Chicago Cubs: The Heroes of Wrigley Series presents Rick Reuschel

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images)
(Photo by Andrew Weber/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Resurgent Reuschel proves he’s still got it late in his career

It was with the Bronx Bombers where Reuschel finally got a taste of the postseason and a chance to pitch in the World Series.  He pitched two games against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the ’81 Fall Classic (one in relief) but was ineffective, only able to get through 3 2/3 innings.  New York fell in six games and many thought Reuschel’s career was over.

After his lackluster World Series showing, Reuschel remained unsigned throughout the entirety of the 1982 season.

Ahead of 1983, the 34-year-old decided to give it another shot after nearly a year-and-a-half hiatus away from baseball.  He found a familiar home, returning to Chicago as a member of the Cubs, who were need of veteran leadership to a young, talented squad.

From 1983-84, Reuschel appeared in 23 games (18 starts) going 6-6 with an ERA over 4.00.

As the Cubs surged in ’84, the National League Eastern Division champions were slated to take on the San Diego Padres in the Championship Series for the NL pennant. However, Reuschel was left off the postseason roster and the Cubs infamously fell to the Padres in five games.

After departing from Chicago a second time, Reuschel was determined to continue pitching in the big leagues.

The 1985 season proved to be a resurgent one for the once cast-aside aging pitcher.  Signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the offseason, the 36-year-old went 14-8 with a 2.27 ERA and earned the Comeback Player of the Year Award.

While the lowly Pirates finished in last play in the National League East during his two full seasons in Pittsburgh, Reuschel won 30 games with a 3.04 ERA. With his career renaissance in full swing, Reuschel became a hot commodity for contending teams.  In late 1987, the San Francisco Giants traded for Reuschel and he immediately became the ace of the eventual Western Division champions.

In 1988, he started a league-leading 36 games on his way to a 19-11 record with a 3.12 ERA over 245 innings.

In 1989, he became an All-Star for the second time in his career at age 40.  He finished the season with a 17-8 record and a 2.94 ERA, helping lead the Giants to a National League Championship Series victory over his former team, the Chicago Cubs.

Unfortunately, Reuschel and the Giants fell short of a ring as they were swept in the World Series against the Oakland Athletics. He pitched for two more years, both with San Francisco, before retiring following the 1991 season at the age of 42.