Now 50, Dernier won Gold Glove honors with the Cubs in '84. He batted .278 with an on-base percentage of .356 in what was at the time his best major league season. He also stole a career-high 45 bases and scored 94 runs.
Dernier was invited to the Cubs' annual Instructional League Camp in Mesa, Ariz., last fall at the insistence of Player Development Director Oneri Fleita. There, he worked with several of the Cubs' top outfield prospects, such as Felix Pie and Tyler Colvin.
This is what Dernier had to say about the '84 club, the day the Cubs clinched the division at the dearly departed Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh, and how the success of his teams relate to that of the Cubs today:
"I was glad the game got over because I was so tired from playing a doubleheader the day before in St. Louis when we clinched a tie. I lost 11 pounds that day in St. Louis. It was 100 degrees and we were playing a doubleheader. I think I went 0-for-5 in Pittsburgh, but it didn't matter to me because Rick Sutcliffe was dealing and I think we won pretty easily.
"Matter of fact, one thing I do remember about that game in Pittsburgh -- and this is a good point for all young players -- is that I played with a guy named Keith Moreland. He was one of the best hitters I ever played with, but he also played good defense. He wasn't the fastest guy on the field, but he was an excellent baserunner and he did a lot of good things that young players should do.
"That game relatively early on -- it might still have been a one-run game -- we had a runner at second base and nobody out if I recall. Keith laid a bunt down the third base line, a drag bunt base hit that I think the guy threw away and our guy ended up scoring from second. Either way, it wasn't a play that you would expect Keith Moreland to drop down a bunt.
"I'd seen Mike Schmidt do it; Moreland do it; and Gary Matthews do it -- all of the guys that you count on as run-producing type of hitters. To show you they were capable of serving in the field, if the defense was going to give it to you, they'd punish you. It's kind of like being a smart quarterback. I do recall that, and many times this happened over many years. It was called playing smart baseball, and winning games. That's what we want to do now.
"The little things, when you add them up over 162 games and maybe over a period of years, let me tell you: it's about winning. I was very fortunate that I was around the organizations and the teams and the players that I got to play with because there was a lot of winners and certainly I was one, too. I knew what winning looked like and I'm hopeful ... the whole idea here is eventually to have a parade down Michigan Avenue.
"I still believe that dreams do come true and if I can have just a small hand in that, then that's what I intend to do."