July 29, 2014. 1 o'clock in the morning. Cubs manager Rick Renteria taps backup catcher John Baker to pitch in the top of the 16th inning during a game where the Colorado Rockies hadn't scored since the 1st inning and the Cubs knotted it up in the 4th for a 12 inning 3-3 impasse.
Veteran catcher and rookie pitcher John Baker induced a foul pop out to Anthony Rizzo to start the top half of the 16th. He then pitched around Drew Stubbs, walking him, and that set up the inning ending 4-6-3 double play by Cristhian Adames. John Baker faced the minimum in his first- and last-ever appearance as a pitcher in an MLB game, but then his heroics in the bottom half of the inning solidified his place in Cubs lore.
With the Rockies' Tyler Matzek pitching, John led off the bottom of the 16th with a walk. With Matzek disappointed in himself for walking the opposing pitcher, he wasn't prepared for Emilio Bonifacio's sacrifice bunt, which moved Baker to second. Matzek, still shaken up about walking the pitcher Baker, then hit Arismendy Alcantara, and after that Anthony Rizzo loaded the bases with a single.
With only one out and the bases jammed, Starlin Castro strode to the plate as the big hand on the scoreboard clock marched towards the bottom half of the 1 o'clock hour. On a 2-1 count, Starlin hit a midfield line drive to Rockies right fielder Charlie Blackmon. Baker tagged from third and slid safely into home plate on the sac fly with his fist raised triumphantly and a wide smile that not only relished victory but also relief that the long game was finally over!
John not only scored the winning run, but his scoreless pitching performance earned him the win! Check out his career pitching line!
It was one of those games in Cubs history that seems to define us as fans. An unlikely hero saves the day during a marathon contest. John Baker permanently endeared himself to Cubs fans in the wee hours of July 30 and now that he's back working for the Cubs in the front office, we thought it would be great to celebrate the man John Baker!
The Ivy Envy podcast and my podcast The Son Ranto Show, with promotional support from Bleed Cubbie Blue, are throwing a party to commemorate the two-year anniversary of this momentous 2014 "W." We've called it "John Baker Day" and you're invited!
John Baker will be on hand Friday, July 29, to celebrate the second anniversary of his spectacular pitching performance at 11 a.m. at the Nisei Lounge, located just south of Wrigley Field at 3439 N. Sheffield Ave. We will be giving John surprise gifts, and raffling off Cubs artwork by Matt Kammerer, and Jordan Rarick at Rare Blue Designs, with proceeds to Cubs Charities. Here are some examples of their work.
Plus Baker will talk a bit about that crazy long night and other surprises!
Entertainment at "John Baker Day" includes a performance of Cubs songstress Katie Day's By the Lakeside, and my band Bad Teenage Moustache will be releasing a new recording of the song that put John Baker and me in touch in the first place. The Ballad of John Baker -- which we will also perform live!
$25 gets you a ticket to the event, a drink ticket and this sweet T-shirt, which you can also order online if you are unable to attend. All profits from the tickets, raffle and t-shirt sales will be donated to Cubs Charities, per the wishes of John Baker.
Heck! The Oakland Athletics' Yonder Alonso even wants one!
Just a note. The $25 does not include a ticket to the Cubs and Mariners game at 1:20 at Wrigley Field. We plan on sitting in the bleachers. So if you want to go to "John Baker Day" and also the game, get yourself a game ticket!
Come join us for what promises to be a fun day with Cubs legend John Baker for a good cause! Attendance is limited to Nisei Lounge's capacity. So buy your tickets and/or the T-Shirt on IvyEnvy's Website. If you just want the T-shirt. Order now so we know what to get! Otherwise they'll be gone! The more shirts we sell the more we can give to Cubs Charities!
Seriously, you all should come. It's gonna be a blast! Hope to see you there!