These five years are among the greatest in Cubs franchise history, despite the failures of the last two seasons.
There were 15 walkoff homers hit by Cubs overall from 2015-19, and I’m sure you remember many of them. Some were among the rarest type of walkoffs in major-league history.
July 27, 2015: The Cubs had lost three straight, including being no-hit by Cole Hamels, entering this game. And when Jason Motte and Rafael Soriano blew a three-run lead in the ninth inning, it did not look good for our heroes. (Daniel Descalso, of all people, homered off Motte in that inning.)
August 12, 2015: Another blown save by Hector Rondon, though this one wasn’t totally his fault. An error by Addison Russell prolonged the ninth inning and Rondon wild-pitched in the tying run.
Miguel Montero saved the day with a walkoff homer leading off the 10th inning and the Cubs won 3-2 over the Brewers.
August 24, 2015: This was a makeup game from a rainout caused by a severe thunderstorm and torrential downpour in June. Jon Lester was one out away from a five-hit shutout when Carlos Santana singled in the tying run in the ninth.
With two out and nobody on in the bottom of the ninth, Kris Bryant smashed an opposite-field homer on the first pitch from Zach McAllister and the Cubs defeated the Indians 2-1. This is the famous “Strop Strut” walkoff [VIDEO].
September 28, 2015: This was another makeup game, from a rainout on a cold day in May.
The game went scoreless into the 11th inning. Chris Denorfia was sent up to pinch hit leading off the bottom of the 11th against Miguel Almonte.
That home run made history. As I wrote at the time:
Denorfia’s home run was the first pinch-hit homer to win an extra-inning scoreless game in major-league history.
It still stands that way, a unique event in the 140+ year history of Major League Baseball.
May 8, 2016: This was the famous series in which Joe Maddon ordered Bryce Harper intentionally walked 13 times. Four of those were in this Mother’s Day game, where both teams had multiple chances to win in the ninth inning and beyond.
In the 13th inning, Javier Baez decided Mother’s Day dinners had been delayed long enough, and at 6:15 p.m. he sent one into the bleachers, giving the Cubs a 4-3 win over the Nationals.
September 16, 2016: The Cubs had clinched the N.L. Central before this game started because the Cardinals had lost late the previous night in San Francisco. They hoped to have a celebration of the division title after this Friday afternoon game.
It didn’t look good going into the bottom of the ninth as the Cubs trailed the Brewers 4-2. RBI singles by Chris Coghlan and Addison Russell tied it up and sent it to extras, where Miguel Montero’s leadoff homer in the 10th sent Wrigley Field into one big party with a 5-4 win.
April 19, 2017: The Cubs trailed 4-3 entering the bottom of the ninth in a rain-delayed game. Kris Bryant’s RBI single tied it and then Addison Russell slammed a three-run homer for a 7-4 win over the Brewers.
June 6, 2018: The Cubs blew a 3-0 lead and the game went into the ninth tied 3-3. Brandon Morrow served up a two-run homer to Dylan Cozens (who, to this day, has not hit another big-league home run).
So the Cubs trailed 5-3 heading to the last of the ninth. Two walks and a single loaded the bases for Jason Heyward [VIDEO].
J-Hey’s grand slam gave the Cubs a 7-5 victory over the Phillies. Little did we know that wouldn’t even be the most exciting Cubs walkoff slam of that season.
July 26, 2018: The Cubs were down 6-1 in the fifth inning and trailed the Diamondbacks 6-4 going into the bottom of the ninth. With one out and Ben Zobrist on first base, David Bote homered to tie the game.
Two pitches later, Anthony Rizzo won it 7-6. Here are both of those homers [VIDEO].
August 12, 2018: This was a terrific pitchers’ duel between Cole Hamels and Max Scherzer. Hamels threw seven innings and allowed one hit and one run, with nine strikeouts. Scherzer threw seven shutout innings, allowing three hits, striking out 11.
The Nationals put two runs across in the ninth off their former teammate Brandon Kintzler. In the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Madson allowed a single and hit two batters, and that brought David Bote to the plate [VIDEO].
Here are some of the things that accomplished, beyond the Cubs’ 4-3 win:
#Cubs - first time with multiple walkoff grand slams (Heyward & Bote) in a season since 1980 (Barry Foote & Cliff Johnson)— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 13, 2018
Bote's last 2 home runs:— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 13, 2018
7/26: Cubs entered 9th down 2
Game-Tying 2-run HR - Rizzo followed up with a walkoff
8/12: Cubs entered 9th down 3
Walkoff Grand Slam to erase 3-0 deficit.
Big time stuff. #Cubs
Here is a list of all 29 ultimate grand slams in MLB history. Bote’s is still the most recent.
August 24, 2018: After yet another blown save (Pedro Strop served up a homer to Eugenio Suarez in the ninth), David Bote did it again, walking it off with a homer in the 10th, his second in less than two weeks, to give the Cubs a 3-2 victory over the Reds. (A modern-day Jim Hickman!)
May 7, 2019: The game went 2-2 into the bottom of the ninth on a very cold night at Wrigley (41 degrees, 15 mile per hour wind at game time), when the first two Cubs reached base. Jason Heyward walked and Kyle Schwarber was hit by a pitch. But the next two Cubs made outs, and with a 1-2 count on Kris Bryant it looked like the game was headed to extras.
The home run, hit off a 99 mile per hour fastball from Adam Conley, gave the Cubs a 5-2 win over the Marlins.
May 8, 2019: Back-to-back games with walkoff home runs for the Cubs for the first time in almost 21 years, since September 1998. Steve Cishek blew a save in the ninth inning and the game went to extras tied 1-1.
The 2-1 win over the Marlins was the Cubs’ ninth in their previous 10 games.
May 11, 2019: The Brewers and Cubs both scored in the fifth inning and then no one scored for a very, very, very long time. It seemed longer because it was cold (49 degrees at game time) and because the Cubs left runners all over the place (14 in all).
Finally, in the 15th inning, Willson Contreras decided he’d had enough and sent everyone (well, Cubs players and fans, anyway) home happy [VIDEO].
That’s my friend Matt in the light blue jacket who had his hand on the ball before it dropped onto the concourse behind us. The Cubs won, 2-1, on a walkoff homer for the third time in five games.
July 16, 2019: The Cubs had the winning run in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth, but could not score.
It was more exciting to have Kyle Schwarber end it with one out in the 10th [VIDEO].
All the runs in the Cubs’ 4-3 win over the Reds scored via the home run: Robel Garcia hit a two-run shot in the second, Kris Bryant a solo homer in the sixth, and Schwarber’s walkoff. This was something of an issue for the 2019 Cubs, scoring a lot of runs on homers, but not otherwise.
This game is the most recent Cubs walkoff win of any kind.
Over the last 60 seasons, the Cubs have hit 119 walkoff home runs, an average of just short of two per season. Here’s the breakdown by decade:
As you can see, the number of these types of home runs is correlated less with how good the team was and a bit more with the offenses of the eras. It was lower in the 1970s and 1980s, higher in the 1990s and 2010s. The 1960s, a lower-offense era, are a bit of an anomaly.
Also, in this 60-season span the Cubs hit a walkoff homer against every National League team at least once, including the Astros when they were in the N.L. They have hit walkoff homers against four A.L. teams since interleague play began in 1997: White Sox, Rangers, Indians and Royals.
That concludes this series. Hope you have enjoyed this fun look back at some great moments in Chicago Cubs history.