Chicago Cubs: Ranking the top five debuts of all-time

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs, Mark Prior (Photo by Jon Soohoo/Getty Images) /

Cubs: Mark Prior dazzles his dominance in Wrigley

Second to last on the ladder of top debuts goes to a guy who had high hopes and big dreams. Mark Prior was the Cubs belle of the ball in 2001. A product of the University of Southern California, the Cubs selected Prior second overall in the 2001 MLB draft. Over the next couple of seasons, Prior would show the makings of a real ace.

Prior spent just nine games in Triple-A Iowa before his call-up in May. Stepping to the Wrigley mound on that warm summer night, Prior was tasked with shutting down the Pittsburgh Pirates. Prior shut them down alright, as the 22-year-old allowed just four hits in total, two earned runs in six strong innings, and ten strikeouts.

Nearly zero experience in the minor leagues, Prior showed what made him the number two overall draft pick the year before. After allowing a single to kick the game off, Prior sent the next three Pirates hitters down, including two seeing eye strikeouts.

Prior’s best inning came in the third following a single and three strikeouts, including future Cubs favorite, Aramis Ramirez. In three of his six innings, Prior registered two-plus strikeouts, respectively.

He threw 103 pitches that day and walked away with the victory. It was a glimmer to the pitcher Cubs fans who knew Prior could be, and although things didn’t go as planned overall, the performance that day is still discussed across the Cubs sphere.