Welcome back to our Heroes & Goats look back at the 1989 season. When last we checked in, the Cubs were on the road and splitting six games against the Braves and Cardinals. Oddly, the Braves were a bad team that year and the Cubs lost two of three and the Cards a good one and the Cubs won two of three. Baseball can be so odd in small sample sets.
After splitting six on the road, the Cubs came home still in first place. They opened the week with a one game lead. This will be a slightly unusual installment in this series. That’s because the Cubs played two four-game series. The second of those wrapped around to the Monday. We’ll cover all eight of those games here.
This string of games was one of those that every team goes through as summer begins and baseball tries to cram as many games into the best days as possible. The Cubs began a stretch on June 2 in St. Louis where they would play 17 straight days. That period featured two series each against the Mets and Cardinals (seven games each) and a three-game series against the Expos to conclude it. A 17-game stretch, nine of them on the road, all of them against division foes. This would be a grueling and important stretch, probably one of those where you had to feel that if you came out of it with nine wins that you were going to be in good shape.
We know they started out with winning two of three in St. Louis. Let’s see how they did as they came home for four each with the Cards and Mets.
Game 54, June 5: Cubs 15, Mets 3 (31-23)
You may recall that in the final game of the Cardinals series the Cubs won 11-3. That was third highest run output of the season and this was the first. One of those times when just everything is clicking. The Cubs jumped on Mets starter David Cone right away. Mitch Webster drew a one-out walk in the first. Damon Berryhill was hit by a pitch with two outs and that brought Dwight Smith to the plate. Dwight launched a three-run homer.
The Mets bounced back in the second and plated one off of Cubs starter Greg Maddux. They got a lead-off walk from Kevin McReynolds. Mackey Sasser had a one out single and then Kevin Elster drove in a run with a sac fly. But the Cubs offense got right back to work. Shawon Dunston and Maddux had back-to-back one-out singles. Doug Dascenzo then tried to sacrifice and when Cone tried to get a double play, Dunston came all of the way around to score on an aggressive play. One out later, Ryne Sandberg added a two-run triple and the rout was on.
Howard Johnson drove in Lenny Dykstra with a double in the third to cut it to 6-2. But Cone was lifted when he allowed a lead off double to Smith in the third. After a ground out, Lloyd McClendon had a sac fly to return the lead to five. Then in the fourth Dascenzo singled and Mitch Webster followed with a two-run homer. The Cubs rallied one more time in the sixth. Dascenzo walked, Webster singled, Sandberg reached on an error to load the bases. Then Berryhill added a two-run single. Smith drew a walk and Vance Law cleared the bases with a three-run triple. McClendon grounded out to drive in the 15th and final run.
- Superhero: Dwight Smith (.263). 3-4, HR, 2B, BB, 3R, 3RBI
- Hero: Ryne Sandberg (.069). 1-4, 1R, 2RBI
- Sidekick: Mitch Webster (.048). 2-4, HR, BB, 3R, 2RBI
- Billy Goat: Vance Law (-.012). 1-4, 3B, R, 3RBI
- Goat: Lloyd McClendon (-.006). 0-3, BB, SF, 2RBI
- Kid: Jeff Pico (.000). 1 IP, 2H, 0BB, 1R, 0K
*Scorer’s discretion. Seven different players had .000 in this one. Two of them were pitchers hitting, so those were easy cuts. Three of them were hitters who were all 0-1. One was a pitcher who threw a scoreless eighth inning. That leaves Pico, who allowed a solo homer in the ninth with the score 15-2. Tough break.
Game 55, June 6: Cubs 8, Mets 4 (32-23)
With three straight wins, the Cubs reached nine over .500 for the first time. This one initially didn’t look as easy as the previous two. The Mets got a one out double from Dave Magadan in the first. Howard Johnson followed with a walk. Then Darryl Strawberry and Mark Carreon each had RBI-singles to make it 2-0 against Cubs starter Paul Kilgus.
