Chicago Cubs Greatest All-Time Pitchers: No. 2 – Rick Reuschel
Rick Reuschel isn’t the sexiest name on this list. It’s not even close. But if you’re looking at WAR (which I value pretty heavily), this guy somehow finds himself amidst legends and Hall of Famers. You know what? Good on him.
Originally a third-round pick of the Cubs, the big right-hander wasted no time in getting to the Friendly Confines. In just his second season in the Show, Reuschel tossed 237 innings of 2.82 FIP ball – and his reputation as a workhorse was born.
That marked a stretch of eight years in which ‘Big Daddy’ never threw fewer 234 innings in a season. His win-loss record didn’t turn heads, but he was that guy who took the ball every five days, no matter what was coming his way or who he was facing. In 1977, his only All-Star campaign with Chicago, Reuschel emerged as a legitimate Cy Young candidate in the National League.
That year, he won 20 games (making him the third-most recent Cubs 20-game winner for all you folks keeping track at home, behind Jake Arrieta in 2015 and Greg Maddux in 1992). He allowed a league-low 0.5 homers per nine, racked up 252 innings and really anchored the staff of a pretty so-so ballclub.
1977 certainly marked the best season of his career – but he was hardly a slouch from there, either. He won 18 games in 1979 and led the league with 38 starts between Chicago and the Yankees the next year. He faded out over the next few years before finishing his career with Pittsburgh and San Francisco.
Still, this guy was the epitome of a workhorse – and anyone who was around back then to watch him work can attest to what he brought to the Cubs in the 1970s.