Cubs with early-career grand slam, Part 2

Second of 2 posts about Cubs who hit grand slams shortly after their Major League debuts.


The previous post told the stories of Howard Earl and Nelson Mathews, who hit their first gland slams in their 5th and 9th big league games, in 1890 and 1962, respectively.

Those were the all-time and modern records by a Cub until Tuesday, when Alexander Canario cleared the bases against the Pirates in his second game (and first start).

10 other Cubs hit a slam no later than their 27th game. Here they are, in order from fewest to most games, with the date and opponent:

12th: Ad Gumbert, May 9, 1889, vs. Pirates

17th: Taylor Davis, May 4, 2019, vs. Cardinals

18th: Ace Stewart, May 20, 1895, vs. Phillies

20th: Jack Cusick, May 18, 1951, vs. Phillies

21st: Tuck Stainback, May 18, 1934, at Philadelphia

23rd: Kettle Wirts, June 27, 1922, vs. Pirates

24th: Ox Miller, Sept. 7, 1947, at Pittsburgh

27th: Cliff Aberson, Sept. 9, 1947, at Brooklyn

27th: Ian Happ, June 13, 2017, at New York vs. Mets

Earl's slam was against the Reds; Mathews', against the Dodgers.

So, of the 12 Cubs who hit slams earliest in their careers, 5 did it against the Pirates and 3 against the Phillies, with 1 each against 4 other opponents.



Earl's slam came on May 8, 1890. He hit another on June 26, at home against the Bridegrooms, today's Dodgers.

Happ is the only other player on that list to hit more than 1. He did it again on Aug. 7, 2019, at home vs. the Athletics, then smacked No. 3 on Wednesday, the night after Canario's record-breaking blast.

Of the 203 Cubs who have hit slams, 11 have hit 3, 28 have hit 2 and 143 have hit 1.



Ernie Banks hit by far the most, 12. Bill Nicholson, Sammy Sosa and Billy Williams each hit 8; Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez, 6.

Jody Davis, Andy Pafko, Anthony Rizzo, Ryne Sandberg and Ron Santo hit 5 apiece.

Here, from fewest to most, is the number of their big league game in which each of those 13 hit their first grand slam, with the number of their game as a Cub in parentheses if different:

45th: Williams

48th: Santo

55th: Bryant

75th: Nicholson (64th)

122nd: Rizzo (72nd)

140th: Baez

191st: Banks

211th: Sandberg (198th)

237th: Davis

260th: Pafko

706th: Ramirez (147th)

879th: Lee (13th)

1,190th: Sosa (863rd)



Santo is the last of 26 Cubs whose first slam came before their 50th game.

32 more did it before their 100th, including Matt Szczur, in his 99th.

Here is the breakdown of all slammers by career game number, showing the fewest and most games within each range of 100:

2-99: 57 players

110-198: 25

200-297: 29

316-381: 9

408-463: 9

519-597: 11

602-683: 10

704-798: 7

813-894: 12

901-1,000: 5 (Miguel Montero did it in his 1,000th)

1,027-1,084: 4

1,107-1,190: 7

1,204-1,295: 3

1,320: 1

1,417-1,456: 3

1,547: 1

1,630-1,684: 3

1,726-1,793: 2

1,831-1,891: 2

2,148-2,163: 2

2,423: 1



Gary Gaetti is the players who first slam as a Cub came after the most career games, 2,423. He hit it at Atlanta, on May 21, 1999. He hit another on July 31, at home against the Mets.

The 2 others who did it after at least 2,000 games are a pair of Hall of Famers: Cap Anson (2,148) and Fred McGriff (2,163).

Anson's came on Aug. 1, 1894, at home against the Cardinals.

McGriff's came on Aug. 10, 2001, at home against the Giants.

It was the only slam by Anson among his 97 home runs in 27 seasons. He hit all of them in his 22 years as a Cub.

McGriff hit 9 slams among 493 homers in 19 seasons, but only the 1 among 42 homers in 2 seasons with the Cubs.



The average number of the career game in which a Cub hit his first grand slam is 472.

The closest to that number among the 203 slammers is Hack Wilson, who did it in his 463rd game, on April 19, 1928. Rene Rivera's slam came in his 460th, on Sept. 2, 2017; Barry Foote's, in his 452nd, on May 15, 1979.

The next-most after Wilson is 519 games, by George Mitterwald, who hit his on April 17, 1974. It was the first of 3 he hit that day against the Pirates. He drove in 8 runs, 1 short of the team record, set by Heinie Zimmerman in 1911 and tied by Sammy Sosa in 2002.


The median game number is 258, by Chico Walker, who did it on Aug. 28, 1991.

That was 1 game more than it took Rafael Palmeiro, 1 game less than it took Davy Jones and Bob O'Farrell, and 2 less than it took Andy Pafko.


The average game as a Cub in which a player hit his first slam is 185, exactly the number it took Rip Russell. Ron Cey took 186; George Grantham, 187.

The median number is 91, the actual number of Damon Berryhill and Willson Contreras.



98 of the 203 players who hit grand slams as Cubs never played for another team before hitting their first.

Mark Grace took by far the longest of the group. His slam at home against the Rockies on May 4, 1999, was in his 1,630th game.

Others whose first slam came after more than 500 games, from most to fewest:

1,320: Joe Tinker

1,138: Tom Burns

821: Frank Schulte

820: Johnny Kling

798: Billy Herman

732: Heinie Zimmerman

643: Bill Everitt

602: Shawon Dunston

557: Albert Almora


Others of note:

381: Ryan Theriot

375: Gabby Hartnett

371: Mike Fontenot

334: Nico Hoerner

319: Kosuke Fukudome

291: Frank Chance


A total of 27 played at least 250 games, all as a Cub, before hitting their first slam.

