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Cubs' ninth-inning home runs, 1901-2021

I recently wrote that the Cubs have hit back-to-back home runs to win a game only twice in the entire Modern Era.

The first time was on April 16, 2004, when Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou homered to beat the Reds, 11-10.

The second was on July 26, 2018, when homers by David Bote and Anthony Rizzo defeated the Diamondbacks, 7-6.

Bote's home run, it turns out, also was historic in another respect. It was the 1,000th home run that the Cubs have hit in the ninth inning of game since 1901.

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99.8 PERCENT

That is among many fun facts that I can report now, as I finally am able to analyze all 13,661 home runs by the Cubs during the 121 seasons of the Modern Era.

Baseball-reference.com's treasure trove of data has information about their homers only since 1916, and it has incomplete data on 381 of those homers.

By examining individual players' Home Run Logs at the site, box scores, play-by-play at Retrosheet.org and coverage of games in contemporary newspapers, I ultimately filled in all the blanks on 368 of those 381 homers. I could not establish how many outs there when the remaining 13 homers were hit. For 2 of them, I also could not determine which bases were occupied.

The Cubs hit 423 home runs in 1901-15. Using the same method, I compiled complete information on 405, and all data except the number of outs on 18.

So, of 804 total home runs for which baseball-reference lacks data, I now have it for 773 -- 96.1 percent.

And of the 13,661 homers that the Cubs have hit since 1901, I have complete data for 13,630 -- 99.8 percent!

That's close enough to "all" for me!

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999TH AND 1,000TH

On July 14, 2018, the Cubs led at San Diego, 5-4, after 7 innings. They added 3 runs in the eighth, on a single, a wild pitch, an intentional walk, an RBI single by Addison Russell and a 2-run double by Victor Caratini.

In the ninth, Kris Bryant and Jason Heyward singled, then Javier Baez launched a 3-run homer to right-center, making the score 11-4. The final count was 11-6.

Baez's homer was the Cubs' 999th in the ninth inning.

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The Cubs played 9 games over the next 11 days: 1 more at San Diego, followed by a 3-day All-Star Game break, then 5 games in 4 days at home against the Cardinals and 3 in as many days against the Diamondbacks.

They hit only 5 home runs in those 9 games, 4 against St. Louis and 1 against Arizona. The latter provided the Cubs' only run in a 4-1 loss. It was hit in the sixth inning. None of the previous 4 had come later than the seventh.

The Cubs bounced back to beat their guests, 2-1, the next night. The teams concluded the series the following afternoon.

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A 2-out grand slam in the fifth inning gave the Diamondbacks a 6-1 lead.

In the bottom of the inning, Tommy La Stella, David Bote and Anthony Rizzo smacked consecutive singles, producing 1 run, and another came home on a sacrifice fly by Albert Almora.

Kyle Schwarber doubled with 1 out in the sixth. He took third when Addison Russell struck out but the ball got past the catcher. Then Javier Baez swung and missed at an 0-2 pitch that also got away, allowing Baez to reach first and Schwarber to score.

The score remained 6-4 going to the bottom of the ninth.

Ben Zobrist drew a leadoff walk from new pitcher Brad Boxberger. Baez lined out. Bote then walloped an 0-2 delivery into the bleachers in left-center field, tying the game with the Cubs' 1,000th ninth-inning homer.

Boxberger's first pitch to Rizzo was a strike. Rizzo sent his second pitch sailing high and far into the seats in right, earning the Cubs a doubly historic, come-from-behind, 7-6 triumph.

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LAST AND FIRST

The Cubs now have hit 1,043 home runs in the ninth inning. They have been hit by 329 batters.

The most recent homer was on Oct. 2, at St. Louis. A 2-run shot by Ian Happ with 2 out and a runner on first, it put the Cubs in front, 6-5, and that's how the game ended.

That was 120 years, 3 months and 1 day since the first Cub homered in the ninth. On July 1, 1901, at New York, Topsy Hartsel hit a solo homer in the ninth for the final run in a 6-4 loss to the Giants.

Hartsel led the Cubs with 7 homers in his only season as a Cub. None of the others came in the ninth inning.

His ninth-inning homer against the Giants was the Cubs' seventh of the Modern Era. Happ's, their last of the season, was No. 13,661.

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100TH

Woody English slugged their 100th ninth-inning homer, on Aug. 16, 1930, and it was a dramatic drive.

The Cubs had won Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Phillies, 9-8, by scoring twice in the bottom of the ninth, on a leadoff single by English, a walk, an RBI single by Hack Wilson and a 1-out, bases-loaded hit by Gabby Hartnett.

In Game 2, the Cubs were shut out for 8 innings and trailed, 3-0. Pinch hitter Riggs Stephenson opened the ninth with a single and Doc Farrell walked. When Hartnett flied out, Clyde Beck, running for Stephenson, raced to third.

