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BCB After Dark: How do you spell relief?

The late-night/early-morning spot for Cubs fans asks who is the greatest reliever in Cubs history?

MLB Photos Archive Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images

It’s another Tuesday night here at BCB After Dark: the grooviest gathering for night owls, early risers, new parents and Cubs fans abroad. Come on in out of the cold. We’ve got some hot talk to keep you warm. There’s no cover charge this evening and we still have a few tables available. Bring your own beverage.

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.

Last night I asked you about Patrick Wisdom and the wisdom of signing him to a new deal for 2024. Most of you were not against it, as 42 percent said “Yay!” and another 40 percent were “meh” in the agreement. Only 18 percent of you thought the Cubs should have non-tendered Wisdom.

So here’s the part where I put the music and the movies. Those of you who skip that can do so now. You wont hurt my feelings.

Tonight we’ve got some blues/soul jazz from guitarist George Benson with a Thanksgiving theme. This is “Giblet Gravy” from 1968.

I don’t normally do any movie stuff on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, but I wanted to remind you that you still have time to vote in the first contest of the BCB Winter Western Classic. It’s a matchup between Shane and Vera Cruz. The winner will be announced in tomorrow’s column.

Also, a reminder that tomorrow’s contest will be between Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Forty Guns.

Welcome back to everyone who skips the music and the movies.

I’m taking a short break from asking you who you want to add the next year’s Cubs’ roster. Tonight, in honor of the death of former Cubs’ reliever Willie Hernàndaz, I’m going to ask you “Who is the greatest Cubs reliever of all time?

As great as he was, Hernández really wasn’t great with the Cubs. He was good, mostly, but he didn’t really become a legend until he joined the Tigers,

To me, there are two candidates: Lee Smith and Bruce Sutter. Smith leads the all Cubs with 180 career saves. He posted a 2.92 ERA over 458 games as a Cub He struck out 644 hitters in 681.1 inninga.

Sutter, on the other hand, wasn’t with the Cubs as long as Smith, but his rate numbers were a little better. Sutter only saved 133 games as a Cub, but he had a 2.39 ERA and struck out 494 batters in 493 inninga.

Both Smith and Sutter are Hall-of-Famers, and I’d say the contest is between them. But I’m going to add Aroldis Chapman because he did something that no other Cubs closer has ever done—won a World Series. Chapman only had 16 career regular-season saves with the Cubs, but he also had four more in the postseason. Plus, his performance in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series is legendary. Although he clearly was completely gassed and throwing on fumes, Chapman managed to get the win in Game 7 of the World Series. No other Cubs pitcher in history can say that.

Chapman also had a minuscule 1.01 ERA with the Cubs in his career. But that’s over just 26.2 innings. But they were some of the biggest innings in Cubs history.

Chapman could also end up in the Hall of Fame when his career ends.

I’m going to give you two more choices to vote for the greatest reliever in Cubs history. One in Carlos Marmol, who is third on the Cubs’ leaderboards with 117 career saves. He wasn’t the closer for the 2007/2008 NL Central champs (Kerry Wood and Ryan Dempster were), but he was probably the best reliever on both of those teams. Marmol had 118 career saves as a Cub and an ERA of 3.50

Randy Myers won a World Series with both the Mets and the Reds (although he didn’t pitch in the playoffs for the 1986 Mets), but he’s fourth on the Cubs all-time saves list with 112 over just three seasons. He led the NL in saves twice in those three years. Myers led the league in saves twice in this three years in Chicago. Myers struck out 177 batters over 171.1 innings and posted an ERA of 3.52 in the high-scoring nineties.

So who is the greatest reliever in Cubs history?


Who is the greatest reliever in Cubs history?

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    Aroldis Chapman
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    Randy Myers
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Carlos Marmol
    (1 vote)
  • 42%
    Lee Smith
    (85 votes)
  • 52%
    Bruce Sutter
    (106 votes)
  • 0%
    Someone else (leave in comments)
    (2 votes)
201 votes total Vote Now

Thank you to everyone who stopped by. I hope you’ve had an enjoyable time here and that you’ll be a regular. Please recycle any cans and bottles. If you checked anything, let us get that for you. Get home safely. Tip the waitstaff. And join us again tomorrow for more BCB After Dark.