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Cubs who homered, stole home in game, Part 2

Second of 2 posts.

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The Cubs have played 16,569 regular-season games since the start of 1916, the earliest year for which play-level data is available at baseball-reference.com

In only 8 of those games has a player hit a home run and stolen home.

Part 1 described the first 4 such games:

June 12, 1916: Frank Schulte

Sept. 27, 1923: Bob O'Farrell

April 23, 1924: George Grantham

Sept. 6, 1953: Dee Fondy

Following are details of the 4 later games.

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JUNE 19, 1958: TONY TAYLOR

Cubs 5, Braves 4, at Milwaukee

Each of the first 4 players had homered, then stolen home -- in Fondy's case, to beat the Phillies, 7-6, in the bottom of the ninth.

Taylor did it the other way around: the steal, then the homer, which broke a tie in the top of the ninth.

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Antonio Nemsio Taylor was born in Cuba in 1935 and was just 18 when he signed with the Giants in 1954. The Cubs selected him in the Rule 5 drafter after 1957, during which he had played for New York's Class AA affiliate in Dallas.

He was invited to spring training with the Cubs and not only made the team, but was their starting second baseman, batting leadoff, on Opening Day.

He had a double and a walk in that game, but through his 48th contest, on June 19, his slash line was an anemic .169/.255/.183. He had had only 1 extra-base hit, another double, since the season opener.

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Taylor had been a defensive replacement for 6 straight games in early June, but returned to the starting lineup on June 11. He made a hit in that game and another in each of the 5 that followed. The hits in the last 2 were doubles.

Then he singled twice on June 17, as the Cubs lost the first game of a series at County Stadium against the defending World Series champions.

After a rainout, the teams squared off again, with future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn pitching for the Braves.

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In the first inning, "Taylor astounded the Braves, and perhaps himself, with a leadoff double to the base of the left centerfield screen," Edward Prell wrote in the Chicago Tribune.

Taylor held second on a grounder to short, then moved to third on a line drive off Spahn's foot that bounded to the second baseman, who threw to first in time to retire the batter.

"While Spahn was leisurely winding up," said Prell, "Tony broke for the plate and slid in easily."

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Taylor ended the second by grounding out to short With 2 out and runners on second and third.

A leadoff homer by Walt "Moose" Moryn doubled the Cubs' lead in the fourth.

But after starter John Briggs got the first out in the bottom half, he gave up a single, an RBI double and a 2-run homer -- by Spahn! Just like that, the Cubs trailed, 3-2.

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The Cubs were blanked in the top of the fifth, with Taylor flying out. A single and a triple by ex-Cub Andy Pafko then made the score 4-2.

Moryn got that run back by slamming a 1-out solo homer in the sixth. A 2-out single and walk gave Taylor a chance to tie the game, but he flied out to center.

Al Dark delivered a leadoff homer in the seventh, however, and the 4-4 deadlock remained through the eighth, as the Braves left the bases loaded.

Glen Hobbie, who had relieved in the sixth, was the first batter in the Cubs' ninth. He struck out.

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Taylor was next. He walloped his first Major League homer, the Cubs' fourth of the game, to put the Cubs in front, 5-4.

Hobbie walked the first batter in the bottom of the ninth, then set down 3 in a row to secure the victory.

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Two months later, at San Francisco, Taylor stole home again, tying the game at 3 in the third inning. But he did not hit a home run that day.

He did hit 5 more homers on his way to a final line of .235/.299/.314.

In 1959, he improved to .280/.331/.393, with 8 homers.

After just 19 games in 1960, on May 13, the Cubs traded Taylor to the Phillies, with Cal Neeman, for Ed Bouchee and Don Cardwell.

Cardwell famously would pitch a no-hitter against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field in his debut as a Cub on May 15.

Taylor ultimately played 19 seasons, 15 of them for Philadelphia. He hit 75 homers and stole 234 bases, including 15 homers and 46 steals as a Cub.

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JUNE 28, 1965: DON LANDRUM

Cubs 7, Astros 2, at Chicago

Of the millions who lived in and near Chicago, only 4,464 chose to spend a Monday afternoon at Wrigley Field, watching the 32-39 Cubs take on the 33-40 Astros.

