clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cubs 4-inning saves: Anthony Young, June 22, 1995

These are fairly rare events in modern baseball.

Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The save, invented by Chicago baseball writer Jerome Holtzman, became an official stat in 1969. The criteria for a save are:

  • Enter the game while the tying run is either at bat or on deck;
  • Pitch at least one full inning with at least a three-run lead; or
  • Pitch at least three innings with any lead.

It’s the last of these criteria I’m concerned with in this series about Cubs pitchers. The four-inning save used to be fairly common, and in practice, it’s the most innings a pitcher can throw while recording a save. That’s because a starting pitcher must go a minimum of five innings to record a “win,” and thus any pitcher getting a save finishing a game for a starter who throws that minimum number of innings is four. But if a starter goes less than four innings, and a reliever then finishes a game, that reliever would likely be credited with the “win,” if his team does win.

Since 1969, 41 Cubs pitchers have recorded a four-inning save. Just eight of those, though, have happened in the last 30 seasons (since 1992). It’s these eight you’ll read about in this series.

You probably know about Anthony Young’s hard luck in losing a MLB-record 27 straight decisions from 1992-93 with the Mets. The Cubs acquired him in March 1994 for Jose Vizcaino, He had a decent ‘94 (3.92 ERA, 1.299 WHIP, 1.1 bWAR in 19 starts) in the Cubs rotation but was mostly a reliever in ‘95, making just one start.

Thus it was on June 22, 1995 in Houston that Young took the mound in the bottom of the sixth in relief of Jim Bullinger with the Cubs holding a 9-2 lead over the Astros. Manager Jim Riggleman had double-switched Jose Hernandez in at shortstop in the No. 9 spot in the batting order and put Young in the No. 8 spot. Why? Joey Reaves of the Tribune explains:

Bullinger, out since May 20 with a tender elbow, was on a 75-pitch limit. But manager Jim Riggleman decided to let him go 86 pitches to get the win.

“I could have gone out there for the sixth inning, but I was already past the limit,” said Bullinger, whose ERA nudged from 1.95 to a still-dazzling 2.17.

Young threw 19 pitches in a scoreless sixth and the Cubs tacked on four more runs in the seventh on homers by Brian McRae and Sammy Sosa, the latter a three-run job.

With the Cubs now leading 13-2 (which would be the final score), Riggleman decided to save his bullpen by allowing Young to finish up, which he did throwing a total of 51 pitches. He allowed two hits, no runs, and struck out two. The save was his first as a Cub; he posted one more later that year, but was done in the majors after 1996.

Sadly, Young passed away at age 51 in 2017 from a brain tumor.