In the Cubs clubhouse, Hands was the undisputed chess champion. He also had some fine years as a pitcher. In 1968 he was 16-10. Hands won 20 games and led the staff with a 2.49 ERA when the Cubs contended in 1969. Hands was the stopper, halting several losing streaks to keep the Cubs in the race against the Mets.
He was 18-15 in 1970, but back ailments and muscle spasms in his pitching arm limited his effectiveness in later years. His finest outing came August 3, 1972, when he one-hit the Expos. A .078 lifetime hitter, Hands set a ML record by fanning in 14 straight official at-bats in 1968.