Cubs' rare, late-inning 3-run homers

During their doubleheader on Wednesday at home against the Rockies, the Cubs hit a go-ahead 3-run homer in the next-to-last inning of Game 1, then a 3-run homer that sent Game 2 into extra innings.

Any home run with 2 on base is relatively rare, amounting to a little more than 10 percent of all homers this season, through Thursday.

Homers in late innings -- the eighth or later in full-length games -- amount to a little less than 20 percent.

Just under 26 percent of all homers have come with the score tied; less than 6 percent, with a team behind by 3 runs.

Combine all those factors, and through Thursday, there had been only 13 home runs with 2 aboard and the scored tied in the eighth or ninth innings, and just 6 that erased a 3-run deficit in the ninth.


Include that a batter for the home team hit it, and there had been a mere 7 tie-breaking, 3-run homers in the eighth or ninth innings.

Exactly 1 had come in the eighth, equivalent to Patrick Wisdom's 3-run shot in the sixth of Game 1 against the Rockies. It was hit by Starling Marte, then with the Marlins, on April 26.

On May 28, Austin Barnes of the Dodgers homered with 2 on in the bottom of the ninth to tie the Giants. Jason Martin of the Rangers did the same to tie the Mariners on Aug. 19.

Those were the only homers equivalent to Ian Happ's in the seventh inning of Game 2 that evened the score against the Rockies.



I wondered how often in previous seasons the Cubs had hit late-inning, go-ahead or game-tying 3-run homers -- and if they had hit any of them in both games of an earlier doubleheader.

From the start of 1916, the first season for which has comprehensive information about home runs, through Thursday, the Cubs had hit 13,188 home runs, 7,002 of them at home.

Of those 7,002, they had hit 802 with 2 runners on base.

They had hit 714 of the 7,002 in the eighth inning and 392 in the ninth.

They had hit 1,553 of the 7,002 with the score tied and 439 when 3 runs behind.

But . . .

They had hit only 14 homers with 2 on and the score tied in the bottom of the eighth inning.

And they had hit just 9 with 2 on when behind by 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth!


They had hit 3 of those 23 late-inning, 3-run homers in games of a doubleheader, but no 2 in the SAME doubleheader.

Two of those 3 broke a tie in the eighth. One tied the score in the ninth.

All 3 came in a span of just over 6 years, beginning in 1958 and ending in 1964.



Joe Munson, an outfielder, played 9 games for the Cubs in 1925 and 33 in 1926. He spent part of both those seasons in the minors, as he did entirely in 13 others.

In his 157 trips to the plate, Munson did 3 home runs, all within 3 days, in a series against the Cardinals.

On April 29, he gave the Cubs a first-inning lead with a solo homer.

On May 1, he homered with 1 out and 1 on in the fifth to bring the Cubs to within 8-5. Then, with 2 out the eighth, runners on second and third, and the score knotted at 8, he homered again, to become the first known Cub to hit a game-tying, 3-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.

Munson had only 12 more hits, 2 of them doubles, in 60 plate appearances through June 4, when he was sent to the minors, never to return.

His career slash line was a respectable .287/.349/.434, for an OPS+ of 106.

Munson was 26 when his brief big league career came to a close. He was 91 when he died, in 1991.



Johnny Gill, another little-remembered outfielder, was the next Cub to break an eighth-inning deadlock at home with a 3-run homer.

Like Munson, Gill did it during the last of 2 seasons as a Cub, as well as the last of his career. He had played 23 games for Cleveland in 1927-28, then 21 for Washington in 1931 and 1934.

During those games, Gill hit 3 homers, in 162 trips to the plate. He went 1 for 3, a double, as a pinch hitter for the Cubs late in 1935, then was with the team throughout 1936, starting 35 games and appearing in 118.

Through Game 1 of a doubleheader on Sept. 13, Gill had only 4 home runs among 29 hits in 146 PA. He slashed an anemic .216/.281/.313.


Then he homered in Game 2, beginning a season-ending stretch in which he batted .400/.429/.800. He hit 3 more homers during his hot streak, including a 3-run drive off Dizzy Dean of the Cardinals on Sept. 20 that snapped a 1-1 tie.

Six days later, at St. Louis, Gill went 5 for 5, with 2 doubles and a homer.

The following day, in the Cubs' last game of the year, he had an RBI single off Dean for his last big league hit, his 79th, of which 10 were home runs.

He batted .254/.309/.424 as a Cub and .245/.306/.398 in his 6-year, 118-game career.

Gill lived until 1984. He was 79 when he died.




Munson and Gill remained the only Cubs to break an eighth-inning tie at home with a 3-run homer until Sept. 7, 1958.

The Giants had scored 2 runs in the first and 1 in the third; the Cubs, 2 in the second and 1 in the fourth. All the Cubs' runs had come on homers by Walt "Moose" Moryn.

The score still was 3-3 when Bob Anderson led off the eighth with a single. He was forced out by the next batter, but Jim Bolger drew a walk, then Lee Walls cleared the bases with a drive to deep right field.

