It was near the end of another miserable losing Cubs season.
The Cubs began the last game of a three-game series in Philadelphia on this date in 1991 with a 73-83 record, 22 games behind the first-place Pirates in the NL East.
The Phillies were just ahead of the Cubs in the division, in fourth place with a 76-82 mark.
Greg Maddux was on the mound for the Cubs, making his final start of the year against Philadelphia’s Jose de Jesus.
The pitchers matched zeroes for the first six innings of the game, and de Jesus had no-hit the Cubs for those six innings.
The Tribune’s Andrew Bagnato describes what happened in the top of the seventh:
But with only seven outs to go for baseball immortality, de Jesus tossed a 1-2 curveball to Luis Salazar, who dumped it into left field. The Vet crowd of 13,680 rose to cheer de Jesus, but their joy turned to dismay when Rey Sanchez singled to center to put runners at the corners.
Maddux glanced into the dugout, but [Jim] Essian didn’t want to lift a pitcher nursing a two-hit shutout. So Maddux strode to the plate and chopped a ball to third, then hustled to beat Dave Hollins’ throw by a heartbeat. It turned out to be all that he would need.
Well. You know how I feel about pitchers hitting in the year 2021, but back then, Maddux was a good hitter who knew good situational hitting. The RBI single by Maddux produced the only run of the game, as the Cubs won 1-0. Maddux threw just 89 pitches and allowed just three hits and drove in the game’s only run.
It was the third of 14 shutouts Maddux would throw in his career with fewer than 100 pitches, a feat now termed “a Maddux.”
The Cubs went on from that series in Philadelphia and swept the Cardinals in St. Louis to finish third in the NL East, passing both the Phillies and Mets.
And Maddux’ singlehanded defeat of the Phillies happened 30 years ago today, October 2, 1991.