Cubs on the Fourth of July

1876 was the centennial of the United States.

It also was the first season of the National League.

On Tuesday, July 4, the Chicago White Stockings, as the Cubs then were known, celebrated the country's 100th birthday by hosting the Hartford Dark Blues.

Their game at Milwaukee on Monday will be the 142nd time that the Cubs have played on Independence Day.

They have not done so only 5 times: in 1880 and 1886, when Sunday baseball was prohibited; in 1899, when a game at home against St. Louis was rained out; in 1981, when the season was interrupted by a strike; and in 2020, when the season did not begin until July 24 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Cubs have played on the Fourth at home 82 times (52 doubleheaders, 30 single games) and on the road 59 times (31 doubleheaders, 28 single games).

That's a total of 83 doubleheaders and 58 single games, for 224 games -- 134 at home and 90 on the road.

They have won 122 games, lost 99 and tied 3, for a winning percentage of .551. Over a full, 162-game season, that would result in a record of 89-73.

At home on the Fourth, the Cubs are 76-56-2, .575.

On the road, they are 46-43-1, .517.



The Cubs went into their first National League game on Independence Day 1876 with a record of 25-5, good for a 1.5-game lead over Hartford (22-5).

"One of the most important games of the season was played yesterday at the Twenty-third street grounds, in presence of the largest crowd which has witnessed a ball contest since 1870," the Chicago Tribune said the next day. "The fact that the two contestants were neck-and-neck for the championship streamer, and the additional inducement of a holiday, filled the grounds to overflowing.

"The management had made every arrangement possible for the reception of the crowd, and a new row of seats back of the fielders, indicated their willingness to accommodate. The gates were opened to an eager crowd before 1 o'clock, and in less than an hour thereafter an impatient crowd had filled every seat, and looked down with something like disdain on the stranglers who came as a late as two hours before the game.

"The reserved seat people were a little more tardy, but even they were all in place by 3 o'clock. The scene was a peculiar and entirely unparalleled one when the Hartfords came upon the ground. The great stands back of third base were a living mass of male humanity, mostly shouting, and all perspiring freely, while the semicircle from foul-line to foul-line was a crowded mass of sounding heads, vigorous arms, and moving bodies.

"Add to this the temporarily-covered stand back of first base, into which an assemblage of a couple of thousand flocked, and the visitor saw one of the most interesting sights of the year, without taking into account at all the grand stands, where about 2,5000 people were packed before the match, and where seats were selling before the game as a premium of 200 percent.

"There can be no question that the crowd was a grand success, and it must go on record as the second to no gathering of the year."

"When the Whites made their appearance on the ground they were greeted with much enthusiasm, and some able-bodied idiots showed their utter lack of sense by letting off fire-crackers and the like in the crowd. With any other police but that of Chicago these fools would have been made to pay for their folly, but in this case the officers stood around and grinned like monkeys while boys fired off pistols under their very noses and thereby endangered the lives of decent people."


The game was scoreless until the seventh inning, when Hartford scored 3 times, taking advantage of a muffed fly ball and a dropped third strike.

The White Stockings were blanked on 5 hits, all singles. With 2 outs to go in their half of the ninth inning, "a crowd of exasperating fools came wandering over the field with their mouths wide open and put an end to game," the Tribune reported.

"A few words from the police would have cleared the field and allowed the game to be played out, but the policemen stood around with their mouths wide open and allowed the crowd to do as they pleased. It was by no means a credit to [Police] Capt. Buckley or his men that they did not make an attempt to keep order.

"[Hartford team] Capt. Ferguson might have claimed the game by 9 to 0 under the rules, and it would have certainly been given him if he had. I another case like yesterday let the policemen either attend to their duty or go home."


The Whites lost to the Blues again, 6-2, when the teams met again 2 days later, to fall out of first place. But they won the rubber game of the series on July 8, 9-3, to begin a 10-game winning streak that gave them a 6.5-game lead, and they ultimately won the pennant by 6 games, at 52-14 to Hartford's 47-21 and St. Louis's 45-19.



The White Stockings finished just 26-33 the following season, 25.5 games behind first-place Boston (42-18).

They played the Red Stockings 12 times and won only twice -- just once at home.

That win came on Wednesday, July 4, a 12-2 rout in which the Whites pounded out 18 hits and scored 4, 1 and 4 runs in the first through third innings.

The Tribune's story had this to say about the turnout:

"Fourth of July in Chicago and Bunker Hill Day in Boston are always used as standards to estimate large ball crowds by, and yesterday's attendance was no exception to the rule -- in fact, it rather surpassed any previous day in the existence of the League.

