FanPost

Win streak week, Day 5

The Cubs have won 6,121 games at home in the regular season during their 147 years in the National League.

They have lost 4,853 and tied 78, for a winning percentage of .557, which is 90 points higher than their .467 on the road, where they are 5,040-5,756-83.

Since 1901, first season of the Modern Era, they have had 273 winning streaks of at least 5 games at home against a specific opponent.

32 of them reached double digits.

The longest of all was an incredible 19 games.

July 30 of next year will mark the 100th anniversary of its end.

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DOWNHILL SLIDE

After winning the pennant in 1918, the Cubs dropped to third place in 1919, then to fifth in 1920 -- although 3 games closer to first, 18 behind, than they had been the previous year.

In 1921, they won their first 3 games and 6 of their first 8.

They were 15-13 and in third place on May 22, after a 12-inning victory at Brooklyn. But they lost the next day, then dropped 4 straight to the Cardinals at home and 2 at Pittsburgh.

The Cubs split the final 2 games there and won the opener of a series at home against the Robins, today's Dodgers, on June 3.

A 3-4 loss the next day dropped them to sixth place, at 17-22, and they never were higher through their final 114 games.

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CHANGE IN MANAGEMENT

They were 41-55, 20 games behind, when they fired Manager Johnny Evers following a loss at home to the Phillies on Aug. 1.

They fared even worse under player-manager Bill Killefer, going 24-34, to wind up 64-89, 30 games from the top, in seventh place -- their lowest finish of the Modern Era, one spot below their standing in 1901.

There was some reason for optimism, however.

After reaching a season-low 32 games below .500 on Sept. 15, the Cubs went 10-3 the rest of the way, including 8-2 at home. That late surge made their final record at Cubs Park just 32-44, virtually identical to their 32-45 on the road.

The surge began with a 3-game sweep of the Robins, who were fifth at the time. After a split with the league-leading Giants, the Cubs hosted the fourth-place Braves for 3 games, beginning Friday, Sept. 23.

The Cubs had lost 14 of 19 games to Boston so far, including 5 of 8 at home. They had alternated wins and losses in 4 June games, lost and won a doubleheader in August, and lost the final 2 of that series.

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ROOKIE SENSATION

Then, as now, Major League teams gave rookies a chance to show what they could do late in the season.

The Cubs' lineup featured 3 of them, center fielder Red Thomas, second baseman Joe Klugmann and shortstop Carter Elliott.

The trio combined for 6 hits, including a single, double and home run by the 23-year-old Thomas, who had spent the summer playing for the Henryetta, Okla., Hens of the Class D Western Association.

His solo homer in the eighth capped the scoring in the Cubs' 13-5 romp.

...

Rain on Saturday prompted a doubleheader on Sunday, in which Thomas "was as conspicuous as his hair," I. E. Sanborn wrote in the Chicago Tribune.

"Two twelve inning battles were staged, the Cubs winning the first, 4 to 3, and the second, 8 to 7, just before twilight would have compelled the warriors to cease firing.

"Thomas drove home the two runs which converted the opening game into a victory instead of a defeat in the last half of the twelfth, sending a two bagger into right field with two men out and two pals on the runway. The two runs were needed because the Braves had scored one in their half.

"In the second game the Killefers had the game won in nine rounds but Thomas booted a base hit in the ninth and let in the tying run, which made the crowd of 12,000 rooters go home to light suppers.

"Then in the twelfth the same red headed southerner started a rally with another two bagger and Killefer finished it with a single which scored the winning run."

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GONE IN A HURRY

That was the end of Thomas' heroics. He went 1 for 6 with a walk in 2 subsequent games, which proved to be the last of just an 8-game big league career.

He was 8 for 30, with 3 doubles and a homer, walked and struck out 5 times each, was hit by a pitch and made 1 bunt.

He spent the next 2 seasons back in Henryetta, now in Class C, then 5 more years with 3 different clubs in Class B league in the Southeast. He was 30 when he played his final game in 1928 for the Selma, Ala., Cloverleafs.

Klugmann, by the way, played 6 games for the Cubs by the end of 1921, then 2 in early 1922. He went 6 for 23, all singles. He later played 31 games for Brooklyn and 38 for Cleveland.

Elliott appeared in 12 games, going 7 for 28, including 2 doubles. Those were his only games in the majors.

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MOVING ON UP

In 1922, the Cubs rebounded to 80-74, good for fifth place.

They were a combined 31-13 vs. the Braves (18-4) and Cardinals (13-9), 49-61 against their 5 other rivals.

The Cubs were slightly better on the road, 41-37, then at home, 39-37. And at home they were just 30-37 when not facing the Braves.

They beat Boston at Cubs Park twice in May, then 5 times in a 4-day, wraparound series, Friday, July 7-Monday, July 10.

They won 4 games in 3 days in mid-August, beginning with a doubleheader on Tuesday, Aug. 15.

That made their 2-year streak 14 in a row at home against the Braves.

The Cubs weren't the only team feasting on Boston, which finished 53-100, in last place, 39.5 games out of first. The Cubs trailed the Giants by 13 games.

