Cubs transactions January 24, 1994
The Cubs signed Chicago, Illinois native Dave Otto. It was the tall (6’7") left-hander’s last of eight seasons in the majors. He pitched in 36-games, all in relief, going (0-1, 3.80).
After being selected by Oakland in the 2nd round of the 1985 Draft, Otto spent the majority of his career with the A’s in the minor leagues. He pitched in just 9-games over four seasons with Oakland before signing as a free agent with the Indians in 1991.
In two seasons with Cleveland Otto appeared in 36-games making 30 starts with an overall record of (7-17, 5.49). The Pirates selected him as part of the minor league draft in 1992 where he was transitioned to a reliever going (3-4, 5.03) in 28-games before being released in August of 1993.
Otto was a standout athlete at Elk Grove High School and later attended the University of Missouri where he excelled as a DH and pitcher. In 2000 Otto was inducted into the Tiger’s Hall of Fame.
Although Otto’s professional career is far from memorable, when have grown familiar with him as a fill-in member of the Cubs’ broadcast teams. First working alongside Chip Caray in replacement of Steve Stone and then filling in for the late Ron Santo on WGN Radio. Otto is still visible as a fill-in commentator for Comcast SpotsNet on Cubs pre and post game broadcasts.
Below is a wonderful video of the first night game at Wrigley Field on August 8, 1988 (thanks to @ChicagoTough for sending my way).
Yes, as many of you already know, the game was postponed in the fourth inning due to rain with the Cubs leading the Phillies 3-1.
Thus, the first ‘official’ night game at Wrigley was held the following evening against the Mets, which the Cubs won 6-4.
For the season Chicago played six total games under the lights at Wrigley posting a (3-3) record.
3:00 – Interview with long-time season ticket holder and life-long Cubs fan Harry Grossman. He hits the switch to turn on the lights for the first time in a pre-game ceremony (8:15 mark).
22:00 – Old car commercial (there are several throughout the game).
31:00 – Ryne Sandberg commercial for Chevy.
36:00 - Tim McCarver & Ralph Kiner discuss new lights at Wrigley Field.
41:45 – Steve Stone introduces Wayne Messmer to sing God Bless America.
53:00 – Harry Caray interviews Bill Murray.
58:00 – First pitch from Rick Sutcliffe.
Cubs fans have been privy to the exceptional work of Len Kasper & Bob Brenly over the last eight seasons. That’s not as commonplace in baseball as some might believe it to be.
Granted, Brenly wasn’t a favorite analyst of mine out of the gate. He did grow on me and I’m honestly disappointed he won’t be back in the Cubs’ broadcast booth next season—but wishing him all the best wherever he lands.
I’m not shocked, however, Brenly’s leaving Chicago. Here’s what I said in late August:
Post Aug 27: I’m wondering if Brenly wants to come back?
From the outside it seems broadcasting Cubs games is a wonderful gig, Brenly is certainly paid well, but does he want to sit through another three or four losing seasons on the North Side?
Watching the rebuild may not be worth it for a guy like Brenly whose on-air candidness and occasional humor would be welcomed with open arms in markets with competitive teams like Arizona or Los Angeles.
Personally, I’d enjoy if Brenly returns to the Cubs’ booth in 2013 and beyond. But I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised if he opts to move elsewhere.
Losing is hard to swallow, even when you’re being paid handsomely to watch.
Nonetheless, now the discussion turns to Brenly’s replacement, and it’s a hugely important decision considering the television broadcast is the main marketing arm of the Cubs…especially coming off a 101-loss season and continuing to sell the idea of longer-term rebuilding plan.
Paul Sullivan of the Tribune lists several possible replacements for Brenly:
- Mark Grace
- Rick Sutcliffe
- Todd Hollandsworth
- Kerry Wood
- Steve Stone
- Eric Karros
- Gary Matthews
- Darrin Jackson
- Steve Lyons.
I understand how beloved Gracie is on the North Side, but I fear his reckless lifestyle would ultimately become a distraction to the organization—same as it did in Arizona.
Kerry Wood is obviously another popular name in the mix, but he has zero broadcasting experience (that I’m aware of) and is the least polished of the early candidates.
I could live with ‘Big Red’ Sutcliffe or the return of Steve Stone. But I’ve always had a soft spot for former-Cub Doug Glanville.
Glanville is smart, articulate, funny and still remains tied to the area as President of GK Alliance, LLC located in the west Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, as well as serving as an analyst on ESPN’s Baseball Tonight show since 2010.
There are certain to be other candidates. Heck, it’s likely the Cubs have been narrowing down a short-list for weeks now.
The good news is Kasper is signed through another four season, which is a saving grace in itself. Len’s one of the best TV play-by-play voices in baseball. So regardless of whomever is paired with him, at least we’re promised half the broadcast to be enjoyable.
All said, the announcement of Brenly’s replacement is certain to be one of the biggest offseason additions to the Cubs’ family. But here’s hoping it doesn’t remain the top headline for long.
We know whoever it is the Cubs land as its new television analyst won’t be starting at third base, center field, or shoring-up a leaky starting rotation. That’s the kind of signing we can only hope takes top-billing this winter.
Then again, Brenly’s replacement will be an everyday player in the booth, that someone we’ll want to welcome into our living rooms for those six/seven months out of the year.
Brenly couldn’t have been a better house guest on our flat screens, even if he took some getting used to.
Who knows if we’ll be as lucky to have someone as good as Brenly again?
During his interview on 670 The Score Monday morning,
Steve Stone suggested the Cubs have undervalued team
speed for many years.
Stone says the Cubs would benifit from more speed than
power-bats with the wind typically blowing out at
Wrigley Field for 4 out of the 6 months of the season–
April, May, June & September.
Right away Rays center fielder BJ Upton jumped to mind.
Upton, 25, has major upside…and serious speed.
He would flourish in Wrigley’s small outfield and could
bat anywhere from 1-6 in the lineup.
It’s been no secret the Rays have grown tired of Upton’s
apparent lack of motivation from time-to-time, and trading
him wouldn’t be out of the question.
Chicago has the chips to get him, but whether or not they
value Upton is another question. According to Stony, probably not.