By Zane Miller
In the 32-season long history of the South Bend Cubs, the team has gone 4 for 8 in championship finals appearances, to go along with making 15 postseason appearances in total. As of this writing, South Bend’s best regular season record came in 1989 at 85-47, while their worst came in 1998 at 40-100. These are the top five single seasons by starting pitchers that I felt have stood out the most during the team history of the Cubs.
In total, the team has won four championships, coming in 1989, 1993, 2005 and 2019. The Cubs were previously known as the South Bend White Sox from their debut in 1988 to 1993, before becoming the South Bend Silver Hawks from 1994 to 2014.
5. Mike Sirotka (1994)
The 425th overall pick of the 1993 draft out of LSU by the Chicago White Sox went 12-9 during the 1994 season with the Silver Hawks, pitching 196 and two-thirds innings while allowing 11 home runs, 67 earned runs and 183 hits for a 3.07 ERA on the year. However, South Bend claimed a 72-67 record, missing the 1994 playoffs. Sirotka would make his major league debut in 1995 with the Chicago White Sox.
4. Danny Muegge (2004)
The 576th overall pick of the 2003 draft out of Texas by the Arizona Diamondbacks picked up a 14-4 record in 2004 with the Silver Hawks, with a total of 153 innings pitched while allowing 16 home runs, 53 earned runs and 149 hits to earn a 3.12 ERA. South Bend took a 77-63 showing to make the 2004 playoffs, defeating the Fort Wayne Wizards two games to none in the first round, before losing to the West Michigan Whitecaps two games to none in the second round.
3. Sam Chavez (1989)
Chavez went 15-5 in 1989 with the White Sox, pitching 141 and a third innings, giving up just seven home runs, 30 earned runs and 125 hits for a 1.91 ERA. South Bend claimed their best regular season record as of this writing at 85-47 to make the 1989 playoffs, beating the Rockford Expos two games to none in the first round before taking down the Springfield Cardinals three games to none to win their first championship in franchise history, sweeping the playoffs in the process.
2. Michael Call (1993)
The 540th overall pick of the 1991 draft out of Washington by the Chicago White Sox took a 15-7 record in 1993 with South Bend, going 176 and a third innings with 14 home runs, 74 earned runs and 187 hits allowed for a 3.78 ERA. The White Sox went 77-59 to qualify for the 1993 playoffs, defeating the Rockford Royals two games to none in the first round, then beating the Clinton Giants three games to one in the finals to win their second championship in franchise history.
1. Sam Smith (2003)
The 579th overall pick of the 2002 draft out of South Alabama by the Arizona Diamondbacks claimed a record of 16-6 with the Silver Hawks, pitching 167 innings while allowing only seven home runs, 71 earned runs and 185 hits to get an ERA of 3.83. South Bend took a 72-64 record to qualify for the 2003 playoffs, losing in the first round to the Lansing Lugnuts two games to none in the first round.
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