Tuesday’s game at Wrigley Field featured the Cubs scoring 20 runs. That makes 2023 the second consecutive year the Cubs have had a 20-run game, after the 21-0 shutout of the Pirates in April 2022.
In 1963, the Cubs and Giants wound up hitting baseballs all over Wrigley Field — but primarily in the eighth inning.
The Giants led 6-5 going into the eighth. Lindy McDaniel — who had singlehandedly defeated the Giants at Wrigley two months earlier — entered in relief.
On this August day he wasn’t as good. Three singles in the first four hitters McDaniel faced scored a run to make it 7-5, and McDaniel was removed for Tom Baker, who was making his MLB debut.
Whoops — bad idea. Baker immediately wild-pitched the runner on first to second (a runner on third held) and then hit Willie McCovey to load the bases.
Cal Koonce entered and that didn’t help. A force play at third scored a run (probably a missed DP attempt, but neither the boxscore nor the Tribune recap mentions it) to make it 8-5 and Orlando Cepeda, the next hitter, hit a three-run homer off Koonce to make it 11-5.
Game over? Not for these Cubs!
Ken Hubbs led off the eighth with a double and scored on a single by Jimmie Schaffer. After Andre Rodgers walked, Leo Burke hit a three-run homer and suddenly it’s 11-9. Lou Brock followed with a single and Ellis Burton, who had a monster month that August, homered to tie the game.
The next two hitters were routine outs and then the Giants changed pitchers and did something you’d almost never see in modern baseball — intentionally walked Ernie Banks with the bases empty. It’s especially odd because Banks had a terrible year in 1963. He missed quite a bit of time with a case of the mumps and hit just .227/.292/.403 with 18 home runs, the worst full year of his career. Further, Banks hadn’t even started this game — he was pinch-hitting for Merritt Ranew.
Hubbs singled Banks to second, bringing up Schaffer again. Per the Tribune recap, Schaffer then hit a ball to center that Mays caught in the ivy in center field.
No one scored in the ninth and so the game went to extras. Jim Brewer, later to be discarded by the Cubs and have a fine career with the Dodgers, held the Giants scoreless in the top of the 10th.
In the bottom of the inning, Ron Santo doubled with one out. Banks was intentionally walked, again, but Hubbs struck out.
Schaffer, termed a “hustling little catcher” by Richard Dozer in the Tribune, popped a fly ball past second base, scoring Santo with the winning run.
The Cubs were in fourth place, just 5½ games out of first place, after this win, which gave them a 58-48 record. That’s as close as they had been to first place that late in the year since 1945. But they lost their next four in a row and nine of 12 to fall out of contention, and needed to win six of their last nine to finish over .500 at 82-80, their first winning season since ‘45.
This walkoff win against the Giants, played in front of 24,242 at Wrigley Field (that number included 5,544 admitted free on Ladies Day), happened 60 years ago today, Friday, August 2, 1963.
More details on this game in this FanPost by BCB’s JohnW53.