In the five-season period from 1975-79, the Cubs combined for just five walkoff homers, an average of one per season.
In part this was because some of those Cubs teams were really, really bad at hitting home runs in general. For example, in 1978 Dave Kingman led the Cubs with 28 home runs. No one else on the team hit more than nine and the team total of 72 was second-to-last in the National League. For comparison, the 1978 Dodgers, who led the league with 149, would have ranked 14th in the 15-team N.L. of 2019.
Somehow that 1978 Cubs team managed to stay in contention until Labor Day.
Anyway, here are the five:
June 24, 1976: A pair of doubles tied this game 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth, and then in the last of the 13th, Jerry Morales homered for the 2-1 win over the Pirates. It’s the latest inning-wise in our series so far.
September 9, 1977: In front of just 3,983, the Cubs went behind 4-0 after two innings. They took an 8-7 lead after six, only to have Bruce Sutter give up a game-tying double in the ninth. Gene Clines pinch-hit for Sutter and bailed him out with a two-run walkoff in the bottom of the ninth for a 10-8 win over the Mets.
April 14, 1978: This was the home opener that year and became famous before the game even began. In that era, the Cubs still sold bleacher tickets only on the day of the game. Nearly 3,000 people were in line for the tickets at 8 a.m. when fans started climbing the walls to get in, so the gates were opened, more than five hours before game time. The Cubs trailed 4-3 in the eighth and tied it with a two-out double by Ivan De Jesus. Larry Biittner led off the bottom of the ninth with the walkoff for a 5-4 win over the Pirates.
May 24, 1978: With two out and nobody on base in the bottom of the ninth, two singles and a triple by Greg Gross tied this game, and then with two out and nobody on base in the bottom of the 10th, Dave Kingman was hit by a pitch. Manny Trillo followed with the game-winner and the Cubs defeated the Pirates 6-4.
July 23, 1979: This date featured a “doubleheader” of sorts. The game of May 10, 1979 against the Reds had been suspended after nine innings, to be completed July 23. The teams played nine more innings on the July date, with the Cubs winning in the 18th inning on a walkoff single. When the regular game was played, the Cubs were being shut out on four hits entering the ninth inning trailing 1-0. Larry Biittner singled and Dave Kingman hit a homer for the 2-1 victory over the Reds.
Here’s Kingman’s homer (and notice the “Game 1” note on the score shown). [VIDEO]