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BCB After Dark: The kings of the hill

The nightclub for night owls, early-risers and Cubs fans abroad asks who was the greatest Cubs starting pitcher of the expansion era.

Sports Contributor Archive 2019
Ferguson Jenkins
Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Welcome back to BCB After Dark: the nighttime meeting spot for night owls, early-risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. I’m so glad to see you again this evening. We’ve waived the cover charge, but there’s a two-drink minimum, which you have to provide yourself. You are on the honor system.

BCB After Dark is the place for you to talk baseball, music, movies, or anything else you need to get off your chest, as long as it is within the rules of the site. The late-nighters are encouraged to get the party started, but everyone else is invited to join in as you wake up the next morning and into the afternoon.

It looks like it’s time to start taking the Cubs seriously. With today’s 6-1 win over the Padres which completed the three-game sweep, the Cubs are now 9-0 against the Mets, Padres and Dodgers, the three teams that almost everyone considered to be the best in the National League heading into the season. And they are three teams everyone still expects to be playoff teams come October, although the Giants, currently with the best record in baseball, will have something to say about that. The upcoming series in San Francisco will provide a huge test. Splitting the four-game series would be a good result, in my mind. Winning the series would be terrific.

Fangraphs gives the Cubs a 46.8% chance of making the playoffs as I write this. The Cardinals game is not over but they’re losing by 11 runs late, so I think those odds will increase a little by the time you read this. They still have the Brewers as the narrow favorites to win the NL Central, however.

Feel free to continue to discuss the Cubs hot streak here if you wish.

Last time I asked you who the greatest Cubs third baseman of the expansion era was and you voted for Ron Santo with 63% of the vote. Kris Bryant had 25% and an Aramis Ramirez was third with 12%.

Here’s the part where I discuss jazz and movies. Those of you who want to skip to the baseball poll question at the end are free to do so now. You won’t hurt my feelings.

Charlie Haden was a jazz double-bass player who got his start with saxophonist Ornette Coleman on his groundbreaking album The Shape of Jazz to Come in 1959. By the late-sixties, he broke off on his own and kept making music until his death in 2014. This is a lovely little piece of music from Charlie Haden’s Quartet West group. It’s the title track from his 1992 album, Haunted Heart. [VIDEO]

Haden is also part of a long musical family. Haden played country and folk music growing up in Iowa where the Haden Family had a bit of a following. In 1971, he and his wife had triplet girls, Petra, Rachel and Tanya, who became very accomplished musicians as well, both together as a jazz trio and on their own. Petra Haden did a brilliant solo a cappella cover album of The Who Sell Out [VIDEO], complete with commercials, which is a must-listen for any Who fan or fan of a cappella music, I suppose. Pete Townsend loves it.

Tanya Haden is married to the actor Jack Black, if you’re interested in that kind of trivia.

As I wrote last week, I really don’t have the time to do an essay on two movies a week and do the baseball stuff, which has to come first on a baseball site. So instead, on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, I’m just throwing out a question for discussion.

Even before the pandemic, I wasn’t a big movie goer. As you can tell, much of my tastes goes towards older movies and they don’t show up on the big screen all that often around my house. I did see maybe two to four movies a year before the pandemic in theaters. I do love those Marvel movies and saw most, but not all, of them in theaters. That will probably get me kicked out of the Pretentious Old Movie Fan Club™ now that it’s gotten out. Martin Scorsese has already drawn up my expulsion papers.

I went to a lot more movies in theaters before I became a parent. Once you have a kid, it often just becomes more trouble than it’s worth. At least it did for us. It helped that my daughter was born about the same time that decent HD televisions became affordable. But even when I was young, I wasn’t a “one movie each week” type of person.

So the closing of the theaters during the pandemic wasn’t a big deal for me, but I do miss them. At least sometimes. I’m going to break my desire to not put two poll questions in one article by asking you when you think you’ll go back to movie theaters.

So when do you think you’ll buy a ticket to see a movie in a theater? Tomorrow? Later this year? Never?


When do you think you will go back to see a movie in a theater?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    I never stopped/I already have
    (11 votes)
  • 37%
    Sometime this summer
    (29 votes)
  • 14%
    In the fall or around Christmas
    (11 votes)
  • 8%
    Next year (2022)
    (7 votes)
  • 25%
    I don’t see movies in theaters/I won’t go back
    (20 votes)
78 votes total Vote Now

Welcome back to all the people who skip the music and movies. We missed you, but we’re glad you’re still here.

I’ve been asking you who you think are the greatest Cubs player of the expansion era at various positions. Tonight I’m asking you who you think is the greatest Cubs starting pitcher since 1962?

The candidates are:

Ferguson Jenkins (1966-1973, 1982-1983): Won 20 games six times for the Cubs, which is a feat that’s not ever going to be equalled unless the rules change. Won one Cy Young. But he did pitch in a different, more pitcher-friendly era.

Rick Reuschel (1972-1981, 1983-1984): Easily the most underrated pitcher of the expansion era. Reuschel was a very good pitcher on some very bad Cubs teams.

Rick Sutcliffe (1984-1991): His dramatic 16-1 record after the Cubs got him in a mid-season trade from Cleveland will never be forgotten. He won the Cy Young that season, but continued to be an effective pitcher (when healthy) the rest of his time in Chicago. He wasn’t always healthy though.

Greg Maddux (1986-1992, 2004-2006): Certainly the best pitcher overall on this list, but his best days were in Atlanta. He did win one Cy Young Award in Chicago.

Kerry Wood (1998-2008, 2011-2012): Some of that time with the Cubs was as a reliever. He turned in the greatest single-game pitching performance in Cubs history and maybe in all of MLB history with his 20 strikeout game in 1998. He also won the Rookie of the Year Award that year.

Carlos Zambrano (2001-2011): Doesn’t get the respect that some of the other guys on this list do, but he was consistently a very good pitcher for a decade. He has a higher career WAR as a Cub than Maddux does, for example.

Jake Arrieta (2013-2017, 2021): Won the Cy Young Award in 2015 and was a key member of the 2016 World Championship team. Started and won Game 6 of the World Series, which is something only one other Cubs pitcher in history can claim. (Hank Borowy)

Jon Lester (2015-2020): Didn’t start Game 7 in 2016, but would have won it in relief were it not for a Rajai Davis home run. Was as important off-the-field as he was on it during his time in Chicago.

So who is it? Who is your choice for the greatest Cubs starter of the expansion era?


Who is the greatest Cubs starter since 1962?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Ferguson Jenkins
    (88 votes)
  • 1%
    Rick Reuschel
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Rick Sutcliffe
    (2 votes)
  • 13%
    Greg Maddux
    (17 votes)
  • 2%
    Kerry Wood
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Carlos Zambrano
    (1 vote)
  • 8%
    Jake Arrieta
    (11 votes)
  • 4%
    Jon Lester
    (6 votes)
130 votes total Vote Now

Thanks for coming. I hope to see you again next week.