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David Bote’s knack for the big moment

The Cubs infielder seems to love walkoffs.

David Bote hits a walkoff single in the bottom of the ninth on Sunday at Wrigley Field
Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

David Bote has played 93 games for the Chicago Cubs. That is barely more than half of a full season and he already has three walkoff hits. (He also had a walkoff walk last July 8.)

Bote is racking up unbelievable moments at an incredible pace. To put this in perspective I did a little digging on baseball reference to see just how spoiled we are with Bote walkoffs. Here are some quick facts:

  • Since 1948 there have been 10,712 walkoff hits in major league baseball.
  • Frank Robinson leads all players in total walkoffs with 26 over 21 seasons and 2,808 games.
  • Former Cub Andre Dawson is tied for fourth all-time in walkoffs with 20 over 21 seasons and 2,627 games.
  • The active leader in walkoffs is Albert Pujols with 20 over 19 seasons and 2,712 games.

Now obviously, walkoff pace isn’t a predictable metric or anything, but it’s still useful for some perspective. For example, Pujols, who is tied for fourth all time in walkoffs, averages a walkoff every 136 games. Dawson averaged one every 131 games. Robinson averaged one every 108 games.

David Bote has three in less than 100 games, he’s basically averaging a walkoff hit every 31 games or so.

Since the Cubs are off today, let’s take a few minutes and relive some absolutely clutch moments from David Bote.

The Ultimate Grand Slam

Bote’s first walkoff hit is one that we will probably all be talking about long after the Cubs utility man is no longer playing in Chicago. On August 12, 2018 the Cubs were doing a lot of nothing against Max Scherzer and the Washington Nationals on Sunday Night baseball when Ryan Madson sort of lost the plot in the ninth. A single (it was more like an error on Wilmer Difo) and two hit batsmen loaded the bases for Bote. The Cubs were down to their final strike when he hit this monster grand slam to straight away center [VIDEO].

It really doesn’t get more iconic than that. That moment was the loudest I’ve ever heard Wrigley Field (admittedly, I wasn’t able to attend any playoff games in 2016) and fans chanted “Bote!” in the concourse for a solid 30 minutes after the game. The Cubs did an extended look at that play and how it all came together in their series called “The Breakdown” on YouTube that is well worth 10 minutes of your time:

An extra-inning walkoff

Bote didn’t even wait two weeks to log the second walkoff hit of his career. 12 days after his ultimate grand slam he came to the plate in the bottom of the 10th inning and absolutely demolished a baseball for a Cubs’ walkoff win. This ball is headed for Waveland and the only reason it doesn’t land there is that a fan snagged it with an extended grab from the last row of the bleachers [VIDEO].

This pitch is middle high on the inside part of the plate, which is frankly not a place you should throw baseballs to David Bote. Check out these zones for his wOBA and xwOBA from 2018:

Bote wOBA and xwOBA by zone 2018
Baseball Savant

A walkoff to avoid extras

Sunday afternoon Bote was at it again, although this time with decidedly less launch angle. This wasn’t a towering home run towards Waveland or the deepest part of Wrigley, it was a well placed ground ball hit perfectly through the infield to bring home Javy Báez in the ninth inning. This walkoff also had the added bonus of avoiding extra innings in Chicago on the same day that his wife was having labor induced in Colorado.

What I’m trying to say is, this was a very considerate walkoff single [VIDEO].

As I said earlier, it’s not like there is a pace for anything like this, but given his history I always breathe a little easier when Bote comes up with the game on the line. Here’s hoping I get to write up a few more Bote walkoffs over the next five years that he’s a Cub.