Chicago Cubs: 5 best all-time pitchers in franchise history

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Chicago Cubs / Bill Hutchison
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Chicago Cubs Greatest All-Time Pitchers: No. 3 – Bill Hutchison

Scouting Report. Pitcher. . 9. Pick Analysis. BillHutchison. 3. player

When you’re digging into performances from guys before the Modern Era (generally considered to begin in 1900), it’s a whole different type of experience. Examining the work of Bill Hutchison is a prime example of what I’m talking about.

So how in the world does a guy who only pitched for Chicago for seven years clock in as the third-best pitcher in Cubs history? Well, let’s get right into it. Hutchison pitched for the team from 1889 to 1895 and averaged 432 innings annually. But if you want to look at his prime, you’ve really got to hone in on a three-year stretch from 1890 to 1892.

During that span, Wild Bill did the work of three or four modern-day starting pitchers, racking up 1,786 innings of work (an average of 595 per season) with a 2.76 ERA and 124 ERA+. He started 194 games during that time – and he finished 188 of them. That’s right, he threw a complete game in 96.9 percent of those starts.

Now for any of you who’ve read my work, you know I don’t put a lot of stock in evaluating pitchers using wins and losses. But Hutchison won 41, 44 and 36 games, respectively, in those three years, leading the league in not only victories, but games, starts, complete games, innings and batters faced, as well.

By 1893, that workload clearly started to take a toll (along with the mound being moved to 60 feet, six inches from its previous 55 feet, six inches) – and by 1895, his Chicago career was at its end. He came back in 1897 with St. Louis, but made just five starts before hanging up his spikes for good.