In many hours of sifting through data and newspaper accounts about the Cubs, I have come across a fair amount of information that was meaningful, even significant.
Some, on the other hand, is just plain interesting -- even fun.
The topic of this post fits squarely into the second category.
Recently, I was trying to calculate the percentage of runs that the Cubs have scored each season on home runs.
For 1916 and later, I could run a search at baseball-reference.com for how many homers the Cubs hit each year with 0-3 runners on base.
But for the earlier years of the Modern Era, 1901-15, I had to go through the site's Home Run Logs and look at the "RBI" column for each homer.
I had previously made a list of the 50 different batters who homered at least once for the Cubs during those seasons, so I consulted the Home Run Log for each of the 50 and entered into a spreadsheet how many in each season he hit for 1-4 RBI.
When I finished doing so and added up the homers for each season, there were a few in which the total did not match the number shown for the team as a whole in that season.
So I went back through each player who homered in those seasons, double-checking how many each had hit that year.
In the course of doing that, I re-examined the home runs that Joe Tinker hit in 1911, the last of his 12 seasons as a Cub.
On June 22, at home against the Pirates, Tinker hit a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth. It was anything but a walk-off; it enabled the Cubs to lose, 12-3, instead of 12-2.
On July 4, in Game 1 of a holiday doubleheader against the Reds, he flied out to start the third inning. The next 3 batters reached base, after which Frank Schulte hit a grand slam. Two singles, a double and a ground out produced 2 more runs and brought up Tinker again.
This time, the Chicago Tribune reported, he "whaled a mighty fly that cleared the outfield, the overflow seats, and the screen in front of the left field pavilion for a home run." His 2-run drive capped an 8-run outburst, after which the Cubs coasted to an 8-3 victory.
On July 15, at Boston, the Cubs trailed, 12-5, after six innings. In the seventh, 2 singles, a groundout and another single produced a run. After a walk loaded the bases, a bloop single drove in another run and left 3 on for Tinker, who homered over the left field fence, making the score 12-11. They came no closer, eventually losing, 17-12.
On July 28, the Cubs and Phillies were scoreless midway through the fourth inning. Schulte led off with a triple and raced home on a sacrifice fly. Heinie Zimmerman was hit by a pitch and Larry Doyle singled, bringing up Tinker.
He "mauled mightily," the Tribune said, "and sent the ball traveling on a line a few inches out of [shortstop Jimmy] Doolin's reach. [Left fielder Jimmy] Walsh and [center fielder Dode] Paskert gave frantic chase, while Zimmy and Doyle raced home.
"Just before Tinker reached third base [coach Dave] Shean gave him the high sign, indicating a clear track to the plate. The ball then was almost to Doolin, who acted as relay. Manager Mique [sic] wheeled and fired home, but his shot was a trifle high and while [catcher Pat] Moran was up after it Tinker slid under in safety."
That slide gave Tinker an inside-the-park homer, his 13th among his 28 career home runs. It gave the Cubs a 4-0 lead en route a 6-3 victory.
Tinker played 62 more games in 1911 and never homered again.
So he ended the season with 4 homers, 1 of each possible kind, all hit in a span of 30 games, over 38 days.
Tinker hit only 3 more home runs in his career, a 2-run shot for the Reds in 1913, then 1- and 3-run homers for Chicago's Federal League team in 1914.
The grand slam in 1911 was the only bases-loaded homer in his 15 big league seasons, during which he batted 7,166 times.
Tinker also hit 12 homers that scored 2 runs and 6 that scored 3, for a total of 19 multi-run homers, compared to just 9 solo shots!
KNACK FOR MULTI-RUN HOMERS
His career high was 6 homers, in 1908. The next year, he hit exactly 4, as he would in 1911. But in 1909, 3 of the homers were with the bases empty and the fourth with just 1 aboard.
But if you know me, you know what I wanted to investigate next:,
Had any other Cub, before or after Tinker, hit 4 home runs in a season, no more and no less, and had 1 of each kind?
I ran a query at baseball-reference and soon had a list of 144 seasons in which a Cub hit exactly 4 homers, from Tom Burns in 1881 to Kris Bryant in 2020.
Hal Jeffcoat did it in 4 seasons, 1948 and 1951-53.
Jeff Baker did it, in 3, 2009-10 and 2012.
Thirteen played did it twice, from Burns, in 1881 and 1889, to Carlos Zambrano, in 2008-09.
And 111 others hit 4 homers once, for a total of 126 different players.
YOUNG AND OLD, GOING AND COMING
Some were rookies or second-year players. Some were long-time veterans, a few in their final season.
