A Brief History Of Cubs Walkoff Grand Slams

MCT via Getty Images

The Cubs aren't hitting much right now. So let's talk about times when they have.

The Cubs are offensively challenged this year. This, you already know.

A few days ago someone asked in the comments, following Jose Abreu's walkoff grand slam for the White Sox: When was the last time a Cub hit a walkoff slam? I didn't immediately know, so I set off to baseball-reference to find out.

BB-ref has data on these things going back to 1940. In the 74+ seasons since then, the Cubs have hit 128 walkoff home runs, averaging a little less than two per season. It's been almost two years since the Cubs' last walkoff homer, which was hit by Anthony Rizzo against the Cardinals July 29, 2012.

Of the 128 walkoff homers, eight of them were grand slams, three of them in extra innings (the most recent three, for whatever that's worth). Here's a brief description of each one, beginning with the most recent.

July 27, 2009, Alfonso Soriano (13th inning). Soriano's slam ended a game that had slogged on in a 1-1 tie (the only other Cub run was a Derrek Lee homer) for nearly four hours. The win put the Cubs into first place in the NL Central.

August 30, 1993, Rick Wilkins (11th inning). One of 30 homers Wilkins hit in what turned out to be a fluke year, it came after the Cubs overcame a 6-3 deficit. The first two men had been retired in the 11th before Mark Grace walked, Derrick May singled and Sammy Sosa walked to load the bases.

May 28, 1980, Cliff Johnson (14th inning). The date on this is only half right. This game began on May 28, was suspended due to darkness and completed on August 8. Johnson wasn't even on the Cubs when the game began; he was traded to the Cubs from the Indians June 23. I wrote about this game in January 2013 as part of that year's offseason history series.

April 22, 1980, Barry Foote. I wrote about this game last winter in the Day in Wrigley Field History series; here are the details.

September 25, 1968, Ron Santo. Santo used to like to tell a story about a day he was having trouble with his diabetes and he went up to the plate with blurred vision. He'd say, "I saw three baseballs and swung at the middle one and hit a home run that won the game." I'm pretty sure this is the game he was talking about.

August 31, 1963, Ellis Burton. This is what's known as an "ultimate grand slam," hit with the player's team down by three runs. More details in this obituary I wrote about Burton when he passed away last year.

April 15, 1961, Al Heist. Heist hit his slam, and a bad Cubs team scored nine runs, on a 45-degree afternoon (See? Hitting in the cold can be done!). Heist hit seven home runs playing center field for the Cubs that year; his reward was being selected by the new Houston Colt .45s in the expansion draft after the season.

May 12, 1959, Earl Averill. The only one of these slams that was hit by a pinch-hitter, Averill's slam followed another home run in the bottom of the ninth by Walt "Moose" Moryn that had tied the game. Averill, son of a Hall of Famer of the same name, was traded to the Braves the following year... for Al Heist.

Anyway, while we await tonight's hopefully not offensively-challenged game from the Cubs, thought you'd enjoy reading about some past hitting feats by Cubs players.

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