"The crowd gave the turnstiles the severest trial they ever had, and the machines would have been considerably in the way had they not been supplanted by other gates.

"It was noticed in these columns that the grand-stand seats were all sold Saturday within a short time after they were exhibited. The management endeavored to supply the want of reserved seats by setting apart a considerable section of the west line of seats for those who wanted to be under cover. This stand was roofed in and was fully occupied, generally by gentlemen with ladies.

"Beside all the regular seats, a row had been extended clear around the fielders, and they were as fully occupied as the rest. The best estimates put the crowd at 10,000 as an under figure, while more sanguine guessers fix upon 12,000.

"How many soever there may have been, they were certainly good-natured and well behaved, with the exception of the invariable small boy who always does, and always will, crawl where he has no sort of business, simply because he is a small boy and 'tis his nature to.

"Two reasons prevented any disturbance: first, the game went from the start as the crowd wanted it to; and, second, the constant hum and bustle of so large a crowd suppressed any individual attempts to be heard."



The Cubs played the first doubleheader in franchise history in 1880, splitting 2 games at home against Troy on Sept. 2.

Two years later, they played their first doubleheader on the road, losing twice at Troy on May 30 -- Decoration Day, now known as Memorial Day.

Then the teams played 2 games again in Chicago on the Fourth, making it the first holiday doubleheader in Cubs history.


As would become customary, 1 game was played in the morning, then another in the afternoon, with separate admission charged for each.

"The attendance at the forenoon game was 7,000, and the weather was bright and clear, though a trifle too cool," said the next day's Tribune. "The game calls for little description, as it was one-sided throughout.

"The Chicagos batted [pitcher Tim] Keefe freely, but they took advantage of of Troy's weakness behind the bat to steal bases with perfect impunity, and profited by the many balls which passed through [catcher Bill] Harbridge's sore hands."

The White Stockings won, 5-1, as Fred Goldsmith shut out the Trojans until the final inning.


The rematch a few hours later was a much different story.

"The afternoon game drew out a still larger attendance, fully 8,000 people being present, and proved to be the longest, most stubborn, and most interesting contest ever witnessed in Chicago," the Tribune wrote.

The White Stockings, batting first, scored single runs in the first and second innings, but Troy evened the score with a pair in its half of the second.

A run in the sixth put the Whites back on top, but Troy tied the game with a solo homer in the eighth, then threw out 2 Whites on the bases in the ninth, the second at the plate to end the inning.

A third runner was tagged after overrunning third base in the 10th.


The White Stockings broke the deadlock in the top of the 11th. "[Abner] Dalrymple opened with a single, and was batted around by [George] Gore's long three-base drive over [Roger] Connor's head in centre field, Gore getting home on Connor's slow handling."

The Trojans came right back with consecutive doubles and a sacrifice fly, sending the game to the 12th knotted at 5.

Neither team scored in that inning or the next.

Then the Whites erupted for 4 runs in the 14th, on a walk and steal, a triple by Tom Burns and back-to-back doubles by Silver Flint and Hugh Nicol, and a dropped fly to right.

Larry Corcoran then set down the Trojans to conclude a 9-5 victory -- the longest game played in Chicago up to that time.



The wins over Troy marked the first of 25 times the Cubs have won twice on July 4, including 16 at home. The most recent was in 1975, when they beat the Pirates, 6-1 and 2-1.

The first and last of their 9 sweeps on the road also were against the Pirates.

The first was a pair of 1-0 wins, in 1906. The last were by 4-2 and 2-1, in 1980.


Since their last sweep at home, the Cubs have played only 3 more Independence Day doubleheaders at Wrigley Field. They lost twice to the Mets, in 1977; lost twice to the Expos, in 1983; and split with the Rockies, in 1994.

They have not played a Fourth of July doubleheader on the road since their sweep at Pittsburgh in 1980.


The Cubs have lost 2 games on the Fourth 13 times, 7 at home and 6 on the road.



In all games on the Fourth that were part of doubleheaders, the Cubs are 93-70-3, a .569 winning percentage.

At home, they are 60-42-2, .587.

On the road, they are 33-28-1, .556.



In single games on the Fourth, the Cubs are 29-29, .500.

At home, they are 16-14, .533.

On the road, they are 13-15, .464.



The July 4, 1904 doubleheader at Pittsburgh in which the Cubs were swept by the Pirates was the first time the Cubs ever played a game on the Fourth outside Chicago.

It came after they had played on the holiday 24 times at home: 17 doubleheaders and 7 single games.


