You might not remember the exact day this happened, but I'm here to remind you:
Yes, this Thursday afternoon game against the Brewers was the day that Glenallen Hill launched a fifth-inning Steve Woodard pitch onto the roof of the building at the northwest corner of Kenmore and Waveland. You can see bleachers on the roof, the beginnings of the rooftop club now on that building. The structure there now is much larger than the one you see in this video.
Hill's home run -- estimated at 500 feet -- is one of the longest home runs ever hit at Wrigley Field and the only one I can ever remember landing on the roof of a Sheffield or Waveland building.
It made the score 5-4 Brewers, and therein begins the other story about this game. The Brewers were in just their third year in the National League, and it seemed that almost every game the Cubs played with them was wacky in some way. This one was the last of a four-game series, and in just the previous three games in this series the Cubs had:
- Blown a four-run lead in the ninth inning (thanks, Kyle Farnsworth and Rick Aguilera) but come back to win in the 10th;
- Blown a 3-1 lead and lost 4-3, and
- Gone into the seventh with a 3-1 lead, given up seven runs to Milwaukee in the eighth and ninth, but then scored five runs in the bottom of the ninth (helped by two errors and a grand slam by Henry Rodriguez) to tie the game, which they then won in the 11th.
It's in that context that Hill's home run seemed to fit perfectly, and then there was this, from the May 11 boxscore:
Time of Game: 4:22
Four hours and 22 minutes? For a nine-inning game? What the...
Well, remember these were two really bad teams. The Cubs lost 97 games that year, the Brewers 89. And on that day, neither team's pitchers could throw strikes (and on the rare occasions when they did, hitters hit them hard). Milwaukee pitchers threw 192 pitches, 105 for strikes. Cubs hurlers threw 229 (!) pitches, just 130 of them for strikes. The two pitching staffs combined to allow 35 hits and 18 walks. The Brewers' Juan Acevedo was credited with one inning pitched, a hit and five walks allowed, but somehow was not charged with any runs to his record. Cubs pitchers accounted for 18 of the hits allowed and 10 of the walks and the only Cubs pitcher who didn't walk anyone was Felix Heredia, who mercifully managed a 1-2-3 ninth inning with the Cubs down 14-7. The football-like score was wrecked in the last of the ninth when the Cubs dragged out the ending with three singles and a walk resulting in the final run in a 14-8 loss.
The 1:20 scheduled-start game thus ended at almost a quarter to six. At the time, it was the longest nine-inning game in major-league history. It's since been surpassed by this National League game and this American League game (and I'm pretty sure you can guess who the A.L. teams involved were, without looking -- and that was the second game of a doubleheader!).
Those games, at least, involved good teams who were playoff contenders. The May 11, 2000 game at Wrigley: not so much.
But that Hill home run -- I don't think any of us will ever forget it.