On Aug. 1, Rafael Ortega hit 3 home runs at Washington.
He became the 26th different Cub to homer 3 times in a game. They have done it in 41 total games.
Ortega's homers were the Cubs' only homers against the Nationals.
Remarkably, that has been true of 16 of Cubs' 3-homer games, which is 39 percent of such games.
In some ways, this is even more remarkable: in 40 percent of all games in which the Cubs hit exactly 2 homers, the same player hit both of them.
And there have been a LOT more games in which they a Cub hit 2 homers than in which someone hit 3: 742 of them, which is 18 times as many as the 41 with 3.
Yet, in 296 of the 742, the same player homered twice.
TOPSY BLAZES TRAIL
The first time it happened was in 1901, the first season of the Modern Era, when the team was known as the Orphans.
On Aug. 5, at Cincinnati, in their 84th game of the season, they took a 2-1 lead in the third inning when Topsy Hartsel, their best player that year, drove a ball to deep left-center field and circled the bases.
The Reds then scored 8 unanswered runs, 3 in the third and 5 in the fourth.
Hartsel homered delivered another inside-the-park homer to spark a 2-run fifth by the Orphans, but they wound up losing, 10-7.
The homers were Hartsel's fifth and sixth of the season. He hit another the next day, in 6-2 win, then no more the rest of the season. But his 7 gave him the team lead by 1 over Danny Green. The Orphans hit just 5 other homers in their 140 games, and 2 of those were by pitcher Rube Waddell.
LONG WAIT FOR NO. 2
Hartsel remained the only Chicago player with 2 homers in a game, period, for more than 9 years, until Frank Schulte had a pair of solo shots in a 3-1 win over the Giants on Aug. 26, 1910.
But Joe Tinker homered for the Cubs' other run in that game, and when Schulte hit 2 homers again just 2 days later, so did
So it wasn't until Oct. 3, 1910, that Heinie Zimmerman became the first Cub since Hartsel to hit the team's only 2 homers in a game. Like Hartsel, he did it in a loss at Cincinnati, this time by 5-3.
DEAD BALL TAKES TOLL
Zimmerman became the first to turn the trick twice, on June 11, 1911. Then he did it 2 more times, in 1912 and 1916, for a total of 4 such games.
Frank Schulte did it in 1911 and 1913; Vic Saier, in 1914; and Cy Williams, in 1915 and 1916; for a total of 10 times in the Dead Ball Era
Those games came in a span of 16 seasons, for an average of 0.63 per year. The Cubs had only 16 2-homer games in those 16 seasons.
The Cubs' first game of the Live Ball Era in which a player hit the team's only 2 homers was July 14, 1922, when Hack Miller sparked an 8-4 victory over the Giants.
In the 100 seasons starting that year, the Cubs have hit exactly 2 homers in 2,202 games, an average of 22 per season. An individual player has homered twice 732 times, 7 per season, and it has been the same player 286 times, just under 3 per season.
5 TIMES IN 2021
The most recent player with 2 homers while the rest of the team hit none was Joc Pederson. On June 18, he hit solo homers in the first and third innings of a 10-2 loss at home to the Marlins.
That was the fifth such game for the Cubs just this season.
On April 18, Anthony Rizzo homered with the bases empty in his first 2 at bats of a 13-4 shellacking by the Braves.
The next 4 came in a span of 31 days, starting with 2-run and solo homers by Ian Happ in a 5-2 win over the Nationals on May 20.
Five days later, Pederson had a solo, then a 2-run in a 5-3 win at Pittsburgh. Patrick Wisdom matched Pederson on June 6, as the Cubs won at San Francisco, 4-3, and Pederson completed the month-long binge on the 18th.
The Cubs have finished 10 previous seasons with 5 games each in which a lone player hit both of their homers in a game. The first was 1928. The most recent, 2016, was the fourth of the 2000s.
