One of those failures was the great 1984 team, and I don’t use the term “great” lightly. The club had a new manager and made a significant trade just before Opening Day that brought two key players, Gary Matthews and Bob Dernier, to the North Side. Between that, the maturing of Leon Durham and Jody Davis, and the breakout year of N.L. MVP Ryne Sandberg, the Cubs had a team that moved into first place in early June. Even with all the positive changes, that was unexpected after an 89-loss season in 1983, not to mention nearly 40 years of various failures since the previous Cubs N.L. pennant in 1945.
But GM Dallas Green wasn’t satisfied. In late May he sent the popular Bill Buckner (who had had his playing time reduced by the acquisition of Matthews, which sent Durham to first base and Buckner to the bench) to the Red Sox for Dennis Eckersley. Still not satisfied with his rotation, Green traded Joe Carter, Mel Hall and Don Schulze to the Indians for Rick Sutcliffe, George Frazier and Ron Hassey.
While Sutcliffe had been N.L….