Would there have been more fans in the stands had they known they would witness something that would not happen again for 55 years?

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Don Landrum, 29 years old, batted second and played center field for the Cubs.

He had played 2 games for the Phillies in 1957, at age 21, then only 73 for the Cardinals in 1960-62 before he was traded to the Cubs on June 5, 1962, along with Alex Grammas, for Daryl Robertson and Bobby Smith.

Landrum batted a respectable .282/.369/.331 the rest of the year as a Cub, but slumped to .242/.294/.282 in 1963, and was 0 for 11 in 1964 when he was sent to the minors at the end of May.

A .305/.360/.494 line at Salt Lake City earned him an invitation to spring training, where Landrum played well enough to make the big club again.

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On May 8, in a loss at home to the the Cubs made 4 errors, 3 of them by outfielders George Altman (2) and Doug Clemens. Altman had played left; Clemens, right; and Billy Williams, center.

When the teams met again the next day, Williams was in left; Altman, in right; and Landrum made his first start of the year in center. He also was at the top of the Cubs' order.

Landrum made the most of the opportunity, hitting a double and a triple as the Cubs lost. Then he doubled and homered in a Game 2 victory.

From then on, Landrum started 29 of the next 40 games, slashing .262/.362/.443, with 12 doubles, 2 triples and 2 homers.

On June 27, at St. Louis, he singled and doubled, as the Cubs won to finish a 4-4 road trip.

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The next day, at home against the Astros, popped up in the first inning.

Glenn Beckert led off the fourth with a single. Landrum smashed a line drive that was caught by the shortstop, who fired to first, doubling up Beckert.

But Billy Williams doubled and Ron Santo homered, giving the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

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Vic Roznovsky singled with 1 out in the fifth. On a tap by Don Kessinger, both runners were safe. Cubs pitcher Larry Jackson tried to lay down a bunt, but popped it up.

A passed ball moments later advanced the runners to second and third, after which Beckert lined a single, scoring both men.

Moments later, Landrum homered to deep left field, increasing the Cubs' cushion to 6-0.

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Jackson lost his shutout bit on a 2-out solo homer in the top of the eighth.

Landrum led off the bottom with a single up the middle off the Astros' new reliever, lefty Danny Coombs.

With Williams at bat, Landrum stole second.

When Williams flied to center, Landrum tagged up and went to third.

Santo walked and Ernie Banks fouled out.

That set the stage for a 2-out double steal on which Landrum scored and Santo took second.

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There was a scary aftermath to the steal.

Coombs threw a pitch that hit Clemens high on the right shoulder.

The next pitch felled Roznovsky.

The Cubs catcher "toppled over on his back, hands flung backward, when a fast ball struck him on the right side of the head, between the ear and temple," Prell wrote in the Tribune. "The pitch cracked the bottom part of Roznovsky's plastic helmet.

"Roznovsky never lost consciousness, but he was carried by his teammates to the clubhouse on a stretcher. After application of ice packs, he was taken to an ambulance.

"X-rays were negative, but Roznovsky was to remain in the hospital overnight."

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Coombs was removed at that point. The Cubs left the bases loaded, then the Astros got a solo homer to start the ninth, but Jackson completed a 6-hit, 7-2 victory.

Roznovsky missed 5 games and did not make another start for 3 weeks. He played in only 34 games the rest of the season, batting .198. His average had been .242 before he was beaned.

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After his homer and steal of home, Landrum slashed only .208/.274/.280, with 3 homers and 9 steals, none of home.

He finished the season at .226/.300/.334, for an OPS of .634 and an OPS+ of 77.

In December, the Cubs traded Landrum to the Giants, for whom he played 72 games in 1966, then retired.

The Cubs also dealt reliever Lindy McDaniel to San Francisco. In return, they got 2 of the key components of the team's imminent Renaissance: pitcher Bill Hands, who would win 92 games for the Cubs in 7 years, and catcher Randy Hundley, who would be a fixture behind home plate for 8 years, then return for 15 games in 1976-77, the last of his 14 big league seasons.

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Hundley would hit 80 home runs as a Cub. He also would steal 12 bases, including a theft of home on May 19, 1966, that gave the Cubs a 6-0 lead over the Astros with 2 outs in the bottom of the third inning.