Six hit 4 homers in a season as a Cub, then were traded: Dolph Camilli in 1934, Kiki Cuyler in 1935, Preston Ward in 1953, Mel Hall in 1984, Dave Martinez in 1988 and Miguel Montero in 2017.
Seven were acquired during the season, then hit 4 homers as a Cub: Zeke Bonura in 1940, Mickey Livingston in 1943, Mitch Webster in 1988, Kal Daniels in 1992, Lance Johnson in 1997, Nomar Garciaparra in 2004 and Blake DeWitt in 2010.
The homers by Bonura and Daniels were the last of their careers.
4 WITH ALL 4!
One by one, I studied the Home Run Log of all 126, checking all 144 seasons.
To my surprise and delight, I found 3 who, like Tinker, hit 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-run homers.
The first, in 1886, was Jimmy Ryan, who hit more homers before the Modern Era, 99, than any other Cub.
The second, in 1911, was Tinker, a Hall of Famer.
The third, in 1913, was Heinie Zimmerman, who the previous year had won the Triple Crown AND led the National League in hits, doubles, slugging, OPS and total bases.
And the fourth, in 1950 was . . . Ron Northey. Who?
MEET RON NORTHEY
If you recognize Northey's name, you are indeed a diehard Cubs fan.
He was a right fielder and pinch hitter who hit from the left side. He made his big league debut with the Phillies in 1942, at age 21, and eventually played for 12 seasons, with 5 teams, none of them for more than 6 years.
Northey missed the 1945 season while in the military, then returned in 1946.
In May of 1947, the Phillies traded him to the Cardinals for 2 players, including Harry Walker.
In December of 1949, the Cardinals traded him to the Reds, along with another player -- or Harry Walker.
In June of 1950, the Reds traded him to the Cubs, for Bob Scheffing.
At the time, Northey was batting .260/.380/.519, with 5 home runs, which raised his career total to 99.
Northey's first game as a Cub was on June 9, at home against the Giants. He batted for the pitcher in the seventh inning, moments after Roy Smalley's RBI triple had pulled the Cubs to within 4-2. He hit a sacrifice fly, making the score 4-3, but the Giants broke the game open with 5 runs in the ninth and won, 9-3.
The next day, against the Braves, the Cubs fell behind, 5-0, then scored 4 times in the third on 2-run doubles by Hank Edwards and Smalley.
In the fourth, the second batter for the Braves hit a solo homer. Edwards then left the game, having pulled a muscle, and Northey took over for him in right field.
The score still was 6-4 when the Cubs came to bat in the fifth. Hank Sauer walked. So did Andy Pafko. Northey then slammed a 3-run homer that put the Cubs in front, 7-6.
The Braves tied the score in the seventh, but the Cubs regained the lead immediately. A double by Pafko, a walk to Northey, a strikeout and a single by Smalley loaded the bases. Pinch hitter Bob Borkowski singled home Pafko and Northey, then Bob Ramazzotti added a sacrifice fly.
In the eighth, Pafko doubled home a run, then Northey doubled, too, driving home 2. The Cubs survived a 3-run ninth to win, 10-7.
That game was on Saturday. On Sunday, the teams played a doubleheader. Northey started in right in Game 1 and went 0 for 2 with 2 walks, as the Cubs earned a 5-4 victory on Hank Sauer's sacrifice fly in the 10th inning.
In Game 2, Braves ace Warren Spahn held the Cubs to 6 hits. But Bob Rush blanked Boston over the final 8 innings. He also scored the tying run in the third, hitting a 1-out single and coming home on a 2-out double by Mickey Owen.
In the fourth, Sauer and Borkowski were retired, then Northey homered. That proved to be the last run of the 2-1 game.
A week later, the Cubs played 2 games at New York. They were shut out in the opener, 6-0, and fell behind, 8-0, after 3 innings of the rematch.
Owen singled to start the Cubs' fourth, advanced on a ground out and scored on a single by Sauer. After Pafko flied out, Northey homered, making the score 8-3. The Cubs lost, 10-5.
After battling a charley horse through 3 games, Northey left the field in the second inning on June 24 at Philadelphia. He missed 7 games, played 1, then missed 3 more. He went 3 for 4 plus a walk on July 9, then didn't start another game for 2 weeks.
He started 7 consecutive games from July 23-Aug. 2, 2 more on Aug. 6 and 8, then never got another start during the Cubs' last 54 games.
He appeared in 20 of those 54, all as a pinch hitter, going 5 for 19 plus a walk. All of his hits were singles, with a notable exception.
