The Cubs had acquired Alex Gonzalez from the Blue Jays in December 2001 in exchange for Felix Heredia and a minor leaguer.
The team didn’t have a good year in 2002, but Gonzalez did, batting .248/.312/.425 with 18 home runs in 142 games. Three of those home runs were walkoffs — A-Gon won games with walkoff homers for Cubs wins May 6, 2002 over the Cardinals, June 18, 2002 over the Rangers and September 9, 2002 against the Montreal Expos.
So one could have been forgiven for hoping that he’d do the same early in 2003. On May 4 at Wrigley Field, the Cubs trailed the Rockies 4-3 in the bottom of the seventh when Ramon Martinez homered to tie the game.
The score remained tied when, with one out in the bottom of the 10th, Gonzalez batted again:
Gonzalez had not even started this game; Martinez had started at shortstop that afternoon. Gonzalez entered the game in a double-switch in the 10th inning, so this was his first at-bat of the game, and just the third pitch he saw from Rockies reliever Steve Reed was the one he launched into the left-field bleachers for the game-winner, completing a 5-4 victory over Colorado.
The Cubs were 18-13 after this win and in a virtual tie for first place with the 17-12 Cardinals.
It all happened 20 years ago today, Sunday, May 4, 2003. And you’re going to read about yet another A-Gon walkoff homer next week.