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THE STREAKS

During the 10 weeks after Landrum's homer and steal of home, the Cubs played 69 games. In none of them did a Cub duplicate Landrum's feat.

In their 70th game, on Sept. 9, at Los Angeles, no Cub reached base, as Sandy Koufax threw a perfect game.

The next day, at San Francisco, Billy Williams singled with 2 out in the third inning. That began a streak of 7,920 consecutive games in which the Cubs made at least 1 hit, a Major League record.

The streak lasted 49 years, 10 months and 16 days, until they were no-hit at home by Cole Hamels of the Phillies on July 25, 2015.

In all those games, no Cubs had homered and stolen home.

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That streak had reached 50 years on June 28, 4 weeks before the Cubs were held hitless by Hamels. It continued, game after game, for more than 5 additional years, through Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020.

That day, the Cubs lost to the White Sox, 9-5, on the South Side. The Cubs hit a home run -- a grand slam, no less. They stole a base. But the slam was by Kris Bryant and the steal, of second, by Javier Baez.

The game was the Cubs' 8,765th since the one in which Landrum had homered and stolen home -- 845, or 10.7 percent, more than their streak of games with at least 1 hit.

In those 8,765 games, the Cubs had hit 8,311 home runs.

They had stolen 4,589 bases, including 38 steals of home.

But none of the players who homered also stole home in the same game.

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SEPT. 27, 2020: BILLY HAMILTON

Cubs 10, White Sox 8, at Guaranteed Rate Field, Chicago

Outfielder Billy Hamilton generally was regarded as one of the fastest men in baseball -- maybe THE fastest.

In 5 minor league seasons, 2009-13, he stole 395 bases, with a high of 155 in 2012.

He stole 277 in 6 seasons with the Reds, 2013-18.

In 2019, he signed with the Royals, who waived him in mid-August. He finished the year with the Braves, then signed with the Giants.

They assigned him to the minors, then traded him to the Mets in early August.

After just 17 games, the Mets placed him on waivers. On Sept. 7, 2020, he was claimed by the Cubs.

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While Hamilton could steal, he had difficulty reaching base. His on-base percentage had been higher than .300 only once, while striking out 3 times as often as he walked. His OPS+ had peaked at 77.

And as a hitter, he had virtually no power. Before joining the Cubs, Hamilton had hit 21 home runs in 3,114 plate appearances. He had not homered in more than 2 years, since leading off a game for the Reds on Aug. 29, 2018.

In his first 13 games as a Cub, Hamilton pinch ran, was a late-inning defensive replacement, or both. He had 1 steal and was 1 for 6, a single, with no walks and 3 strikeouts.

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On the final day of the shortened season, with the Cubs having clinched the Central Division title, Manager David Ross rested 4 of his regular starters, with a fifth serving as designated hitter.

Among those sitting out the finale was Ian Happ. Hamilton replaced him in center field and took over his leadoff spot in the batting order.

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Hamilton struck out swinging to start the game.

Kris Bryant led off the second with a solo homer. With 1 out, David Bote homered with a man on, making the score 3-0.

White Sox pitcher Reynaldo Lopez then walked Jason Kipnis. He walked Nico Hoerner. And, remarkably, he walked Hamilton loading the bases.

Carlos Rondon relieved Lopez and surrendered a single to Cameron Maybin that scored 2 runs and put Hamilton on third.

Before Rondon threw his first pitch to Kyle Schwarber, Hamilton stole home, increasing the Cubs' lead to 6-0.

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The Sox did not score in the bottom of the inning, then both teams were retired in order in the third.

Hoerner grounded out on a 3-2 pitch by new reliever Jace Fry to begin the Cubs' fourth.

Hamilton belted Fry's next pitch over the wall in left center, becoming the seventh Cub to homer and steal home in a game -- and the first since Landrum, 55 years, 2 months and 28 days earlier.

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Hamilton was at bat in the sixth when Hoerner was thrown out stealing to end the inning. He singled to open the seventh, stole second and scored on a throwing error by the pitcher.

In the eighth, he popped up to the shortstop.

The Cubs enjoyed a 10-1 advantage at that point. They needed nearly all of those runs, winning 10-8.

