Milt Pappas

Milt PappasMilt Pappas

Milt Pappas  (Chicago Cubs, 1970-1973) 

Birthday:  May 11

Milt Pappas spent the last 4 years of his 13 year major league career as a starting pitcher for the Cubs. He was a 3-time all-star prior to coming to the Cubs.  Pappas won 17 games for the Cubs in both 1971 and 1972 and led the NL in shutouts (5) with the Cubs in 1971.    Pappas had a career highlight when he no-hit the San Diego Padres as a Cub at Wrigley Field on September 2, 1972, but he was just one batter short of a perfect game.  Pappas walked Larry Stahl in the 9th with 2 outs on a questionable ball/strike call that could've been called a strike to complete his perfect game (no other Cubs player has pitched a perfect game). 

Pappas pitched with some great Cubs pitching staffs.  He was with the team towards the end of Fergie Jenkins first run with the Cubs and was already on the staff when Rick Reuschel joined the team as a rookie.  He was very consistent, posting a 3+ WAR for 3 of his 4 seasons with the Cubs.  

I went to Fangraphs and looked at Cubs starting pitchers in the 1970's.  Pappas WAR of 10.5 is 6th best behind Rick Reuschel, Fergie Jenkins, Bill Bonham, Bill Hands & Burt Hooton.  His 51 wins is only behind Reuschel & Jenkins.  His 3.33 ERA is 2nd only to Fergie Jenkins 3.29.   

I really enjoy looking at the advanced statistics and think they are very valuable in judging a player's performance, however there is something to be said for the actual, old-time statistics that are results oriented.  Pappas was very durable, pitched a lot of complete games which probably
accounts for 17 wins twice for the Cubs.  Pappas FIP with the Cubs was 3.71 compared to his ERA of 3.33.  This is typically something that indicates a pitcher should've allowed more runs, but maybe it was just that Pappas was good at getting out of jams after putting runners on compared to his
counterparts.  It's interesting that Bill Hands & Burt Hooton both had a higher WAR than Pappas in slightly fewer games started and innings, but Pappas win/loss record was significantly better than both Hands and Hooton (Hands 41/41, Hooton 32/42, Pappas 51/41).  Upon joining the Cubs, Pappas was at the end of a long, successful major league career that included 209 MLB wins.  Perhaps his experience allowed him to get more out of his ability compared to other pitchers. 

Milt Pappas and Cubs Starting Pitchers of the 1970's


Name                              WAR     1970 Years
Rick Reuschel               39.5    1972-1979
Fergie Jenkins              28.1    1970-1973
Bill Bonham                   18.2    1971-1977
Bill Hands                       13.9    1970-1972
Burt Hooton                 12.2    1971-1975
Milt Pappas                   10.5    1970-1973


  1. Rick Reuschel              112
  2. Fergie Jenkins                81
  3. Milt Pappas                      51


  1. Fergie Jenkins            3.29
  2. Milt Pappas                  3.31
  3. Bill Hands                      3.41

W/L %:

  1. Fergie Jenkins       58.39% (112-101)
  2. Milt Pappas             55.43% (51-41)
  3. Steve Stone             53.66%  (22-19)

Milt Pappas:  This Day in Chicago Cubs History

July 23, 1970
Milt Pappas shuts out the Reds 1-0 with a 4-hit complete game at Wrigley Field.

August 17, 1970
At Wrigley Field, the Cubs defeat the Padres 7-0 behind Milt Pappas' 6-hit
complete game shutout. 

August 13, 1970 
Milt Pappas pitched well, giving up 3 runs and pitching a shutout.  He helped
his own cause also going 3 for 4 with a home run and 2 RBI as the Cubs defeated the Giants 6-3 at Wrigley Field. 

September 2, 1970
Cubs defeat the Phillies 17-2 at Wrigley Field.  Milt Pappas pitches 8 strong
innings and hits a home run.  Cubs hit 4 home runs on the day (Pappas, Joe Pepitone, Randy Hundley & Cleo James)


April 9, 1971
Milt Pappas pitches a 3-hit complete game shutout in his first start of the
season as the Cubs defeat the Astros 3-0.  Pappas also doubles and drives
in a run. 

April 13, 1971 
Milt Pappas pitches his 2nd complete game of the season and goes 2-0.  Pappas gave up 2 1st inning runs to the Dodgers, but held them scoreless the rest of the way for a Cubs 3-2 win at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles. 

May 14, 1971
Padres score 2 early runs against Milt Pappas, but he holds them scoreless
the rest of the way to a complete game 3-2 Cubs victory.  Ron Santo's 6th
inning home run is the game winner. 

July 11, 1971
In the 1st game of a doubleheader, Milt Pappas pitches a 4-hit complete
game shutout as the Cubs defeat the Padres 2-0. Johnny Callison drives in
both Cubs runs.

August 4, 1971
Cubs defeat the Padres 3-0 as Milt Pappas pitchs an 8-hit complete
game shutout. 

August 8, 1971
In the 2nd game of a doubleheader, Billy Williams homers twice and drives
in 5 runs.  Milt Pappas pitches his 2nd straight shutout (first on 8/4/1971) as
the Cubs defeat the Giants 8-0.

August 27, 1971
At Wrigley Field, the Cubs defeat the Braves 3-0 as Milt Pappas pitches
a 5-hit complete game shutout. 

From July 26 to August 31, Pappas pitched 7 complete games in 9 starts with a record of 6-2 with 2 shutouts. 


May 4, 1972
Cubs defeat the Braves 8-0 on Milt Pappas 6-hit, complete game shutout.

August 11, 1972
Milt Pappas pitches a great game, going the distance in a 7-2 win over the
Mets at Wrigley Field.  Pappas has a great game at the plate as well, going
3 for 3 with a walk, 2 singles, a home run and 5 RBI. 

September 2, 1972
Milt Pappas throws a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres 8-0.  Pappas
has long since thought the no-hitter should have been a perfect game if
he hadn't walked the 27th batter on a questionable ball/strike called
by umpire, Bruce Froemming.

September 26, 1972
At Jerry Parc in Montreal, Cubs defeat the Expos 6-0 as Milt Pappas pitches
a 4-hit complete game shutout.  


June 3, 1973
Milt Pappas homers and combines with Bob Locker on a 6-hit shutout as the
Cubs defeat the Braves 6-0 at Wrigley Field. 

June 24, 1973
At Busch Stadium in St. Louis, the Cubs defeat the Cardinals 2-0
as Milt Pappas pitches a 5-hit complete game shutout.