A Game From Cubs History: August 31, 1932

Courtesy Mike Bojanowski

If a game like this one happened in present-day baseball, it would be legendary forever.

I have written about this game before, but it bears another look, because in between the Merkle Game of 1908 and the Homer In The Gloamin' game of 1938, it was probably the most famous game in Cubs history. Thanks to Gabby Hartnett's heroics in '38, this 1932 game has been largely forgotten, and it shouldn't be.

Here's what I wrote about this game in 2008, when posting a ranking of the Top 20 home runs in Cubs history (I had that one ranked No. 3). Here's what Kiki Cuyler did to help win that game, 10-9 over the Giants in 10 innings:

Five hits. Singled in a four-run ninth that tied the game at 5-5. Giants scored four in the top of the tenth, taking a 9-5 lead. In the last of the tenth, after the first two men are out, the Cubs score two and have two on for Cuyler, who hits a walkoff HR for a 1O-9 win, their 12th straight.

In addition to all of that, there was a total eclipse of the sun that day, which, though not 100% total in Chicago, did darken the sky somewhat an hour or so before game time; during the game, the Cubs batted out of order, but no one noticed, so they got away with it.

And here's how Edward Burns of the Tribune summed up this memorable contest:

The pennant mad Cubs, led by Kiki Cuyler, a hitting maniac on as ferocious a rampage as baseball fans ever beheld, yesterday put all their previous electifying finishes to shame when they made five runs in the tenth inning to defeat the New York Giants 1O to 9 and sweep the five game series. All the runs were sent on the way after there were two out in the tenth and after the Giants had made four runs in the top of the tenth.

The wind up of this most terrific of the Cubs' sensational victories was launched, after Jurges and Gudat had been retired, by Mark Koenig, who knocked a homer into the right field stands at the expense of Pitcher Sam Gibson. Taylor singled to right center and Herman singled to center, Taylor stopping at second. English singled to center, scoring Taylor. Then Cuyler socked his fifth hit of the game, a homer into the center field stands, about 3O feet to the right of the scoreboard, driving in Herman and English ahead of him and winning the ball game.

Cuyler was mobbed by a crowd of admirers who had stayed through the rain that fell on the last three innings, and he was rescued by ushers with difficulty.

Imagine a game like that, in conditions like that, by a modern-day Cubs team in pennant contention. You'd see highlights of it for weeks. Also, note that fans commonly ran on the field after big wins in that era; that lasted until well into the 1960s, until it became too dangerous to permit it. It happened at Wrigley in 1960, when Don Cardwell threw his no-hitter. The last time I remember seeing anything like that was when Yankees fans ran onto the field in New York when Chris Chambliss' home run won the 1976 ALCS for them over the Royals.

As for that 1932 Cubs game, it gave the Cubs a 7½ game lead over the second-place Pirates. The Cubs would win two more games to extend their winning streak to 14 -- the second-longest streak in team history. They clinched the pennant, their second in four seasons, by winning the first game of a doubleheader against the Pirates September 20.

The World Series, though, was another story. Again.

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