They had a record 8 such games in 1968; 7 in 1988 and 2001; and 6 in 1960, 1966, 1989 and 2005.
This year makes a total of 18 seasons with 5 or more such games.
SOSA REIGNS SUPREME
Wisdom's pair on June 6 made him the 108th different player to perform the unusual feat.
As you might expect the players who did it most often rank among the Cubs' all-time home run leaders. Indeed, the top 5 in only-2-homer games also are Nos. 1 through 5 in career homers: Sammy Sosa (28 games), Ernie Banks (19), Billy Williams (14), Ron Santo (13) and Ryne Sandberg (12).
Anthony Rizzo, sixth in total home runs, is tied for sixth in games with the Cubs' lone homers. He had 9, as did Andre Dawson, Hank Sauer and Hack Wilson.
Sauer is 10th in career homers; Wilson, 11th; and Dawson, 14th.
Aramis Ramirez, seventh in homers, is 14th in games with the Cubs' only 2 homers. Other players ahead of him are Bill Nicholson (8, 9th in homers), Alfonso Soriano (7, 12th), Gabby Hartnett (6, 8th) and Derek Lee (also 6, 13th).
Kris Bryant, 15th in homers, is 15th in such games, with 4, the same number as Shawon Dunston (22nd), Dave Kingman (28th), Rick Monday (23rd) and Heinie Zimmerman (70th).
3, 2, 1 . . .
Seven more players had 3 games where they supplied the only 2 homers, and 19 did it in 2 games.
That's a total of 45 players who did it multiple times. They combined to do it 233 times.
Wisdom became the 63rd player to do it once.
Conspicuous among those 63: Mark Grace, whose 148 homers are the 16th most in Cubs history. It may be hard to believe, but Grace homered twice in only 3 games and only on Aug. 19, 1989, were those the Cubs' only home runs. He hit 2 solo homers in an 8-4 loss at Houston.
Sosa has by far the most games in which a Cub hit 2 players: 59, to 38 for runnerup Banks.
Williams (28), Santo (25), Sandberg (also 25) and Wilson (23) are the only others with at least 20.
Rizzo was 1 short of joining the group when he was traded to the Yankees.
From 9 straight seasons, 1995 through 2003, Sosa hit at least 18 more home runs than the Cubs with the second best that year. He averaged 49 homers, to 22 for the combined runnersup.
He had nearly 4 times as many in 2001, 64-17; nearly 3 times as many in 1997, 36-13, and 2000, 50-18; and more than twice as many in 1998, 66-31, and 1999, 63-26.
So it's understandable that he had many games during those seasons in which he hit 2 homers and nobody else hit any.
But it's surprising that Banks, Santo and Williams did it 38 of their total 46 times between 1960 and 1971, the 12 seasons when they were teammates, before Banks retired.
Banks and Williams each did it 13 times; Santo, 12.
The only Cubs who hit the team's 2 homers in a game during those years were George Altman and Frank Thomas, twice; and Glenn Beckert, John Boccabella, Byron Browne, Willie Smith . . . and Ferguson Jenkins.
WHO NEEDS THE DH?
Jenkins hit his 2 homers on Sept. 1, 1971, while pitching a complete-game 6-hitter at home against the Expos. His 2-run drive in the fifth put the Cubs in front, 3-2, then he homered leading off the seventh to complete the scoring in a 5-2 victory.
Jenkins hit 13 homers over 19 seasons. That was his only multi-homer game.
Just 1 other pitcher has hit the team's only 2 homers of a game.
On May 7, 1941, at Philadelphia, Bill Lee homered with 2 out and nobody on in the fifth inning to increase the Cubs' lead to 8-2. In the ninth, he homered with a runner on second, making the score 10-2. The Cubs added another run before Lee returned to the mound to finish a 5-hitter.
The homers were the last of 5 that Lee hit during his 14-year career.
HOW MANY DO YOU KNOW?
