As was the case for most of the 1950s, the 1957 Cubs weren’t a very good team.
After a horrific 11-23 July, though, the team had posted a winning record in August, 16-11, their first winning record in a calendar month since June 1956.
Not that it mattered much. The Cubs entered their September 2 date against the Braves at Wrigley Field at 49-77, 29 games behind the league leaders.
The Cubs scored seven runs in the first three innings of the first game of that September 2 doubleheader. That’s good!
The Cubs allowed 13 runs in the first three innings of the first game of that September 2 doubleheader. That’s... pretty bad. And the Braves added two more in the top of the fourth, meaning the two teams had scored in each of the first seven half-innings of that game.
Bob Rush, who was one of the Cubs’ better pitchers in the 1950s, faced seven batters and retired just one of them, allowing four hits and a walk and having one hitter reach on an error, so he allowed only five earned runs out of six, big whoop. Bob Anderson, his replacement, wasn’t much better — 2⅓ innings, seven hits, seven runs, all earned.
The Braves wound up scoring in eight of their nine innings, and they had a fair chance of scoring in the only one they didn’t (the fifth) when Felix Mantilla hit a one-out triple. But the Cubs caught Mantilla off third base (somehow, the box score isn’t clear on this) and Turk Lown got Del Crandall to ground out to end the frame.
Ernie Banks hit two homers for the Cubs in this losing “effort,” his 31st and 32nd of a season in which he’d eventually hit 43. Meanwhile, Braves first baseman Frank Torre, brother of Joe, tied a major-league record for nine-inning games by scoring six times. That’s been accomplished only four times since then, last by Joe Randa of the Royals in 2004.
Of this game, Tribune writer Irving Vaughan penned:
Milwaukee’s pennant bound express roared through Wrigley Field yesterday, humbling the Cubs with a 26 hit assault against five pitchers for a 23 to 10 triumph. The visitors were slightly more modest in the second engagement, accepting a 4 to 0 victory in front of 34,239.
The Labor Day crowd was the largest of the year at Wrigley Field, likely bolstered by a lot of Braves fans from Milwaukee as their team went for the first-ever (and still the only) MLB championship by a Milwaukee baseball team.
The 23-10 loss was the fourth of a six-game losing streak and the Cubs wound up 62-92 in 1957, 33 games out of first place. Irving Vaughan retired from the Tribune at the end of the 1957 season after having covered baseball in Chicago for various papers since 1910.