Chicago Cubs: Nothing stands test of time like the Ryne Sandberg game

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Chicago Cubs / Ryne Sandberg
(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: A chance for a young team to make some noise

In 1984, the greatest closer in baseball was Bruce Sutter. Sutter had pitched for the Cubs, and pitched well, but when he was granted free agency the notoriously frugal North Siders weren’t willing to meet his price so Sutter was traded… to the Cards.

Of all the teams they could’ve traded him to – why did it have to be the Cardinals?

Perennial Eastern Division leaders, St. Louis wasn’t about to let Sutter go, and with them, he only got better. Sutter dominated the ends of games like no other pitcher could. His secret was ‘the split-finger fastball’. It was a pitch that looked like a fastball and moved like a knuckle ball. HIs split-finger was nearly unhit-able.

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Sutter had been successful in closing out nearly half of the Cards wins already by the time this game was played. Beating him and the Cards would be a tall order.

An important game for the young Cubs team

This was a pivotable game. If Chicago could beat the Cards, they would move into first place in the NL East.

After two innings, the Cardinals charged out to a 7-1 lead over the Cubs. With Willie McGee, Ozzie Smith, George Hendrick and Tommy Herr, among others, it looked like the Redbirds had finished the game almost before it got started.

McGee had an especially good game. By the end, he had hit for the cycle, was 4-for-6, had six RBI and scored three runs. Near the end of the ninth, NBC named McGee as Player of the game. They were a trifle premature.