On Monday afternoon, Sept. 18, only 2,051 fans turned out to watch the Cubs and Dodgers play at Brooklyn.
The Cubs got a leadoff homer from Randy Jackson, then a 2-run double in the third from Mickey Owen.
Tommy Brown of the Dodgers homered with a man on in the third and homered again leading off the fifth, tying the score.
Hal Jeffcoat doubled to open the Cubs' seventh. He was bunted to third, stayed there as Sauer walked, and trotted home on a single by Pafko. Smalley struck out but Wayne Terwilliger walked.
With Owen due up next, the Dodgers removed starter Preacher Roe, a lefty, with righty Dan Bankhead. The Cubs then sent Northey to the plate to hit for Owen, and he walloped a 1-1 pitch far over the fence in right field for a grand slam, the 8th of his career.
The Cubs hung on to win the game, 9-7, despite a third homer by Brown of the Dodgers.
Northey batted only twice more before the season ended. A single in his last at bat, on Oct. 1, made his slash line since joining the Cubs .281/339/.465, with 4 homers and 9 doubles.
The following March, Northey underwent knee surgery and missed the entire season.
In 1952, he pinch hit against the Cardinals on April 20, grounding out to the pitcher. Then he spent the rest of the season with Los Angeles, the Cubs' Pacific Coast League farm club, and all of 1953 with their Springfield affiliate.
Sometime before the next season, the Cubs traded Northey to the Tigers. He made it back to the big leagues in 1955, with the White Sox, for whom he hit 4 homers in 107 games over parts of 3 seasons. He played 33 games for the Phillies in 1957, then retired, at age 37, having homered 108 times in 3,567 plate appearances.
Northey died young. He was 10 days away from his 52nd birthday when he passed away in 1971.
ORDER OF HOMERS
As noted, Tinker's 4 homers came in the order of solo, 2-run, grand slam, 3-run, while Northey's were 3-run, solo, 2-run, grand slam.
The homers by Ryan, in 1886, and Zimmerman, in 1914, also came in unique orders. For Ryan, it was 2-run, solo, 3-run, grand slam; for Zimmerman, 3-run, solo, 2-run, grand slam.
Ryan's all came at home, in the sixth inning on July 20 against the St. Louis Maroons; in the fifth on Aug. 16, against the Kansas City Cowboys; in the fourth on Sept. 7, against the Giants; and on Sept. 8, the next day, also against the Giants.
Zimmerman hit the first 3 of his 4 on the road: in the third inning on June 5, at Brooklyn; in the ninth on June 20, at Philadelphia; and in the sixth on Aug. 1, also at Philadelphia.
The ninth-inning homer, leading off the inning, broke a 4-4 tie. Zimmerman hit it off Joe Oeschger, who in 1920, with Boston, would famously battle Leon Cadore of Brooklyn to a 1-1 stalemate in which both pitched all 26 innings.
In the 1914 game, Oeschger worked the final 8 innings, after the Cubs had slammed a pair of 2-run homers in the first off Grover Cleveland Alexander.
Zimmerman's grand slam came at home, on Aug 18, against the Dodgers, with the Cubs trailing, 5-2, in the fifth.
"It was not what you would call a fancy home run," said the Tribune, "but just a plain one with a slight scratch in it. In fact, if [left fielder] Buck Wheat had known the ball was coming so fast he probably would have backed up to take it on a better bound, in which case he might have been held to a single.
"But it shot through Wheat unimpeded and before the truant could be returned Zim scored by a tremendous slide to the pan."
Zimmerman's 3-run homer also had been inside the park.
Note that for 3 of the 4 players, all but Tinker, their grand slam was the last of their 4 homers for the year. Tinker also was the only 1 whose second homer was not a solo shot.
DID ANYONE ELSE COME CLOSE?
Of the 140 other seasons in which a Cub hit exactly 4 home runs, 41 hit at least 1 of the 3 kinds.
As you would expect, more failed to hit a grand slam, 30, than any of the other kinds.
There were 18 who did not hit a 3-run homer.
Just 1 lacked a 2-run drive: Bill Lange, in 1896, who had 2 that scored 3 runs.
Two did not homer with the bases empty: Harvey Hendrick, in 1933, who had a pair of 3-run homers, and Paul Popovich, in 1971, who homered twice with 1 aboard.
In 99 seasons, a Cub homered 4 times, but had no more than 2 of any kind. The most recent was by Kris Bryant. Last year, he hit 3 solo homers and a grand slam. Dom Dallessandro, in 1942, and Jerry Hairston, in 2005, had the same breakdown.
Six players have hit 3 solo homers and a 3-run; 37, 3 solos and a 2-run.