Other names of interest among the 63 who hit 2 homers in a game just once when nobody else hit even 1: Moises Alou, Michael Barrett, Victor Caratini, Jose Cardenal, Kiki Cuyler, Phil Cavarretta, Mark DeRosa, Jim Edmonds, Charlie Grimm, Babe Herman, Rogers Hornsby, Bill Madlock, Gary Matthews Sr., Fred McGriff, Miguel Montero, Jerry Morales, Walt Moryn, Tuffy Rhodes, Addison Russell, Scott Servais, Matt Stairs and Ben Zobrist.
Among the lesser-known Cubs who also did it once: Toby Atwell, Vince Barton, Mark Bellhorn, Damon Berryhill, Mandy Brooks, Tyler Colvin, Bruce Edwards, Leo Gomez, Steve Henderson, Micah Hoffpauir, Darrin Jackson, Jay Johnstone, Brooks Kieschnick, Vance Law, Derrick May, Donnie Murphy, Joe Munson and Eddie Zambrano.
Both lists, as you can see, run the full gamut from A to Z!
HOME RUN MEATLOAF
By the way, there have been 223 games in which a Cub hit 2 of the team's 3 home runs.
Sosa (17) and Wilson (11) did it most often. Banks, Rizzo, Santo and Williams had 7 such games; Lee, Ramirez and Sandberg, 6; and Javier Baez, Jody Davis, Dawson, Hartnett and Moryn, 5.
Players who did that exactly once include such familiar names as David Bote, Robinson Chirinos, Dee Fondy, Jorge Soler, Riggs Stephenson and Lee Walls.
Among other members of that group are Steve Dillard, Carmen Fanzone, Elrod Hendricks, pitcher Tony Kaufmann, Jerry Kindall, Clarence Madden, Al Spanger and Mike Vail!
Add the games in which a Cub hit both of the team's 2 homers, or 2 of its 3, and you get 519, which is 70 percent of all 742 times that a Cub homered twice.
It is 23.4 percent of all 2,218 times that the Cubs hit exactly 2 homers in a game, or slightly less than 1 of every 4 of their 2-homer games.
Incidentally, there have been 13 games in which a Cub hit 3 of the team's 4 homers.
The first was by Hank Sauer, in a 7-5 win over the Phillies in 1950; the most recent, by Aramis Ramirez, in a 14-7 rout of the Astros in 2010.
That was Ramirez's second such game. Ernie Banks and Sammy Sosa each had 3. Besides Sauer, those who did it once were Dave Kingman, Lee Walls, Alfonso Soriano and Billy Williams.
One of the times Sosa did it was in a 7-6 loss to the Astros. In another, the Cubs lost to the Rockies, 14-5. The day Walls did it, the Cubs beat the Dodgers, 15-2.
ALL RUNS ON PLAYER'S HOMERS
Ortega's 3 homers at Washington on Aug. 1 drove in 5 runs, but the Cubs lost, 6-5, on a walk-off homer in the ninth.
Ortega became only the sixth Cub whose 3 homers produced all of the team's runs.
He was the third to do so in defeat, and the first in 79 years, since Lloyd McCullough hit 3 solo homers in a 4-3 loss to the Phillies on July 26, 1942.
The Cubs also lost the first such game, when Hank Leiber had 2 solo homers and a 2-run drive in a 6-4 loss to the Cardinals on Independence Day of 1939.
They won the 3 other games: 3-2 over the Phillies, in 1952, when Hank Sauer homered 3 times; 5-3 over the Phillies, in 1987, thanks to Andre Dawson; and 5-4 over the Reds, in 2004, when Aramis Ramirez provided the Cubs' entire offense.
The Cubs have played 34 games in which all their runs came on a pair of homers by the same batter.
The most recent, mentioned previously, was a 10-2 loss to the Marlins on June 19 in which Joc Pederson hit the homers.
The one before that was another loss, 4-2 to the Cardinals, on Sept. 5, 2020, when Ian Happ homered twice.