The average number of the game in which someone who had played exclusively for the Cubs hit his first slam is 222. The 2 players closest to the average are Clyde Beck (217) and Carmen Fanzone (227).

The median number is 136. Dee Fondy's only slam came in his 134th game. Randy Jackson hit the first of his 2 in his 138th.



Gary Gaetti played 2,352 games for other teams, then 71 more before hitting his first slam as a Cub.

17 others played at least 1,000 games elsewhere, then hit slams for the Cubs, from David DeJesus (1,007) to Fred McGriff (2,152).

Those 17 include Ralph Kiner (1,095), Joe Pepitone (1,126), Bobby Murcer (1,252), Andre Dawson (1,443), Ron Cey (1,480), Johnny Callison (1,499), Jim Sundberg (1,763), Rogers Hornsby (1,829) and Jim Edmonds (1,840).

Babe Herman's first game as a Cub was his 1,000th. His first slam came in his 85th with the team.

Alfonso Soriano played 961 games for other teams; Jason Heyward, 935; Monte Irvin, 924; and Miguel Montero, 906.



Hornsby hit 4 slams during his 4 seasons as a Cub.

His first, on April 17, 1929, came in just his 2nd game with the team.

Canario on Tuesday became the first Cub to match Hornsby's feat.


The record book says that Cliff Johnson hit a grand slam in his first game as a Cub -- not just any old slam, but a walk-off slam, with 2 outs in the 14th inning that beat the Expos, 8-4, on May 28, 1980.

What's even more remarkable, Johnson also went 2 for 4 that day for Cleveland as it won at Baltimore, 10-6.



Johnson really was in Baltimore on May 28. He was in Minnesota on June 21, when he was traded to the Cubs.

He hit his first homer as a Cub, a 2-run shot, on July 4, at Pittsburgh, in his 11th game.

His 15th was Game 2 of a doubleheader on July 12 at Montreal. With 2 out in the seventh inning, he smacked a grand slam that put the Cubs ahead, 7-6. They won the game, 8-6.

By Aug. 6, Johnson had played in 33 games and hit 6 homers.

He sat out the next 2 days, then returned to action on Friday, Aug. 8, at Wrigley Field.


That's when the Cubs and Expos completed a game that had been suspended on May 28, in the top of the 11th, with the score tied at 3.

After the Cubs put runners on first and second with 1 out in the bottom of the 11th, Johnson pinch hit and struck out. A fly ball ended the threat.

Johnson stayed in the game, playing first base.

The Expos loaded the bases in the 12th and took the lead on a 1-out sacrifice fly.

The first 2 Cubs were retired, but the third walked and pinch hitter Barry Foote doubled him home. Foote was stranded and the game continued.


Following a leadoff walk in the Cubs' 13th, Johnson struck out again. The third out came with runners on second and third.

With 1 out in the 14th, pitcher Dennis Lamp drew a walk. He was forced out moments later on a grounder by Lenny Randle, who raced to third on a single by Ivan de Jesus.

Bill Buckner was walked intentionally, bringing up Johnson, who drilled a ball deep into the left field bleachers for his game-winning slam.

Under baseball's statistical rules, everything that happened when the game was completed on Aug 8 is recorded as if it had happened on May 28.

So Johnson is credited with a grand slam in his first game as a Cub, even though it really was his 34th.

It is recorded as coming in his 664th big league game. It really was his 697th.



Including Johnson, 13 Cubs hit a grand slam within their first 10 games of joining the team. Here are the 10 besides Johnson, Canario and Hornsby, with the number of their big leagues in parentheses if different:

4: Kal Daniels (683

4: Elmer Foster (80

4: Ox Miller (24)

5: Les Bell (752)

5: Howard Earl

5: George Mitterwald (519)

7: Walker Cooper (1,281)

7: Rene Rivera (460)

9: Nelson Mathews

10: Brian Dayett (85)


11 more needed no more than 20 games:

11: Fred McGriff (2,163)

12: Ad Gumbert and Ralph Kiner (1,107)

13: Andre Dawson (1,456) and Derrek Lee (879)

14: Trayce Thompson (216)

15: Joe Pepitone (1,141)

17: Taylor Davis

18: Joey Amalfitano (449) and Ace Stewart

20: Jack Cusick



Thompson's slam, at St. Louis on Oct. 2, 2021, was the last of 4 that he hit in just 15 games as a Cub.

Others who never homered again for the Cubs after their first slam: Mike Fontenot, Jerry Hairston, Tim Hosley, Billy Maloney, Ron Northey, Rafael Palmeiro and Alfonso Rivas.

First slams by Bill Everitt, pitcher Jason Marquis, Norm McMillan and Julio Zuleta were the last homers of their careers.


These players' first slam as a Cub were their next-to-last homers for the team: Ed Bailey, Ronny Cedeno, Carmen Fanzone, Harvey Hendrick, Lloyd McClendon, Clyde McCullough, Dave Rader, Rene Rivera, Gary Scott, Pete Scott and Joe Tinker.

The slams by Bailey, Fanzone, Hendrick, McCullough and Gary Scott also were the next to last of their big league careers.

Hendricks' was a 10th-inning blast as a pinch hitter that beat the Phillies, 9-5, on July 23, 1933.


The names of David Bote and Lou Brock appear consecutively in the alphabetical list of 203 Cubs who have hit grand slams.

Each hit 1 slam, in his 34th game, all as a Cub. Bote's was his third career homer; Brock's, his fifth.

Frank Chance and Willson Contreras appear consecutively in the list. Chance's only slam came in his 291st game, exactly 200 more than the first of Contreras' 4.

Nico Hoerner's name comes right before pitcher Burt Hooton's. Each hit 1 slam. It took Hoerner 334 games, 300 more than Hooton.

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