The Top 5 Pitchers Who Played For Both The Cubs and Cardinals

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Game 3 of the NLDS between the Cubs and Cardinals gets underway at 5:07 this evening from Wrigley Field with Jake Arrieta taking on Michael Wacha in a very good pitching matchup. Speaking of pitching, I thought today would be a good day to take a look at some of the best pitchers to ever suit up for both teams. According to baseball-reference.com, there have been 151 pitchers that have done this. Who can forget names like Jason Marquis, Frank DiPino, Les Lancaster, and the ageless Jamie Moyer? Hell, he actually might be on one of these playoff rosters right now. Let’s take a look at the top five. Let the arguments begin.

5Bruce Sutter

Bruce Sutter was signed by the Cubs in 1971 after attending Old Dominion University, but was almost released early in his career after an injury forced him to basically relearn how to pitch. It was during that time that he mastered the split-finger fastball, becoming one of the first to use the pitch effectively. He made his major league debut in 1976.

Chicago Cubs Stats (1976-1980)

  • 300 appearances
  • 493.0 innings pitched
  • 2.39 ERA
  • 32-30 record
  • 133 saves

St. Louis Cardinals Stats (1981-1984)

  • 249 appearances
  • 396.7 innings pitched
  • 2.72 ERA
  • 26-30 record
  • 127 saves

Sutter finished his career with the Atlanta Braves before the 1989 season. He finished with a career record of 68-71, exactly 300 saves, a 2.83 ERA, and 861 career strikeouts. He was a six-time All-Star, won the 1979 Cy Young, led the NL in saves five times, and was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2006. His #42 was retired by the Cardinals.

 

4Dizzy Dean

During his early years with the Cardinals, Dizzy Dean was arguably the best pitcher in baseball, leading the majors in wins two times, and leading the league in strikeouts four times. He won the National League MVP in the Cardinals’ 1934 championship season, but a foot injury in the 1937 All-Star Game led to a change in his mechanics, which basically killed his arm. The Cubs picked him up in 1938, and he actually helped them to the World Series that year, but that was his last big year. He stayed in Chicago until 1941, but would never regain the form he had in St. Louis, and he would retire at 31.

St. Louis Cardinals Stats (1930-1937)

  • 273 appearances
  • 1737.3 innings pitched
  • 2.99 ERA
  • 134-75
  • 31 saves

Chicago Cubs Stats (1938-1941)

  • 43 appearances
  • 226.0 innings pitched
  • 3.35 ERA
  • 16-8

He would later pitch one more game for the St. Louis Browns in 1947 for the St. Louis Browns in what was more of a publicity stunt. His final career numbers were a 150-83 record, a 3.02 ERA, and 1, 163 strikeouts. He was a four-time All-Star and his #17 is retired by the Cardinals; he’s also a member of their team Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1953.

3Lee Smith

Over the course of his career, Lee Smith played for eight different teams, with his two longest stints coming with the Cubs and Cardinals. Regarded by most as one of the greatest closers of all-time, Smith still holds the mark for most saves in Cubs history, and held that same mark for the Cardinals until Jason Isringhausen passed him in 2006, the same year Smith was passed for number one on the all-time saves list by Trevor Hoffman. Hoffman would eventually be passed by Mariano Rivera, leaving Smith third on the all-time list with 478 career saves.

Chicago Cubs Stats (1980-1987)

  • 458 appearances
  • 681.1 innings pitched
  • 2.92 ERA
  • 40-51 record
  • 180 saves

St. Louis Cardinals Stats (1990-1993)

  • 245 appearances
  • 266.2 innings pitched
  • 2.90 ERA
  • 15-20 record
  • 160 saves

Smith made his final appearance in the majors in 1997 for the Montreal Expos, and would retire for the second and final time in 1998. He finished with a career record of 71-92, a 3.03 ERA, 1, 251 strikeouts, and 478 saves. He led the league in saves four times and was a seven-time All-Star. He has yet to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

2Dennis Eckersley

Dennis Eckersley played for six teams in his career, most notably with the Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s, but it’s hard not to include him on this list. He spent five years between the Cubs and Cardinals during his near quarter-century in baseball. Primarily used as a starter for the first half of his career, Eckersley found success as a closer as well; he’s one of only two men to have a 20-win season and a 50-save season, the other being John Smoltz.

Chicago Cubs Stats (1984-1986)

  • 82 appearances
  • 530.7 innings pitched
  • 3.63 ERA
  • 27-26 record

St. Louis Cardinals Stats (1996-1997)

  • 120 appearances
  • 113.0 innings pitched
  • 3.58 ERA
  • 1-11 record
  • 66 saves

Eckersley’s best year came in 1992, winning the Cy Young and the AL MVP after he finished the year with 51 saves. He finished his career with a 197-171 record, a 3.50 ERA, 390 saves, and 2, 401 strikeouts. He was a six-time All-Star, threw a no-hitter in 1977, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year on the ballot. You can now see him doing commentary for the Cubs-Cardinals series as a commentator for TBS.

1Grover Cleveland Alexander

After starting his career with the Phillies in 1911, he was sold to the Cubs following the 1917 season, and made his debut with the Cubs after a stint in World War I. After nine seasons in Chicago, he was sold again, this time to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1926. He would be one of the key components in the Cardinals winning the World Series that year, winning games 2 and 6, both complete games, and pitching the final three innings in Game 7 to seal the victory over the New York Yankees.

Chicago Cubs Stats (1918-1926)

  • 242 appearances
  • 1884.3 innings pitched
  • 2.84 ERA
  • 128-83 record
  • 10 saves

St. Louis Cardinals Stats (1926-1929)

  • 116 appearances
  • 792.0 innings pitched
  • 3.08 ERA
  • 55-34 record
  • 7 saves

“Old Pete” has the distinction of being one of only three pitchers to win a pitching Triple Crown three times, meaning he led the league in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average. He played his last major league game in 1930, finishing with 373 wins, tied for the third-most in MLB history. He had a career 2.56 ERA and recorded 2, 198 strikeouts. Overall, he led the National League in wins and strikeouts six times and earned run average four times. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1938.