If you are a long-time fan of the Cubs, you likely know that the Cubs have been very good in home openers.
Since 1901, start of the Modern Era, they are 66-55-2 in their debut games at home, a .545 winning percentage.
In all subsequent games at home, their percentage is virtually the same: .544.
But in their last games at home -- call them, home closers -- they have been significantly better: .571, with 69 wins and 52 losses.
They are .576 (34-25) when their last home game also was their last game of the schedule.
They are .565 (35-27) when their last home game was followed by games on the road.
All last-game data omits 1994, when the season was halted by a strike on Aug. 10 and never resumed.
It also excludes the Cubs' 2 tie-breaking 163rd games. In 1998, they beat the Giants to earn a Wild Card berth. In 2018, they lost to the Brewers in a showdown for the division title.
The Cubs won 12 consecutive last home games in 1905-16.
Then they did it again in 1984-93.
They had a 6-year streak in 2011-16 and won 4 in a row in 1966-69.
They won 3 straight and 2 straight, 4 times each.
They ended on a losing note in 5 consecutive seasons twice, 1950-59 and 1970-74, and in 4 seasons, 1940-43.
Their 8-1 win over the Reds last year snapped their third streak of 3 straight losses. The previous ones were in 1949-51 and 1977-79.
Sunday's home finale will be just the second that the Cubs have played against the Rockies.
The first was on Oct. 1 2006.
The Rockies grabbed a 2-0 lead with 1 out in the fourth inning on a homer off Cubs starter Wade Miller.
A 2-out double with the bases loaded made the score 4-0.
Ryan Theriot walked to open the Cubs' half and stole second on the first pitch to Aramis Ramirez.
On an 0-2 count, Ramirez homered off rookie right hander Ubaldo Jiminez, who was making his first career start. He had pitched 1 inning of relief in his big league debut 5 days earlier.
It still was a 4-2 game when the Cubs came to bat in the seventh.
After a fly out and groundout, Scott Moore lined a single to right. Henry Blanco walked, then Jiminez departed in favor of lefty Jeremy Affeldt.
Ronny Cedeno greeted Affeldt with a single to center that scored Moore and sent Blanco to third: 4-3.
Pinch hitter Angel Pagan followed with a grounder to the shortstop, who threw to second, trying for an inning-ending forceout.
But the ball sailed wide of the base, allowing Blanco to tally the tying run: 4-4.
Juan Pierre took a strike, then lined a ball to left for his league-high 2066th hit of the year.
Cedeno rounded third, headed for home and scored as the left fielder's throw got past the plate: 5-4.
The error left runners on second and third, but Theriot bounced back to new reliever Jose Mesa for the third out.
Will Ohman walked the first batter in the Rockies' eighth, then gave way to Ryan Dempster, who set down the next 3.
The first Cub made an out. Then next 3 made hits: a double by Jacque Jones, a single by Matt Murton and an RBI single by John Mabry: 6-4.
Blanco lined out, but Cedeno slammed a ball down the left field line for a 2-run triple: 8-4.
Bob Howry finished off the come-from-behind victory by striking out the side in the ninth. A home run between the second and third whiffs made the final score 8-5.
The victory was the Cubs' 66th, against 96 losses. They finished last in the 6-team division, 17.5 games behind the champion Cardinals (83-78) and 1 in back of the fifth-place Pirates (67-95).
BREAKDOWN BY OPPONENT
The Cubs also have played only once in their last game at home against 2 more teams.
The lost to the Diamondbacks, 5-2, in 2009.
They beat the Royals, 1-0, in 2015.
The Cubs have played 37 home finales against both the Cardinals (24-13) and Pirates (22-15).
They have played 12 against the Reds (5-7) and no more than 7 against anyone else.
They have faced 14 different teams to close out home schedules: all the current or former existing National League clubs except the Marlins and Padres, plus the Royals.
They hosted the Expos 3 times but not have not finished at home against them since they moved to Washington and became the Nationals.
