Cubs and Jackie Robinson, Part 2

Today is the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's first game at Wrigley Field.

This is the second of 2 posts about his games against the Cubs.



Robinson and the Dodgers began their second series of 1947 at Chicago on Monday, June 16.

The Cubs had lost to the Phillies the day before, snapping a 5-game winning streak. The loss made the Cubs' record 29-22, tying them for second place with the Giants (28-21), half a game behind the Braves (30-22).

The Dodgers were fourth, 3 games back, at 27-25. They had lost 7 of 8 games, including their last 5. The first of those 5, against the Reds, came despite Robinson going 4 for 5, including a double and triple.

The Dodgers had been outscored, 30-8, while dropping 4 games in 3 days over the weekend at St. Louis. Robinson went 4 for 15, with 1 hit in each game of a Saturday doubleheader, then 2 hits on Sunday.


In the opener of the series against the Cubs, on the fourth pitch thrown to him by Doyle Lade, Robinson singled to left for his first career hit at Wrigley.

Lade walked him with the bases loaded in the second, but got him to ground out in the fifth and struck him out in the sixth.

Robinson ended the day 1 for 4, as the Dodgers ended their tailspin by beating the Cubs, 2-1.

Tuesday's rematch was rained out.

On Wednesday, in a 5-3 victory, Robinson singled in the sixth and scored the tying run, then was safe on an error and came all the around on a bunt and another error.

And in the finale on Thursday, he drew a leadoff walk and scored the tying run in the sixth, singled and scored in a 3-run seventh and singled again in the ninth. The Dodgers completed a sweep, 5-1.



Robinson left Chicago with a 6-game hitting streak that grew to 21 games before he went 0 for 4 in the second game of a July 4 doubleheader against the Giants.

It was by far the longest streak of his career. His second best was 16 games in June-July of 1950, followed by his 14 games earlier in 1947.

He had 2 streaks of 12, 3 of 11 and 2 of 10, for a total of 10 double-digit streaks. All came between 1947 and early 1952, the last having begun in 1951 and carried over to the following season.

In his 21-game streak, Robinson's line was .357/.438/.417, for an on-base plus slugging of .854.

His 16-game binge was even more impressive: .492/.542/.785, an OPS of 1.326!



After the Dodgers' visit to Chicago in June 1947, in the final 96 games of his rookie season, Robinson batted .294/.379/.443, with 24 doubles, 4 triples and 8 home runs.

During that stretch, he was .283/.389/.370 against the Cubs. One of his 13 hits was his first career homer vs. the Cubs, a 2-run shot off Hank Borowy on July 10 at Brooklyn.

For the full season against all teams, Robinson was .297/.383/.427, .810, with 31 doubles, 12 homers and a league-high 29 steals. He was voted Rookie of the Year.

But in his entire 21 games against the Cubs, Robinson was only .244/.354/.305.

In 10 games at Wrigley Field, he was .282/.328/.308.

In 11 games at Brooklyn, he was just .209/.306/.302.



Robinson would raise all of those numbers significantly during the rest of his career. But he never hit as well against the Cubs as he did otherwise.


Consider these numbers, where "6 parks" is all road games excluding Chicago, and "7 parks" in all road games including Chicago:

Career at Wrigley: .295/.400/.446, .846

Career at 6 parks: .311/.409/.453, .862

Career at 7 parks: .309/.408/.456, .864


Similarly, these are his numbers at Ebbets Field, where "rest" is all other teams:

Career vs. Cubs: .292/.374/.485, .859

Career vs. rest: .317/.412/.492, .904

Career vs. all : .314/.410/.491, .902


And these are his combined numbers, regardless of site:

Career vs. Cubs: .294/.401/.465, .865

Career vs. rest: .314/.411/.473, .884

Career vs. all : .311/.409/.474, .883


His .295 batting average was his third-lowest against the Dodgers' 7 opponents. He hit .287 vs. the Phillies and .277 vs. the Braves.

He batted .342 vs. both the Cardinals and Pirates, .327 vs. the Reds and .308vs. the Giants.


His .401 OBP against the Cubs also was third-lowest, ahead of the Braves (.393) and Phillies (.374).

He averaged .437 vs. the Pirates, .423 vs. the Cardinals, .415 vs. the Reds and .414 vs. the Giants.