The Cubs' last victory in such a game was more than a year earlier, on Aug. 29, 2019. Victor Caratini hit a solo homer, then a tie-breaking 3-run blast that propelled the Cubs to a 4-1 win at New York.
That was only the 13th win by the Cubs in the 34 games.
2 AND 3 RUNS
They are 3-10 when a player has hit 2 solo homers. The wins came in 1925 (Charlie Grimm, 2-0, vs. the Braves), 1975 (Jose Cardenal, 2-1, vs. the Dodgers) and 2002 (Fred McGriff, 2-1 vs. the Cardinals).
They are 4-6 when the same player knocks in their only 3 runs. The most recent such win was in 2004, 3-2 over the Pirates, on Corey Patterson's walk-off second homer. The most recent loss was a 14-3 thrashing by the Rockies on July 4, 2010, in which Tyler Colvin hit the homers.
The Cubs are 3-3 when they get 4 runs on a pair of homers by the same player. Half those games came in 2.5 months in 2013: a 4-2 win over the Marlins on April 26 (Anthony Rizzo had the homers), a 6-4 loss to the Reds on May 4 (Alfonso Soriano) and a 4-1 win over the Pirates on July 6 (Soriano).
That is the only season in which the Cubs ever had 3 games in which a player's 2 homers generated all of their runs.
5 AND 6 RUNS
On Aug. 30, 1968, Ron Santo became the first Cub to drive in all 5 runs with 2 homers, and the Cubs beat the Astros, 5-3.
Andre Dawson's 2 homers and 5 RBI weren't enough in a 6-5 loss to the Astros in 1987. Derrick May's similar production was enough to beat the Phillies, 5-2, in 1992.
Twice, a Cub has hit 2 homers that scored 6 runs and that was extent of the Cubs' offense. The games hardly could have been more different.
On April 29, 1960, Ernie Banks' 3-run shot in the seventh inning at St. Louis brought the Cubs to within 6-3. When he homered with 2 on again in the night, it only made the final made 16-6 instead of 16-3.
On July 27, 1998, at Arizona, Sammy Sosa tied the game with a 2-run homer in the sixth, then walloped a grand slam in the eighth that stood up for a 6-2 triumph.
The tie-breaking homer was the 247th of his career, but his first with the bases loaded. Naturally, he hit another slam the next night!
SAMMY HAD THE KNACK
Sosa is the only Cub who hit 2 homers for the team's only runs in 4 games.
Santo and Soriano did it 3 times; Banks, Rizzo and Williams, twice.
The 18 players who did it once: John Boccabella, Victor Caratini, Jose Cardenal, Tyler Colvin, Andre Dawson, Frank Demaree, Leon Durham, Leo Gomez, Charlie Grimm, Ian Happ
Also: Jim King, Derrick May, Fred McGriff, Rick Monday, Walt Moryn, Corey Patterson, Joc Pederson and Matt Stairs.
SOME RBI NOT ON HOMERS
In 7 games, the same player hit 2 homers and drove in all the Cubs' runs, but some of the runs came on a play other than their homers. Here are the details, including the non-homer play:
9/14/1940: Stan Hack, in 3-5 loss to Phillies (RBI single)
7/20/1949: Hank Sauer, in 4-3 win vs. Phillies (RBI triple)
8/14/1951: Hank Sauer, in 5-4 win vs. Cardinals (2-RBI double)
8/21/1958: Ernie Banks, in 5-3 win vs. Pirates (RBI double)
8/05/1966: Ron Santo, in 4-3 win vs. Giants (2-run single)
5/17/2005: Derrek Lee, in 4-3 win vs. Pirates (sacrifice fly)
9/19/2011: Geovany Soto, in 5-2 win vs. Brewers (RBI single)
That makes a total of 41 games in which the same Cub hit the team's only 2 homers and drove in all of their runs.
The Cubs won 19 of those games and lost 22.