Chicago Cubs: Ranking the Top 10 single-season pitching performances

Kerrry Wood / Mark Prior / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Kerrry Wood / Mark Prior / Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Dick Ellsworth – 1963

Similar to Jenkins, Dick Ellsworth finished completed a long and illustrious 13-year career, spending eight of those years with the Cubs. While Ellsworth does not have eye-popping numbers in his career (career 3.72 ERA), he did impress with Chicago and 1963 wound up as Ellsworth’s best year.

As a sign of the times, starting pitchers were made to start a ton of games. In the 1963 campaign, Ellsworth started 37 games, finishing an impressive 22-10 with a 2.11 ERA. Surprisingly, Ellsworth did not earn All-Star recognition. However, the season remains the best of his career.

Throughout the 37 starts, Ellsworth recorded a career-high in many categories. It became the only season where he recorded 20 or more wins. He also recorded a career-high in innings pitched, finishing with 290 2/3 frames on the year. He posted another career-high and finished with a 167 ERA+, higher than that of legend Sandy Koufax. Koufax, meanwhile, is the only pitcher to have finished ahead of Ellsworth in ERA.

Lastly, Ellsworth posted a very solid 2.63 FIP. It would finish as the single season in which he made a start where his FIP would finish under three. Koufax would ultimately win the National League Cy Young Award, however, as a relatively unknown pitcher, Ellsworth’s 1963 campaign on the Northside remains as one of the best underrated in team history.

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