This year's World Series matchup features two clubs with storied histories spanning more than a century. And although the Indians and Cubs have shared the field just 18 times -- this will be their first meeting in the postseason -- there are a few instances where that history intertwines.Perhaps most
This year's World Series matchup features two clubs with storied histories spanning more than a century. And although the Indians and Cubs have shared the field just 18 times -- this will be their first meeting in the postseason -- there are a few instances where that history intertwines.
Perhaps most notably, former big league pitcher Rick Sutcliffe stands at the center of the Cleveland-Chicago Venn diagram. Sutcliffe played for both franchises, even splitting time between them within the same season.
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On June 13, 1984, the right-hander, then 27 years old and in his second season with Cleveland, was famously dealt from the last-place Indians to the postseason-bound Cubs.
"I picked up 25 games in one night," Sutcliffe told Sports Illustrated at the time. "That's a Houdini type of move!"
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Sutcliffe endured a slow start to the year, posting a 5.15 ERA through 15 starts for the Tribe, but he turned it around upon joining Chicago. He finished the season with a 16-1 record and a 2.69 ERA in 20 starts with the Cubs, winning the National League Cy Young Award as Chicago advanced to the postseason for the first time since 1945.
In total, Sutcliffe pitched in 196 games, including three postseason starts, for Chicago (1984-91), going 82-65 with a 3.74 ERA. In two-plus years with Cleveland (1982-84), Sutcliffe posted a 35-24 record and a 3.92 ERA through 85 games. He also pitched for the Dodgers, Orioles and Cardinals, but all three of his All-Star campaigns came with the Indians (1983) and Cubs ('87 and '89).
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Sutcliffe is far from the only big leaguer to play for each of this year's World Series teams. Below is a look at some other notable players who have donned both uniforms:
Assenmacher pitched in the postseason for both the Indians and the Cubs, picking up wins in both the 1996 American League Division Series and 1997 AL Championship Series for Cleveland. The left-handed reliever went 22-16 with a 3.42 ERA in five seasons with the Cubs and finished off his 14-year career going 19-10 with a 3.83 ERA in five years with the Indians.
Wood won the National League Rookie of the Year Award with the Cubs in 1998 after they took him fourth overall in the 1995 Draft. The right-handed flamethrower was a game away from reaching the World Series with Chicago in 2003, losing Game 7 of the NLCS to the eventual World Series champion Marlins. Wood hit the first home run by a pitcher in an NLCS game since another Cub, Sutcliffe, did it in Game 1 in 1984. Wood made 81 appearances for Cleveland from 2009-10, compiling 28 saves.
Hill played 2 1/2 years for the Indians before Cleveland traded him midway through the 1993 season to the Cubs for outfielder Candy Maldonado. Hill hit .241 with 28 home runs and 88 RBIs in 205 career games for the Indians. He had some of his best years as a Cub, hitting .304 with 59 home runs and 167 RBIs in 331 games over five seasons.
DeRosa hit .289 with 31 home runs and 159 RBIs in 298 games with the Cubs from 2007-08. Chicago traded him before the 2009 season to Cleveland for right-handers Chris Archer and Jeff Stevens and left-hander John Gaub. DeRosa went on to hit .270 with 13 home runs and 50 RBIs in 71 games with the Indians, who traded him midway through the season to St. Louis for right-handers Chris Perez and Jess Todd.
Thornton began his career with the Cubs in 1973 and played four seasons in Chicago, where he batted .267 with 30 home runs and 122 RBIs. He signed as a free agent with the Indians on Dec. 4, 1984, and made the AL All-Star team in 1982 and '84. Thornton went on to play 10 seasons in Cleveland, hitting .254 with 214 home runs and 749 RBIs.