Here is their record against each opponent, in alphabetical order, with their record in games that also were the last of the season in parentheses:
Astros: 1-1 (1-1)
Braves: 3-2 (2-2)
Brewers: 1-2 (0-0)
Cardinals: 24-13 (15-6)
Diamondbacks: 0-1 (0-1)
Dodgers: 1-3 (0-2)
Expos: 3-0 (3-0)
Giants: 2-0 (1-0)
Mets: 3-3 (2-2)
Phillies: 2-5 (0-1)
Pirates: 22-15 (6-7)
Reds: 5-7 (3-3)
Rockies: 1-0 (1-0)
Royals: 1-0 (0-0)
Total: 69-52 (34-25)
Note the difference in the number of season-ending games against the Cardinals and Pirates, and how the Cubs have fared in the season-ending ones.
5 home closers went into extra innings.
The Cubs won 2 of them: the first, 6-5, in 10 innings over the Pirates, in 1911, and the most recent, 1-0, in 11 innings, over the Royals in 2015.
They lost 10-inning games to the Braves, 9-7, in 1957 and to the Pirates, 5-3, in 1965.
They lost to the Cardinals, 5-4, in 14 innings, in 1982.
FINISHING WITH A FLOURISH
The wins in 1911 and 2015 were walk-offs, of course.
Here is how Sam Weller of the Chicago Tribune described the conclusion of the earlier game, which was the last of the season for the third-place Pirates but not for the runnerup Cubs, who had a game left at Cincinnati:
The Pirates put up a plucky fight until they saw darkness approaching. With all of them planning to break camp for the year last night, they didn't take kindly to the idea of playing off any tie games when might be off fishing or shooting ducks.
Consequently when they couldn't win in nine innings, they played as if they didn't care who won.
Naturally the Cubs didn't want to play off any tie games either, so they just grabbed the victory in a hurry when they saw the Pirates give up.
With Jimmy Sheckard on third base and Joe Tinker on first in that tenth inning because of a base on balls and a messy fielding play, Frank Schulte, our celebrated home run clouter, whaled a single to right field.
The players were so glad to see the end that they let the ball go and all made a rush for the clubhouse, including Jimmy Sheckard. Then Sheck remembered he had forgotten to run in and touch the plate after Schulte had walloped the ball and he had to turn back, although it is doubtful if the Pirates would have tried to get him out.
However, the umpire couldn't allow the run unless James touched the plate.
Perhaps James was only kidding the folks anyway, knowing he had plenty of time to run half way to the clubhouse and back to the plate before the ball could be recovered, for it had been driven past "Chief" Wilson out in right field and was lying in the shadows of the bleachers.
The last ball in the 2015 extra-inning walk-off sailed into the bleachers in left, off the bat of pinch hitter Chris Denorfia.
"I feel like a little kid again," he said after his first-pitch blast for the only run of the game. "I'm 35 years old, and running around the bases, knowing what's waiting for you at home plate is something special."
Neither of the extra-inning walk-offs was the Cubs' last game of the entire season. 3 of 4 other walk-offs were:
In 1968, the Pirates tied the score at 4 on a 2-out single in the top of the ninth. Jim Hickman led off the Cubs' half with a single and Randy Hundley was hit by a pitch.
Adolfo Phillips laid down a bunt that the pitcher fielded, then threw the ball past third base, allowing Hickman to score.
In 1984, the division champion Cubs were shut out for 8 innings for 8 innings and trailed, 1-0.
Singles off Bruce Sutter by Henry Cotto, Dan Rohn and Thad Bosley produced the tying run. Pinch hitter Gary Woods walked, loading the bases.
Keith Moreland grounded to the third baseman, who threw home for a forceout. The catcher then fired to first, trying for a double play. His throw was wide of the mark, sailing into right field and enabling Bosley to come home, earning the Cubs their 95th win.
In 2012, the 99-loss Cubs closed out the year with 3 games at home against the 106-loss Astros.
A 3-0 defeat made the second game the first in 50 years between teams with triple-digit defeats. The Cubs lost that one, 3-0, too.
In the finale, they spotted the Astros a first-inning run, pulled even on a leadoff homer in the second by Bryan LaHair, then tallied 3 runs in the fourth on 2 singles, a walk, a base-loaded walk and a 2-run single by pitcher Travis Wood.