His..465 SLG against the Cubs was right in the middle, lower than vs. the Pirates (.553), Reds (.528) and Cardinals (.499) but higher than vs. the Giants (.441), Phillies (.421) and Braves (.407).


His .865 OPS ranked fourth, too. He fared better vs. the Pirates (.990), Reds (.944) and Cardinals (.922), but worse vs. the Giants (.856), Braves (.805) and Phillies (.805).



In his 195 games against the Cubs, Robinson collected 199 hits -- 99 at Wrigley Field and 100 at home. Among them were 41 doubles, 12 triples and 17 home runs. He walked 114 times and struck out 39. He also stole 39 bases and was caught stealing 10 times.


He had 4 hits in 3 different games at Wrigley: a 7-0 loss on May 17, 1951, then back-to-back wins, on June 5 and 6, 1954.

He had 6 games with 3 hits in Chicago; 18 games with 2; 33 games with 1; and 33 with none. So he had at least 1 hit in 60 of 93 games at Wrigley, which is 65 percent.

He never had a 4-hit game against the Cubs in Brooklyn. He had 6 games with 3 hits.


More than half of his doubles (22 of 41) and triples (7 of 12) against the Cubs came in Chicago, but only 5 of his 17 home runs. He hit 2 homers off Cubs pitchers 3 times at Ebbets Field, but never at Wrigley Field.

His first home run at Wrigley did not come until his 29th game there, on June 28, 1949, off Monk Dubiel. It came in the seventh inning, with 2 out, immediately after a homer by Duke Snider.


His second came on May 15, 1951, with the bases empty and 1 out in the fourth.

The pitcher was Bob Rush, who also surrendered Robinson's next homer at Wrigley, which came after the first 2 batters had reached base to start the game on July 10, 1952. Robinson later tripled in a run, then scored moments later, but the Cubs outlasted the Dodgers, 7-6.


Two days later, on July 12, Robinson capped a 12-2 romp with a 1-out, 2-run homer in the eighth off Dick Manville.

Robinson had doubled home a run in the third and singled in another in the fourth. He had only other game at Wrigley with 4 RBI, in an 8-2 win on Aug. 29, 1950.

The last of Robinson's homers in Chicago came when he led off the second inning against Paul Miner on June 6, 1954.

That was the last of his 3 games with 4 hits at Wrigley. He smacked 2-out singles in the fourth, eighth and 10th. The one in the 10th gave the Dodgers a 5-4 lead and went on to win, 6-4.



The Dodgers did a lot of winning at Wrigley during Robinson's 10 seasons. They won 53 games, lost 39 and tied 1, for a winning percentage of .575. That would result in a 93-69 record if maintained for a full, 162-game schedule.

They had remarkable success against the Cubs in Brooklyn: 68-30-2, .690, equivalent to a 112-50 season.

Combined, the Dodgers were 121-69-3, .635, which projects to 103-59 -- almost identical to the Cubs' 103-58 record in 2016.



By 1956, Robinson was 37 years old. He batted .275/.382/.412. That was an improvement over his .256/.378/.363 of a year earlier, but still not on a par with any of his first 8 years, when he never had hit lower than .296.

He had finished above .300 every year from 1949-54, beginning with a league-best .342 that helped him win the Most Valuable Player Award.

Robinson started only 10 games against the Cubs in 1956 and pinch hit in 3 more. In those 13 games, he batted .294, with a double, 2 home runs and 9 walks.



Only 5 of his appearances were at Wrigley Field.

On May 8, he went 1 for 3, a single, and walked twice in a 6-0 victory.

He was retired as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning of a 4-2, 15-inning loss on June 1, then sat out 3 games over the next 2 days.

He did not play in either game at Wrigley on July 15-16.

The Dodgers' final visit to Chicago came Tuesday-Thursday, Aug. 28-30, starting with a doubleheader.


In the opener, batting fifth, Robinson struck out swinging to end the first inning.

He grounded out with 2 on and 2 out in the third.

He lined out to third leading off the sixth.

He struck out looking with 2 away and runners on the corners in the seventh.

All those at bats were against Moe Drabowsky.

In the ninth, Carl Furillo singled home 2 runs off Turk Lown to break a 3-3 tie. Robinson followed with a first-pitch single.

Roy Campanella then drove in Furillo, making the score -3. Robinson tried to score, too, and was thrown out at home.


In the bottom of the inning, the Cubs closed to within 6-4 and had runners on first and second with 1 out. A forceout put them on first and third. On a 2-2 pitch to the next batter, the runner on first stole second.