In the second inning, the Cubs got those runs back plus one. Lloyd McClendon led off the inning with a solo homer. After a Vance Law single, Dwight Smith added a two-run homer off of Mets starter Bob Ojeda. It stayed there until the fifth. Doug Dascenzo started the inning with a bunt single. Mitch Webster followed with a single of his own. In fact, the first five Cubs hitters of the inning all had singles. Ryne Sandberg, Damon Berryhill and Lloyd McClendon each followed with RBI-singles and it was 5-2. The inning ended when Vance Law lined into a triple play.
Magadan singled leading off the sixth and one out later Strawberry launched a two-run homer to cut the lead to two. The Cubs got an RBI-single from Berryhill in the seventh with Webster scoring. Then in the eighth Gary Varsho had a two-out double to score Shawon Dunston who had just singled to close the scoring.
- Superhero: Dwight Smith (.168). 2-4, HR, R, 2RBI
- Hero: Calvin Schiraldi (.146). 2⅔IP, 1H, 0BB, 0R, 2K
- Sidekick: Lloyd McClendon (.110). 2-4, HR, R, 2RBI
- Billy Goat: Shawon Dunston (-.041). 2-4, R, DP
- Goat: Paul Kilgus (-.033). 5⅓IP, 6H, 1BB, 4R, K (W 5-5)
- Kid: Doug Dascenzo (-.012). 1-5, R
Game 56, June 7: Mets 10 at Cubs 5 (32-24)
What goes up must come down. The Cubs offense had scored 34 runs in three games. While that was never going to continue, five behind Rick Sutcliffe would normally feel like a game you’d win. But it wasn’t meant to be. The Mets scored first, getting a run right off the bat when Howard Johnson doubled, moved to third on a grounder and scored on a Kevin McReynolds sac fly. In the second they added another when Mookie Wilson singled, stole second and moved all of the way to third on a throwing error. He then scored on a wild pitch, more or less completing a little league home run.
The Cubs got the offense in gear in the third inning though against Mets starter Dwight Gooden. Mitch Webster doubled to lead it off. Ryne Sandberg was then hit by a pitch. Damon Berryhill got the Cubs on the board with an RBI-single. Dwight Smith followed with an RBI-double. Lloyd McClendon and Vance Law each followed with RBI-singles of their own. Given all of the problems the Cubs had through the years against Gooden, this had to feel really good and with Sutcliffe on the mound they surely had visions of a four game winning streak.
The Mets had other plans. With two outs in the fourth, Gregg Jeffries and Jeff McKnight singled to put two on. Barry Lyons followed with an RBI single and then Rick Sutcliffe balked in a run to tie the game at four. Then in the fifth, Johnson drew a lead off walk. Dave Magadan added a double and McReynolds launched a three-run homer.
That was it for Sutcliffe, but not for the Mets in the fifth. Two outs later Jeffris singled and McKnight walked. Lyons had a two run double and the lead was 9-4. Lloyd McClendon led off the fifth with a homer for the Cubs to cut the lead by one. But that was it for the offense. Johnson got the run back in the bottom of the inning with a lead-off homer and that was all of the scoring.
- Superhero: Lloyd McClendon (.117). 3-4, HR, R, 2RBI
- Hero: Dwight Smith (.095). 2-4, 2B, R, RBI, 2K
- Sidekick: Mitch Webster (.089). 1-5, R
- Billy Goat: Rick Sutcliffe (-.591). 4IP, 7H, 3BB, 7R (6ER), 2K (L 7-4)
*3rd worst WPA game score of the 1989 Cubs season
- Goat: Pat Perry (-.102). 4IP, 4H, 2BB, 3R, 2K
- Kid: Doug Dascenzo (-.063). 0-4, BB
Game 57, June 8: Cubs 5, Mets 4 (33-24)
The Cubs got back to nine over .500 in dramatic fashion and took three of four from the Mets in the process. The Mets would go on to finish second place, so this was an accomplishment. The Cubs got off to a good start when Lloyd McClendon stayed hot with a two-out solo homer in the second off of Ron Darling. In the third, they added on. With two outs Doug Dascenzo singled. Mitch Webster followed with a single of his own and when Mitch Webster made it three straight, it was 2-0.
