The Chicago Cubs and the 10 Craziest Box Scores Since 1950
The Milwaukee Brewers obliterated the Chicago Cubs on Monday Night by a score of 18-1. During the course of the game both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder collected five hits with Corey Hart only getting four, seven players scored two or more runs, and Fielder and Casey McGehee combined for nine RBI.
Meanwhile, the Cubs' side of the box score was as bleak as the Brewers side was special. The Cubs managed only four hits (or, put another way, less than either Fielder or Braun had) and one run. Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo kept the Baby Bears in check, striking out 12 in just six innings while allowing two hits, one walk, and one run.
As a baseball fan, this was one of those box scores that you want to cut out of the newspaper and tape to your wall. It's not very often that you see so many threes, fours, and fives in single box score. Indeed, to see a box score in which one team had 26 hits is incredibly rare, as it has only happened 33 times since 1950.
And it isn't like this is the first such box score the Cubs have put up this season, or even within the last week. On Friday night the Cubs allowed the Colorado Rockies to set a major league record for most consecutive hits on the way to allowing 12 runs in the eighth inning of a 17-2 blowout .
That got me to thinking about crazy box scores, and how often the Chicago Cubs seem to be on the losing end of things in crazy games. So I decided to take a look at 10 of the craziest games since 1950, and see how well the Cubs are presented.
Turns out, they're represented pretty well.
Honorable Mention: May 4, 1999: Rockies 13, Cubs 6
As a total box score, this one isn't all that amazing except for one feat: the Rockies scored in every inning of this game, and coming off of a game in which they had scored in the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, this gave the Rockies at least one run in 13 consecutive innings.
All against the Cubs, of course.
Here's what's bad-ass about this game: the game was never in doubt, as the Red Sox led 8-0 after two innings, then 13-3 after three innings, then 22-3 after five innings.
Nevertheless, the Red Sox never made a single substitution. The starting lineup played every inning, and starting pitcher Chuck Stobbs pitched a complete game.
Naturally, the BoSox were prolific. Bobby Doerr had three home runs and eight RBI; Ted Williams and Walt Dropo each had two home runs and combined for 12 RBI; Vern Stephens fell a home run shy of the cycle. Seven of nine Red Sox scored three or more runs.
Stobbs, the pitcher, went 2-for-3 with four walks and three runs scored, and the Red Sox walked 11 times and struck out only twice.
While we often remember 1996 as "The Year of the Home Run," 1987 was bizarrely prone to home runs and stood out as a uniquely great home run season in an otherwise ordinary period from 1978 to 1992.
This game between the Blue Jays and the Orioles at old Exhibition Stadium in Toronto was emblematic of that season as Toronto hit a Major League record 10 home runs off of the O's. Ernie Whitt had three himself, and soon-to-be AL MVP George Bell had two on his way 47 that year.
Notice that no pitcher made it through more than two innings for the Orioles, on Kelly Gruber failed to get a hit for the Blue Jays.
One of those crazy days at Wrigley Field. The Cubs led this game 12-1 after three innings and 13-4 after six innings. Nevertheless, the Phillies scored 11 runs over the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings, and the Cubs actually had to score two runs in the bottom of the ninth just to send the game to the 10th.
Yet the Phillies scored three in the top of the 10th and held on to win the game.
This game is most famous for featuring Mike Schmidt hitting four home runs, the last three of which came in the seventh, eighth, and tenth innings. Schmidt finished the game with eight RBI.
In tying the then Major League record for runs scored in a game, the White Sox reached base an amazing 35 times. Minnie Minoso and Chico Carrasquel became the fifth pair of teammates to each score five runs in a game, with Carrasquel reaching base six times in seven plate appearances.
Two White Sox managed to get five hits apiece, Bob Nieman had seven RBI, and even pitcher Jack Harshman got into the act, going 3-for-5 with a home run.
In another crazy Wrigley Field showdown, Les Expos were leading the Cubs 3-2 after the fourth inning, and that's when Montreal—and Andre Dawson—took over. After back-to-back singles by Mitch Webster and Vance Law, Andre Dawson came up and hit a three-run home run to put the Expos up 6-2.
Eight batters later, the Expos were up 10-2 and Dawson again came up with Webster and Law on base. Dawson connected for his second three-run home run of the inning as the Expos eventually scored 12 runs in the inning. Dawson would go 4-for-6 on the day with two home runs and eight RBI.
But this game was crazy to the end. The Expos actually led 15-3 as Harry Caray came out to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at the seventh inning stretch, and just as sure as Caray urged "Let's Get Some Runs!", that's what the Cubs did.
The Cubs outscored the Expos 12-2 in the final two-and-a-half innings of the game, and had the tying run at the plate when Jeff Reardon came on to nail down the save.
The Philadelphia Athletics went down 1-2-3 in the top of the first inning of this game against Mike Garcia, and then sent Lou Brissie out to face the Indians lineup. Brissie gave up a leadoff double followed by a line drive out, and then proceeded to walk the next five batters. A single and another walk later, Brissie was out of the game, and the Indians never looked back, scoring 14 runs in the first on their way to 21-2 drubbing of the A's.