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COOKING AT HOME

In 1923, the Cubs compiled winning records against 4 teams and were .500 against a fifth, but their 16-6 vs. the Braves was 3 games better than against anyone else.

The Cubs dominated at home, going 46-31. After an Opening Day loss, they won 9 in a row there.

They lost to the Giants in the first game of a a home stand on June 5, then won the next 2 days, to win the series.

But that made the Cubs' record only 22-24, which put them in sixth place, 11 games behind.

Then the Braves came to town. By the time they departed, the Cubs were in third place and 8 games behind.

...

On Friday, June 8, Bob O'Farrell drove in all the runs in a 4-2 victory, with 2 doubles and a homer.

On Saturday, the Braves tied the game at 3 on a 2-run homer in the eighth. In the Cubs' ninth, a pair of 1-out singles put runners on the corners. After a strikeout, Jigger Statz lined a game-winning hit to left field.

On Sunday, each team made just 6 hits. But Vic Aldridge scattered the Braves' hits, while the Cubs bunched 4 of theirs in the second inning to produce the game's only 3 runs: a triple by Bernie Friberg, a sacrifice fly by Hack Miller, a single by Cliff Heathcote, a triple by Gabby Hartnett and a single by Aldridge.

On Monday, the Cubs broke a tie at 1 in the fifth on a 2-run double by George Grantham. An intentional walk, singles by Friberg and Miller, and a steal of home by Friberg produced 3 more runs. They added 4 in the seventh, on back-to-back doubles, a groundout, back-to-back triples, a double and a single. The final score was 10-3.

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BIG COMEBACK

The finale on Tuesday was a wild one.

The Cubs got a solo homer in the first from Grantham.

The Braves scored 3 times in the fourth; the Cubs once, on a triple by Friberg and a single by Miller.

In the fifth, the Braves turned 2 walks, 2 hits and 2 errors into 4 runs, opening a 7-2 bulge.

An error and singles by Statz and Charlie Hollocher gave the Cubs a third run in their half of the inning. A groundout, a walk and a popup left the bases loaded with 2 out. Miller cleared them with a grand slam into the bleachers in right field that tied the game.

...

After the first 2 Braves walked in the sixth, Vic Keen came on relief. The first batter he faced bunted to Keen, whose throw to third was late, loading the bases. A forceout followed, then a fly to left on which the runner from third reached the plate -- only to be called out on appeal for leaving too soon, keeping the score knotted at 7.

Hartnett led off for the Cubs and singled. Keen bunted him to second and Statz singled him home, putting the Cubs in front.

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POURING IT ON

The Braves got a single to start the seventh. He was forced out by Stuffy McInnis, who stole second, but was tagged out when he tried to reach third on a grounder to short by Tony Boeckel.

Boeckel stole second. When Larry Kopf singled to center, Boeckel headed for home. Statz fired the ball to the plate, where Hartnett tagged Boeckel, ending the inning and preserving the 1-run lead.

Miller increased the lead to 3 runs by smacking a 2-run homer with 1 out.

...

The Braves began the eighth with a single and a walk. Bearing down, Keen coaxed 2 fly balls, then a forceout.

In the Cubs' half, a double by Statz, a walk, an RBI single by Grantham and a wild throw to second by the pitcher on a bunt gave the Cubs 2 runs, making the score 12-7.

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FURIOUS RALLY

Keen surrendered singles to the first 2 Braves in the ninth.

Boeckel hit into a forceout at second. and Kopf singled home a run: 8-12.

A groundout left runners on second and third with 2 out.

A walk loaded the bases, but reliever Joe Genewich was due up, and the Braves were out of pinch hitters. Genewich was batting .400 for the season, however, 8 of 20, including a pair of doubles.

He smacked a single that scored 2 runs: 10-12.

Another single drove home a runner from second: 11-12. It also knocked out Keen.

...

Killefer brought in lefthander Fred Fussell to face lefty-swinging Ray Powell. Fussell walked him, loading the bases again.

Billy Southworth had begun the inning with a single, his third hit of the day. Now he came to the plate for a second time, with a chance to tie the game or even put the Braves ahead.

But Fussell got Southworth to ground to second baseman Grantham, who tossed the ball to shortstop Hollocher for a final forceout.

...

The Cubs won despite allowing 13 hits, walking 7 and making 2 errors. Keen earned the pitching victory, despite giving up 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks in his 3.2 innings.

The Cubs finished with 15 hits and 3 walks. The Braves made 3 errors.

Miller drove in 7 runs, second most by a Cub in the Modern Era to that point, behind Heinie Zimmerman's 9 in 1911.

Zimmerman's feat had come against the Braves, too, in a 20-2 romp on June 11, 1911 -- 12 years and 1 day before Miller's big day.

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FOLLOWING WEEKS

The 1923 Cubs split 4-game series against the Robins and Phillies to complete an 11-5 home stand. The finale, a 16-1 rout of Philadelphia, lifted them to 31-28, good for fourth place, 7 games behind.

