Idly scanning some of the SBN sites yesterday, I ran across this Viva El Birdos post in which Larry, the proprietor, chose his top 20 HR in Cardinals history. This idea was based on this highly subjective list by Joe Posnanski posted a couple of weeks ago of his choices for the 20 greatest HR in all of baseball history.
Given the fact that swiping ideas from other sites is a time-honored interweb sport, I thought it'd be fun if we passed some of the time between now and February 13, when pitchers and catchers report, going over a similar highly subjective list of the top 20 HR in Cub history. I enlisted Mike to help me put together such a list. As such, it's the personal opinions of both of us, and you may agree or disagree with our choices.
I'll post these over the next three weeks, maybe one at a time, maybe two or three at a time, however the mood strikes, and maybe will skip a day or two if there's actual news to post. Note: selection criteria for this list include things such as how much impact each HR had on key games, pennant races or postseason games, and then there'll be the intangible of "how memorable" they seemed at the time, or in retrospect.
Let's start with a home run that you won't find in any record book, because it happened in a game that was ultimately rained out before it became official -- thus, this HR will be granted the title "Honorable Mention" (just as the VEB list began with a similar non-official blast).
It happened on August 8, 1988 -- 8/8/88; that date is likely familiar to you as what was supposed to be the first night game at Wrigley Field. Rick Sutcliffe, on the mound for the Cubs, had allowed a leadoff homer to Philadelphia's Phil Bradley, so the Cubs began the bottom of the first trailing 1-0.
Mitch Webster led off the inning with a single; Ryne Sandberg was the next hitter. A roar erupted from the capacity crowd -- not for Sandberg, as you might think, but for Morganna Roberts, known in the 1970's and 1980's as "The Kissing Bandit", who was "racing" in from right field to try to plant a kiss on Ryno.
Security intercepted her and whisked her off the field:
More excitement was only a moment away. Sandberg smacked Kevin Gross' next pitch onto Waveland Avenue for a two-run homer, giving the Cubs a 2-1 lead. They extended the lead to 3-1 later, but the game was washed out by a tremendous thunderstorm after the top of the fourth inning, six outs from being official, and so Sandberg's home run never made it to the record books.
But the way it was hit certainly deserves to be remembered, and thus worthy of mention in this list. I'll post the rest over the next few weeks -- and no, no clues as to what they are. That'll be part of the fun. Enjoy!