The 6-foot-1, 150-pound infielder finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 1975 with the Cubs when he hit .248 and drove in 70 runs. He made the NL All-Star team in 1977 before being traded from Chicago to Philadelphia before the '79 season. The Phillies sent him to Cleveland in 1982 as part of a package deal for outfielder Von Hayes. Trillo hit .272 in 88 games in 1983, his only season with the Indians.
Clark began his career with four years with the Indians, hitting .244 with 17 home runs and 68 RBIs in 212 games. The Indians dealt the outfielder to the Cubs for outfielder Mitch Webster following the 1989 season. Clark batted .275 in 1990 with the Cubs and then played in Kansas City, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles before resurfacing with Chicago in 1997. He set a career high when he hit .301 for the Cubs that year.
Tabler got his feet wet as an infielder for the Cubs across two seasons before he was traded to the Indians in 1983. He quickly ascended to become the Indians' starting first baseman, nabbing an All-Star selection in 1987 when he hit .307 with a career-high 11 home runs and 86 RBIs. Tabler's success in big situations earned him the nickname "Mr. Clutch" -- he went 43-for-88 (.489) and drove in 108 runs with the bases loaded over the course of his career.
Eckersley began his Hall of Fame career as a starter for Cleveland before becoming one of the most dominant relievers in baseball history, going 40-32 with a 3.23 ERA in his first three big league seasons before he was traded to Boston in 1978. The Hall of Famer returned to the Midwest to suit up with the Cubs beginning in 1984, when he won 10 games down the stretch as a starter to help Chicago capture the NL East. Eckersley sported a 27-26 record over three seasons on the North Side before moving on to enjoy his greatest success in Oakland.
Hill's story began in Chicago, long before he became one of baseball's most unlikely dominant starters in 2016. The southpaw spent four big league seasons in the Friendly Confines, posting an 18-17 record with an 8.2 strikeout-per-nine innings ratio, and getting the starting nod for Game 3 of the 2007 NLDS against Arizona. Injuries would curtail the middle part of Hill's career; he made the Indians' Opening Day roster as reliever in 2013 and pitched in a career-high 63 games while stranding 51 inherited runners, the best of any AL reliever that year.
Tavarez, a right-hander from the Dominican Republic, enjoyed a stellar freshman season in Cleveland, leading all AL relief pitchers with 10 wins along with a 2.44 ERA and finishing sixth in the 1995 AL Rookie of the Year vote. That fall, Tavarez tossed 4 1/3 scoreless innings against the Braves in the World Series. He returned to a starting role with the Cubs in 2001, tossing a career-high 161 1/3 innings and 107 strikeouts.
The Hall of Fame slugger gained most of his notoriety as a player with the Pirates and then as a broadcaster with the Mets. Kiner was sent to Chicago in June 1953 alongside Joe Garagiola as part of a 10-player trade, and knocked 28 homers in his first four months as a Cub before clubbing another 22 the following season. He played his final season with the Indians in 1955 before injuries forced him to end a remarkable 10-year career at age 32.
Dunston was made the first overall Draft pick in the 1982 by the Cubs and won the team's starting shortstop role in late '85. Dunston teamed with second baseman Ryne Sandberg to form one of the NL's best middle infields, garnering All-Star selections in 1988 and '90. A herniated disk sapped Dunston of some of his prime years, but he returned to form from 1994-97, batting .294 during that span. Dunston signed a free-agent contract with the Indians before the 1998 season but was traded in July back to the West Coast for the second of three stints with the Giants.
Lofton's rare combination of speed, defense and batting average made him a force in baseball during the 1990s with the Indians. He collected five consecutive AL stolen base titles from 1992-96 while also batting over .300 in each season from 1993-97. Lofton was also among the game's premier center fielders, earning four consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 1993-96. He was an important piece of Cleveland's two pennant winners in 1995 and '97. He was traded with Aramis Ramirez from the Pirates to the Cubs in July 2003, and batted .327 with 12 steals over 56 games in his lone half-season on the North Side.
Oliver Macklin and Matt Kelly are reporters for MLB.com.