Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
James Fegan

Mark Grace, Shawon Dunston reunite as Cubs Hall of Famers

Shawon Dunston and Mark Grace were presented as the newest members of the Cubs Hall of Fame. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Only a couple of minutes into talking with reporters about being inducted into the Cubs Hall of Fame — and maturing as major-leaguers — together, Mark Grace couldn’t fight the urge to put his arm around Shawon Dunston.

‘‘It means everything to me because this is my buddy,’’ Dunston said.

Even as Grace talked about his selection being ‘‘the best thing that’s ever happened to me in my professional career,’’ the pair quickly digressed into memories of their nine seasons together on the Cubs’ infield.

The line between jokes and history got blurry. But while the more common story of why Dunston bonded with Grace is that the first baseman rescued the shortstop from errors by corraling wayward throws from his cannon of a right arm, the backstage tale is that Dunston appreciated Grace providing former Cubs manager Don Zimmer with a different young player to ride for every mistake.

‘‘Shawon was like, ‘Man, I’m glad you’re up here because Zimmer is all over you and not me,’ ’’ a laughing Grace said.

As telling stories about the ‘‘Shawon-O-Meter’’ sign led to memories of the Cubs’ 1989 National League East title season and a debate about losing to the Giants in the NL Championship Series — Grace still thinks the Cubs were the better team, while Dunston pointed out the Giants were more experienced — the two circled around to why Cubs tenures that were light on playoff triumphs still mean so much decades later.

‘‘It’s easy to come to the game when your team is always in first place,’’ Dunston said. ‘‘We had a sellout crowd every day, so we didn’t know we were in last, third or fourth or fifth. That’s why I say [Cubs fans] are the best fans.’’

‘‘If you give [Cubs fans] a good effort, an honest effort, they will love you,’’ Grace said. ‘‘We gave them the best we could for 162 [games] for over a decade, and we love them as much as they love us.’’

Hendricks’ many changes

Normally, a changeup is a pitch that has to be set up by the fastball to work. That right-hander Kyle Hendricks can command his changeup to every part of the strike zone and cut it to vary its movement is why he can have days such as Sunday.

Hendricks limited the Diamondbacks to two runs in 5‰ innings while throwing 43 changeups among his 82 pitches. That kind of usage impresses even his fellow changeup artists.

‘‘It really puts a wrinkle in it for hitters because you’re not really seeing it from other guys,’’ left-hander Jordan Wicks said of the cutting action on Hendricks’ changeup. ‘‘It’s the conviction he throws it with. He’s not afraid to use it to every hitter. He knows it’s a really good pitch, and he knows the zones to execute it in.’’

Hendricks recognized early that his changeup was moving more than usual on a windy day against an overeager lineup.

‘‘Once [catcher] Yan [Gomes] and I realized that, we stayed with it as much as we could,’’ Hendricks said. ‘‘It still plays off my fastball, so I’ve got to find spots to establish it down and away to play off of it.’’

Candelario leaves early

Corner infielder Jeimer Candelario was subbed out after the fourth inning for what manager David Ross described as back tightness. He was being evaluated after the game.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.