MLB commissioner Rob Manfred announced Thursday morning that the universal DH was indeed agreed upon by league owners. This likely signals the end of an era in the National League as pitchers will no longer be required to hit. We got a taste of the rule in 2020, now it appears to be here to stay.
Over the years the Chicago Cubs had quite the collection of solid hitting pitchers. Looking at the five best in franchise history required some stat-digging, and of course, the list is up for debate.
Cubs: 5 best hitting pitchers in team history: #5 Lon Warneke
One of the more underrated players in franchise history, Lon Warneke was one of the team’s best hurlers in the 1930s and was part of three pennant-winning teams. Warneke was a three-time All-Star and 1932 ERA title winner as a Cub, and pitched to a 2.84 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 3.48 FIP and 706 strikeouts in 1624 2/3 innings from 1930-1936, 1942-1943, 1945.
He was productive at the plate, too. Warneke collected 124 hits, 15 doubles, two triples and three home runs in 566 at bats as a Cub. He slashed .219/.250/.269 with a .519 OPS. His 124 hits are 10th on the all-time Cubs pitcher hit list. He is one of five Cubs pitchers to have at least 500 at bats and hit above .200. Only two other Cubs pitchers with 500+ at bats have a higher batting average than Warneke.
In 1933 alone he hit .300/.320/.440 with an OPS+ of 115 and 116 wRC+ in 106 plate appearances. Not often did we see pitchers put up those kinds of numbers.
Warneke, outside Chicago, also spent six years in St. Louis. He finished his MLB career with five All-Star appearances, a career 3.18 ERA, 3.68 FIP, 215 hits and a batting average of .233.