Today we dial it back to June 8th, 1992, where have a 2-for-1, a Cubs-Cards doubleheader with a pair of favorable outcomes. The 1992 Cubs roster serves as a great bridge between two major playoff collapses, 1984 and 2003, with franchise cornerstones from each squad represented. The Cubs had notable players all over the diamond. Mark Grace and Ryne Sandberg in the infield, Andre Dawson and Sammy Sosa in the outfield, even Joe Girardi behind the dish for game two. Ain’t no party like a Girardi party.
The Cubs won game one by a score of 5-2. They sent out Shawn Boskie as their starter and the Cardinals countered with Rheal Cormier. The game was scoreless until the sixth inning when Cubs rookie relief pitcher Jim Bullinger came to plate to face Cormier to lead off the inning. Bullinger took him deep on the first pitch he ever saw as a major league hitter. Unfortunately, Jimbo Bullinger surrendered a run in the bottom half of the sixth which tied the game at one. To get an idea of how long ago this was, I want to visit the top of the seventh. Mark Grace led off with a single, the Cardinals pulled Cormier in favor of Cris Carpenter (no, not that Chris Carpenter!) and the Cubs had their next hitter sac bunt to move Grace to second. That hitter was Sammy Sosa, in his 53rd game as a Chicago Cub.
The game would go to extras tied at one, and while the Cardinals had a few legit scoring chances, getting a runner on third with less than two out in the eighth and 11th, the Cubs were quiet and didn’t have another hit after Grace’s single until the 13th inning. A ground-rule double (Gary Scott), a sac bunt (Rey Sanchez), and hit batter (Jerome Walton) brought up Jose Vizcaino, and he started the kill shot. His single scored Scott. Next up was Ryno, who’s single scored Walton. The Hawk grounded out, but it scored Vizcaino. Mark Slump-Buster Grace singled in Ryno, and the inning was mercifully ended when Slammin’ Sammy grounded out. Up 5-1, Paul Assenmacher was given the task of finishing off the Cardinals, and outside a solo shot, he served to Felix Jose he made the faithful sweat, allowing the next two hitters to reach base. Bob Scanlan was able to end the game, clicking his heels together three times and coaxing a grounder to first base from Ozzie Smith. Ball game.
Game two saw a group of exhausted men hope to God that this one ended in regulation. Frank Castillo, of the Cubs, faced Jose DeLeon. Ryne Sandberg clearly had plans that evening, as he drove in three runs and scored an additional one on this 6-4 Cubs victory. The Cubs went up in the first on a sac fly from Sandberg. In the top of the fourth Ryno had a solo shot and Derrick May drove home Dwight Smith who’d singled and stolen second ahead of him.
In the Cubs half of the 6th Dwight Smith was there again, this time as the caboose on a three-man single train driving in Sandberg after he and Mark Grace had singled to start the inning. The Cards chipped away, and eventually, there was the stench of deja vu in the air. It was the bottom of the eighth, The Cubs had a 5-3 lead when manager Jim Lefebvre called on Paul Assenmacher to be the nail in the coffin. He wasn’t.
Assenmacher walked Ray Lankford and the Wizard of Oz had the bases juiced. His single made it 5-4 and on came Jim Bullinger to fill the void. He got the job done but sadly did not bat again. The Cubs gave Jimbo an insurance run in the top of the ninth, but he didn’t need it. For the second time that day, ball game.
Nuggets of Note:
- There were three HOFers in these games: Ryne Sandberg and Andre Dawson of the Cubs and Ozzie Smith of the Cards.
- Five pitchers appeared in both games: Jim Bullinger and Paul Assenmacher for Chicago; Cris Carpenter, Mike Perez, and Juan Agosto for STL.
- As previously mentioned, Jim Bullinger hit a home run on the first pitch of his first at-bat of his MLB career. He was the 67th MLB player to HR in his first AB, the fifth Cub, the 14th player to do it on his first pitch. The most recent player in baseball to go yard on pitch one? Willson Contreras.
Featured Photo: Ken Levine/AP
All stats and dates referenced are courtesy baseball-reference.com.