Dodgers Manager Walter Alston then brought Jim Gilliam in from left field to become the second baseman, sending Robinson to the bench, where he watched Don Hoak pop up in foul territory to end the game.


His ninth-inning single proved to be Robinson's last hit at Wrigley Field.

On Wednesday, he fouled out to third, flied out to center, made a sacrifice bunt, walked and flied out to left in an 11-4 win.

On Thursday, he walked, fouled out to first and lined out to right against Jim Davis.

In the eighth inning, with score tied at 3, he coaxed a leadoff walk from Turk Lown, but was forced out at second on an attempted bunt.

In the 10th, Lown got him to line out to left.

The Cubs won the game, 5-4, in the 11th on Doak Hoak's 2-out single.

The attendance for Robinson's last game in Chicago was 8,643, or less than one fifth of the 47,101 who had witnessed his historic first game 9 years earlier.



The Dodgers and Cubs still had 2 more games to play, in Brooklyn, on Sept. 14 and 15.

While Robinson had gone just 2 for 15, with no extra base hits, in his 1956 trips to Chicago, he was 6 for 13 against the Cubs at Ebbets Field. Two his hits were home runs, solo shots off Jim Davis in the first and fifth innings. The second tied the score at 4, and the Dodgers eventually won, 10-4.

In the first of the September contests, Robinson lined to center, walked and grounded out in his first 3 at bats against Moe Drabowsky.

With the game tied at 1, Pee Wee Reese doubled to open the eighth and moved to third on a grounder. Robinson worked the count full, then walked. With 2 out, Carl Furillo doubled home both runners, then he scored 2 on an errant throw to the plate.


The next day, with 10,754 looking on, Robinson faced the Cubs for the last time.

In the first, he hit into a 6-4 forceout.

Then, with 2 out in the third and runners on first and third, he slammed Don Kaiser's 2-0 pitch for a 2-run double.

In the fifth, with 2 out and a runner on second, he beat out an infield hit and the runner scored when Kaiser threw wildly to first.

In the seventh, he hit an 0-1 pitch a deep fly to deep center, ending his 678th at bat and 813th plate appearance against the Cubs.

Don Newcombe retied the Cubs in order in the ninth to complete a 3-hit, 3-0 shutout.



Robinson played 12 more games over the next 15 days, against 4 different teams. He had a hit in 10 of the 12 games. On Sept. 22 at Pittsbugh, he went 3 for 4, with a double. His last hit on the road was a single against the Pirates 2 days later.

And the last of his 1,518 career hits came in his final game, at home against the Pirates on the final day of the season, Sunday, Sept. 30.

After lining out in the first inning, he faced Bob Purkey again in the third, with 2 out and nobody on. He hit a home run to deep left -- his 10th of the season and 137th of his career. It increased the Dodgers' lead to 4-2.

Two more at bats followed, a swinging strikeout to end the fifth and a grounder to short, on a 3-2 pitch, to end the seventh. The final score was 8-6.


None of the 31,983 spectators knew they were watching Robinson's last regular-season game.

On Dec. 13, 2 months after they lost to the Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series, the Dodgers announced that they had traded Robinson to the arch-rival Giants for pitcher Dick Littlefield.

A month later, in a letter to Giants owner Horace Stoneham, Robinson asked to be be placed on the voluntary retired list, bringing to a close his historic, 10-year Major League career.

In 1,382 games as a Dodger, Robinson batted .311/.409/.474, for an OPS of .883 and an OPS+ of 132. He made 1,518 hits, 464 of them for extra bases. He stole 200 bases, having led the league in his rookie season, with 29, and all of baseball 2 years later, with 37.

His WAR was 63.8.



Robinson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962, his first year of eligibility, with 124 of 160 possible votes -- 77.5 percent.

That is tied for the second lowest percentage among 59 players elected on the first ballot. Robin Yount also had 77.5. Ivan Rodriguez had 76.0. David Ortiz, elected in the most recent vote, had 77.9.

Pitcher Bob Feller, was elected along with Robinson. Feller, also in his first year, was endorsed by 93.8 percent of the voters: 150, or 26 more than Robinson.

Robinson and Feller were enshrined in a ceremony at Cooperstown on July 23, 1962. Robinson lived for only 15 more months, dying on Oct. 24, 1972 -- 25 years, 6 months and 9 days after his Major League debut.

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