Sunday, June 17, 2012
On this day in 1997, Doug Drabek fanned Ryne Sandberg with two Cubs on to squash a rally and help preserve the lead, which became an eventual White Sox winner.
After being drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the eleventh round of the 1983 draft, the Sox sent Drabek and Kevin Hickey to the New York Yankees in August 1984 to complete a deal for Roy Smalley that was made the month before. How did that trade work out? Smalley went to the Twins in a trade for a player they had before that wouldn't see the majors again and a player that would never play in the majors. Hickey bounced around the minors, saw MLB action with the Baltimore Orioles and eventually became the White Sox batting practice pitcher. Drabek would find success with the Pittsburgh Pirates and make it back to the White Sox in 1997 at the tail end of his career.
Doug spent 1997 with the Pale Hose before moving on to Baltimore. Drabek did have a record above .500 with the Sox, but had a ghastly ERA of 5.74. His best days were behind him, but he managed to squeeze out some quality innings for the South Siders. As for the setup to the Sandberg strikeout, Doug created his own mess by hitting the leadoff batter of the sixth inning, Brant Brown, before getting Mark Grace and Sammy Sosa to fly out. Dave Clark singled to put runners on first and third, setting up the Ryno strikeout, which was Drabek's final batter of the game. Matt Karchner pitched two quick innings before Roberto Hernandez got the save on three straight groundouts after giving up a double to Sammy Sosa, who eventually scored on Kevin Orie's groundout, and a walk to Dave Clark to start the ninth inning.