And 16 have hit each of their 4 homers with nobody on base. The last to do so was Carlos Zambrano, in 2009. He had done the same in 2008. Frank Baumholtz, in 1952 and 1954, is the only other Cub who had turned the trick more than once.
The last position player with 4 solo shots was Doug Glanville, in 1997. Two more did it in the Expansion Era: Don Kessinger, in 1969, and Frank Fernandez, in 1971.
GRAND SLAM LEADERS
Twenty players have hit at least 4 grand slams in their careers as a Cub, and nearly all of them also had a solo, 2-run and 3-run homer in the seasons in which they hit any of their slams.
Ernie Banks, for example, did it in each of the 7 seasons in which he hit his 12 total slams. Billy Williams did it in each of the 7 years when he hit his 8.
But there were some exceptions.
Sammy Sosa hit 246 home runs, 217 as a Cub, before hitting his first slam, which broke a 2-2 tie in the eighth inning at Arizona on July 27, 1998. He famously hit his second slam the next day, and eventually hit 8.
But in 1999, he slammed 63 homers, none with the bases loaded, and in 2004, he smacked 40, all with fewer than 3 on base.
Bill Nicholson, tied with Sosa and Williams for second most slams in team history, hit 2 among his 33 homers in 1944, but none for 3 runs.
Before being traded to the Giants this year, Kris Bryant hit his sixth slam. None of his 17 other homers came with 2 aboard.
Derrek Lee homered 46 times in 2005, 11 more than in any of his 14 other seasons. He hit 5 3-run homers, but no grand slams.
Anthony Rizzo had no slams and 5 homers with 2 on base among 32 home runs in 2016. Two years earlier, he also had hit 32 homers; that season, he had no slams AND no 3-run shots!
Ryne Sandberg hit only solo and 2-run homers in both 1985 (26 homers) and 1989 (30). In 1990, his career-high 40 included 4 that scored 3 runs, but no slams. Sandberg hit a slam in 1983 for his ninth career homer. He did not hit another until 1991, his 201st.
Ron Santo had no slams among 30, 33 and 30 homers in 1964-66, but hit 6, 7 and 3 with 2 on base. He hit a slam in 1963 for his 74th homer and did not hit another until 1968, his 222nd.
Gabby Hartnett lacked a slam among 37 homers in 1930.
AND, FINALLY . . .
A Cub has hit exactly 8 home runs in 67 seasons, including 4 times by Phil Cavarretta, 3 by Gabby Hartnett and 2 each by Stan Hack, Derrick May and Ron Smalley.
Did any of them hit exactly TWO of each type of homer?
The answer is, no -- as you likely guessed
In none of the 67 seasons did a batter hit 2 grand slams.
Eleven of them hit 1: Bill Lange (1893), Charlie Irwin (1894), Ace Stewart (1895), Gabby Hartnett (1926), Riggs Stephenson (1928) Billy Herman (1937), Bill Nicholson (1946), Johnny Callison (1971), Ryne Sandberg (1983), Rafael Palmeiro (1988) and Scott Hairston (2013).
Only 5 of the batters hit even 1 of each kind of homer -- just 1 in the past 75 years, and that was 50 years ago: Bill Lange (1893, 3 solo, 2 with 1 on, 2 with 2 on, 1 grand slam), Charlie Irwin (1894, 1-3-3-1), Billy Herman (1937, 4-1-2-1), Bill Nicholson (1946, 4-2-1-1) and Johnny Callison (1971, 4-2-1-1).
Only 4 hit just a a pair of 2-run homers: George Decker (1894), Gabby Hartnett (1931), Derrick May (1992) and Jason Heyward (2018).
Gabby Hartnett hit the most 2-run homers, 6, in 1931, when his 2 others were solo shots. Walt Wilmot (1895), Gary Gaetti (1998) and Ron Coomer (2001) each had 3 solos and 5 with 1 on. Jason Heyward, in 2018, had 2 solos, 5 for 2 runs and 1 for 3.
Three players hit 4, half their homers, with 2 on base: Ace Stewart (1895, 3-0-4-1), Gabby Hartnett (1923, 4-0-4-0) and Derrick May (1992, 2-2-4-0).
Phil Cavaretta (1935), Eddie Miksis (1953), Tony Taylor (1959) and Tuffy Rhodes (1994) are the only Cubs ever to hit 8 home runs, all with the bases empty. The first 3 of Rhodes' memorably came on Opening Day, all off Mets' ace Dwight Gooden. His 8 homers were the last of 13 he hit in his 6-year career. All came during his 123 games over 3 seasons as a Cub.