Cubs' wins when making just 1 hit

In Major League Baseball's 122-season Modern Era, only 5 teams have won a game without making a hit.

The first to turn the trick was the Reds, who defeated the Astros, 1-0, by scoring on a pair of ninth-inning errors on April 23, 1964.

Tigers won at Baltimore, 2-1, in 1967; the White Sox, 4-0, at home against the Yankees, in 1990; the Guardians, 2-1, at home against the Red Sox, in 1992; and the Dodgers, 1-0, at home against the Angels, in 2008.

87 times, a team has won despite making just 1 hit.

The most recent to do so were the Diamondbacks, 1-0 winners over the Reds on Sept. 14, 2010.

The first was the Cubs, when they were known as the Orphans.

On May 13, 1902, they beat the visiting Brooklyn Superbas, 2-0,



The Orphans had been shut out for 26 consecutive innings, including losses to the Superbas by 3-0 and 2-0, going in the sixth inning of the final game of their series at the West Side Grounds.

After Joe Tinker drew a leadoff walk, Jock Menefee bunted the ball too hard, right at pitcher Bill Donovan. He fielded it and fired to second, trying to force out Tinker, but his throw was high and both runners were safe.

Jimmy Slagle then laid down another bunt to Donovan, whose throw to first was in the dirt, but the first baseman scooped up the ball, leaving runners at second and third.

With first base open, Donovan elected to pitch to Dusty Miller -- and little wonder. The rookie left fielder was batting .135, with just 7 hits in 52 at bats, and had struck out 10 times.

Miller "pushed one of Donovan's benders in just the right direction to clear both [shortstop Bill] Dahlen and [third baseman Charlie] Irwin," the Chicago Tribune explained, landing it safely in left" and driving Tinker home.

Menefee stopped at third, then scored moments later "when Irwin made a mess of [Charlie] Dexter's easy bounder."

Miller advanced to third on a fly out, then Dexter stole second, but a groundout stranded the runners.


The Superbas managed 5 hits, 2 in the first inning off starter Pop Williams and 3 in the last 7 off Menefee.

In the seventh, Dahlen singled, stole second, then tagged up on a fly to right fielder Slagle and slid in just ahead of the tag by Dexter.

"While [Orphans captain Bobby] Lowe was claiming that Dahlen was out at third on Slagle's throw, Dexter slipped the ball under his arm and backed off to his regular fielding position," according to the Tribune.

"Dahlen threw a few kidding remarks at Charley for not touching him, then side-stepped toward the plate as Menefee began to fix the dirt around the pitcher's slab, preliminary to facing Irwin at the plate.

"Suddenly Dexter jumped between Dahlen and the base, put the ball on him, and gave him a merry round of joshing, which evened up matters and perhaps spoiled a run, for Irwin made a hit when he completed his turn at bat at the beginning of the next inning."



Since that day, the Cubs have won 4 other games with a lone hit, but none for more than 84 years:

1. July 4, 1906, at Pittsburgh, 1-0, when Slagle singled in the ninth and scored on a bunt, an error and a grounder, beating the throw home on the last of those plays.

2. April 20, 1908, at St. Louis, 2-0, with the only hit by Harry Steinfeldt in the second. The runs came in the sixth, on 2 walks, a bunt, a double steal, an infield out and an error.

3. July 17, 1914, at home vs. Brooklyn, 3-2, with Wilbur Good scoring the final run in the sixth, on a leadoff double, an error and a sacrifice fly. The Cubs had tied the score with 2 runs in the fourth, achieved via a dropped fly for 2 bases. The first run came on error by the second baseman, a double steal on which the catcher threw the ball into center field. The second came when the catcher dropped the ball after tagging out Heinie Zimmerman on an attempted steal of home.

4. Sept. 6, 1937, at home vs. Cincinnati, 2-1, when Phil Cavarretta began the eighth with a double. An error and a bunt on which all runners were safe loaded the bases. A wild pitch to Augie Galan tied the score, then Galan hit a fly ball that brought home the go-ahead run.



Recently, I discovered that the Cubs had 1 such game before the Modern Era.

It happened in 1890, the first year that the Cubs were known as the Colts, when they hosted the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday, Sept. 6.

