FanPost

Cubs who homered, stole home in game, Part 1

Last week, Randy Arozarena of the Rays hit a home run and stole home against the Red Sox.

He became the first player in Major League history to perform both feats in a post-season game.

I wondered if any Cub had homered and stolen home in the regular season.

Starting with the Pivotal Play Finder tool at baseball-reference.com, I was able to make a list of the 144 times that a Cub has stolen home since 1916, the first season for which the website's database has play-level information.

Then I checked the box scores of each game in which a Cub stole home to see if the same player also hit a home run.

..........

Eventually, I found 8 Cubs who homered and stole home.

The first did it in 1916, the earliest year of B-R's complete data.

Two more turned the trick in 1923 and 1924.

There was not another occurrence until 1953.

It happened again in 1958 and 1965, then 55 years went by before a Cub did it in each of the last 2 seasons, 2020 and 2021!

In fact, the 2 most recent times -- the seventh and eighth in 106 years -- came just 1 year and 3 days apart, in a span of only 160 games.

On Sept. 27, 2020, in the last game of the abbreviated, 60-game season, Billy Hamilton stole home in the second inning, then homered in the fourth.

On Sept. 30, 2021, in Game 159 of the just-completed season, Rafael Ortega led off the game with a home run, then stole home in the second.

Following are descriptions, in chronological order, of all 8 games in which a Cub homered and stole home in the same game.

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JUNE 12, 1916: FRANK SCHULTE

Cubs 8, Giants 2, at New York

The flamboyant outfielder known as "Wildfire" had joined the Cubs as a 21-year-old rookie in 1904.

He had led both leagues in home runs in 1910 (10) and 1911 (21). In the latter year, at 28, he had batted .300, topped the National League in RBI (107) and slugging (.534), compiled an OPS of .918 and an OPS+ of 156, and been voted Most Valuable Player.

But by 1916 Schulte was 33 and coming off a season in which he had batted just .249, with an OPS of .686 and an OPS+ of 107.

...

Through his first 14 games of the new season, Schulte's average was .267 and his OPS .690. But then he regained his stride. In 20 games from May 8 through June 3, he slashed .368/.419/.547, for an OPS of .992.

Then he did not play for a week, sitting out 2 games, after which 3 in a row were rained out. When he returned to the lineup, on Saturday, June 10, he went 0 for 4, in a 1-0 loss at New York.

State law prohibited baseball being played on Sundays, so it was Monday when the teams met again at the Polo Grounds.

Batting cleanup, Schulte collected 4 hits in 5 at bats. It was his eighth game with at least 4 hits, but his first since September 1911 and only his second since June 1908.

...

Schulte was at the plate with 2 out in the first inning when Cy Williams, who had walked, was thrown out trying to steal second.

So he led off the second inning instead, and slammed a pitch by Fred Anderson far over the fence in right field to tie the score at 1.

The Cubs went ahead with a run later in the inning, then Williams singled home a run in the third. Schulte followed with a single but both runners were stranded.

He grounded out in the fourth and singled again with 2 out in the sixth, by which time the Cubs' lead was 6-1.

...

Max Flack opened the eighth with a double and came home on a base hit by Williams, who took second on the belated throw home. Schulte singled, sending Williams to third, then stole second. Williams headed for home when Heinie Zimmerman grounded to the right side, but was thrown out.

The New York Times explained what happened next:

"Zimmerman then made a bluff to go to second and drew the throw. The members of the Giants' infield all took part in a game of bean-bag, tossing the ball all around the infield. In the meantime, Schulte sneaked home and Zimmerman got safely back to first."

His steal made the score 8-1. It ended 8-2.

...

Schulte had 2 more hits the next day, raising his average to .339 and his OPS to .898. But over the next 45 games, he slumped to .243 and .617, hit just 1 homer and stole only 2 bases.

The home run, his fifth of the season, came in the last of those 45 games and provided the Cubs' only run in a 4-1 loss in Game 2 of a doubleheader at Philadelphia.

After the game, Schulte was traded with catcher William Fischer to Pittsburgh, for veteran catcher Art Wilson, who had been a standout for Chicago's Federal League team in 1914-15. The team had been owned by Charlie Weeghman, now owner of the Cubs.