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Hamilton played 2 innings in the field in Game 1 of the Cubs' post-season series against the Marlins. When it was his turn to bat, Maybin pinch hit for him.

He did not play in Game 2, when the Cubs were eliminated, and Oct. 28, he became a free agent. He signed with Cleveland, was released in mid-March, then joined the White Sox, for whom he played 71 games in 2021, batting .220/.242/.378, with 2 homers.

He stole 9 bases. The last was of home, on Sept. 26, the day before the first anniversary of his historic homer and steal as a Cub.

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SEPT. 30, 2021: RAFAEL ORTEGA

Cubs 9, Pirates 0, at Pittsburgh

Four days after Hamilton swiped home for the White Sox, Rafael Ortega did it for the Cubs.

His steal came in the second inning, and he already had homered, leading off the game, on the first pitch he saw from Miguel Yajure.

So after going more than 55 years and 8,765 games from 1965 to 2020 between games in which a player hit a homer and stole home, the Cubs did it twice in 1 year and 3 days, in a span of 160 games!

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Ortega's home run was his 11th since the outfielder had been called up by the Cubs on May 29, 2 weeks after his 30th birthday. Three of his previous homers had come in a single game, at Washington on Aug. 1. They had provided all the runs in a 6-5, walk-off loss.

He had hit a walk-off homer in the ninth inning on Aug. 23 to beat the Rockies, 5-4.

Two days later, he stole home in a loss to the Rockies, one of 7 steals going into the Sept. 30 game at Pittsburgh.

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A 2-run homer by Sergio Alcantara with 1 out in the second increased the Cubs' lead to 3-0. Pitcher Justin Steele singled, Ortega singled Steele to third, and he scored on a groundout.

That left Ortega on second. On the first pitch to Ian Happ, he stole third. Happ walked on a full count.

With Willson Contreras at the plate, Ortega and Happ executed a double steal, just as they had in August against the Rockies. That had come in the second inning, too.

Happ scored moments later, on a double by Contreras. Matt Duffy followed with an RBI single, and the Cubs cruised to a 9-0 victory.

Ortega batted 3 more times, grounding out to second twice and walking.

He stole second base the next day at St. Louis to end his breakthrough season with 10 steals and 11 homers. His slash line, in 103 games, was .293/.360/.463, for an OPS of .823 and an OPS+ of 120.

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MULTIPLE STEALS OF HOME IN SEASON

Ortega became the 16th Cub since 1916 to steal home more than once in a season.

Javier Baez had been the previous Cub to do it, with 2 thefts in 2018.

Until Baez, no Cub had had multiple steals of home for more than half a century, since 1967, when Ted Savage had 2.

Here are all 16, in chronological order. Each stole home twice, unless indicated otherwise.

1916: Rollie Zeider and Heinie Zimmerman

1919: Charlie Deal (3)

1922: Bob O'Farrell

1923: Bob O'Farrell (3)

1924: Bernie Friberg and Cliff Heathcote (3)

1942: Lennie Merullo (3)

1943: Lennie Merullo

1944: Roy Hughes

1949: Andy Pafko

1951: Hal Jeffcoat (3)

1958: Tony Taylor

1967: Ted Savage

2018: Javier Baez

2021: Rafael Ortega

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Those seasons add up to 37 of the Cubs' 144 total steals of home since 1916.

O'Farrell, in 1923; Taylor, in 1958; and Ortega, in 2021, are the only 3 who hit a home run in 1 of the games in which they stole home.

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Since 1916, the Cubs have played 48 games in which they had a steal of home and hit at least 1 home run, but by different players.

The first was on April 24, 1923, when Cliff Heathcote stole home and Gabby Hartnett homered in a 3-0 win over the Cardinals at Chicago.

The most recent was on Aug. 25, 2021, when Ortega stole home and Ian Happ homered in a 13-10, 10-inning loss to the Rockies at Chicago.

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The Cubs also did it in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers at Wrigley Field on Oct. 15, 2016.

In the first inning, Javier Baez stole home, which no Cub had done in the post season since Jimmy Slagle in the 1907 World Series.

Pinch hitter Miguel Montero hit a grand slam to break a 3-3 tie in the eighth, then Dexter Fowler homered on the next pitch.

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