Wednesday, October 27, 2010

1990 Topps TV Cubs: The Pitchers and Catchers

The 1990 Topps TV set featured the 12 pitchers who were on the Cubs 1990 opening day roster. In the set, they are cards #7 - 18. Actually, the team came north from Mesa with 11 pitchers because Rick Sutcliffe started the season on the disabled list with torn cartilage on his right shoulder.

This was basically the same staff that pitched the Cubs to the 1989 National League East title. Mike Bielecki and Greg Maddux topped the rotation, going 18-7 and 19-12 respectively and Rick Sutcliffe #3. Losing Sutcliffe to injuries would hurt the 1990 team. Bielecki couldn't recapture the magic of 1989 and he fell to 8-11. Even Maddux slipped, posting a record of 15-15. Rookie Mike Harkey picked up the slack, going 12-6 and earned Sporting News NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year honors.

The stopper in the bullpen was Mitch Williams, who was coming off a 36 save season in 1989. That was his first season with the Cubs and Wild Thing Fever raged on the north side. But a knee injury limited his appearances and his effectiveness. He was 1-8 with only 16 saves. Paul Assenmacher has to fill the ninth inning role when Williams was hurt.

The catchers were #18-20. Three were on the roster because Damon Berryhill was on the DL, still recovering from surgery in September 1989 to repair a torn rotator cuff. He played on 17 games in September for the 1990 Cubs. Joe Girardi spent the season as the Cubs starter and Rick Wrona was the back-up.

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