Chicago Cubs' Rick Wilkins makes contact with a pitch during a Cubs vs. San Diego Padres game. (Stephen Dunn/Allsport)
Your only clue to the result of this game is that the player pictured had a large role in the game, except that it was at Wrigley Field, not on the road; the only usable photo I could find of Wilkins was in this road uniform. It was taken during 1993, and oddly enough, in an away game against the same opponent they faced during this Random Recap game.
Wilkins had a terrific year in 1993 and by the end of the season, when he became just the second catcher in Cubs history to have a 30-homer season (Gabby Hartnett was the other, with 37 in the hitters' year of 1930), some were comparing him to Mike Piazza.
It didn't work out that way. Wilkins' 1993 season is probably one of the biggest fluke years in MLB history; he never again hit more than 14 home runs in a season.
Hooray for Jose!
The Cubs tried real hard to blow the game tonight on a breezy, somewhat steamy Monday evening at Wrigley Field, but Jose Vizcaino saved them with his three-run walkoff homer -- just his second home run of the year -- off Padres reliever Tim Mauser in the 11th inning, and the Cubs had a 9-6 win over San Diego, a game in which they had to come from behind three times after the seventh inning.
Yes, this is the Cubs I'm talking about. They've actually been hot since the All-Star break, going 9-3 to push their record to two games over .500 at 50-48.
I know, you're going to say I'm being overly optimistic again. I guess I have to be somewhat realistic now that July is almost over. The Cubs are still 11 games behind the Phillies, and in fourth place. It doesn't look like Philly is going to collapse, and the Expos and Cardinals are still also in the way. At the very least, maybe this will be an over .500 season, which would be an improvement over last year, something people didn't think possible with the loss of Greg Maddux via free agency.
Rick Wilkins, who is having a monster year, smashed his 20th home run, a three-run job off Wally Whitehurst in the second inning. That makes him just the third catcher in Cubs history to have 20 or more HR in a season. Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett did it three times; Jody Davis twice. Maybe the Cubs finally do have that power-hitting catcher they've dreamed about since Davis was dealt away.
The three runs stood up until the eighth when Paul Assenmacher gave up a home run to Tony Gwynn to give San Diego a 4-3 lead. The Cubs tied it in the bottom of the inning, then took the lead on a Derrick May single with two out. And then Randy Myers gave it right back with yet another home run, this one hit by Phil Clark, sending the game into extra innings.
Dan Plesac gave the Padres a run in the top of the 10th, but the Cubs tied it again, thanks in part to an error by San Diego SS Ricky Gutierrez that put runners on first and second, where Mark Grace tied the game 6-6. That set up Vizcaino's 11th inning heroics.
The Cubs host the Padres in a quick-turnaround game Tuesday afternoon, going for their fourth in a row behind Mike Harkey.