FanPost

Pinch hitters for Banks, Santo and Williams

When I began to follow baseball in the early 1960s, I devoured each issue of "Baseball Digest."

The small-format, monthly magazine regularly included stories about players who had batted in place of the game's greatest stars.

If memory serves, each story appeared below a similar headline: "I Pinch Hit for Ted Williams," "I Pinch Hit for Stan Musial," and so on.

The substitute invariably came to the plate for 1 of 3 reasons:

1. It was early in the famous players' career

2. The famous player's team was far ahead in a game -- or far behind

3. The famous player had been injured and was unable to bat

Still, the stories were fun.

While reminiscing recently about those stories, I wondered who, if anyone, had pinch hit for some of the Cubs' greatest players, such as Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Billy Williams.

..........

NEEDLES IN HAYSTACKS

While there is easily available data at baseball-reference.com and other online sites for when any player batted AS a pinch hitter, there is no simple search for when a player was lifted FOR a pinch hitter.

To find those events, I began by combing through the player's Batting Game Log at baseball-reference for each of his seasons as a Cub.

Each log lists every game he played that season, in chronological order. Among the columns of data is "Inngs," short for "Innings."

If a player started and finished the game, the column shows "CG," for "Complete Game."

If the player was not in the starting lineup, the column shows the inning he entered the game, then either "GF" for "Game Finished" or the last inning it which he played.

For example, a defensive replacement might show "8-GF," while a pinch hitter who batted in the ninth might show "9-9."

...

If a player started a game, but did not complete it, the column shows "GS," followed by the last inning in which he played, such as "GS-8" for a player who was removed in the eighth inning.

I clicked on the date of each game, in each season, that showed "GS" followed by a number, to load the box score, which I checked to see if the player was taken out for a defensive replacement, or in a double switch, or for a pinch runner -- or, for a pinch hitter.

.........

It took a while, but proved worthwhile, as I did find the pinch hitters I was seeking.

Banks was replaced at the plate 7 times; Santo, 5; and Williams, 3.

That's a total of 15 games.

The trio of Hall of Famers started 6,702 games for the Cubs.

So they were lifted for pinch hitters in a tiny bit less than one quarter of 1 percent of the times they were supposed to bat!

..........

THE PINCH HITTERS

George Altman batted for Santo twice.

So did Carmen Fanzone.

All the others pinch hit once for any of the 3 stars.

Here is the list of all 15, in alphabetical order by last name, then in parentheses the star for whom each batted:

George Altman (Santo, 2)

Jim Bolger (Banks)

Lou Brock (Banks)

Ed Bouchee (Santo)

Carmen Fanzone (Santo, 2)

Johnny Callison (Banks)

Jack Hiatt (Banks)

Jim Hickman (Banks)

Cleo James (Williams)

Eddie Miksis (Banks)

Bobby Thomson (Williams)

Billy Williams (Banks)

Walt Moryn (Williams)

...

Moryn did not actually get to hit. After he was announced as batting for Williams, in a 1959 game, the Pirates changed pitchers. The Cubs then sent Lee Walls to the plate instead of Moryn.

...

How did the pinch hitters do?

Not very well.

Collectively, they were 2 for 10, plus 4 walks, 1 of them intentional.

The hits were a single, by Thomson, and a home run, by Bolger.

One of the outs was a fielder's choice on which a run scored.

Only 1 of the pinch hitters struck out, Altman.

...

Following are the details of each time the 3 stars were lifted for a pinch hitter.

..........

ERNIE BANKS

1. 4/21/1954, 7th inning, at Milwaukee

Nobody on, 1 out, Cubs behind, 7-3

Eddie Miksis grounded out

Cubs lost, 7-3

...

2. 6/18/1957, 5th inning, vs. Phillies

Nobody on, 1 out, Cubs behind, 7-4

Jim Bolger homered, right after Chuck Tanner had hit a 3-run double

Cubs lost, 7-6

...

3. 9/11/1963, 9th inning, at St. Louis

Nobody on, 1 out, Cubs behind, 4-0

Lou Brock grounded out to second

Cubs lost, 4-0

...

4. 5/22/1970, 5th inning, at New York Mets

Runner on 2nd, 1 out, Cubs ahead, 6-3

Johnny Callison walked intentionally

Cubs won, 6-4

...

5. 9/02/1970, 8th inning, vs. Phillies

Nobody on, 2 out, Cubs ahead, 17-1

Jack Hiatt walked

Cubs won, 17-3

(Banks was 3 for 3, all singles, and had 2 walks)

...

6. 5/04/1971, 8th inning, at New York Mets

Runners on 1st and 3rd, 0 out, Cubs behind, 2-1

Jim Hickman grounded to pitcher, who threw home and runner was tagged out

Cubs lost, 2-1

...

7. 7/07/1971, 6th inning, at Los Angeles

Bases loaded, 0 out, Cubs ahead, 3-1

Billy Williams, hit into 4-6 forceout that scored run

Cubs won, 5-4

(Cubs had taken lead in 6th on 3-run homer by Hickman, then loaded bases on single and 2 walks before forceout. Dodgers scored 4 in 9th and had bases loaded when Cubs got final out.)

..........

RON SANTO

1. 8/07/1960, 8th inning, at Milwaukee

Nobody on, 2 out, Cubs behind, 5-4

Ed Bouchee grounded out to second

Cubs lost, 5-4

(The batter before Santo, Frank Thomas, hit a 3-run homer, knocking out Warren Spahn. The Braves brought in right hander Ron Piche, so the Cubs lifted Santo for lefty-swinging Bouchee.)

...

2. 10/01/1961, 9th inning, vs. Dodgers

Runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 out, Cubs behind, 8-2

George Altman struck out

Cubs lost, 8-2

(This was the final out of the final game of the season!)

...

3. 9/10/1962, 8th inning, at Los Angeles

Nobody on, 0 out, Cubs behind, 8-0

George Altman popped up to shortstop

Cubs lost, 8-1

...

4. 5/05/1972, 7th inning, vs Astros

Nobody on, 1 out, Cubs behind, 3-0

Carmen Fanzone walked

Cubs lost, 3-0

(Santo had been hit on the wrist while batting in the 4th. The team doctor said he would be sidelined for a week to 10 days. He was out until May 29, missing 18 games.)

...

5. 9/16/1972, 7th inning, vs. Mets

Runners on 1st and 2nd, 2 out, Cubs ahead, 17-5

Carmen Fanzone walked

Cubs won, 18-5

..........

BILLY WILLIAMS

1. 8/08/1959, 8th inning, vs. Pirates

Runners on 2nd and 3rd, 1 out, Cubs behind, 3-2

Walt Moryn was announced, then replaced when the Pirates changed pitchers

Lee Walls struck out

Cubs lost, 4-3, in 14 innings

(This was the third game of Williams' big league career. He had gone 0 for 4 in his first 2 games and was 0 for 3 in this one.)

...

2. 9/20/1959, 6th inning, at St. Louis

Runner on 1st, 1 out, Cubs ahead, 4-2

Bobby Thomson singled

Cubs lost, 11-4

...

3. 8/19/1970, 8th inning, vs. Padres

Nobody on, 2 out, Cubs ahead, 12-2

Cleo James flied out to center

Cubs won, 12-2

(Williams was lifted immediately after a solo homer by Glenn Beckert, the Cubs' third of the inning. It was their 7th homer of the game, tying a team record set in 1967 vs. the Mets and matched in 1977 vs. the Padres. Williams had homered leading off the 7th. He also had 2 singles and a walk.)

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