A 3-run homer in the eighth pulled the Astros even.
Anthony Recker walked to start the Cubs' ninth. A bunt attempt turned into a popup, caught by the pitcher.
But Tony Campana beat out a bunt, and after a strikeout, Starlin Castro walked, loading the bases. LaHair lined the next pitch to right for the win.
The Cubs also 1 more walk-off in their last home game that was not the last game of the season.
In 1967, they trailed the Cardinals, 4-1, midway through the fifth inning, then tallied a run in the bottom and and went ahead, 5-4, with 3 in the sixth, on 2-out RBI singles by Adolfo Phillips and John Boccabella, with the latter's' knocking in 2 runs.
Lou Brock homered leading off the Cards' seventh: 5-5.
The Cubs loaded the bases with nobody out on single by Glenn Beckert, a double by Billy Williams and an intentional walk to Ron Santo. Beckert scored when Ernie Banks hit into a forceout: 6-5. A double play ended the inning.
The first batter in the Cards' ninth doubled. After an hour, Brock homered, giving them the lead: 6-7.
Williams struck out for the Cubs. Santo followed with a game-tying home run.
Banks struck out, but Al Spangler doubled and Randy Hundley smacked a single that drove home Spangler for an 8-7 victory.
The Cubs have posted shutout in 9 of their final home games, most recently the 1-0 win over the Royals in 2015. The one before that was 8-0 over the Pirates in 2007.
They have failed to score in only 4 home finales. A 4-0 loss to the Twins in 2020 was the first such farewell since a 3-0 defeat by the Cardinals in 1951.
'LET'S PLAY 2!'
The 1954 game was the second of a doubleheader.
The Cubs have played 2 games on their final day at home 10 times, but not since 1981, when they walloped the Phillies, 14-0. That was just their 36th win of a season interrupted by a strike. They lost 65 games and tied 3.
The Cubs are 6-4 in Game 2 of doubleheaders that completed their season at home.
RUNNING IT UP
The 14 runs in 1951 against the Phillies are the most they ever scored in a home closer.
They scored 13 runs 3 times: 13-7 over the Giants in 1907, 13-11 over the Reds in 1930 and 13-5 over the Pirates in 1985.
They scored 11 runs twice and 10 runs 4 times, for a total of 10 in which they reached double digits.
The Cubs have allowed 13 runs in 2 home finales, 12 runs in 1 and 11 in 2 -- 1 of the latter being that 13-11 win.
The 14-0 game is the only home finale that the Cubs won by double digits. They beat the Pirates, 10-1, in 1938, and posted 14 more wins by at least 5 runs.
Their biggest loss was by 8 runs, 13-5, to the Cardinals in 1949. They lost 4 other games by 7 runs, most recently by 13-6 to the Phillies in 1983.
They closed out a total of 12 seasons with losses by at least 5 runs.
The Cubs are 18-15 in final home games decided by 1 run.
The Cubs are 53-15 when they have scored at least 4 runs; 16-37 when held to 3 or less.
They are 50-11 when they have allowed no more 3; 19-41 when they gave up at least 4.
In all last games at home, the Cubs have outscored their opponents, 559-487, an average of 4.6 to 4.0.
In their wins, they have tallied 414 runs and yielded only 182, an average of 6 to 2.6.
In their losses, the managed only 145 runs and surrendered 305, an average of 2.8 to 5.9.
Today's game will be 88th last home game on a Sunday. The Cubs are 50-37 in the previous ones.
They have made their final home appearances on 15 Wednesdays, 8 Thursdays, 7 Mondays, 3 Tuesdays and 1 Saturday. They never have bid farewell to their fans on a Friday.
Here is their record on each day of the week, with the record in games there also were the last of the season in parentheses:
Mon: 5-2 (0-2)
Tue: 1-2 (0-0)
Wed: 8-7 (3-1)
Thu: 4-4 (0-0)
Fri: 0-0 (0-0)
Sat: 1-0 (1-0)
Sun: 50-37 (30-22)
Total: 69-52 (34-25)