing how good he could be, even if the start of the season was not great. The Cubs sent a young Joe Carter to the Indians for Sutcliffe.
The change of scenery was just want Sutcliffe needed. In 20 starts with the Cubs, he finished the season with a record of 16-1, propelling the team to 96 wins. He also won the Cy Young Award that season. Combined with Dennis Eckersley and Lee Smith, the man nicknamed “The Red Baron” completed a pitching staff that took the Cubs to the playoffs for the first time in 39 years.
Of course, one must wonder what the Cubs would have done in later years with Joe Carter.