One of the few consistent bright spots for the Cubs so far this season has been the bullpen. That success includes the pitching of Andrew Chafin. He has appeared in 15 games thus far and except for two anomalies Chafin has dominated opponents.
He is also a character. Currently he is often seen pregame wearing an Obvious Shirts tee with “Failed Starter” emblazoned on it.
Sometimes watching him work, it’s like you’ve traveled back in time. More than one announcer has mentioned the uncanny resemblance of Chafin to former closer Rod Beck. They are about the same height, Chafin is a little heavier and a southpaw, while Beck was right handed. And visually, between the hair, facial features and trademark mustache – the resemblance is striking.
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Rod Beck had a short but impactful tenure with the Cubs
Beck came to the North Side as a free agent from the Giants in January of 1998. He had been a successful closer for San Francisco and he expanded on that success with the Cubs even though he only stayed for a year and a half. In 1998, Beck completed a league-high 70 games, saving 51 contests in 58 opportunities. This was his highest total of saves in any single year of a thirteen year career.
Truth be told, Beck was pitching for a strong Cubs team that won 90 games that year. Still he racked up some impressive numbers.
1998 was a pivotal year for the Cubs
However his success may have been overshadowed. Longtime fans will recognize the year 1998 as seminal. That year the team had a player you may remember, named Sammy Sosa, who hit 66 homers en route to NL MVP.
Beck’s outstanding contributions pale in comparison to Sosa’s run and his ongoing home run contest with Mark McGwire. Unfortunately, the next year Chicago sank to a miserable 67-95 record. Beck saved only seven games and had four blown saves. By August he was traded to the Red Sox.
Fans can only hope that Chafin, aka Beck 2.0, will have a long successful career on the North Side.