Today’s Cubs Birthdays (October 23)
~Solly Drake 1930– (Cubs 1956)
Solly got a lot of time in center field for the 1956 Cubs. He showed some speed on the base paths (nine stolen bases), and played decently defensively, but didn’t really hit enough to keep his spot in the lineup. Drake later played for the Dodgers and Phillies. Both of his career homers were hit while wearing a Cubs uniform. Solly’s brother Sammy played for the Cubs too. (Photo: 1957 Topps Baseball Card)
~John Lackey 1978– (Cubs 2016-2017)
After the 2015 season the Cubs realized they needed one more big starter to take them to the next level. Lackey was signed to a free agent contract to fill that role. The 2-time World Series champ (with Angels and Red Sox) was exactly the veteran presence the Cubs were looking for — he won 11 games, posted a solid 3.35 ERA, and held down a spot in the postseason rotation (although he didn’t win any of those games). He is now a 3-time World Series champ. Lackey finished his Cubs career in 2017. He went 12-12 and gave up a league-leading 36 homers. While he didn’t make the NLDS roster against the Nationals, Lackey did pitch in three games in the NLCS (all in relief). He was lit up. His worst moment (9.82 ERA) was in Game 2 when he gave up the game-winning walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth.
~Mike Sullivan 1866–1906 (Colts 1890)
Big Mike, as he was called, pitched for the Cubs (then known as the Colts) early in his career. He went on to pitch in the big leagues for ten seasons for Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland, and Boston. In his one season in Chicago, he was 5-6 with a 4.59 ERA. Mike died only a few years after he retired, at the way-too-young age of 39.
~Félix Doubront 1987– (Cubs 2014)
The Venezuelan lefty was an important part of the Red Sox pitching staff that won the 2013 World Series, but he got off to a rough start in 2014 and was acquired by the Cubs. In limited action at the end of the 2014 season, he pitched fairly well for the Cubs (3.98 ERA), but he didn’t make the roster out of spring training in 2015, and was released.