The 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland remains a historic event, as the Cubs broke the dreaded “Curse of the Goat. The Cubs won their first World Series championship in 108 years, edging out the Cleveland Indians in a close Game 7.
In the 10th inning of Game 7, it was left-hander Mike Montgomery, 34, who got the final out to seal the Cubs’ World Series title. With the score 8-7, Montgomery induced Michael Martinez to ground out to third base. It was a slow hit, but then-third baseman Kris Bryant handled it well and threw to first base, where first baseman Anthony Rizzo threw his arms in the air, signaling the end of the curse. It’s a story that still resonates with many, even though Montgomery hasn’t accomplished much in the major leagues.
In fact, Montgomery wasn’t even with the Cubs when the 2016 season opened. He was in a Seattle uniform, but when Seattle’s postseason hopes looked bleak, he was traded and joined the Cubs. Montgomery went 1-1 with a 2.82 ERA in 17 games (five starts) with the Cubs, and naturally earned a spot on the postseason roster, as well as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pitch a World Series-winning inning when then-closer Aroldis Chapman was ejected in Game 7.
But Montgomery’s career hasn’t been as smooth since. In 2018, he broke into the starting rotation and pitched well, but never really moved forward. In 2019, he was traded to Kansas City, and in 2020, he was released after just three games with the Royals. That remained Montgomery’s last major league appearance. His record of 23 wins in 183 career games (70 starts) is no longer being broken.
In 2021, Montgomery tried to rebound by signing with Samsung as a replacement foreign player for Ben Lively, but he was sidelined by poor performances and an unfortunate incident. Despite high expectations, he struggled, going 2-5 with a 5.37 ERA in 11 games. In addition, he was suspended for 20 games and fined 3 million won (US$2,000) after a near-riot against KT in Daegu on September 10, when he threw a rosin bag at an umpire because he was unhappy with the call.
He returned after serving his punishment, but his overall command was shaky and he didn’t pitch with much confidence. He didn’t get a chance to show his true colors in the postseason, struggling in Game 1 of the playoffs. His stuff wasn’t bad, but his velocity and command were too shaky, and he was criticized for having a stubborn pattern.
As the disciplinary case shows, there was a character controversy, and Montgomery was reportedly not held in high regard by Samsung employees. It’s no wonder he was not renewed. To make matters worse, the prolonged coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic made it difficult for him to find a job in the United States. He went 2-10 with a 6.72 ERA in Triple-A in 2022, and his career went downhill from there.
But Montgomery hasn’t given up on a return to the big leagues just yet. This year, Montgomery is playing for Oklahoma City, the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 12 games (10 starts) through July 21, he’s 3-3 with a 5.17 ERA. In many ways, that’s a tough way to make it to the major leagues, and the top team in the majors is the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have a deep roster. Nonetheless, Montgomery is determined to enjoy the journey.
“I still love to compete, I still love the opportunity to see how good I can be,” Montgomery told KSL Sports on Nov. 21. As long as I have that drive and that aggression, I’m going to keep that going,” he said, adding, “The game has changed so much. The rules have changed over the years, as well as the way pitchers are used. I’m a left-handed starter who can throw long, so I want to make myself more valuable to the organization.”
Montgomery still remembers the 2016 World Series win vividly. He believes his heart still beats for baseball. He’s old enough to think about giving up, but he keeps trying. “I don’t know anything else,” Montgomery says. I’ve been playing professional baseball since I was 18. I’m still healthy, I can throw, I don’t get sick. I’m going to play this game as long as I can,” he said, adding, “I honestly believe I can get back to the big leagues,” hoping for one last chance.바카라사이트
At this point, his chances of returning to the big leagues are in limbo. The Dodgers have two left-handed starters in Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urias. Montgomery’s availability is somewhat limited. However, the September roster expansion awaits, and if he performs well this year, he could get a chance to return to the majors next year with a different team.