Cubs' wins on last-play hit plus out

Previous posts documented the Cubs' wins and losses in games that ended with:

1. A strikeout/throwout doubleplay

2. A runner attempting a straight steal

3. A pickoff

Today's topic: wins that concluded with a hit -- not a walk-off hit by the Cubs, but a play on which an opposing batter or a runner who had been on base made the game-ending out.


1903 is the first season for which has data that can be searched in its Pivotal Play Finder.

From Opening Day of that season through Wednesday, the Cubs had won 9,395 games.

Just 16 had ended with an out on a hit -- 1 of every 587 wins.



On May 3, 1917, the Cubs and Reds squared off at Weeghman Park.

The previous day, neither team had made a hit until the 10th inning, when the Reds made 3 and won, 1-0.

In the rematch, Greasy Neale, the Reds' third batter, smacked a hit off Cubs starter Mike Prendergast.

The Reds scored a run in the second on an error, a single and a sacrifice fly.

Fred Merkle led off the Cubs' second with a single. After a fly out, he advanced to second on a hit and moved to third on a forceout. Merkle then stole home, tying the game.

The Cubs added 2 runs in the third, 1 in the fourth and 2 in the fifth, to open a 6-1 lead.

Then the Cubs piled on 4 runs in the seventh, the final 2 on a 2-out double by pitcher Mike Prendergast.

The score was 10-3 when the leadoff batter for the Reds singled in the ninth. An out, a hit and another out put runners on first and second with 1 down.

Larry Kopf, up next, bounced back to the mound, but Prendergast couldn't handle it, loading the bases.

Neale followed with a sharp grounder to the right side that struck Knopf as he headed for second. By rule, Neale was credited with a hit but Knopf was out, ending the game.

The Cubs never have concluded another win in which a runner was hit by a batted ball.



That last play in 1917 is recorded as "Knopf out at 2B."

The Cubs have tagged runners at second on hits to end 4 games. They have tagged 4 at third as well, and 7 at home.

The first tag at second came in Game 1 of a doubleheader at home against the Reds on Aug. 29, 1918.

With the Cubs clinging to a 1-0 lead, 2 out and nobody on base in the ninth inning, Lee Magee singled to left for the Reds' fifth hit off Lefty Tyler. as Bill McCabe field the ball, Magee tried for second. McCabe fired to shortstop Charlie Hollocher, who applied the tag to secure the victory.

Never heard of McCabe? The 25-year-old rookie, a Chicago native, had replaced Les Mann in left in the fourth inning. The game proved to be the last of the 30 he played that season, which ended just 3 days later, shortened to 131 games due to World War I.

McCabe, a second baseman and outfielder, appeared in 33 games for the Cubs in 1919, then in 3 in 1920 before being sold to Brooklyn. His 41 games with the Robins concluded a 106-game, 3-season career in which he came to the plate only 219 times and batted .161. He spent 5 more years in the minors before retiring at age 32.


The most recent of the Cubs' wins on a last-play tag at second on a hit was on May 13, 2007, at Philadelphia. The Cubs led, 4-1, when Chase Utley tried to stretch a single off Ryan Dempster and was gunned down on a throw by left fielder Alfonso Soriano to second baseman Ryan Theriot.



On Thursday, Sept. 30, 1948, the Cubs played the Phillies in their final home game of the season, at home against the Phillies, in front of just 2,555 fans.

In the fourth inning, Phil Cavarretta rapped a 1-out double and came home on a single by Andy Pafko, then a sacrifice fly by Hal Jeffcoat.

Cubs pitcher Cliff Chambers had allowed just 4 hits through 8 innings. He began the ninth by issuing his fourth walk. Pinch runner Frank Baumholtz stole second as Chambers struck out Hank Sauer.

The Chicago Tribune describes what happened next:

"Steve Filipowicz singled sharply to center and Baumholtz was caught at the plate on Jeffcoat's throw to Clyde McCullough. Filipowicz, who bolted for second on the throw in, provided the second item in the double play on McCullough's throw to Roy Smalley."

The paper declared it "one of the prettiest plays of the season."


Chambers, a 26-year-old lefty, had pitched an 8-hit complete game to win his Major League debut back on April 26. He had lost 9 straight decisions since then while making 10 starts and relieving 17 times. He ended the year with a 4.43 ERA.

In December, the Cubs swapped Chambers and McCullough to the Pirates, for Frank Gustine and Cal McLish. Chambers went 13-7 for Pittsburgh in 1949. He was traded to the Cardinals during 1951 and ended his 6-year big league career in 1953.



