Kyle Hendricks is the only remaining starter from the 2016 World Series roster that is still a Chicago Cub.
Hendricks was the number one pitcher under manager David Ross, following the departures of Yu Darvish and John Lester. After signing a contract extension, Hendricks is under team control for the next few years, becoming a free agent after the 2024 season.
The 32-year-old is pitching in his ninth major league season looking to build on what he was able to accomplish in the past few seasons. In an article on mlb.com, Hendricks says he would like to exceed what the Cubs have given him, “The work will never end. I just want to be the best pitcher I can always be, and at the end of the day, when my career is said and done, to have no regrets. The hard work continues. And really, nothing changes for me.”
Nicknamed “The Professor” for his work ethic and pre-game preparation, the Dartmouth University product works hard and studies each and every player he may go up against every five days.
His former Dartmouth University coach, Bob Whalen said, “He really wanted to be good. He said to me from the beginning of the recruiting process that he wanted to go to the best school he could get into, but not at the expense of giving up his lifelong dream of pitching at the Major League level.”
As a member of the Dartmouth “Big Green,” Hendricks, as a Freshman, led his team to their first NCAA regional tournament in 22 years after pitching in the clinching game of the Ivy League Championship Series.
In addition to his coaches, former professors spoke highly of the 2014 graduate. One of his former professors Bruce Sacerdote said, “He was quiet and very thoughtful, much like the way he pitches, always very intense and focused.”
Hendricks was able to make his dream come true on July 10, 2014 against the Cincinnati Reds, making his MLB debut. Although it did not go as planned, allowing four runs, on five hits, in six innings of work, he would work to figure out major league hitters.
He then quickly become a staple in the Cubs starting rotation.
Hendricks, who has been with the Cubs organization since 2012, had his biggest moment come on Nov. 2, 2016, when he started the biggest game in recent Cubs history. As most baseball fans know, the Indians blew a 3-1 series lead, and the Cubs were able to complete one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.
Often compared to former pitcher Greg Maddux, who was one of the most dominant non-power pitchers in history, Hendricks pitched an opening day “Maddux Game” to start the shortened 2020 season. Tossing less than 100 pitches, en route to a complete game 3-hit shut out of the Milwaukee Brewers.
In his eight seasons with the Cubs, Hendricks has a cumulative stat line of a 3.46 ERA, .588-win percentage, and a total 222 starts. During the 2016 World Series season, he posted a league best 2.13 ERA and finished second in Cy Young Award voting. In 2022, he may not have the numbers that we know and expect from him since 2016, but he has had his ups and downs throughout his career.
At 32, he will be one of the older players on the Cubs, who have filled their lineup with younger players brought up from their minor league farm systems.
He still has a lot to prove and a lot to share with his younger teammates. The question is, how much longer will he be able to share his knowledge in Chicago?