The Cubs have hosted 26 different teams on Independence Day, including all the current National League teams except the Diamondbacks.

They have welcomed 4 American League teams: the White Sox in 2004, the Athletics in 2013, the Rays in 2017 and the Tigers in 2018.

Before 1901, they played at home of the Fourth once each against 8 other teams: Cleveland Blues, Cleveland Spiders, Hartford Dark Blues, Providence Grays, Troy Trojans, Louisville Colonels, Washington Nationals and Washington Senators. In 5 doubleheaders and 3 single games, the Cubs went 10-3.


Against American League teams, the Cubs are 2-2 on the Fourth: 2-1 at home and 0-1 on the road. The loss was at Oakland.


The Cubs have played National League teams on the Fourth in 129 seasons: 71 at home and 58 on the road.

At home, they are 64-52-2, .551.

They are 52-40-2, .564, in 47 doubleheaders.

They are 12-12-0, .500, in 24 single games.


On the road, they are 46-42-1, .528.

They are 33-28-1, .540, in 31 doubleheaders.

They are 13-14-0, .481, in 27 single games.


Overall, they are 110-94-3, .541.

They are 85-68-3, .554, in 78 doubleheaders.

They are 25-26-0, .490, in 51 single games.



Since 1876, the Cubs' most frequent opponent on the Fourth has been the Cardinals. The teams have met on the holiday 30 times: 13 in Chicago and 17 in St. Louis.

The Cubs have spent their second-most Independence Days facing the Pirates: 24 times. Only 10 of those came in Chicago.

The team the Cubs have played most often at home on July 4 is the Reds: 15 times, the first in 1895. After a doubleheader in 1955, they did not meet in Chicago again until 1996. They last played at Wrigley Field on the holiday in 2016.

The Cubs and Reds have played on the Fourth at Cincinnati just 3 times, in 1956, 1962 and 2021.


Here is the number of Fourths on which the Cubs have played each team:

30: Cards

24: Pirates

17: Reds

15: Braves

11: Giants

9: Phillies

6: Nationals

4: Dodgers, Mets

3: Padres

2: Rockies

1: Astros, Athletics, Brewers, Marlins, Rays, Tigers, White Sox, 8 defunct teams

0: Diamondbacks


Here is the number of Fourths on which the Cubs have played each team at home:

15: Reds

13: Cardinals

10: Pirates

9: Giants

7: Braves

6: Phillies

3: Dodgers, Nationals

1: Brewers, Marlins, Mets, Padres, Rockies, Rays, Tigers, White Sox, 8 defunct teams

0: Astros, Diamondbacks


Monday's game will be the Cubs' second at Milwaukee but first there against the Brewers. They beat the Braves at County Stadium, 4-3, in 1964.

Here is the number of Fourths on which the Cubs have played each team on the road:

17: Cardinals

14: Pirates

8: Braves

3: Mets, Nationals, Phillies, Reds

2: Giants, Padres

1: Astros, Athletics, Dodgers, Rockies

0: Brewers, Diamondbacks, Marlins


The Cubs played on July 4 at Boston only once, in 1945. They have spent 6 holidays at Atlanta.

The Cubs never played on July 4 at Montreal.

Nor did they ever face the Giants in New York or the Dodgers in Brooklyn on the holiday. They played at San Francisco in 1958 and 1988, and at Los Angeles in 1990.



Here is how many games the Cubs have won on the Fourth against each current NL or AL team:

28: Pirates (10 home/18 road)

27: Cardinals (12/15)

16: Reds (15/1)

10: Phillies (8/2)

9: Giants (7/2)

8: Braves (4/4)

4: Dodgers (3/1), Mets (2/2)

2: Padres (1/1)

1: Marlins (1/0), Nationals (0/1), Rockies (0/1), Tigers (1/0), White Sox (1/0)

0: Astros, Brewers, Diamondbacks



Here are the Cubs' winning percentages on the Fourth against each current NL or AL team:

1.000: Marlins (1-0)

1.000: Tigers (1-0)

1.000: White Sox (1-0)

.683: Pirates (28-13)

.667: Mets (4-2)

.667: Padres (2-1)

.667: Phillies (10-5)

.571: Dodgers (4-3)

.559: Giants (9-7-1)

.532: Reds (16-14-1)

.529: Cardinals (27-24)

.386: Braves (8-13-1)

.333: Rockies (1-2)

.125: Nationals/Expos (1-7)

.000: Astros (0-1)

.000: Athletics (0-1)

.000: Brewers (0-1)

.000: Rays (0-1)

The Cubs never have played the Diamondbacks on July 4.

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