The Cubs didn't end another game with a tag on a hit at any base for more than a decade, until May 5, 1959, in a 6-3 victory at Pittsburgh.

Bill Mazeroski popped up to the left side to start the ninth inning, but wind pushed the ball toward first base, where third baseman Al Dark got a glove on the ball but dropped it.

After a fly out, Bill Virdon singled to right.

From the Tribune:

"[George] Altman bobbled the ball and Mazeroski turned for third, Virdon for second. But George recovered quickly and nailed Mazeroski before he could return to second.

"By this time, Virdon was hustling back towards first, but [Johnny] Goryl's throw to [Jim] Marshall doubled him."

While both runners were retreating when tagged, the play is scored officially as Mazeroski being out at third and Virdon at second.



The first of the 4 last-out tags at third base on a hit took place on June 28, 1921, at home against the Pirates.

Pittsburgh no sooner tied the score at 1 in the top of the eighth than the Cubs regained the lead on a double by Ray Grimes, a single by George Maisel and a pinch-hit single by Turner Barber.

Cubs pitcher Speed Martin quickly retired the first 2 batters in the ninth. Then he walked Ray Rohwer.

Carson Bigbee followed with a grounder to the left side. Charlie Hollocher fielded it and threw to first too late to retire Bigbee.

Rohwer, hoping to catch the Cubs napping, lit out for third. But first baseman Grimes rifled the ball to John Kelleher, whose tag ended the game.



Nearly 60 years passed before the Cubs' next such play, on Aug. 5, 1980.

It was far less dramatic, however, as the Cubs led the Pirates, 11-3, when Kurt Bevacqua tried to go from first to third on a single to center and was thrown out, Jesus Figueroa to Bill Madlock.

Figueroa, a 23-year-old rookie, played 115 games for the Cubs that season, batting .253/.308/.293. In December, the Cubs then sent him to the Giants and he never played another big league game.


Just short of a decade later, on June 8, 1990, the Cubs capped a 15-2 romp over the Phillies by tagging Ricky Jordan at third on a bloop single to right. The throw went from Ryne Sandberg to Domingo Ramos.

Ramos played 183 games for the Cubs in 1989-90, the last of his 11 years in the majors.


The Cubs' most recent game-ending tag at third on a hit was unusual in 2 respects: it involved a rundown and it came in the eighth inning, just before rain prevented further play.

On May 13, 1990, they led the Padres, 6-3, but San Diego had runners on first and second with 2 out.

Jody Gerut singled to left, driving home the runner from second. Brian Giles, the runner on first, headed for third, perhaps expecting Alfonso Soriano to throw home.

But Soriano fired to third baseman Ryan Freel instead. When Giles turned around and tried to go back to second, Freel threw to second baseman Mike Fontenot.

Giles reversed course again, only to be tagged out in a rundown that was scored 7-5-4-6-3.



5 of the Cubs' 7 last-out tags at home on hits came as the runner tried to tie the score, beginning with the first, jut over a century ago, on July 17, 1922.

The Cubs trailed the visiting Phillies, 0-1, when their leadoff batter singled in the eighth. Both runners were safe on a bunt, then the pitcher threw so wildly on another bunt that both runners scored.

A 2-out single increased the Cubs' lead to 3-1.

In the ninth, a double, an intentional walk and a forceout on a grounder by Butch Henline put runners on the corners. Pinch hitter Johnny Mokan then singled home a run, leaving men on first and second.

After Cubs pitcher Percy Jones struck out the next batter, Frank Parkinson singled to right and Henline headed for home.

Marty Callaghan's throw arrived first, Bob O'Farrell tagged Henline and the Cubs were winners.

The game was Callaghan's 38th of his rookie season. He played in 36 more in 1922, then 61 in 1923, after which he was returned to the minors.

He played 81 games for the Reds in 1928 and 79 in 1930, to end his career with 295 games in 4 seasons over 9 years.



The next such play that preserved a 1-run win happened less than 7 years later, on June 24, 1929.

Rogers Hornsby's 2-out solo homer in the eighth gave the Cubs a 4-3 lead over the Pirates.

Charlie Root surrendered a leadoff double to Earl Sheely in the ninth, then got outs on a fly ball and strikeout.

Sparky Adams then ran for Sheely. When Dick Bartell singled to left, Adams sprinted for the plate. Left fielder Riggs Stephenson threw him out, with Johnny Schulte applying the tag.

Schulte, the epitome of a backup catcher, appeared in only 192 games over 5 seasons between 1923 and 1932. He played in 31 of them in 1929, his only season as a Cub.


