“I thank you so very much for this incredible honor. Having played baseball at Cordova High School under legendary coach, Guy Anderson and at Sac City under Jerry Weinstein, I never realized how lucky I was to have coaching and teammates like I had in Sacramento. I’m proud to be from this baseball hotbed and very special place.”
Major League Baseball
High School: Rancho Cordova
College: Sacramento City
* MLB Playing Career: 11 Years (Milwaukee, Seattle)
* Pitched No-Hitter (1993)
* 3.96 Career Earned Run Average
* 1,059 Career Strikeouts
* MLB Pitching Coach 9 Seasons (Tampa Bay, Milwaukee, Chicago Cubs, Detroit)
Chris was born in Carmichael but moved at an early age to Rochester, Minnesota to be closer to the Mayo Clinic after his mother was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Chris got involved in a variety of sports at a very young age. He was an AAU Swimmer, a state champion bowler, basketball player and a Punt, Pass & Kick Champion. At age 14, he moved back to Sacramento and started the 9th grade at Mitchell Jr. High. At that time, it looked like Chris was destined to be a football player, and was playing nearly every position. He then attended Cordova High School where he was a three sport star: playing football, basketball and baseball. In 1979, he was part of the Lancers state championship football team. When it was time for baseball season, his coach, Guy Anderson, knew there was something special about this big right-hander who could throw 90 miles per hour. Chris became one of the best pitchers in the area, and was essential to Cordova’s 1981 State Championship season.
After a standout career at Cordova, where he was an All-Sacramento City selection his senior year, he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 29th round. He was offered numerous scholarships including a full ride to play football and baseball at Oklahoma State University. He was also being recruited by Jerry Weinstein at Sacramento City College. Chris decided to stay home and play for one of the best junior college programs in the country. He was part of the Panthers conference championship team in 1982, that made it to the state championship game.
Sac City’s powerhouse program featured 16 players being drafted in 1982 and Chris was one of them. He was drafted again, this time in the second round by the Milwaukee Brewers. In 1984, he was 17-6 and the Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year. In 1986, he got the call to make his major league debut. He was initially brought up to be a closer, but was told by his manager, George Bamberger, that he would be the starting pitcher the next day. Chris threw 4-2/3 innings of no hit ball in his professional debut.
In 1989, he had one of his best seasons, winning 15 games with an ERA of 2.95. Three years later in 1992, he had an impressive record of 16-6. He won 67 games with Milwaukee and appeared in 212 games. After that season, Chris was a free agent and signed with the Seattle Mariners. The upstart franchise was building something special with Hall of Fame players, Ken Griffey Jr., Randy Johnson and Alex Rodriquez; under the direction of manager Lou Pinela. Chris had his shining moment when he made his fourth start for his new team. On April 22, 1993, Chris was dominant on the mound and threw a no-hitter in shutting down the Boston Red Sox 7-0. He was only the second pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Mariners franchise history and his record stood for 19 years.
The Mariners won the American League West Division twice in a three year span, including the 1995 season where they defeated the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series. Chris was the starting pitcher in two games and had one start in the American League Championship Series.
After retiring as a player in 1996, Chris found a new career as a pitching coach. He guided the staffs of Tampa Bay, Milwaukee, the Chicago Cubs and the Detroit Tigers. In his time with the Cubs, from 2012 - 2017, Chris would have the ultimate success. He was an integral part of the Cubs amazing turnaround. In 2016, he developed one of the best pitching staffs in baseball and helped lead Chicago to their first World Series title in 108 years.
Chris has been involved in Major League Baseball for 19 seasons as both a player and coach. He had a solid 11 year career, accumulating 94 victories which included a no-hitter. He had 1,059 strikeouts and a lifetime ERA of 3.96. He will always be known as one of the top pitchers and fiery competitors from Sacramento, as well as one of the best pitching coaches in the game.
Chris loves his hometown and has so many special memories of Rancho Cordova and Sacramento City College. He is part of the rich tradition of both of these outstanding programs and is another major league baseball great from Sacramento.