clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Javier Báez did something Tuesday that had been done just once before in MLB history

He had an RBI for multiple teams on the same day. And a Cubs player did the same thing more than 40 years ago.

Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Yes, there have been a lot of articles here recently featuring former Cub Javier Báez, and this one comes because Javy, after being involved in a kerfuffle with Mets fans over the weekend, had himself a day Tuesday in New York.

The Mets and Marlins were playing a split “doubleheader.” I put doubleheader in quotes for a reason, because the first game was actually the completion of a suspended game that had been started April 11 at Citi Field and went just nine pitches before heavy rain made it impossible to continue. They probably never should have started play that afternoon. I wrote about that game here back in April and why it was good that MLB has changed the suspended-game rule to allow suspension of games at any point. Nine pitches were made. Why should the teams pretend those pitches didn’t exist?

Anyway, that’s the scenario for the Mets/Marlins first game, and the game thus began with pitch No. 10 and went to the bottom of the ninth with Miami leading 5-1.

The Mets had already scored twice in the inning and had runners on second and third when Báez, who did not start the game, batted for the second time (he had been hit by a pitch when pinch-hitting earlier).

Báez beat out an infield hit and drove in the fourth Mets run [VIDEO].

On the very next pitch, Michael Conforto singled in the tying run, and Báez scored all the way from first base when Marlins left fielder Jorge Alfaro bobbled the ball [VIDEO].

Why am I telling you all this?

Because by MLB rules, statistics from suspended games count as if they had all happened on the date of the original game. Thus Javy’s heroics Tuesday show up in his record as if they had been done for the Mets on April 11. You can see that in Javy’s 2021 baseball-reference game log page.

But on April 11, 2021, Báez was a Cub. On that afternoon, the Cubs lost to the Pirates 7-1 in Pittsburgh.

Guess who drove in the only run for the Cubs? Of course, Javy, with this solo homer [VIDEO].

So that RBI single Tuesday for the Mets put Javy in the record books:

And now you know another reason I’m telling you this story, because Cliff Johnson had RBI for both Cleveland and the Cubs on May 28, 1980, accomplishing this because he was playing for Cleveland on that date and the Cubs had a suspended game on that date against the Expos that was completed August 8, 1980.

Johnson went 2-for-4 with an RBI single for Cleveland against the Orioles in Baltimore May 28, 1980. A few weeks later, June 23, he was acquired by the Cubs for a PTBNL (Karl Pagel, once a top Cubs prospect, was sent to Cleveland as that PTBNL June 30).

And thus Johnson was available to play in the completion of the suspended game August 8. Why was that game suspended May 28, 1980? From Cooper Rollow in the Tribune:

Lightning knocked out the public address system, and darkness wiped out the Cubs and Montreal Expos Wednesday afternoon in Wrigley Field after a 10-inning, 3-3 tie.

At 4:47 p.m., after Jerry Martin had lined a vicious shot that Montreal relief pitcher Stan Bahnsen luckily took in his glove rather than on the nose for the last out in the 10th, umpire Harry Wendelstedt peered up at the darkened press box and gave a hand signal that meant the game was suspended.

”The P.A. system was out, and there was no other way to announce it, “ Wendelstedt said. “The hitters were complaining they couldn’t see. I could see it wasn’t going to get any lighter. Somebody might have gotten hurt.”

Only minutes before Wendelstedt called Wednesday’s game, with Martin pinch-hitting for Bruce Sutter, lightning hit a transformer and knocked out the power in many of the Cubs’ offices, the press box and other areas of the park. WGN’s telecast and radio broadcast were not affected.

The game was resumed August 8 in the top of the 11th with the score tied 3-3. Both teams scored a run in the 12th, and in the 14th the Cubs loaded the bases with one out and Johnson came to the plate and hit a walkoff grand slam for an 8-4 win. It was a real highlight in a bad Cubs season in which they lost 98 games.

I have searched everywhere for video of this slam, but it doesn’t appear to exist. Here are a couple of minutes of highlights from the portion of the game played May 28:

And here’s the first 40 minutes of WGN-TV’s broadcast of the game:

Regarding Cliff Johnson: He was a great hitter, but really couldn’t play defense. At all. The Astros tried him at catcher. He was pretty bad there, and he actually attempted to play a handful of games in left field for the Cubs, which were laughably awful (two putouts, one error, fielding percentage of .667). He had a decent run as a DH for the Athletics (after the Cubs traded him there for no one you’ve ever heard of) and Blue Jays at the end of his career, but if he’d been installed as a DH for someone from the beginning, he might have hit twice the 196 career home runs he actually wound up with. The man could hit.

And like Báez, his baseball-reference 1980 game log shows him as playing for both the Cubs and Cleveland on the same day.

Here’s my scorecard from that 1980 game (click here for a larger version).