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Cubs' home runs on the Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is synonymous with fireworks, and in baseball, fireworks are synonymous with home runs.

So I set out to determine which Cub had produced the most fireworks on the Fourth, by hitting the most home runs.

After running many searches at baseball-reference.com and checking many box scores, at the website and in contemporary newspapers, I documented 148 home runs hit by Cubs on Independence Day.

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FROM GORE TO GARCIA

The first was in 1882, by George Gore, in the Cubs' 7th Fourth of July game, the second of a doubleheader against the visiting Troy Trojans.

The Cubs, then known as the White Stockings, were batting first. In the top of the 11th, with the score tied at 3 and a runner on first, Gore slammed a ball over the center fielder's head and circled the bases.

Troy matched those 2 runs in the bottom of the 11th and the game continued until the "Whites" tallied 4 runs in the 14th to prevail, 9-5.

The Cubs' most recent homer on the Fourth came in 2019, a solo shot by Robel Garcia in the top of the sixth at Pittsburgh that increased the Cubs' lead over the Pirates to 11-3.

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96 HIT AT LEAST 1

Garcia's homer made him the 96th different Cub to homer on the Fourth.

63 of them, 1 shy of two thirds, did so only once. Among those 63: Cap Anson, Andre Dawson, Leon Durham, Charlie Grimm, Derrek Lee and Anthony Rizzo.

That's a total of 6 holiday homers. Billy Williams hit as many by himself, more than any other Cub.

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WILLIAMS' SWEET SWINGS

Williams smacked the first of his 6 homers in Game 2 of a doubleheader on July 4, 1963, in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Mets, with 1 out in the first inning and a runner on first.

In 1968, Williams homered in both games against the Phillies. His homer with the bases empty in the fifth inning of the opener came with the Cubs ahead 3-1, and they went on to win, 6-2. In the rematch, he erased a 3-0 deficit by homering with 2 on in the sixth inning, but the Cubs wound up losing, 7-4.

Two years later, the Cubs and Pirates met twice at Wrigley Field on the holiday.

Williams went 4 for 4 plus a walk in Game 1, including solo homers in the fifth and seventh innings. The first brought the Cubs to within 3-4. By the time he hit the second, they were behind, 3-7. The final score was 6-10.

Game 2 was tied at 1 when Williams homered in the sixth inning with nobody out and a runner on third. The Cubs won, 7-2, to earn a split.

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3 IN A GAME

Williams is 1 of 3 Cubs who have hit 3 home runs on a single Fourth of July.

The 2 others hit all 3 in a single game -- and the Cubs lost both games!

In 1939, Hank Leiber homered leading off the second inning against the Cardinals. The next inning, he homered with 2 out and a runner on base to make the score 3-0.

The Cardinals tied the game with 3 runs in the fourth, then grabbed the lead with a solo homer in the sixth. With 1 out in the Cubs' half, Leiber pulled the Cubs even with his third homer.

But he struck out in the eighth and the Cardinals got a 2-run homer in the ninth to beat the Cubs, 6-4.

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In 2003, also at Wrigley, the Cubs never led in a holiday loss to the Cardinals.

They trailed, 0-5, when Moises Alou homered to open the fourth, and 1-7 when he homered again leading off the fourth.

His third homer, with 2 out and 2 on in the ninth, made the final score 11-8.

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SANTO TO THE RESCUE

Ron Santo ranks second in Fourth of July homers by a Cub, with 5, each in a different game, between 1961 and 1973. Several were among the Cubs' most dramatic Independence Day home runs.

In 1961, the Cubs beat the Giants, 3-2, thanks to Santo's tie-breaking leadoff homer in the bottom of the eighth.

In 1964, at Milwaukee, the Cubs trailed the Braves, 1-3, after 8 innings. After a groundout, single and fly ball, the Cubs were down to their final out. But Williams drew a walk and Santo followed with a home run. The Braves went down in order and the Cubs earned a 4-3 victory.

In 1973, the Phillies took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 10th on 2-out single, then an RBI double.

