The highlight of Friday's date in Cubs history was David Bote and the electric walk-off grand slam home run he hit four years ago. However, there were a few other notable happenings on August 12. Although I'm a couple days late, let's take a ride back in time at some other moments of interest.
2009 – Shane Victorino's Beer Bath
In the middle of the 2009 season, Hall of Famer and three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez decided his career wasn't finished. In mid-July, he signed a one-year deal worth $1 million to chase a final World Series ring (although those efforts eventually fell short in the World Series).
On August 12, 2009, Pedro made his Phillies debut at Wrigley Field. He went five innings and allowed three runs with five strikeouts and one walk. Jimmy Rollins and Raul Ibanez both hit three-run homers to help lead the Phillies to a 12-5 victory. However, neither of their performances on the field, nor Pedro's Phillies debut, was the game's story.
The story was in the outfield, or the bleachers, I should say. During the game, a fly ball was hit to deep left-center field by Jake Fox. Shane Victorino, playing center field, raced over and made the catch right in front of the 368-foot mark. Honestly, it's impressive that he could keep focus and make the catch because Victorino was doused in beer just as the ball was about to enter his glove. A fan from the left field bleachers tossed their overpriced adult beverage on Victorino's head.
Victorino filed a police report shortly after. The man turned himself in and was identified as a 21-year-old Bartlett, Illinois resident. He was charged with one count of battery and one count of illegal conduct within a sports facility, according to police.
2011 – Dan Uggla and Carlos Zambrano
None of these flashbacks from 2011 are positive on the Cubs' side. The Atlanta Braves defeated the Cubs 10-4 while smacking five homers off Carlos Zambrano. Uggla, who was in the midst of a 31-game hitting streak, extended it to 32 games by crushing two solo homers. After hitting another homer the next game, his streak ended at 33 games in the Braves and Cubs series finale.
Zambrano failed to make it out of the fifth inning, and the five homers allowed were a career-high. Ultimately, it wound up being the last time Big Z pitched for the Cubs. In January 2012, the Cubs traded Zambrano to the Miami Marlins for RHP Chris Volstad.
Big Z had an incredible run with the Cubs, starting at 20 years old. He accumulated a 3.60 ERA, 125 wins, three top-five Cy Young finishes, and three Silver Slugger Awards in 11 seasons. The frustrating part is how his tenure with the Cubs ended. Cubs manager at the time, Mike Quade, left Big Z in the game too long, and he lost his cool following back-to-back homers in the fifth inning by Uggla and Freddie Freeman (his rookie season). Following the home runs, Big Z was ejected for throwing two inside pitches that barely missed Chipper Jones.
Mike Quade and Cubs players were shocked to see an empty locker after the game. Big Z emptied his locker and told clubhouse personnel he was retiring. Per Bruce Levine, "All I know is, it was a bad night," Quade said. "And that's allowed. But to have done what he did and tell people goodbye, we lose a game 10-4, and there's 24 guys unhappy about it. And then he's gone? That's not right."
Zambrano has since apologized to the Cubs and has been welcomed back with open arms, evidenced by the Field of Dreams game. It's nice to see Big Z hanging around the Cubs and attending special events. Now, if only Sammy Sosa could make his return. Maybe Zambrano's apology is why Tom Ricketts continues to be stubborn and adamant about Sammy not returning until he gives one.
2018 - The David Bote Game
A terrific outing by Max Scherzer gets sunk by a 'boat.' Scherzer went seven scoreless innings. Overshadowed by the outcome and heroic ending, Cole Hamels made his Cubs home debut that night, allowing only one run on one hit in seven innings pitched.
But the story of the game and the reason for this article was David Bote. The Cubs trailed in the game 3-0, heading into the bottom of the ninth inning. Right-handed reliever Ryan Madson entered the game for the Washington Nationals to get the save. The Cubs loaded the bases with two outs. Up stepped David Bote off the bench. With two outs, two strikes, and the bases loaded, Bote sent one deep and over the ivy to center field for a grand slam walk-off home run.
Bote knew it as soon as he connected. He bat flipped and pointed before rounding the bases with his arms extended like he was an airplane. After he made his way around third base, he took off his helmet and chucked it almost as high as the rooftops on Sheffield Avenue. It's hard to tell whether he touched home plate or not because he was mobbed by teammates who proceeded to rip his jersey off.
The game was on display for the whole country to see because it was a Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN. It was an instant classic. Matt Vasgersian's exciting home run play-by-play call "Santa Maria(!)" will live in Cubs fans' memories forever as the David Bote call, even if it's not only subject to that specific play and he uses it frequently.
Bote's home run gave the Cubs a 4-3 win. It was the 29th time in history (fully tracked since 1974) that a player hit an Ultimate Grand Slam. MLB.com defined an Ultimate Grand Slam as a player hitting a bases-loaded walk-off grand slam with his team trailing by three runs in its final at-bat. According to the "tracked" data, Bote's homer was the first time a Cubs player hit an Ultimate Grand Slam since Ellis Burton did it on August 31, 1963, against the Astros at Wrigley Field.
To relive Bote's incredible moment, watch the video below.