Howard Johnson got one back with a two-out homer of his own in the fourth off of Mike Bielecki. In the bottom of the fourth, McClendon and Curtis Wilkerson started the inning with back-to-back singles putting runners on the corners with no outs. One out later Bielecki bunted and the Mets muffed the play to make it 3-1 Cubs.
Gregg Jeffries doubled to start the fifth and Barry Lyons continued to be a thorn in the Cubs side with an RBI-single. In the sixth, Wilkerson had a one-out double. One out later Domingo Ramos came through with an RBI double to give the Cubs a 4-2 lead. But the Mets battled back again. Jeffires had a one-out double in the seventh and Leo Mazzilli had a two-out RBI-double to cut the lead back to one.
Mitch Williams came in for the ninth, holding a one-run lead. He struck out the first batter he faced, but the second one, Kevin McReynolds, took him deep to tie the game. The game stayed knotted until the Cubs half of the 10th. McClendon reached on an error with one out. Wilerson followed with a single and then Shawon Dunston was hit by a pitch. that brought Rick Wrona to the plate with the bases loaded. Wrona came through with a walkoff bunt single.
- Superhero: Curtis Wilkerson (.205). 4-5, 2B, R
- Hero: Steve Wilson (.184). 1⅓IP, 0H, 0BB, 0R, 1K
- Sidekick: Rick Wrona (.167). 1-1, RBI
- Billy Goat: Vance Law (-.154). 0-5, K
- Goat: Doug Dascenzo (-.118). 1-5, R
- Kid: Calvin Schiraldi (-.093). ⅔IP, 2H, 0BB, 1R, 0K
Game 58, June 9: Cardinals 1 at Cubs 0 (33-25)
Scott Sanderson and Jose DeLeon may not be two guys who you were thinking of for an old fashioned pitching duel. But that’s just what occurred. The two teams mustered a total of eight hits and just five walks.
The scoring in this one was short and sweet. Ozzie Smith doubled with two outs in the first and Pedro Guerrero followed wiht a double of his own for the game’s only run. The closest thing to a rally that the Cubs mustered was the fifth inning when Domingo Ramos was hit by a pitch with two outs and Scott Sanderson followed by drawing a walk. That was the only runner all day that reached second base.
Sanderson and DeLeon each worked eight innings. Todd Worrell finished the game out, retiring the final two Cubs for his seventh save after Damon Berryhill singled with one out against Ken Dayley.
- Superhero: Scott Sanderson (.301). 8IP, 4H, 3BB, 1R, 2K (L 6-4)
- Hero: Jeff Pico (.037). IP, 0H, 0BB, 0R, 0K
- Sidekick: Dwight Smith (.003). 2-3, BB
- Billy Goat: Lloyd McClendon (-.215). 0-4, K
- Goat: Curtis Wilkerson (-.184). 0-4, K
- Kid: Doug Dascenzo (-.147). 0-4, 2K
Game 59, June 10: Cardinals 6 at Cubs 0 (33-26)
After several days of high scoring games early in the week, the Cubs offense fell silent for the second straight day. The Cubs surely expected more with future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux starting against Joe Magrane. But the offense mustered only six hits.
The game reached the third inning scoreless. But then Tony Pena led off with a walk. Two outs later, Pena was on second when Milt Thompson delivered a run scoring single. He then stole second, advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on an Ozzie Smith single. Pena came through for the Cardinals again in the fourth, batting with runners on the corners and one out, he had an RBI-single scoring Terry Pendleton.
Pena added a two-run double in the sixth with the bases loaded, driving in Pendleton and Pedro Guerrero who had drawn back-to-back walks from Maddux to start the inning. Magrane added an RBI-single and it was 6-0.
The Cubs got two runners to second base. One of them was Maddux who walked and stole second with two outs in the third. The other was in the ninth when the Cubs put together a walk and a single with one out.