In 13 seasons as a Cub, Schulte slashed .272/.330/.403, for an OPS of .733 and an OPS+ of 116.

He hit 91 home runs and stole 214 bases.

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SEPT. 27, 1923: BOB O'FARRELL

Cubs 8, Pirates 2, at Chicago

O'Farrell, a catcher, shares the Cubs' record for most steals of home since 1916, 6, with World War II-era shortstop Lennie Merullo.

His steal against the Phillies was the last of O'Farrell's half dozen. The first had come in 1918, followed by a pair in 1922 and 2 more earlier in 1923, the first also against Pittsburgh.

...

A native of Waukegan, about 40 miles north of Chicago, O'Farrell had made his debut with the Cubs in 1915, at age 18. He played only 6 games in that year and the 2 that followed, but shared the catching duties in 1918-19, then was the starter in 1920-23.

After batting .248 and .250 in 1920-21, he had improved markedly in 1922, slashing .324/.439/.441, for an OPS of .880 and an OPS+ of 127.

His strong hitting continued in 1923. Going into the season-ending series against the Pirates, his line was .318/.407/.464, for .871. He had hit 11 homers and stolen 9 bases.

...

Jigger Statz -- also born in Waukegan, coincidentally -- led off the Cubs' first inning with a double. A walk and a forceout brought up O'Farrell who slammed a 3-run homer to left.

He flied to center in the third and fouled out to the catcher in the sixth.

The Cubs led, 5-2, when Statz fouled out to start the seventh. Sparky Adams singled and went to third on a single by George Grantham, who promptly stole second. O'Farrell smacked a double, scoring both men

A groundout sent O'Farrell to third. Hack Miller, who had homered in the sixth, drew a walk. He and O'Farrell then pulled off a double steal, completing the scoring for the afternoon.

...

O'Farrell had collected 5 RBI only twice before, just 4 days apart earlier in 1923: June 14 and 18. He never had 5 again, despite playing until 1935, when he was 38 years old.

The Cubs traded him to the Cardinals early in 1925. He later went to the Giants, returned to the Cardinals, then was dealt to the Reds, who sent him back to the Cubs for 22 games in 1934.

He played for the Cubs in a total of 12 seasons, batting .279/.364/.401, for an OPS of .765 and an OPS+ of 106.

He hit 27 home runs, 12 of them in 1923, and stole 23 bases.

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APRIL 23, 1924: GEORGE GRANTHAM

Cubs 12, Cardinals 1, at Chicago

Grantham had stole home once in 1923, his first full season, when he swiped 43 bases in all.

He also led the league in times caught stealing, 28, as well as strikeouts, 92.

His final slash line as a 23-year-old rookie was .281/.360/.414, for an OPS of .774 and an OPS+ of 104. He hit 8 home runs.

In Grantham's first 8 games of 1924, he had eye-popping numbers: .400/.471/.833, for an OPS of 1.304. More than half of his 12 hits were for extra bases: 3 doubles, 2 triples and 2 home runs.

All that slugging had come on the road, as the Cubs went 4-4 at St. Louis and Cincinnati. The April 23 game against the Cardinals was their home opener.

...

Three batters into the bottom of the first, the Cubs grabbed a 1-0 lead, as Jigger Statz doubled, was bunted to third and came home on a single by Grantham.

Ray Grimes' double drove in Grantham. Cliff Heathcote doubled in 2 more runs before the inning ended.

In the second, Cubs pitcher Vic Keen doubled and scored on a double by Statz. One out later, Statz tallied on a single by Grantham, then Grimes homered, making the score 8-0.

Grantham walked in the fourth and was stranded. Then he walked again with 2 out in the sixth, with far different results.

...

He immediately stole second. Pitcher Lou North tried to pick him off but threw the ball into center field, allowing Grantham to reach third. Perhaps rattled, North walked Grimes, after which he and Grantham executed a double steal, with Grantham sliding home just ahead of a throw from second baseman Rogers Hornsby.

Grantham wasn't through yet. Here's how Frank Schreiber of the Tribune described his final trip to the plate:

"In the eighth, with Johnny Stuart, the ex-Ohio State star, flinging, the Bears broke out their final spree and with Keen and Statz on first and second as the result of singles, Grantham wafted the leather into the right field stands for his home run and the final three Cub tallies."

