Mr. Chicago Baseball Exclusive Part II: Steve Stone talks Cubs

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By Paul M. Banks 

As the only person to work for both Chicago baseball teams as both a player and as a broadcaster, current White Sox radio color analyst Steve Stone is the foremost authority on Chicago baseball. Stone or “Stony” as he is nicknamed, has also done television broadcasts for ESPN and TBS and will become the Sox television analyst in 2009. Stony, also 670 The Score’s lead Baseball Analyst, is well known and loved for his baseball predictions, the high rate at which these predictions comes true, and the multitude of products that he has endorsed over the years. From 1983-97, Stone was the WGN color commentator for Chicago Cubs telecasts, working with Hall of Fame announcer Harry Caray for 15 years.
As a player, Stony won a Cy Young and The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year award in 1980. From 1983-97, Stone was the WGN color commentator for Chicago Cubs telecasts, working with Hall of Fame announcer Harry Caray for 15 years. After Harry’s death in February 1998, Stone was paired with Caray’s grandson Chip. Stone left the booth due to health reasons in 2000, but returned for 2003 and 2004.

As a player, Stony won a Cy Young and The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year award in 1980. That year he led the league in wins (25-7 for the Baltimore Orioles) and won-lost percentage (.781), and was 2nd in games started (37), 7th in ERA (3.23), strikeouts (149), hits allowed/9 IP (8.04), and hit batsmen (6), and 9th in innings (250.7). At one point, he had won 14 games in a row. He also pitched 3 perfect innings in the All-Star Game. He is regarded to be one of the best Jewish-American pitchers in major league history, 3rd career-wise in wins (107) and strikeouts (1,065), behind Ken Holtzman and Sandy Koufax.

I had an exclusive with Stony on Saturday night before the Sox-Indians game. Here’s what he had to say about the Cubs and their postseason prospects:

SS: “They’re certainly capable of beating anybody, but I think they scored 17 runs, total against the Dodgers for the season. So the Dodgers are a team that can shut them down, not saying that they will, but I do think the Dodgers can create a more difficult match-up. And then probably the other team is Philadelphia. The first round is when you’re more likely to be knocked out by a team you’re actually better than. In 3 of 5 a lot more so than in 4 of 7. Although in 4 of 7 the best team doesn’t always win either.”

His thoughts on the Cubs playoff rotation with Ryan Dempster first…

SS: “Seeing as how I called for that a month and a half ago, I think that’s the right decision. A month and half ago, when everyone was saying Zambrano was the right decision, I said that Dempster was the right choice because he’s been close to unbeatable at home, and the wind most likely will be blowing in at Wrigley Field, he’s much steadier than Zambrano. He probably won’t give you the great game that Zambrano occasionally does, but I do know he is 100% healthy which I didn’t know with Zambrano. I know they talked about bringing Dempster back in a potential game 5. However, if you’re down 2-1, you might want to think about bringing him back in game 4 depending on who your opponent is. All the signs pointed to Dempster being the number one. And a month and a half after I said it, Lou announced it.”

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On his bold predictions, and how often they come true…

SS: “This year when I said the Cubs would win their division by 8-10 games and most people in this city thought I was crazy, I stuck by that. They were actually up 11 before they took their foot off the gas pedal, but they could have pretty much won the division by whatever margin they wanted to because they were far and away better than anyone else in the division. I remember on June 11th when I did {ESPN’s} “Pardon the Interruption,” I said to Cub guy Mike Wilbon, I want to have it on record that I told you the Cubs would win the division by 8 and 10 games, because they are a far superior team to Milwaukee.”

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Comments

  1. Cano's Cards says

    wow… Stone sure is patting himself on the back there…

  2. The Statue of Harold Baines says

    Yep. no one would accuse him of being too modest there!

    AND WHITE SOX AL CENTRAL CHAMPS!!!!!!!!!!1

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