On April 20, 1940, the Cubs took a 4-2 lead over the Cardinals on Rip Russell's 2-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Ken Raffensberger walked the leadoff man in the ninth, then got a fly ball and a forceout.

But Mickey Owen singled and Pepper Martin followed with a drive to right center.

As Augie Galan gave chase, the runner from second reached home easily "and Owen tried to get there from first with the tying run," the Tribune reported. "He crashed into [catcher] Al Todd like a ton of bricks, but Todd didn't lose his grip on the ball relayed to him by [Billy] Herman."


The Cubs opened an 8-0 lead at San Francisco on May 28, 1969, by scoring 7 runs in the third inning, the last 4 on a grand slam by Randy Hundley.

But they led only 9-7 when Willie McCovey singled off Phil Regan in the ninth. Jim Ray Hart forced out McCovey.

After a fly out, Jack Hiatt singled, sending Hart to third. Pinch hitter Jim Davenport then smashed a double down the left field line.

"Hart scored easily," said the Tribune, "and Ozzie Virgil, the Giants' third base coach, also waved home the slow-footed Hiatt, who had not been given a pinch runner.

"Hiatt never had a chance. Billy Williams retried the tricky hop off the left field grandstand wall and fired to [Don] Kessinger, whose peg to Hundley at the plate beat Hiatt by 20 feet."


The Cubs' most recent win by 1 run on a final-play tag at home following a hit came on Sept. 29, 2005, at Houston.

Ryan Dempster came in to pitch the ninth inning for the Cubs, who led, 3-2. He struck out the first batter, then walked the second, who gave way to pinch runner Charles Gipson.

Dempster needed only 3 pitches to fan the third batter. Luke Scott pinch hit and slugged a 2-2 pitch to deep center field.

As Gipson rounded second, sprinted toward third and was waved home, Corey Patterson retrieved the ball and made a perfect throw to second baseman Jose Macias, who fired a strike to catcher Henry Blanco, who tagged Gipson as the two collided.

The Cubs came within inches of turning the trick on Tuesday, when a runner for the Nationals scored in the 10th inning just before being tagged by Willson Contreras after he gathered in a throw by Seiya Suzuki. Had the play succeeded, Suzuki would have been only the second right fielder to gun down a runner at home on a hit. Instead, Marty Callaghan remains the only one.



The Cubs' 2 other last-out tags at the plate on hits came with them leading by 7-3 and 14-6.

The latter game was the most recent of all 16 last-out victories on hits. It took place Sept. 14, 2017, at home against the Mets.

A runner on second tried to score on a 2-out tap in front of the plate that was fielded by catcher Alex Avila. Pitcher Felix Pena took a toss from Avila and tagged out the runner, making it the only game that the Cubs ever have won on a final-out tag by a pitcher who allowed a hit, at home or any other base.



(Date, opponent, score, inning, runners on base, play. All hits were singles unless noted.)

5/03/1917: Reds, 10-3, top 9th, bases loaded, runner on 1st struck by batted ball

8/29/1918: Reds, 1-0, top 9th, nobody on, batter out at 2nd on single

6/28/1921: Pirates, 2-1, top 9th, 1st only, runner out at 3rd

7/17/1922: Phillies, 3-2, top 9th, 1st and 2nd, runner out at home

6/24/1929: Pirates, 4-3, top 9th, 2nd only, runner out at home

4/20/1940: Cardinals, 4-2, top 9th, 1st and 2nd, runner from 2nd scored and 1st out at home on double

9/30/1948: Reds, 1-0, top 9th, 2nd only, runner out at home and batter out at 2nd

5/05/1959: Pirates, 6-3, bottom 9th, 1st only, runner out at 3rd batter out at 2nd

5/28/1969: Giants, 9-7, bottom 9th, 1st and 3rd, runner from 3rd scored and runner from 1st out at home on double

8/05/1980: Pirates, 11-3, top 9th, 1st only, runner out at 3rd

6/08/1990: Phillies, 15-2, top 9th, 1st only, runner out at 3rd

9/02/2005: Pirates, 7-3, bottom 9th, 1st and 2nd, runner out at home

9/29/2005: Astros, 3-2, bottom 9th, 1st only, runner out at home on double

5/13/2007: Phillies, 4-1, bottom 9th, nobody on, batter out at 2nd on single

5/13/2009: Padres, 6-3, top 8th, 1st and 2nd, runner from 2nd scored and runner from 1st out at 3rd

9/14/2017: Mets, 14-6, top 9th, 2nd only, runner out at home


TOMORROW: Cubs' losses on last-out tags following a hit

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