...

Grantham ended the day 3 for 3, plus 2 walks, as did Grimes. Grantham drove in 5 runs, most of his young career.

He would have 5 more games with 5 RBI and a game with 6 -- but all for the Pirates, to whom the Cubs would trade him in late October.

The 6-player deal also sent Vic Aldridge and Al Niehaus to Pittsburgh. In return, the Cubs got Wilbur Cooper, Charlie Grimm and Rabbit Maranville.

Maranville would serve as player-manager for the final third of the 1925 season. Grimm would be player-manager in 1932-36, then bench manager in 1937-38, 1944-49 and for the final 17 games of 1960.

In his 2-plus seasons as a Cub, Grantham batted .294/.370/.431, for an OPS of .802 and an OPS+ of 112. He hit 20 homers and stole 66 bases.

He played 10 more years: 7 with the Pirates, 2 with the Reds and his last with the Giants, in 1934, at age 34. His career slash line was .302/.392/.461, for an OPS of .854 and an OPS+ of 122. His batting average was at least .305 for 8 straight years, beginning with .316 in his last season as a Cub.

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SEPT. 6, 1953: DEE FONDY

Cubs 7, Reds 6, at Chicago

Like the 3 who did it before him, Fondy homered, then stole home.

Had he not already homered, he would not have had a chance to do so, as his steal of home ended the game, coming in the bottom of the ninth, with the score tied at 6.

Only 2 previous Cubs had won a game with a steal of home: Cliff Heathcote in 1924 and Danny Taylor in 1930. No one has done it since Fondy.

...

A 26-year-old first baseman, Fondy had spent 5 years in the Dodgers' minor league system before being acquired by the Cubs after the 1950 season along with Chuck Connors for outfielder Hank Edwards.

Fondy was batting .271/.319/.388 on July 1, 1951, when the Cubs dispatched him to their Los Angeles farm club of the Pacific Coast League.

But he made the Cubs' roster in spring training of 1952, played in 145 games and slashed .300/.334/.424, for an OPS of .759 and an OPS+ of 108.

He hit only 10 homers that year, but already had 15 in 1953 going into the Sept. 6 doubleheader against the Reds. His other numbers were higher, too: .307/.355/.479, .833.

...

The Cubs trailed, 4-1, when Fondy popped up leading off the second inning.

The score was 5-1 before Ralph Kiner and Hank Sauer hit back-to-back homers to start the Cubs' fourth. Fondy, up next, tapped back to the mound.

A 1-out single by Kiner with runners on first and second in the fifth brought the Cubs to within 5-3 and brought Bob Kelly in from the bullpen. With 2 down, Fondy walked, loading the bases, but the next batter flied out.

...

His next trip to the plate was with 2 out and nobody on in the seventh. This time, he homered off Kelly, tying the score.

The Reds broke the tie in a hurry, with a leadoff homer in the eighth.

The score still was 6-5 with 1 out in the bottom of the ninth, when Kelly issued a walk to Kiner. Pinch runner George Metkovich was forced out on a grounder by Sauer, but barreled into the second baseman Rocky Bridges, who had just entered the game. Bridges was knocked off his feet, preventing an attempt for a possible double play.

...

Pinch runner Hal Jeffcoat took second on a wild pitch, Fondy walked and pinch hitter Joe Garagiola smacked a double against the right field wall that tied the game and put Fondy on third.

"The count was two strikes and one ball on [Ray] Smalley when Fondy set out for home," Ed Prell wrote in the Tribune. "The startled Kelly hurried his pitch, which was high and inside. Catcher Hobie Landrith, lunging for the ball, allowed it to bounce off his glove, but Fondy would have made it anyway."

...

That was Fondy's only steal of home among 66 thefts during 7 seasons as a Cub. He played only 11 games in the seventh season, 1957, before being traded to the Pirates.

He hit 66 homers for the Cubs, more than half of them in 1953 (18) and 1955 (17). He slashed .285/.323/.422, for an OPS of .745.

In 1953, his OPS was 114, with slashes of .309/.358/.477, .835. From then on, it was 88, 92, 82 and 94. For all 7 seasons, it was 96.

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TOMORROW: The 4 later games in which a Cub hit a home run and stole home.



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