The Colts had begun the series in fifth place, 4 games behind the fourth-place Reds, but had won the first 2 games, 7-4 and 12-8, to narrow the gap between the teams to 2 games.

The Chicago Tribune's account of the third game began this way (paragraph breaks added for easier reading):


When the 2,972 people who had shaken the dust of the down-town portion of the city from their feet and hied themselves to the West Side park yesterday afternoon saw the team that [Reds manager] Tom Loftus presented for slaughter by the Colts their face wore a decidedly disappointed look.

When Adrian Constantine [Anson, the Colts' player-manager] saw the aggregation his face wore an expression which said more plainly than words, "O, this is too easy; give us something hard."

Through the weary watches of last night the big Captain lay awake in pensive thought wondering what might have happened had the Porkopolitans not been crippled.

Latham, Beard, and Rhines had been sent home for repairs. Keenan went to third, Marr to short, and Duryea to right. Tony Mullane went into the [pitcher's] box, and the way he wound the balls around the batsmen's heads made the home enthusiasts more and more anxious as the game progressed.

The Colts fumed and fretted and banged away at the ball with desperate energy, but to no purpose. It was either too close or too far out to be driven hard, and when the ninth inning had passed just one small hit loomed up in the home club's column.

And yet it won the game. Base-ball is a funny game. The home club made one hit and two errors and the visitors five hits and one error, yet victory perched on the home club's banner.



The Colts' lone hit came in the sixth and drove home the game's only run.

John Reilly, "the elongated first baseman of the Queen City aggregation," was unable to handle a throw from second baseman Bid McPhee on Bob Glenalvin's leadoff grounder.

More from the Tribune:


[T]he ball struck square in the capacious hands of Mr. Reilly. It struck there, but, not liking its quarters, it crawled out again and Glenalvin was safe.

This seemed to rattle Mullane and he made a wild pitch, Glenalvin trotting to second.

[Colts pitcher Bill] Hutchison lifted a fly into [left fielder Joe] Knight's farm and after the ball had become snugly ensconced in the fielder's hands Glenalvin broke for third and landed safe.

[Malachi] Kittridge succeeded in pushing a ball through the infield, and Anson's second-baseman reached the coveted plate.

That was the run made. It was not such a brilliantly-executed tally, but it won a game of a ball, and, after all, that is what both clubs were there for.



The Reds "had ample opportunities to win the game afterwards," the Tribune declared, "but, with that peculiar knack they have of quitting at the wrong time, they threw them away."

Cincinnati came closest to scoring in the eighth, as it put a runner on third with 1 out "and the cranks' breath came quick and fast."

After McPhee worked the count to 3 and 2, "The next ball came up as big as a toy balloon and Biddy lunged at it with murder in his eyes. He only got a small piece of it, and as [umpire] McQuade yelled 'foul' the crowd breathed easier."

Here is what happened next:


Another and still another ball went over the plate, and McPhee went at all of them viciously, only to make fouls. It was terribly trying on the nerves, and the perspiration stood out in great beads on Biddy's forehead.

He took off his cap at the ninth foul, and, wiping his brow, called feebly for another bat. It was brought, and two more fouls were recorded.

The audience was getting the St. Vitus' dance, and McPhee was limp when Hutch took pity on him and sent him to base on balls. He promptly stole second.

Jim Keenan was the next Red Leg up, and realizing that a hit would win the game, the audience again became nervous.

Jim was found wanting, and when McQuade called out, "Three strikes, you're out!" a sigh of relief went up.

Marr, too, fractured the atmosphere and the home club still retained the lead.



Mullane opened the ninth with a single, Cincinnati's fifth hit. He then raced home on a smash past third base, but McQuade called the ball foul, precipitating a long argument by the Reds.

Mullane subsequently reached second, but still was there when the Colts recorded the final out. Cincinnati stranded 8 runners in all. The Colts stranded 1 -- Kittridge, following the sixth-inning hit that resulted in their unprecedented victory.



The Colts won each of their next 8 games as well, and with plenty of hits, as they outscored their opponents by 78-26.

After their 11-game winning streak ended, they went 5-2-1, lost twice, then won their final 5 games to finish 83-53-3, in second place, 6.5 games behind champion Brooklyn, 3.5 ahead of third-place Philadelphia and 4 in front of fourth-place Cincinnati.

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