Cubs' games that ended on passed balls

The Cubs' 6-5 loss at Philadelphia on Wednesday was only their third defeat since 1901 that came on a final-play passed ball.

It was just the 39th such ending in MLB during the Modern Era. The first gave the Phillies a 6-5 win over the Giants on June 26, 1917.



The Cubs became the second team to do it, 60 days later, on Aug. 25, 1917, in Game 2 of a doubleheader at New York.

With the score tied at 1, Cubs pitcher Claude Hendrix opened the ninth inning by hitting a batter. A single advanced him to second, then everyone was safe on a bunt, loading the bases.

Phil Douglas replaced Hendrix and his first pitch got past catcher Rowdy Elliott, allowing the runner from third to trot home.



Wednesday's loss came 1 day after the 60th anniversary of the only other time the Cubs lost on a passed ball.

On Sept. 14, 1961, in Game 1 of a doubleheader at St. Louis, the Cubs tied the score at 7 on an RBI single by Billy Williams in the eighth.

Knuckleballer Barney Schultz took over on the mound for the bottom of the ninth. He struck out Curt Flood, then gave up back-to-back singles to Bob Lillis and Bill White, putting runners at the corners.

After an intentional walk to Stan Musial, Schultz got Ken Boyer to pop up.

Then a knuckler eluded catcher Sammy Taylor. He raced after the ball and fired it toward home, where Schultz was covering. Schultz caught the ball and tagged Lillis, but the umpire ruled the runner was safe, ending the game.


In Game 2, Boyer doubled home the tying run in the ninth, then hit won the game, 6-5, by homering in the 11th as the first batter to face Don Elston.

The 2 losses made the Cubs 0-11 at St. Louis for the season, their worst record ever when visiting the Cardinals.

They were 2-9 in 1942, 1944, 1950 and 1960. Note the last date; the Cubs lost 14 in a row at St. Louis between Sept. 3, 1960 and April 21, 1962!



The Cubs have won 1 game on a last-pitch passed ball.

It happened against the Phillies, on May 21, 1968, before an intimate gathering of 4,422 at Wrigley Field.

A 2-out, 2-run single by Al Spangler in the first inning gave the Cubs an early lead. Spangler was hurt on the play and replaced by pinch runner Lou Johnson.

Johnson doubled to open the fourth and came home on Don Kessinger's 2-out hit, making the score 3-0.

Cubs starter Rich Nye gave up a solo homer to Dick Allen in the sixth, but Nye grounded out in the bottom of the inning, scoring Randy Hundley, who had tripled.

After the first 2 Cubs were retired in the eighth, Jose Arcia was safe when the first baseman dropped a throw from the shortstop. Nye then singled and Kessinger did the same, giving Nye a 5-1 lead.


He got the first out in the ninth, then surrendered a double, followed by 2 singles, with the second, by pinch hitter Tony Gonzalez, driving in a run. A strikeout of pinch hitter Bill White left Nye 1 out from a 2-run, 10-hit complete-game.

Cookie Rojas had other ideas. He slammed a 3-run homer, tying the game. Nye then fanned Johnny Callison for his seventh strikeout, ending the inning.

Turk Farrell was the new pitcher for the Phillies in the bottom of the inning. Billy Williams greeted him with a double.

Farrell walked Ron Santo intentionally. Ernie Banks laid down a bunt.

With first base open, the Phillies decided to pitch to Johnson, who had struck out twice since his fourth-inning double.


Farrell got a strike, then Johnson swung and missed, but the ball got away from the catcher -- none other than Rojas, formerly the second baseman, who had wound up behind the plate as part of a flurry of defensive changes at the start of the inning.

Tony Taylor had moved from third to second and Rick Joseph from first to third. White had stayed in to play first and Gonzalez had taken over for Callison in right!

Rojas had played catcher in only 6 of his 690 previous big league games. He would play 1,131 more, through 1977, and never catch again.



Scoring the winning run capped a big day for Williams. The game was his 695th in a row, setting a record for consecutive games by an outfielder. The previous mark of 694 had been set by Richie Ashburn, as part of 730 straight games at any position from June 7, 1950, through Sept. 26, 1954.

Ashburn, who had played for the Cubs in 1960-61, was on hand to watch Williams break his record, as a member of the Phillies' broadcast team.

Williams would go on to play 1,117 games in a row, shattering Stan Musial's National League mark of 895.

Steve Garvey eventually passed Williams, with 1,207 for the Dodgers and Padres in 1975-83.

Williams' streak remains the sixth-longest in MLB history and second only to Garvey among NL iron men.



Before Wednesday, there had not been a game ended on a passed ball since July 17, 2016, when the Reds beat the Brewers, 1-0.

That was the third such game of that season, following a 4-3, 10-inning win by the Orioles over the Blue Jays on April 20 and a 2-1 win by the Yankees over the Rangers on June 30.

Remarkably, there also had been 3 game-ending passed balls in 2 earlier seasons, 1967 and 1986.

One of the 1967 games ended in the 11th inning, with the Dodgers beating the Mets. In 1976, the Dodgers lost to the Braves in the 12th when the only run of the game crossed the plate.

The longest game decided by a passed ball was 13 innings, won by the White Sox, 2-1, over the Red Sox on July 1, 1966.

There have been 13 more extra-inning games that ended on a passed ball, for a total of 16 of the 39 total games that finished in that fashion.



The Phillies' win Wednesday was their fifth on a last-play passed ball, tying the Dodgers for the most by any team. Their previous such wins were in 1917, as noted, and then in 1947, 1986 and 1989.

The Dodgers won 2 games on passed balls in 1953, then 3 in 1967-77.

The Cardinals and Tigers both have won 4 times on passed balls.

Five other teams have done twice and 11, once, for a total of 20 teams with at least one of the unexpected victories.


The Cubs' 3 losses on passed balls are tied for the third most. The Braves and Giants each have lost 4.

The Reds, Red Sox, White Sox and Yankees also have lost 3; Cleveland, Texas and Toronto, 2.

Eleven teams have suffered the fate just once, for a total of 21 teams with at least 1 loss.


The Cardinals have the best record in such games, 4-0. The Dodgers and Phillies are 5-1; the Tigers, 4-1; and the Athletics and Royals, 2-0.

The Red Sox are 0-3; the Braves, 1-4; and the Cubs, Reds and White Sox, 1-3. The Giants are 2-4; the Blue Jays, 0-2; and Cleveland and the Rangers, 1-2.

FanPosts are written by readers of Bleed Cubbie Blue, and as such do not reflect the views of SB Nation or Vox Media, nor is the content endorsed by SB Nation, Vox Media or Al Yellon, managing editor of Bleed Cubbie Blue or reviewed prior to posting.