Michael Lee Cubbage was born July 21, 1950 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Cubbage attended the University of Virginia getting drafted twice by the Washington Senators. He was primarily a third baseman who also played some second base in his career. He was first drafted in 1968 but signed the second time around in the second round of the 1971 draft.
Cubbage’s cousin was catcher Larry Haney, who played in the majors from 1966-1978 with the Baltimore Orioles, St. Louis Cardinals, The Seattle Pilots, Milwaukee Brewers & Oakland A’s. He was a member of A’s 1974 World Series team, appearing in two World Series games.
Haney hit .215 with 198 hits 30 doubles 1 HRs 73 RBIs & a .252 on base % playing in 480 career games. As a catcher he threw out 39% of would be base stealers & posted a .985 fielding %. After his playing days he served as a longtime coach in the Milwaukee Brewers
organization until 2006.
Mike Cubbage made his debut against his cousins World Champion A’s in April 1974. He was sent back down to the minors returning in September for a call up. At the time the Rangers had Lenny Randle batting .300 in 1973 & then Roy Howell taking over the position next with no room left for Cubbage. In 1976 he was part of the trade that brought Bert Blyleven to Texas, going to Minnesota with Roy Smalley & Bill Singer.
He became the Twins main third baseman in the 1977 & 1978 seasons, having his best year in 1978. He batted .282 with 7 HRs 12 doubles & 57 RBIs, playing a solid third base with good range, posting a .971 fielding percentage (4th best in the A.L.). The next season he lost his job to John Castino who hit .285 & followed up with a .300 average the next season. Cubbage became the backup third baseman until he was granted free agency in 1980.
He came to the New York Mets as a free agent in 1981 which would be his final season.
Cubbage made his Mets debut on Opening Day at Wrigley Field in Chicago as a pinch hitter. He would be used in that role in the majority of his playing time going 11-46 in that role. On April 12th in the last game of the Opening Series, he hit a sac fly in the top of the 9th inning scoring Hubbie Brooks in what would be the game winning run over the Chicago Cubs. He got into 67 games mostly as a pinch hitter, seeing limited action (12 games) at third base, behind Hubie Brooks. Cubbage only hit .213 overall (17 -80) driving in four runs, with five extra base hits. He hit a pinch hit HR, in his last career at bat, on the next to last day of the 1981 season off Montreal’s Jeff Reardon.
Cubbage would get released the next April finishing his eight year career batting .258 with 503 hits 34 HRs 74 doubles 20 triples & 251 RBIs in 703 games played.
Retirement: After his playing days he became a long time manager in the Mets organization.
He first managed A ball at Lynchburg (1983-1985) then AA Jackson (1986) & finally, AAA Tidewater (1987-1989). He became highly regarded and seemed destined as a future MLB manager, expecting to one day take over the Mets. In 1990 he was hired as a third base coach under manager Bud Harrelson.
During the last week of the 1991 season, Harrelson was fired as the Mets were in third place, 18 ½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cubbage got a brief chance to manage as he became the 13th manager in Met history. On September 29th 1991 Frank Viola & the Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium giving Cubbage his first managerial win. Cubbage would go 3-4 as skipper winning the last game of the season 7-0 at Veterans Stadium.
After all the years of Cubbage managerial hype, he was replaced by Jeff Torborg for the 1992 season.
Cubbage has the distinction of managing the fewest games for the Mets in their history, winning & losing the least amount of games. Overall he spent 13 years in the Mets organization, seven of them on the big league level; mostly as a third base coach.
He moved on to coach the Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros and then scout for the Tampa Rays. Cubbage is a diabetic and in 2003, had a seizure while coaching third base for the Red Sox. The seizure was a result of a hyperglycemic event; he was taken to a hospital then soon released.