- Superhero: Lloyd McClendon (.046). 2-3, BB, K
- Honorable Mention: Greg Maddux (.025). 0-0, BB, SB
- Hero: Jeff Pico (.005). 2IP, H, 0BB, 0R, K
- Sidekick: Damon Berryhill (.002). 1-1
- Billy Goat: Greg Maddux (-.212). 5⅓IP, 7H, 3BB, 6R (5ER), 4K (L 5-6)
- Goat: Domingo Ramos (-.087). 0-4, 2DP
- Kid: Darrin Jackson (-.058). 1-4
Game 60, June 11: Cardinals 10, Cubs 7 (33-27)
The Cubs offense busted out, rocking Cardinals starter Ken hill for four runs. Unfortunately, Paul Kilgus was good but the Cubs bullpen got smacked around. It didn’t start out that way though. The game was scoreless in the fourth inning when Ryne Sandberg stepped to the plate. He hit a solo homer to get the Cubs an early lead and their first run of the series.
Kilgus retired the first two batters he faced in the fifth before allowing a pair of two-out doubles to Vince Coleman and Ozzie Smith, tying the game. Vance Law homered to lead off the fifth. Domingo Ramos singled, Kilgus bunted him to second and Jerome Walton drew a walk. Mitch Webster singled in a run and then a Ryne Sandberg ground out scored a run, making it 4-1. Tony Pena had a two-out RBI single in the sixth, scoring Terry Pendleton who had led off the inning with a double.
But the seventh inning was the disastrous one. Calvin Schiraldi started the inning for the Cubs. Smith doubled to lead it off. . Pedro Guerrero singled. Tom Brunansky homered and the Cardinals were up one. That was it for Schiraldi and Steve Wilson came in. One out later, Jose Oquendo singled and Milt Thompson followed with a single of his own. That was it for Wilson. Jeff Pico was next up. He had a throwing error sending Thompson all of the way to third and scoring a run. Then Pena added another RBI-single. After a sacrifice bunt registered the second out, Vince Coleman tripled in a run. Smith had an RBI-single. Guerrero singled and that was it for Pico. That brought Pat Perry into the game. Brunansky added an RBI-single and the Cards notched an 8 run inning.
Lloyd McClendon hit a solo homer in the eighth to cut it to five. The Cubs then got back-to-back singles to start the ninth from Curtis Wilkerson and Jerome Walton. One out later Sandberg and Damon Berryhill had back to back RBI-singles to cut the deficit to three. But Todd Worrell retired the final two batters to close it out.
- Superhero: Ryne Sandberg (.203). 4-5, HR, R, 3RBI
- Hero: Vance Law (.146). 2-3, HR, BB, R, RBI
- Sidekick: Paul Kilgus (.089). 52⁄3IP, 6H, 3BB, 2R, 2K
- Billy Goat: Calvin Schiraldo (-.486). ⅓IP, 3H, BB, 3R, 0K (L 1-4)
- Goat: Jeff Pico (-.199). ⅓IP, 4H, 0BB, 3R, 0K
- Kid: Lloyd McClendon (-.090). 1-5, HR, R, RBI, 2K
Game 61. June 12: Cubs 10, Cardinals 3 (34-27)
The Cubs salvaged a little bit of pride with a win in the finale of the series. Vince Coleman led off this game with a single for the Cards. He stole second and went to third on an errant throw. One out later Pedro Guerrero had an RBI single to give the Cards a quick lead. But the Cubs bounced right back. Jerome Walton led off the third with a single and one out later it was Ryne Sandberg hitting a two-run homer.
The Cards tied it back up when Tony Pena tripled leading off the third. One out later, Coleman had the sac fly. Once again the Cubs struck fast though. Walton led off the third with a double and one out later Sandberg had his third RBI of the day with a double. This time though, the Cubs kept adding. In the fourth, Mitch Webster led off with a single. Vance Law drew a walk. Shawon Dunston attempted to bunt the runners over, but there was an error on the play. Webster came around to score. One out later, Jerome Walton added an RBI-single and it was 6-2 Cubs.
