Best duos in Chicago Cubs history

Written by:
May 16, 2022
Schyler // Wikimedia Commons

Best duos in Chicago Cubs history

In Major League Baseball, it takes more than one skilled player to field a championship contender. It takes talent all over the field at a variety of positions, both in terms of pitchers and hitters. While having a star pitcher and a star hitter at the same time is no guarantee of success, it does put your team in a position to have the type of season that fans will talk about for generations.

While it’s not quite the same as the NBA, where one standout duo can take a team from the cellar to playoff contention, it’s not uncommon for an outstanding season from a pitcher and position player duo to add 20 wins or more, according to Baseball Reference’s wins above replacement player metric. The number is designed to illustrate the difference between a star player and the type of player that would be considered “replacement level”—that is, one who could be easily signed as a midseason free agent or called up from the minor leagues.

The following is a list of the top pitcher/position player duos in Chicago Cubs history. Using wins above replacement, Stacker compiled a list of the seasons in franchise history that had a pitcher and hitter with the most combined value. Note that, for the purpose of capturing and examining the game's "modern era", only seasons after 1969 were used for this list.

#10. 1984 Chicago Cubs
- Ryne Sandberg: 8.6 WAR (#2 position player in 1984)
- Steve Trout: 3.6 WAR (#30 pitcher in 1984)
- Total: 12.2 WAR

#9. 1977 Chicago Cubs
- Ivan de Jesus: 2.8 WAR (#81 position player in 1977)
- Rick Reuschel: 9.5 WAR (#1 pitcher in 1977)
- Total: 12.3 WAR

#8. 2016 Chicago Cubs
- Kris Bryant: 7.3 WAR (#5 position player in 2016)
- Jon Lester: 5.6 WAR (#4 pitcher in 2016)
- Total: 12.9 WAR

#7. 2005 Chicago Cubs
- Derrek Lee: 7.7 WAR (#3 position player in 2005)
- Carlos Zambrano: 5.6 WAR (#9 pitcher in 2005)
- Total: 13.3 WAR

#6. 1970 Chicago Cubs
- Billy Williams: 6.6 WAR (#9 position player in 1970)
- Fergie Jenkins: 7.3 WAR (#4 pitcher in 1970)
- Total: 13.9 WAR

#5. 1969 Chicago Cubs
- Ron Santo: 5.5 WAR (#22 position player in 1969)
- Bill Hands: 8.4 WAR (#3 pitcher in 1969)
- Total: 13.9 WAR

#4. 2001 Chicago Cubs
- Sammy Sosa: 10.3 WAR (#2 position player in 2001)
- Jon Lieber: 3.9 WAR (#25 pitcher in 2001)
- Total: 14.2 WAR

#3. 1971 Chicago Cubs
- Billy Williams: 4.3 WAR (#35 position player in 1971)
- Fergie Jenkins: 10.1 WAR (#3 pitcher in 1971)
- Total: 14.4 WAR

#2. 2015 Chicago Cubs
- Anthony Rizzo: 6.4 WAR (#11 position player in 2015)
- Jake Arrieta: 8.3 WAR (#2 pitcher in 2015)
- Total: 14.7 WAR

#1. 1992 Chicago Cubs
- Ryne Sandberg: 7.8 WAR (#2 position player in 1992)
- Greg Maddux: 9.1 WAR (#1 pitcher in 1992)
- Total: 16.9 WAR

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