This Week in Chicago Cubs History: Soriano's slam, Schwarber, John Baker Day, Ryno
|Thursday, July 30, 2020 12:03 PM- -|
With us nearing the end of July, two days to be exact, I thought it would be an excellent time to dig into the Cubs vault and look at this week in Cubs history. We will focus on the last week of July and pick one important event from each day.
7-27: This day happens to be one of the busiest and most exciting days in Cubs history as so many things happened. I will focus on one day and maybe even mention the most recent event on this day, starting with 2009.
The Cubs were coming off an incredible 2008 season in which they had an early exit from the postseason. Throughout the 2009 season, the Cubs were contending, but they couldn’t find the magic they found the season before. In a late July matchup with the Astros, pitching was certainly the story as both teams played to a 1-1 tie forcing the game into extras.
As the game continued, you knew it would come down to a huge moment that set the stage for Alfonso Soriano. In the bottom of the 13th and the game still tied at one, Soriano game to the plate with the bases juiced looking to end things with one swing. Not only did he do that but did so in a big way crushing one to dead center for the walk-off grand slam to lift the Cubs 5-1.
Three years ago, on this day, Kyle Schwarber had a big day connecting on two homers and a triple against the White Sox as the Cubs went on to win 6-3.
7-28: The year was 1969, and the Cubs and Giants were facing off in a late July classic. After both teams played to a 2-2 through nine innings to force extras, Willie Mays drove home Barry Bonds in the top of the 10th to put the Giants in front 3-2. Down to their last outs, the Cubs knew it was now or never for the offense.
After starter Juan Marichal got the first two men out in the bottom of the 10th, Willie Smith worked a walk ahead of singles from Don Kissinger and Glenn Beckert as the Cubs tied things up 3-3. A few pitches later, sweet-swinging Billy Williams came through with a walk-off RBI single to give the Cubs a 4-3 win.
Also, on this date in 1998, just 24 hours after Sammy Sosa hit his first grand slam, he went deep again for his second Grand Slam in as many days as the Cubs pummeled the Diamondbacks yet again.
7-29: 2014 was a crazy year for the Cubs as this was another last-place finish for the North Siders. On the bright side, however, this was when we saw guys like Javier Baez, Kyle Hendricks and Jorge Soler for the first time as the Cubs core group of young offensive players began to pave the way for the future.
This day summed up the Cubs season as this matchup against the Rockies was as wild and crazy as they come. After Colorado scored three in the first, the Cubs answered with one in the first before tying things up with a pair of runs in the fourth. That was when pitching took over as neither team scored over the next 11 innings.
With the bullpen depleted and arms running thin, manager Rick Renteria puts backup catcher John Baker into the game to pitch the top of the 16th inning. Baker came through by pitching a scoreless top half of the frame, and he delivered with the bat in the bottom half by starting a rally by leading things off with a walk. Baker advanced to third on an Anthony Rizzo single before Starlin Castro brought him home with another single to end the game as the Cubs knocked off the Rockies 4-3 in 16 innings.
7-30: We all remember Aramis Ramirez’s tenure as a Cub. The moment he arrived in Chicago following his trade from Pittsburgh in 2003, he was a focal point in the middle of that lineup, delivering countless huge seasons that often ended with around 100 RBI’s. 2004 was another one of those seasons as this was his first full season in Chicago.
With a Cubs team that was battling it out for the postseason once again, Ramirez and his offense played a considerable role in the team’s success as he was another power bat pitchers had to deal with. On this day against the Phillies, power was certainly not an issue as Ramirez connected for not one, not two, but three bombs against Phillies pitching as the Cubs hung on for the 10-7 win.
7-31: While most of these days in Cubs history stories recap a particular game, this one is entirely different but is equally important. When you talk about some of the most beloved Cubs in history, a few names come to mind. Billy Williams, Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Fergie Jenkins, and Ryne Sandberg are the most common we have here as well as others.
On this date in 2005, Sandberg was placed into baseball immortality as it was when Sandberg gave his hall of fame speech at the 2005 induction ceremony. Sandberg certainly was one of the best 2B of his era and warmed the hearts of Cubs fans for over a decade. Since his playing days have finished, Sandberg has been both manager and coach in the Phillies organization as well as helping the Cubs with Spring Training.
He continues to be a fan favorite and interacts with fans whenever he sees them. Sandberg will go down as one of the greats to ever wear a Cubs uniform, and there shouldn’t be any surprises to see him on this list as a hall of famer.