Saturday, April 20, 2019  
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LEBANON ' Warren County native Lester Strode will be the honoree at Cumberland University's annual 'Dine With the 'Dawgs,' a fund raiser for the NAIA power Cumberland Bulldog baseball team.

Strode, who pitched at the former Cumberland Junior College back in 1977, is now the bullpen coach for the Chicago Cubs and in 2006 was inducted into the Warren County Sports Hall of Fame.

Catered by Outback Steakhouse, the event will be held Thursday, March 20, in the Benton Jennings Indoor Practice Facility, adjacent to Cumberland's Stockton Field.

A silent and live auction is planned along with the $35 per plate per plate meal. The fun starts at 6:30 p.m. Reservations should be made by calling 615-444-2562, ext. 1166.

After his year at Cumberland, Strode finished out his pitching career at Kentucky State University where he became one of that program's all-time greats.

During his three-year career at KSU, Strode twice led the NAIA in strikeouts.

'My time at Cumberland was very special to me,' Strode said in a recent interview.

'I was on the skinny side and needed to grow a little ' both physically and as a young man.

'I made some great friends at Cumberland. The school and the baseball program helped prepare me for going on to Kentucky State where I really developed.'

Strode was selected as a pitcher in the fourth round of the 1980 amateur draft and played in the minors between the years of 1980 to 1988 for the Kansas City, Baltimore, St. Louis and the Cubs farm systems.

He began his career with Kansas City, going 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA (4 ER/20 IP) in six games (five starts), including one complete game effort for the Royals' Gulf Coast League club.

He was a Southern League All-Star in 1984, going 9-2 with seven complete games and a 2.43 ERA (25 ER/92 2/3 IP) in 13 starts for Double-A Memphis.

He also had a brief stint with Triple-A Iowa in the Cubs farm system in 1988, his final professional season. Strode was 1-1 with a 3.67 ERA in 18 games for the I-Cubs.

Strode was the Cubs' minor league pitching coordinator from 1996-2006.

He spent the 1994-1995 seasons with the Major League club as a pitching assistant, and was a pitching coach in the Cubs' minor league system during the 1989-1993 campaigns.

Strode worked at Wytheville (Rookie) in 1989, Peoria (A) from 1990-1991, Winston-Salem (A) in 1992 and Daytona (A) in 1993.

All told, he has spent the past 19 years in the Cubs' system ' and is beginning his second season with the major league team.