You know it's not a good season when every one of your starting pitchers had a record that is below .500. And that was true of the Cubs starting rotation of Rick Reuschel, Dennis Lamp, Mike Krukow, and Lynn McGlothen. Even Bruce Sutter was under .500 It was not a good year!
Rick Reuschel would have been considered the ace of the staff and he was the opening day starter. A groin injury in April slowed him down, but he was the NL Pitcher of the Month in August, going 5-0 with a 0.92 ERA. For the season, Big Daddy was 11-13.
Dennis Lamp started 37 games and was 10-14. His ERA was huge, 5.20. Kind of makes you wonder why the Cubs kept giving him the ball every fourth day.
Mike Krukow made 34 starts and was 10-15 with an ERA of 4.39
Lynn McGlothen led the team with 12 wins, but added 14 losses.
So the good news, every starter had double digit wins; the bad news, they all had more losses than wins.
Bruce Sutter had an interesting off-season. First, he won the Cy Young Award. Then, he took the Cubs to salary arbitration and won a then record salary of $700,000. With the cheapskate Cubs on the hook, this was going to be his last season in Chicago. He had "only" 28 saves and was 5-8. After the season, he and his high salary were sent to the Cardinals.
Dick Tidrow Dirt was Sutter's set up man, and they were a pretty good 1-2 punch. He led the team with 84 appearances (24 more than Sutter), had a winning record(!) of 6-5, and even saved 6 games.
Doug Capilla made 11 starts and also relieved in 28 games. He was 2-8 with an ERA of 4.12. He was traded to the Reds after the season.
Bill Caudill pitched in 72 games and had a team-low 2.19 ERA.
Willie Hernandez was the Cubs lefty out of the pen, but he was a mess in 1979. The Cubs tried to fix him by making him a starter, but that didn't work out too well. Willie's record in seven starts and 46 relief appearances was 1-9 and his ERA was 4.40
Ken Holtzman was released in October, 1979, bringing his career to an end. I wonder why Topps included a card for him. You would think the October release should have given them enough time to pull the card out of the set.
There were another three pitchers who didn't get a card. Two were rookies making their MLB debuts as September call-ups. One is a name you should know:
Randy Martz, 1-2, 2.08 in 6 games
George (Heat) Riley, 0-4, 5.75 in 22 games
Lee Smith, 2-0, 2.91 in 18 games (the only other winning record on the team)