They took 2 of 3 at St. Louis, then returned to Chicago for a peculiar stretch of games: 3 vs. the Reds, 4 vs. the Cardinals, then 4 more vs. the Reds. They won only 4 of the 11 and slipped to fifth, 12 games to the rear.

...

The Cubs got off to a good start on their ensuing road trip: wins in 3 straight at Boston and 3 of 4 at Brooklyn. They lost a series opener at New York, then won the next day on Friberg's 10th-inning, inside-the-park grand slam, followed by a victory in Game 1 of a doubleheader.

But they lost Game 2, beginning a 1-5 stretch. The final loss was by 4-17.

That was the first half of another doubleheader. The Cubs won the rematch, 16-9, then won 2 days later at Pittsburgh, 12-3, with a 9-run 12th inning, still their biggest extra-inning outburst.

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3 GAMES, 3 FOES, 3 WINS

An 11-10 triumph over the Giants at home 3 days later gave the Cubs 3 victories in a row, over 3 different opponents.

Following a rainout, they split 2 games with the Giants on Saturday, in front of a throng of 35,000 fans.

On Sunday, they lost, 3-15, as 32,000 looked on. The defeat left the Cubs' record at 50-45, still fourth, but 11.5 games out of first.

But there was reason for hope. The next day, Monday, July 30, the Cubs would begin a 4-day series against their favorite guests, the Braves.

Boston once again was mired in last place, having won only 25 of its 84 games. It trailed the front-running Giants by 36 games and the Cubs by 24.5.

4 more victories, extending the Cubs' streak at home to 23, seemed inevitable.

It wasn't. The Cubs failed to win even a 20th in a row.

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EARLY POWER

Starter Tiny Osborne coaxed a popup to begin the game. Two singles and a fielder's choice on which second baseman Grantham dropped a throw loaded the bases.

The runners held on a fly to right. Then they all trotted home, as Horace Ford delivered a grand slam.

A leadoff double and 1-out single in the second made the score 5-0. It stayed that way until the bottom of the seventh.

With 1 out, Miller singled off Rube Marquard. Tim McNamara relieved and threw a wild pitch, then walked a batter.

After a flyout, Harnett pinch hit. He grounded to the third baseman, who couldn't make the play, as a run scored. Statz doubled home 2 more runs, knocking out McNamara.

Sparky Adams greeted new pitcher Frank Miller with an RBI single, closing the gap to 1 run, 4-5. Adams then stole second, but Grantham struck out.

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INSURANCE RUN PAYS OFF

Fussell took over on the mound for the Cubs and surrendered a 1-out triple, followed by a single that doubled the Braves lead.

The Cubs managed only a 2-out single by Miller in their half of the eighth.

In the ninth, John Kelleher singled and raced to second when the left fielder juggled the ball.

Pinch hitter Marty Callaghan singled, scoring Kelleher: 5-6.

But Callaghan tried to stretch his hit and was gunned down at second. Statz grounded out to first, Adams grounded to third and the game was over -- along with the Cubs' 19-game winning streak at home over the Braves.

It was their first defeat by the Braves on their home field in 723 days, since Aug. 5, 1921, a week short of 2 full years.

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DEJA VU IN FIRST

Baseball being baseball, the Braves beat the Cubs the next day, too. They scored 4 runs to start the game again, on 3 doubles, 2 singles and a triple, and wound up winning by 6-3.

The Cubs thus ended July at 50-47, in fourth place, 13 games behind. They remained fourth, after each of their final 57 games, just as they had been fourth in each of the previous 20, since a 2-0 win at Brooklyn on July 11 in their first contest of the season's second half.

....

Following the streak-ending back-to-back losses to the Braves at the end of July, the Cubs earned a split in the series by taking the third and fourth games.

They hosted the Braves once before the season ended, on Sept. 24-25.

They won the first day, in a very peculiar fashion.

Neither team scored in the first 3 innings. Each scored 3 runs in the third. The Braves scored 2 and the Cubs 3 in the fifth. Each scored 2 in the sixth. Then neither scored again: Cubs 8, Braves 7.

The Cubs didn't score at all the next day, losing 0-2, to end the year 8-3 at home vs. the Braves, the same as their record when the teams squared off in Boston.

...

The Cubs final record was 83-71, an improvement of 3 games over the previous season. They wound up 12.5 games behind the champion Giants, 4 behind the third-place Pirates and 3.5 ahead of the fifth-place Cardinals.

The Braves avoided the cellar. At 54-100, they led the Phillies (50-104) by 4 games. But they lagged 22 games behind the sixth-place Robins.

...

WINNING STREAK DATA

During their 19 straight wins at home over the Braves, the Cubs outscored their guests by 70 runs, 130-60, for an average score of nearly 7 to 3.

They scored at least 4 runs in every game but 1, reached double digits in 3 and had 9 in 1 more.

They allowed more than 4 runs in just 3 games, while recording 3 shutouts.

6 of the wins were by 1 run; 2 more, by 2. Their most lopsided wins were the first, by 8 runs, and the next-to-last, by 7.

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TOMORROW: Cubs' other long winning streaks at home vs. an opponent

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