After Footsie Blair popped up, pitcher Claude Willoughby was called for a balk, allowing Beck to score and Farrell to advance to second.

English then slammed a game-tying, 2-run homer.

The score still was 3-3 when darkness halted play after 11 innings.

English hit 4 ninth-inning homers among his 31 in 10 seasons as a Cub.

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250TH

Bob Ramazzotti hit the Cubs' 250th ninth-inning homer, at New York, in Game 2 of a doubleheader on Aug. 27, 1951. It came with 1 out, a runner on first, and the Cubs behind, 6-3. They lost by that score, after having lost, 5-4, in 12 innings in Game 1.

That was Ramazzotti's only homer in the ninth inning as a Cub. He hit only 3 other homers in his 764 trips to the plate during 275 games over 5 seasons, 1949-53.

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500TH

Their 500th ninth-inning home run also came in a loss to the Giants, but it was at home, on July 20, 1973.

The visitors jumped on Rick Reuschel for 3 runs in the first inning. The Cubs got 1 of those back in the bottom half, on a 2-out hit by Jose Cardenal, then fell behind, 5-1, when the Giants hit a solo homer in the top of the eighth.

Rick Monday led off the Cubs' eighth with a single. One out later, Billy Williams homered, leave the Cubs 2 runs behind.

Their first batter in the ninth struck out. Pat Bourque then pinch hit for the pitcher and homered to deep right, knocking out Juan Marichal.

Rich Monday and Don Kessinger singled off reliever Elias Sosa. Williams struck out looking, but Jim Hickman walked, loading the bases. Cardenal struck out, saddling the Cubs with a 5-4 loss.

Bourque hit 8 homers in 228 plate appearances during 3 seasons as a Cub. The homer against the Giants was the only one he hit in the ninth.

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750TH

The date of the Cubs' 750th ninth-inning homer was July 10, 1998 -- 10 days before the 25th anniversary of their 500th.

The host Brewers broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh when Kerry Wood gave up a leadoff single, which was followed by a strikeout, hit batsman, strikeout, walk, run-scoring hit batsman and strikeout!

Terry Adams replaced Wood in the eighth and retired the first 2 batters. The next 4 tripled, walked intentionally, singled for 2 runs and doubled for a third.

In the Cubs' ninth, Jeff Blauser singled and took second on defensive indifference. After a strikeout, pinch hitter Tyler Houston singled, putting runners at the corners.

Sandy Martinez struck out, then Jose Hernandez smacked a 3-1 pitch over the wall down the right field line.

Mickey Morandini went down swinging to complete the 6-5 defeat.

In 7 seasons as a Cub, Hernandez hit 71 homers, of which 4 came in the ninth.

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778 BEFORE 2000

The Cubs hit 4 more home runs in the ninth inning before the end of 1998, including a 3-run walk-off blast by Orlando Merced that beat the Brewers, 15-12. It was Merced's only homer in his 12 trips to the plate in 12 games as a Cub.

They hit 24 in 1999, the last on Sept. 28, at Philadelphia, by Sammy Sosa with 1 out, a runner on first and the Cubs on top, 6-2. That was their 778th ninth-inning home run of the 1900s.

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Their first of the 2000s came on April 10, 2000, in their seventh game of the season, at home against the Braves.

With the Cubs down, 3-0, Mark Grace drew a 4-pitch walk from Mike Remlinger. Kerry Ligtenberg took over on the mound and walked Glenallen Hill on a 3-1 count.

Ligtenberg was ahead of Shane Andrews, 1-2, when Andrews homered to left-center, tying the game.

A single by Damon Buford, a bunt by Joe Girardi and a single by pitch hitter Jeff Reed gave the Cubs a 4-3 victory.

Andrews hit 4 ninth-inning homers among just 19 in 298 plate appearances during his 85 games in 2 seasons as a Cub.

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SURGE SINCE 2000

The Cubs have hit 265 ninth-inning homers in 2000-21, an average of 12.6 each season.

In the full Modern Era, they have averaged 8.6 per year.

During the Live Ball Era, they have averaged 9.8 per year, having hit 1,003 in 102 seasons. Ian Happ hit their 1,000th since 1920, a 2-run shot on Aug. 27, 2021 in the top of the ninth inning with the visiting Cubs losing to the White Sox, 17-11.

The Cubs hit 123 ninth-inning homers in 2010-19, the second most in any decade. They hit 129 in 1990-99.

They hit at least 112 in 5 different decades, but no more than 97 in 7 others.

Here is how many they have hit in each decade of the Modern Era:

1901-09: 6

1910-19: 34

1920-29: 51

1930-39: 68

1940-49: 69

1950-59: 112

1960-69: 120

1970-79: 92

1980-89: 97

1990-99: 129

2000-09: 119

2010-19: 123

2020-29: 23

Total: 1,043

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60 PERCENT ON ROAD

Of those 1,043 ninth-inning homers, 630 have been hit on the road and 413 at home.

