It’s officially spring training, now that the pitchers and catchers have reported to the Cubs’ facilities in Arizona. Position players are coming in next week.
Burt Hooton was a Cubs pitcher who seemed destined for greatness. He made his big league debut in 1971, without spending a single day in the minor leagues. No Cubs player has done this in the four decades since. And, on the second day of the 1972 season, he threw a no-hitter against the Phillies in Wrigley Field. Somehow, though, Hooton had a losing record for the 1972, 1973, and 1974 seasons. He was dealt away to Los Angeles early in the 1975 season, where he would later pitch in three World Series–all against the Yankees–and win a championship with the team in 1981.
He pitched his final season with the Texas Rangers in 1985, and he is currently the pitching coach for the Triple-A affiliate of the Houston Astros. Looking at his career, it can be said that being traded to Los Angeles clearly helped his career. It was actually the inverse of Rick Sutcliffe‘s experience with the Cubs and a trade.
And so the 2012 season–which is still more than a month away from officially starting–has passed its first milestone. More will be coming in the days ahead.