Cubs of Yore: Les Lancaster

September 07, 2007 | Comments (0) | by The Hundley

Nickname: Lester Lacnaster (drunken Harry slur)

Played for The Cub: '87 to '91

Random Write-up: Les Lancaster was like most Cub players in that he was certainly on some bad, bad teams. But unlike others, he actually did get to play on a good team, the 1989 Cub. Les was pretty magical that year, going 4-2 with a 1.36 ERA in 42 appearances. He also won Game 2 of the NLCS. Les mostly starred in a middle relief role, although if called upon, he could nail down a save or toe the rubber for a spot start. The guy really wasn't all that spectacular for the most part, but he did Yeoman's work. In the parlance of our time, he was a Grinder. Les proudly donned a mullet, he looked like a white Native American (in fact I seem to remember that he MAY have been part Native American), and Harry loved him. I remember watching The Cub on TV, and while Les would be warming up Harry would note that his name sounded like a movie star - presumably after Burt Lancaster (real novel, Harry).

What the hell?: Head back to June 13, 1990 for the 1st game of a double header against The Met. The Cubs had lost 19-8 the day before, taxing the bullpen. The Cubs even used OF Lil Doug Dascenzo to pitch in the 9th to save arms for the next day's doubleheader. Lancaster replaced starter Jeff Pico with 2 outs and a man on first in the 6th, up 8-5. Lancaster struck out Mark Carreon to retire the side, but immediately ran into trouble in the 7th, allowing 4 singles to the first 5 batters. The next two batters were lefties, so with the bases loaded, 1 out, and an 8-6 lead, lefty Paul Assenmacher came in to pitch, with Lancaster moving to LF. Assenmacher was no better, giving up the lead with 2 singles and a walk, and was soon replaced by Lancaster without retiring a batter. Lancaster would pitch until he was replaced in the 9th, and allowed a remarkable 9 runs in relief. - (reference)

Also of Note: Career (estimated) earnings of $1.5 million-- again, not bad for a middle reliever, eh? Holds club record for hurling 30-2/3 innings of scoreless ball. Was named the Golden Baseball League Manager of the Year in 2006 for the Reno Silver Sox.