In 2007, Tom Gorzelanny won 14 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates -- a team that lost 94 games and finished in dead last. On Aug. 4, 2009, Gorzelanny made his debut with the Chicago Cubs, and while it is only one start, the newest Cub to don the No. 22 jersey pitched a lot like this one guy who also once proudly wore No. 22.
And no, I'm not talking about Kevin Hart, either.
Gorzelanny tossed 7 1/3 strong innings in the Cubs' 6-3 win against the Reds. He allowed one run, scattered three hits and struck out six batters. The most important statistic, however, is that Gorzelanny allowed only one walk. At the plate, he went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run batted in.
He threw first-pitch strike after first-pitch strike, showing flashes of why the Pirates made him a second-round pick in 2003. It also showed why the Pirates haven't made the playoffs since my mom rolled around town in a black Chevy Corsica with a tape deck.
Despite this being the smallest of sample sizes, there is very little doubt in my mind that Gorzelanny can (and will) become the next discarded Pirate to have his star shine with the Cubs. If he does so, he will follow in the footsteps of Aramis Ramirez, Kenny Lofton, and to an extent, Randall Simon.
In six years with the Pirates, A-Ram had a .263 batting average, .314 on-base percentage, .435 slugging percentage and a .747 OPS. Ever since putting on Cubbie blue pin stripes, Ramirez has hit .300, on-based at a .364 clip, posted a .554 slugging percentage and OPSed .915 while watching his errors drop from a career high 33 in 2003, to a career best 10 in 2007.
In 2003, Lofton batted .277 with the Pirates. After coming along in the Ramirez trade, he hit .327, posted a .381 on-base percentage and an .852 OPS as a center fielder.
Even Randall Simon enjoyed success as a Cub. In 33 games he slugged 6 home runs and hit .282. In 91 games with Pittsburgh, he hit .274 with 10 home runs.
Long story, short: Gorzelanny has a lot to live up to when compared to the former Pirates the Cubs have saved in the past. But if baseball's favorite minor league affiliate model has taught us anything, Gorzelanny is bound to succed if only because he's out of Pittsburgh.