By Bruce Levine–
CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Cubs were no-hit by Phillies ace Cole Hamels on Saturday at Wrigley Field for the first time in 50 years.READ MORE: Mayor Lightfoot Delays General Iron Permit To Move To South Side Over EPA Concerns
The last no-hitter had come on Aug. 19, 1965, by Jim Maloney of the Reds. Then just three weeks later, the Cubs, in their last year being run by the “college of coaches” rather than by a manager, had a perfect game thrown against them by Dodgers legend Sandy Koufax on Sept. 9, 1965, in Los Angeles.
The irony of this no-hit game and the fact that Hamels has been on the Cubs’ wish list since last August may help to put into perspective where this young team is at going into the championship months of the baseball season.
Hamels was claimed by the Cubs in 2014 after the non-waiver trading deadline had expired, but the two teams couldn’t work out a deal. Hamels wasn’t able to go on waivers again for 30 days, thus keeping him off the trade market until the fall.
The Cubs are looking to add pitching and a hitter for their first run at the playoffs since 2008. The question of what they should obtain and at what cost lingers for the front office bosses. For Hamels, you must take the three years remaining after 2015 at around $75 million. You also must come up with a cache of young players that Philadelphia can add to a new group of evolving young players.
Falling behind the Giants for the second wild-card spot on Saturday can be viewed as a temporary glitch or a sign that the player-development curve isn’t quite ready to deliver a playoff-caliber run.
Hamels wasn’t quite sure how to handle a question about pitching for the Cubs if he is traded by next Friday.READ MORE: Chicago Night Clubs Gear Up For Looser COVID-19 Restrictions As State Prepares To Enter Bridge Phase
“This happens a lot in baseball during this day and age,” Hamels said after making history at the 101-year-old ballpark. “You have to take it as a compliment. It means you’re playing the game really well. If you play long enough, it happens to everyone.
“There aren’t many Derick Jeter, Chipper Jones, Tony Gwynn or Cal Ripken guys out there (staying with one team for an entire career) — just does not happen anymore. I try to live in the moment and enjoying every moment I have.”
So are the other clubs following Hamels. The Royals, Giants, Red Sox and Dodgers all had top major league scouts watching Hamels no-hit the Cubs.
Scoring runs has become a serious challenge for the Cubs, who have played teams tough from jump street this season. The team’s batting average went down two points on Saturday, registering 27 outs without a hit. Chicago’s titting .237, the third-lowest percentage in the National league.
Do the Cubs have enough magic to make a run at the playoffs without a big hitting and pitching addition? Don’t bet against optimistic and pragmatic Cubs manager Joe maddon. He can even minimize a no-hit game as just another loss.
“He surely increased his value, I imagine,” Maddon quipped of Hamels. “He was really good, and he is really good. Every time I see him he kid of looks like that. Give the guy credit.”
The Cubs will give Hamels credit. Will they give him the cash as well? Chicago’s brass has difficult decisions to make between now and the deadline: deal prospects or stand pat? Time and a young corps of exciting players puts time on the Cubs’ side.MORE NEWS: Saint Joseph Catholic School Principal On Administrative Duty After Former Teacher Charged With Child Sex Crimes
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.