Jeff Reed. Remember him?
I didn’t think so. Reed, a catcher, played 17 seasons in the major leagues, mostly with the Reds, Rockies, Twins and Giants.
And then Reed spent his final two big-league seasons as a backup catcher with the Cubs in 1999 and 2000. Bet you don’t remember who he backed up, either. It was Benito Santiago in 1999 and Joe Girardi, in his second Cubs stint, in 2000. There are very few photos of Reed in a Cubs uniform; you see one of those above. (It’s not from this game.)
Those were forgettable Cubs seasons, 95 and 97 losses respectively, but Reed and the Cubs did have one memorable game that I’ll chronicle here.
Coming into the game on June 5, 2000, the Cubs had lost 18 of 28 and fallen 10 games out of first place. It was pretty clear this wasn’t going to be a contending season.
The Arizona Diamondbacks, who had become a pretty good team with their signing of Randy Johnson, were the visitor for the opening of a three-game series at Wrigley. Former Cub Mike Morgan started for Arizona and another guy you probably barely remember, Ismael Valdez, was the Cubs starter. Reed started behind the plate despite being in a 5-for-48 slump.
The Cubs scored a run in the third and the D-backs one in the fourth and that was it until extra innings. Tim Worrell — remember him? — got out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to help send it to extras.
In the top of the 10th, Rick Aguilera retired the first two Arizona hitters, but Sammy Sosa made an error on a Tony Womack line drive, allowing Womack to reach base, and a double and single later, the D-backs had a 3-1 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Mark Grace doubled and Sosa walked with one out, putting the tying run on base. Willie Greene, another forgettable Cub, singled in Grace to make it 3-2. Henry Rodriguez struck out and that brought up Reed, and here’s where I wish I had video to show you, but video from the Cubs’ 2000 season is difficult to find.
Reed doubled to right and Sosa and pinch-runner Eric Young Sr. scored and the Cubs had a 4-3 win.
The Cubs wound up sweeping that series against Arizona, but after that they posted a 40-62 record, second-worst in MLB over that span (only the 36-70 Expos were worse).
2000 was a forgettable year for the Chicago Cubs, but this game is worth remembering, and now, perhaps, you’ll remember Jeff Reed.
Here’s Mike Bojanowski’s scorecard and ticket from this game. Click here for a larger version of the scorecard.