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Chicago Cubs All-Time ERA Leaders
The Chicago Cubs have been around a LONG time. The franchise began play in 1876 as the Chicago White Stockings, and became the Colts in 1890, the Orphans in 1898 and finally the Cubs in 1903. They have won just two championships over that time span, all as the Cubs, but with no title since 1908. That makes it a drought of over 100 years as I write this in 2010. But the Cubs have been close a number of times, and always seem to field great talent. Here is a short list of the Cubs’ all-time pitching leaders in earned run average (ERA):
Al Spalding (1.78)—Al Spalding only pitched for the White Stockings a short time, in 1876 and 1877, but he did post a franchise leading 1.78 ERA during that time. Spalding posted some unbelievable numbers, and his best season was with Boston in 1875, when he won a remarkable 54 games against just 5 losses and a career best 1.59 ERA. But his best season with Chicago wasn’t too shabby either, in 1876. That year, Spalding went 47-12 with a 1.75 ERA.
Mordecai Brown (1.80)—Mordecai “Three Fingers” Brown pitched for the Cubs from 1904 to 1912 and again in 1916. He ranks second in the team’s history with a 1.80 earned run average and had his best overall season in 1906. That year, Brown went 26-6 with a career best 1.04 ERA (led the NL), 9 shutouts (career high and also led NL) and 144 strikeouts.
Jack Pfiester (1.85)—Jack Pfiester pitched for Chicago from 1906 to 1911 and ranks third in Cubs’ history with a 1.85 ERA. Pfiester had a career best 1.15 ERA in 1907, which led the National League. But his best season was arguably 1906. That year, Pfiester had career highs in wins (20-8) and strikeouts (153) with a 1.51 ERA.
Orval Overall (1.91)—Orval Overall pitched for the Cubs from 1906 to 1910 and again in 1913. He ranks fourth in franchise history with a 1.91 earned run average, and despite winning a career high 23 games in 1907, he had his best overall season in 1909. That year, Overall went 20-11 with career best numbers in ERA (1.42) and strikeouts (205, which led the National League). He also posted a league best 9 shutouts that season.
Jake Weimer (2.14)—Jake Weimer played for Chicago from 1903 to 1905 and he ranks fifth all-time for the team with a 2.14 ERA. Weimer had his best overall season while with the Cubs in 1904. That year, he tied a career high with 20 wins and had career best numbers in ERA (1.91) and strikeouts (177).