5 former Chicago Cubs you’ve likely forgotten about – #2: Kevin Tapani
A World Series champion as a member of the 1991 Minnesota Twins, Kevin Tapani closed out his 13-year career with five seasons in the Cubs rotation. At that point, pitching at the peak of the Steroid Era, he put up some pretty not great numbers, but for some reason, as soon as I saw his name, I knew he needed to be on this list.
In Dec. 1996, Tapani joined the Cubs on a three-year deal, sort of bringing things full circle given Chicago initially drafted him in 1985. The right-hander returned to school and, the following year, was a second-round pick of Oakland.
That first year on the North Side, Tapani was solid, although he made just 13 starts, working to a 3.39 ERA in the process. But from there, his numbers were pretty inflated by most measures.
In 1998, despite allowing 10 hits per nine and posting a 4.85 ERA that was a full 10 percent below league average, he was the lucky benefactor of the Cubs’ offense, winning 19 games. For 18 of those 19 wins, Chicago tallied more than 3 runs – with 11 of those victories courtesy of contests where they hung six or more tallies on the opponents.
Tapani ate a solid number of innings in his final two years with the Cubs, flirting with the 200-inning mark in 2000 before wrapping things up with the team – and for his career – in 2001, with a 9-14, 4.49 ERA showing at age 37.