At the tail end of spring training in 1984, Bob Dernier was traded to the Chicago Cubs along with Gary Matthews by the Philadelphia Phillies. The deal was one of the better moves made by Dallas Green and the Cubs in the 1980s, as both Dernier and Matthews were instrumental in Chicago’s run to the playoffs in 1984.
Dernier only had one season in his career where he hit right-handed pitching with any effectiveness, and it so happened that it was 1984 with the Cubs. Dernier was a slap-hitting right-handed batter who used his speed to get on base. Once there, he swiped bases with relative ease – stealing 45 bags in ’84, one of two times he topped 40. Dernier was also a very good center fielder and he won the Gold Glove in 1984.
Batting at the top of Jim Frey’s lineup in 1984 for the Cubbies, Denrier teamed with second baseman and #2 hitter Ryne Sandberg to form “The Daily Double.” That season, Dernier hit .360 with a .433 on-base percentage and 20 steals in the first inning. As a result of his effeciency as a leadoff hitter the Cubs often had early leads in games that spring †and summer. In may he hit a blistering .344 and he scored 94 runs on the season in 143 games. Though he hit only three homers during the regular season, Dernier hit a leadoff homer in the first game of the NLCS off San Diego’s Eric Show.
But despite the magic of his ’84 season, Dernier was best suited as a pltoon player or fourth outfielder. After struggling as an everyday player in 1985, he never again was a starter. He spent his final few seasons back with the Phillies and retired in 1989 after 10 years in the big leagues. He had a career .255 average with 218 stolen bases.