Steve Wilson was an emergency starter for the Cubs and he pitched into the fifth inning. Milt Thompson started that inning with a double. A pair of fly outs, the second by Jim Lindeman, yielded the Cardinals third run. Wilson was done for the day, but he fared pretty well for a guy who’d pitched in relief the day before. He’d notch a win for his effort and improved his record to 3-0.
The game was still 6-3 Cubs in the seventh inning when Sandberg and Damon Berryhill started the inning with back-to-back singles. Lloyd McClendon followed with an RBI-double. Mitch Webster drew an intentional walk and then Vance Law and Calvin Schiraldi produced a pair of sacrifice flies. Domingo Ramos completed the rally with an RBI-triple.
- Superhero: Ryne Sandberg (.258). 3-5, HR, 2B, 2R, 3RBI, K
- Hero: Jerome Walton (.162). 4-5, 2B, R, 2RBI, CS
- Sidekick: Shawon Dunston (.098). 1-2, R, S
- Billy Goat: Dwight Smith (-.052). 1-5, R, K
- Goat: Lloyd McClendon (-.037). 1-4, 2B, R, RBI
- Kid: Steve Wilson (-.014). 5IP, 3H, BB, 3R (2ER), 3K (W 3-0)
That brought the week (plus) to a close. It was a mixed bag, with the Cubs winning three of four from the Mets and then losing three of four to the Cardinals. Those two teams were their primary division rivals that year, and so for a time that shook up the standings a bit. On June 5, the Cubs were in first by two games, the Mets were in third at 2½ back and the Cards were in fourth at five back. By the end of the day on June 12, the Cubs had only a half game lead in the division. The Cards had moved into third and were just three back. The Mets had dropped into fourth and were three back. The Expos were still hanging in. They finished the week with a three game winning streak and at the end of Sunday were tied with the Cubs. But then fell a half game back with the Cubs Monday win.
In that stretch of 17 straight games, the Cubs had played all eight of their home games after starting it with three road games. That left six more games, all on the road. They had come through the first 11 at 6-5. They still had a chance at nine wins, but would need a road split against the Mets and Expos who were both in the thick of the NL East race. It certainly didn’t look easy.
1989 Cubs Historical Heroes and Goats Player of the Week: Dwight Smith
Dwight was drafted by the Blue Jays in the third round of the 1984 draft, but didn’t sign. He was then picked by the Cubs in the third round of the June secondary draft. In 1989 he reached the majors for the first time. He played left and right field for the Cubs that season, appearing in 109 games and amassing 381 plate appearances. He did so with a .324/.382/.493 line, good for an OPS+ of 141.
That season was easily the best season of Dwight’s career, but he did hang around for eight seasons in the majors. He plated with the Cubs through the 1993 season, appearing in 536 games and taking 1,459 plate appearances. He had a career OPS of .773 with the Cubs. He went to free agency after the 1993 season and signed with the Angels. He started the season there, but was ultimately traded in June to the Orioles. He then signed two successive one-year deals with the Braves, playing there in 1994 and 1995. For those efforts, he won a World Series ring in his final year in the majors. He retired with a 1.167 OPS in three postseason plate appearances. One of those was an intentional walk.
That had to be a pretty fun bookend to his major league career. He reached the NLCS as a rookie, was runner-up to his teammate Jerome Walton for Rookie of the Year in 1989, and then won a World Series in his final year in the majors. Some of you might also recall that he sang the National Anthem before a Cubs game in July of that rookie year. Believe it or not, there’s video!
Smith’s son, Dwight, Jr. has reached the majors and is part of the Reds organization as we head towards the 2021 season.
What is your favorite Dwight Smith memory?
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Game winning RBI in "the Comeback"
National Anthem performance
Cubs finish 1-2 in Rookie of the Year voting
Other (please leave your suggestion below)