Glenn Beckert singled to start the Cubs' half. Williams popped up, bringing up Santo, who crushed a game-winning homer.

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COUP DE GRACE

The Cubs have had only 1 other walk-off homer on Independence Day.

In 1991, they led the Pirates, 8-2, after 7 innings, during which Andre Dawson, Mark Grace and George Bell all had homered with a man on base.

But Pittsburgh erupted for 5 runs in the eighth, all with 2 out, capped by a grand slam. Back-to-back doubles to open the ninth made the score 8-8.

It stayed that way until the bottom of the 11th, when Grace, leading off, drilled an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right field to break the deadlock.

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2 IN A GAME

At the time, Grace became the 9th Cub to hit multiple homers in a game on the Fourth. Three more have done it since: Alou, with his 3, in 2003; then Tyler Colvin, in 2010, and Kris Bryant, in 2015, both with 2.

Cubs who homered twice before Grace: Tom Burns (1884), Walt Wilmot (1895), Tony Kaufmann (1925), Bill Nicholson (1945), Toby Atwell (1952), Jim King (1956) and Dale Long (1957).

Kaufmann is the only Cubs pitcher who homered on the holiday. His homers came against the Cardinals, in consecutive innings of Game 2 of a doubleheader: a solo shot in the fifth, then a 2-run drive in the sixth.

Kaufmann pitched a 3-hitter, walking 2 and striking out 1, as the Cubs won, 9-3.

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ONLY 3 SLAMS

The second of Kris Bryant's home runs at Miami in 2015 was a grand slam that made the score 7-0.

It was the Cubs' first bases-loaded homer in more than a century, and only their third since 1876.

Ed Williamson was the first to hit a slam, in 1884, in the fifth inning of Game 2 at home against the Phillies. The White Stockings scored 7 runs in the fifth to increase their lead to 17-1 and they eventually won, 22-3. Those 22 runs remain the most the Cubs have scored on the Fourth.

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In 1911, in the third inning at home against the Reds, a 1-out walk, a wild throw by pitcher Bobby Keefe on a bunt and another walk brought up Frank Schulte.

He "mauled a stentorian fly against the right field score board," said the Chicago Tribune.

"The ball sailed so high and far that it hit half way up the score board and by a strange coincidence hit the number '17,' the numerals used to designate the visitor's pitcher. That drive got Keefe's number in more ways than one.

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4 HIT 4

Bryant also homered on the Fourth in 2016 and 2019.

His 4 holiday homers tie him for third most by a Cub, along with Bill Nicholson, Hank Sauer and Walt Wilmot.

Willson Contreras could join that group with a homer at Cincinnati. He has hit 3, as did Moises Alou, Hank Leiber and Dale Long.

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MOST BY TEAM IN GAME

The homers by Bryant and Contreras were among 4 that the Cubs hit on July 4, 2019.

Their record on Independence Day is 6, in Game 2 of a doubleheader at home against the Reds in 1895. Tim Donahue and Walt Wilmot homered with a runner on base, and Cap Anson, Bill Everitt, Bill Lange and Wilmot hit solo homers to account for all the runs in an 8-7 victory.

The most homers by the Cubs on the holiday in the Modern Era is 5, in the 2003 loss to the Cardinals. Besides Alou's 3, they got 1 each from Eric Karros and Sammy Sosa.

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HOMERS ON 77 FOURTHS

The Cubs have homered at least once on 77 of the 141 seasons in which they have played on the Fourth.

Counting all homers, whether they played 1 or 2 games, they have hit 7 once (1895), 5 twice (1884 and 2003) and 4 in 7 years (1925, 1928, 1939, 1956, 1970 and 1991).

On 36 holidays, they hit just 1 homer, most recently in 2014.

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Of the 148 total homers hit by the Cubs on the Fourth, 96 have come at home at 52 on the road.

They have played 134 games at home on the holiday and 90 on the road.

82 of the homers were hit with the bases empty, 50 with 1 man on, 13 with 2 on and 3 with the bases full.

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