They have hit 402 at Wrigley Field. The first was by Cy Williams, against the Braves, on May 10, 1916, with nobody out, a runner on first, and the Cubs behind, 11-8.

Ian Happ hit the most recent ninth-inning homer at home, against the Cardinals, on Sept. 25, 2021, with 2 out, nobody on and the Cubs behind, 8-4.

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62.5 PERCENT WHILE BEHIND

The Cubs have homered 652 times in the ninth inning while behind, 358 at home and 294 on the road.

They have hit 119 with the score tied, 64 on the road and 55 at home.

They have hit 272 while ahead -- all, of course, on the road.

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MORE WITH NOBODY OUT

377 of the homers have come with nobody out; exactly 333 both with 1 out and 2 out.

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MORE WITH BASES EMPTY

As you might expect, by far the most of the Cubs' homers in the ninth have come with nobody on base: 616.

They have hit 282 with 1 man on: 209 with a runner on first, 65 with a runner on second and 18 with a runner on third.

They have hit exactly 100 with 2 aboard: 69 with first and second, 22 with first and third, and 9 with second and third.

They have hit 22 grand slams in the ninth inning.

The bases of the runners are unknown for 28 homers that were hit with 1 or 2 on base.

There was 1 on for exactly 300 homers and 2 on for 105.

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8 PERCENT WERE WALK-OFFS

And 84 of the ninth-inning homers ended games.

The Cubs have hit 98 walk-off homers in the 10th inning or later, for a total of 182 last-play home runs since 1901.

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SANTO HEADS HITTERS

Ron Santo hit the most home runs in the ninth inning of any player in team history: 39, which is 11.6 percent, or more than 1 of every 9 of his total 337 homers as a Cub.

Sammy Sosa hit 36 homers in the ninth, 6.6 percent of his 545, and Ernie Banks hit 35, 6.8 percent of his 512.

Billy Williams hit 26 of his 392, 6.6 percent.

Those are the only 4 Cubs who homered in the ninth at least 20 times.

Bill Nicholson did it 18 times; Gabby Hartnett and Ryne Sandberg, 17; Aramis Ramirez, Anthony Rizzo and Alfonso Soriano, 15.

Those 10 combined to hit 233 homers in the ninth, 22.3 percent of all 1,043, or 2 of every 9.

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Nine more players hit at least 10 ninth-inning homers, led by Jody Davis, with 13.

Kris Bryant, Andre Dawson, Shawon Dunston, Mark Grace, Derrek Lee and Hank Sauer each hit 11.

Henry Rodriguez and Hack Wilson hit 10.

Five players fell 1 short of double digits: Javier Baez, Jim Hickman, Randy Hundley, Jerry Morales and Walt Moryn.

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By the way, Todd Hundley, Randy's son, homered in the ninth 4 times.

Gary Matthews Jr. also did it 4 times; his father, Gary Sr., 3.

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300-PLUS HAD 1 OR 2

There have been 162 Cubs who homered in the ninth twice, while 149 did so only once.

The one-timers include Gene Baker, Henry Blanco, Lou Brock, Victor Caratini, Ron Coomer, Mark DeRosa, Jim Edmonds, Barry Foote, Gary Gaetti, Billy Herman, Monte Irvin, Randy Jackson, Tommy La Stella, Bill Mueller, David Ross, Steve Swisher and Don Zimmer.

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They also include 14 pitchers: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Mordecai Brown, Larry Cheney, Glen Hobbie, Hal Jeffcoat, Ferguson Jenkins, Tony Kaufmann, Johnny Klippstein, Bill Lee, Paul Minner, Claude Passeau, Charlie Root, David Ross and Willie Smith.

In a 1968 game at San Francisco, Smith started in left field, then pitched final 2.2 innings. He homered with a runner on second and 2 out in the ninth, as the Cubs lost, 8-4.

He had 1 other ninth-inning homer, at Philadelphia in 1969.

No full-time pitcher for the Cubs has homered more than once in the ninth.

Ross hit his homer leading off the bottom of the ninth against the Phillies in 2015, after he had retired the side in order in the top of the inning. Three outs later, the Cubs were beaten, 11-5.

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OVERALL PERCENTAGES

The Cubs' 1,043 ninth-inning home runs represent 7.6 percent of their 13,661 homers in the Modern Era -- 1 of every 13.

The 329 different players who hit them are 43.1 percent, or just a tad more than 3 out of every 7 of the 763 players who have homered at least once as a Cub since 1901.

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CURRENT LEADERS

The most homers in the ninth by a current Cub is 8, by Willson Contreras.

Jason Heyward has done it 7 times; Ian Happ, 6; David Bote, 4; and Rafael Ortega and Patrick Wisdom, 2.

Robinson Chirinos and Matt Duffy, no longer on the 60-man roster, each homered in the ninth once last season.

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