Dallas Green, installed as Cubs general manager in October 1981, did a major makeover of the squad for the 1982 season, including one trade we will forever remember.
January 27: Acquired Ryne Sandberg and Larry Bowa from the Phillies for Ivan De Jesus
You don’t need me to tell you that this was one of the best trades in Cubs franchise history. In fact, if one were to make a list of the best deals in MLB history, this would have to be in the top 20, maybe even the top 10.
I don’t have much more to say about it than I did when I wrote about the deal here on its 40th anniversary in January 2022, so here’s that article for your perusal. That link includes a number of videos of Sandberg, including his only hit as a Phillie, highlights from The Sandberg Game in 1984 and some clips from his retirement in 1997.
Sandberg posted 68 bWAR as a Cub and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2005. Bowa did provide some value to the Cubs, a total of 1.5 bWAR. De Jesus posted 2.9 bWAR with the Phillies and finished his career with a handful of games for the Cardinals, Giants, Tigers and Yankees. He did get to do something Sandberg didn’t, though — play in a World Series, two of them, actually (1983 and 1985).
Sandberg is now a beloved Cubs ambassador who frequently makes appearances at the ballpark, one of the most popular Cubs of his generation.
You did good here, Dallas.
March 16: Acquired Dan Briggs from the Expos for Mike Griffin
Briggs had barely played for the Expos in ‘81 (1-for-11) and, used mostly as a bench player, went 6-for-48 (.125, all singles) for the Cubs in ‘82 before the team released him to play in Japan, which he did in ‘82 and ‘83.
Griffin never pitched for the Expos, only in their minor league system, eventually being sent to the Padres as a PTBNL in a deal where Montreal acquired future MLB manager Jerry Manuel.
March 26: Acquired Bump Wills from the Rangers for Paul Mirabella and a PTBNL
The PTBNL was Paul Semall, the minor leaguer who’d been acquired in the Bobby Murcer deal three years earlier.
Wills’ presence “bumped” Sandberg to third base, because Bowa was installed at shortstop. Sandberg played one year at third before moving to second base when Wills decided to leave MLB to play in Japan, which he did for two years before retiring.
Wills played reasonably well in his one year in Chicago, batting .272/.347/.377 with 35 stolen bases, though he was not a good defender. He later coached and managed in the 1990s in the Rangers farm system.
October 15: Acquired Alan Hargesheimer from the Giants for Herman Segelke
Believe it or not, Segelke, whose name seems like it would have fit better in the 1940s, was the Cubs’ No. 1 pick (seventh overall) in the 1976 draft. Three other players selected after Segelke in that round also eventually played for the Cubs: Steve Trout, Leon Durham and Pat Tabler.
Segelke had pitched in just three games for the Cubs in ‘82 with an 8.31 ERA and six walks in 4⅓ innings.
Hargesheimer, a Chicago native (Senn High School, Truman College, Northern Illinois University), was signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 1978. He pitched in just six games for the Cubs in 1983 with a 9.00 ERA in four innings.
Those paragraphs are more than this deal was worth.
December 9: Acquired Rich Bordi from the Mariners for Steve Henderson
Bordi had a mediocre year for the Cubs in ‘83 but was better in ‘84. Even so, Green left him off the playoff roster in favor of his Philly pal Dick Ruthven, which was a mistake. Bordi could have helped.
Henderson’s years in Seattle were roughly equal in value to Bordi’s in Chicago, so we’ll call this one a wash. Bordi was traded after ‘84 in a deal we’ll cover later.
December 10: Acquired Chuck Rainey from the Red Sox for Doug Bird
Bird had a terrible year in Boston, with a 6.14 ERA and 14 home runs allowed in just 61x innings, then retired.
Rainey had a mediocre year in Chicago in ‘83 and in ‘84 was sent away in a useful trade we’ll cover later on.
On August 24, 1983 Rainey came within one out of throwing a no-hitter against the Reds at Wrigley Field. Eddie Milner broke up the gem with a two-out single in the ninth. The Cubs won the game 2-0. It was by far the best start of Rainey’s MLB career. This deal was a win, if a small one, for the Cubs.
Here’s the hit that broke up Rainey’s no-hit bid:
December 10: Acquired Reggie Patterson from the White Sox for Ty Waller
Waller played in 47 games for the Cubs in 1981 and 1982 without hitting much. He never played for the White Sox, eventually winding up in Houston as a free agent, playing 11 games for them in 1987.
Patterson pitched in 16 games (eight starts) for the Cubs from 1983-85. Famously, he was the “emergency starter” when Trout was reported to have “fallen off his bicycle” on a day when Pete Rose was close to breaking the hits record. Rose wasn’t supposed to play that game; at the time he was only facing righthanders. So he started against Patterson and had two hits that afternoon, September 8, 1985.
Patterson’s only MLB complete game came against the Cardinals on the last day of that season, October 6, 1985 in St. Louis, where he allowed nine hits and two runs. Yes, pitchers threw CG in those days with that many hits. It was his final MLB game, and he also got his only MLB hit that day.
Patterson posted 0.8 bWAR for the Cubs, so... this was another small win.
There were no really bad Cubs trades in 1982, and the Sandberg deal makes this an A- year.
Give the Cubs a grade for their 1982 trades.
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