At the end of the day, the Indians had 21 runs on 14 hits and 16 walks.
After one inning, the Red Sox led this game by a score of 14 to 0. They sent 19 men to the plate in the first inning, and it took three different pitchers for the Marlins to get the first out of the inning.
The Red Sox would have sent at least 20 men to the plate if not for Bill Mueller registering the third out of the inning by getting thrown out at home plate on a Johnny Damon single. Damon's single was his third hit of the inning, and he finished the first inning a home run shy of batting for the cycle.
By the end of the game, six different Red Sox had three or more hits, six Red Sox had three or more runs scored, and six different Red Sox had three or more RBI.
In a back and fourth game in which the lead had changed hands four times, the Orioles trailed 10-7 going into the Rangers' half of the eighth. Armando Benitez came in for the O's to try to contain the damage, but to no avail. Benitez allowed three runs on two walks and a hit, and was relieved by Jesse Orosco, who allowed eight runs on two walks and six hits.
Finally, the O's brought in Manny Alexander, a reserve infielder who'd never pitched before. In the only pitching appearance of his career, he allowed five runs on one hit and four walks, but also got the final two out of the inning.
All told, the Rangers scored 16 runs in the inning on eight hits and eight walks.
In another Rangers-Orioles classic, the Rangers set the modern Major League record for runs in a game despite playing on the road and despite actually trailing 3-0 after three innings. The Rangers oddly scored in only four different innings, scoring five runs in the fourth inning, nine in the sixth, 10 in the eighth, and then six in the ninth.
Meanwhile, the Orioles used only four pitchers, the Rangers made only one offensive substitution, and the game took only three hours and 21 minutes.
Strangely, the bottom of the Rangers order performed better than the top of the order, as David Murphy, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Ramon Vazquez each reached base five times. Murphy and Saltalamacchia each scored five times, and Saltalamacchia and Vazquez each had two home runs and seven RBI.
Then, to top off one of the craziest games of all time, the Rangers' Wes Littleton pitched the final three innings of the game for the craziest save of all time.
The Indians trailed 14-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning against a Mariners team that was a simply-shocking 50 games over .500 at 80-30. The Indians started chipping away, scoring three in the seventh to make it 14-5, and then four in the eighth to make it 14-9.
The Tribe then started the bottom of the ninth with a single to center and then two quick outs against Norm Charlton. The Indians then got a double from Marty Cordova, a walk from Wilfredo Cordero on a full count, and then a single from Einar Diaz on another full count to draw within three runs.
Kenny Lofton then hit a single to load the bases, and former Mariner Omar Vizquel hit a triple on yet another full count to clear the bases and tie the score. Two innings later, it would again be Lofton scoring, this time the winning run, as the Indians completed the greatest comeback in Major League history.
The look on Lofton's face as he scored the winning run is a definite "Where were you when..." moment.
It would be harder to find a crazier game in baseball history than this match up between the Phillies and the Cubs at Wrigley Field in 1979.
This one was wacky right off, as Cubs starter Dennis Lamp allowed six runs on six hits while only retiring one batter. Mike Schmidt got the scoring started with a three-run dong, and the Phillies would bat around, aided along by a solo home run by starting pitcher Randy Lerch.
Then, the Cubs returned the favor, chasing Lerch, who gave up five runs on five hits while also retiring only one batter. After the first inning, the score was 7-6.
The second inning passed quietly, but then the Phillies one-upped themselves, going for eight runs in the third. By the end of the third inning, every Phillies had batted three times.
The two teams slugged it out in the middle innings, with the Cubs outscoring the Phillies in innings four through six by a score of 13-6, and now the game was a very close 21-19.
The game turned tame in the seventh, with the Phillies scoring an unanswered insurance run, but the Cubs scored three in the bottom of the eighth on six singles and a groundout, and suddenly the score was tied at 22 all going into the ninth inning.
Closers Rawly Eastwick and Bruce Sutter kept the game scoreless in the ninth, but in the top of the 10th, Schmidt hit his second home run of the day off of Sutter and Eastwick closed the door for a crazy Phillies' win.
The box score from that day is so loaded it might tip over. A total of 11 players finished with three or more hits, including Larry Bowa, who had five, and Garry Maddox, who went 4-for-4. Bill Buckner went 4-for-7 with a home run and seven RBI, and Dave Kingman hit three home runs and finished with six RBI and four runs scored.
Kingman and Schmidt would finish one and two in the NL in home runs in 1979; Kingman had 48, Schmidt had 45, and no other player topped 34.
Future 1984 AL MVP Willie Hernandez gave up eight runs on seven hits and seven walks in only 2.2 innings. Four of those walks, though, were intentional, as he intentionally passed both Schmidt and Boone twice.
The teams combined for 11 home runs and 23 extra-base hits, while walking 15 times and striking out 11 times.
And in the end, staying consistent with our theme, the Chicago Cubs came out on the losing end.
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