ARLINGTON, Texas – While watching the players celebrate around the pitcher’s mound on Tuesday, some Cubs’ fans were probably reflecting on their joy four years ago that the Dodgers are now feeling.
True, Los Angeles’ wait for a championship was not nearly the century-long one for north side baseball fans. But a 32-year wait for the franchise, with a number of close misses and playoff failures along the way, was long in its own way for Dodgers’ rooters.
But Cubs’ fans could celebrate at bit on after their Game 6 win over the r Rays at Globe Life Field in Arlington, for two familiar former players got their chance to experience World Series glory.
Mark Prior, who had a short but memorable career with the Cubs from 2002-2006, is the pitching coach for the Dodgers and won his first World Series title in his time in the MLB.
It continues a second chapter of his career in baseball after the first was derailed due to injury. He began working in the Padres front office in 2013 and transitioned to the minor league pitching coordinator for the franchise in 2015.
He stayed there till 2018 when he joined the Dodgers as their bullpen coach and was elevated to pitching coach this year. With a veteran starting staff and bullpen, the Dodgers led the MLB in ERA during the pandemic-shorted 2020 season (3.02).
The second-overall pick in the 2001 MLB Draft, Prior debuted for the Cubs the next season and had a breakout year in 2003. He went 18-6 and was a finalist for the Cy Young Award as he helped the Cubs win a division championship for the first time in 14 years.
Prio won a pair of playoff games as the Cubs would get a win away from the World Series, but was on the mound for the infamous eighth inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field. Up 3-0, the Marlins stormed back for an 8-3 win and took Game 7 to win the National League pennant.
Injuries piled up for Prior over the next three seasons and he wouldn’t pitch in the major leagues again after 2006.
Another former Cubs’ player on the Dodgers staff is Brant Brown, who has served as the team’s co-hitting coach along with Robert Van Scoyoc.
A 1992 draft pick of the Cubs, Brown began his coaching career in the Rangers organization in 2007 and stayed there till 2012 before joining the Mariners. He’s been with the Dodgers since 2017.
Brown played for the Cubs from 1996-1998 and then returned to the team in a trade for part of the 2000 season. In 253 career games with the Cubs, he hit .262/.319/.453 with 27 homers and 82 RBI, and had a few memorable moments with the team.
On June 5, 1998, he hit a walk-off home run against the White Sox in the first regular season game between the crosstown rivals played at Wrigley Field. Thirteen days later, he hit three home runs against the Phillies in Chicago, but he had a more infamous moment later that season.
Facing the Brewers on September 23rd at Milwaukee County Stadium and the Cubs in the midst of a race for the Wild Card, Brown dropped a fly ball with two outs in the ninth inning that allowed three runs to score. Before the catch, the Cubs had a 7-5 lead, but the error allowed the Brewers to escape with an 8-7 win.
WGN Radio color commentator Ron Santo’s “Oh No!” scream on the broadcast remains one of the more replayed moments of his tenure in the booth.