It was the 24th homer of the season for Walls, and would be his last of the year. He had never hit more than 11 in any previous season and never would hit more than 8 in any that followed.

In his 10-year career, he homered 66 times, including 38 as a Cub.

The Cubs held on to win the game against the Giants, 6-4, then completed a sweep, 4-1, as Ernie Banks broke a scoreless tie with a solo homer in the seventh, then doubled home 2 runs in the eighth and scored on a single by Moryn.



Cal Neeman (1959), Ernie Banks (1961) and Andre Rodgers (1962) doubled the number of Cubs with 3-run, go-ahead homers in the eighth inning.

Rodgers did it on April 24, 1962. On June 10, Banks became only the second Cub to tie a game with a 3-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.

The first had been Hank Sauer, on May 5, 1950, with 2 out and the Cubs trailing the Dodgers, 6-3.

There also were 2 down when Banks turned the trick, preventing the Cubs from being swept in a doubleheader by the first-year Mets. Rodgers won the game, 5-4, with a 2-out double in the 10th.

The Cubs have had 7 more game-tying, 3-run homers in the bottom of the ninth since then, from another by Banks in 1965 to 1 by Geovany Soto in 2008. None came in a doubleheader.




Their second and last tie-breaking 3-run shot at home in the eighth inning during a doubleheader came on Sept. 27, 1964.

22-game winner Larry Jackson of the Cubs and 20-game winner Juan Marichal of the Giants were locked in a scoreless duel through 7 innings. Then Jimmy Stewart drew a leadoff walk and was bunted to second. Billy Williams was walked intentionally, setting the stage for Ron Santo to hammer an opposite-field homer.

Another run followed. Jackson lost his shutout on a solo homer with 2 out in the ninth, but finished with a 3-hitter.

A fifth-inning grand slam by Banks propelled the Cubs to a 4-2 win in Game 2.


The Cubs did not have another 3-run homer in the bottom of the eighth until Jerry Mumphrey joined the club in 1986. Six more have followed. The most recent, by Carlos Pena, put the Cubs in front of the Reds, 6-3, on Sept. 7, 2011.




5/01/1926: Joe Munson, vs. Cardinals (score 8-8, 2 out)

9/20/1936: Johnny Gill, vs. Cardinals (1-1, 2 out)

9/07/1958: Lee Walls, vs. Giants (3-3, 1 out) (Game 1 of DH)

6/17/1959: Cal Neeman, vs. Pirates (2-2, 2 out)

7/26/1961: Ernie Banks, vs. Cardinals (3-3, 2 out)

4/25/1962: Andre Rodgers, vs. Dodgers (6-6, 1 out)

9/27/1964: Ron Santo, vs. Giants (0-0, 1 out)

8/05/1986: Jerry Mumphreys, vs. Mets (5-5, 2 out)

6/12/1992: Derrick May, vs. Expos (2-2, 2 out)

9/06/1997: Scott Servais, vs. Mets (4-4, 2 out)

4/24/2006: Jacque Jones, vs. Marlins (3-3, 1 out)

7/11/2008: Aramis Ramirez, vs. Giants (0-0, 1 out)

8/28/2009: Alfonso Soriano, vs. Mets (2-2, 1 out)

9/07/2011: Carlos Pena, vs. Reds (3-3, 1 out)


The Cubs have hit 9 walk-off homers with 2 on base and the score tied in the ninth inning or later, most recently by Kris Bryant against the Marlins, with 2 out in the ninth, on May 7, 2019.

The first such homer, also with 2 out in the ninth, was by Billy Williams, against the Dodgers, on July 12, 1964. It is the only 1 of the 9 that came during a doubleheader, in Game 1.

The 7 between Williams' and Bryant's were hit by Ron Santo (1966, 12th inning), Jody Davis (1982, 9th), Jose Vizcaino (1993, 11th), Terry Shumpert (1996, 14th), Orland Merced (1998, 9th), Geovany Soto (2011, 13th) and Addison Russell (2017, 9th).




5/05/1950: Hank Sauer, vs. Dodgers (3-6, 2 out)

6/10/1962: Ernie Banks, vs. Mets (1-4, 2 out)

4/12/1965: Ernie Banks, vs. Cardinals (6-9, 2 out)

6/19/1975: Pete LaCock, vs. Phillies (0-3, 1 out)

4/18/1993: Candy Maldonado, vs. Phillies (5-8, 2 out)

5/04/1993: Sammy Sosa, vs. Rockies (7-10, 2 out)

4/10/2000: Shane Andrews, vs. Braves (0-3, 0 out)

3/31/2008: Kosuke Fukudome, vs. Brewers (0-3, 0 out)

9/18/2008: Geovany Soto, vs. Brewers (3-6, 2 out)


On Sept. 2, 1986, Keith Moreland hit a 3-run homer against the Astros with the Cubs behind, 4-7, and nobody out in the bottom of the 17th. His homer actually came on Sept. 3, as the game had been suspended in the top of the 15th and completed the next day. The Cubs lost, 8-7, in the 18th.

That is the only extra-inning 3-run homer by a Cub that tied a game.

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