Kyle Hendricks' 10-year milestone is a testament to his place in Cubs history

The veteran right-hander has endured, cementing his place as one of the greatest starting pitchers in franchise history.
World Series - Chicago Cubs v Cleveland Indians - Game Seven
World Series - Chicago Cubs v Cleveland Indians - Game Seven / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

Fewer than 10 percent of big leagues in MLB history achieve the 10-year service time milestone achieved by Kyle Hendricks this week. The longtime Chicago Cubs rotation staple fell on hard times early in the year but has since rebounded and found his form at a time when the team desperately needs him to be a stabilizing presence in an injury-riddled starting rotation.

A former ERA champion and the man who took the ball in arguably the two biggest Cubs games of the last century in Game 6 of the 2016 NLCS and the winner-take-all Game 7 in that year's Fall Classic, Hendricks has made an immeasurable impact on the franchise during his decade in Cubbie blue - and his recent struggles do little to water down those contributions.

"It's pretty crazy, to be honest with you. I never imagined it in my wildest dreams. Growing up as a kid, I just wanted to make it to the big leagues. I loved baseball so much that that's all I wanted to do. But to think that far in the future, to think about 10 years? It's honestly pretty cool."

Kyle Hendricks, via

The only other Cubs players to hit the 10-year service time mark playing only with Chicago? Two legends in Ernie Banks and Stan Hack, two of the biggest names in Cubs history. Hendricks got his start back in 2014 and he immediately made his presence felt, posting a 2.46 ERA in 13 starts.

Of course, he played an integral part in the big coming-out party the team had under manager Joe Maddon in 2015, but it was in that unforgettable 2016 campaign that the crafty right-hander put it all together, leading all of baseball with a sterling 2.13 ERA en route to a third-place finish in NL Cy Young voting. That October, he delivered time after time as the Cubs erased a 108-year title drought.

Cubs' Kyle Hendricks carved his path with consistency and reliability

If you need proof that wins aren't everything, just keep in mind Hendricks has only won 10 or more games four times in his career, despite making 255 starts. From 2014 to 2020, he was the definition of consistency for the team, with a 3.12 ERA in over 1,000 innings of work - even earning down-ballot Cy Young votes in the shortened 2020 season.

Hendricks' name doesn't appear on most of the Cubs' all-time leaderboards. In fact, he ranks in the top 10 only in strikeouts (eighth with 1,215) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (third at 3.595). Assuming he finishes the season on the North Side, he'll likely crack the top 10 in games started, as well - but that paints a picture of his success. He's never been the guy drawing national attention or blowing batters away while piling up strikeouts. But he delivered consistency for the bulk of his career, during one of the most critical stretches in franchise history.

So, no matter how the rest of what could very well be his final season with the Cubs plays out, it's clear that without Hendricks, what most of us will remember as the golden era of baseball in Wrigleyville may have played out in a far more disappointing fashion. Here's to you, Professor.