This Week in Wrigley History (August 6–August 12)
August 6, 1959
Billy Williams makes his major league debut with the Cubs. He plays left field and bats third, and in his first big league at-bat, facing journeyman Phillies pitcher Jim Owens, Billy drives in Tony Taylor with the first run of the game. That turns out to be the game winner, as the Cubs cruise to victory. Billy only plays in 18 games for the Cubs that season and 12 the following season, so he is still considered a rookie in 1961. That year all he does is hit 25 homers, knock in 86 runs, on his way to the Rookie of the Year award.
August 6: In 1929, a record crowd swarms Wrigley on Ladies Day. The official estimates say 42,000, but there are thousands more who couldn’t get in and fans were all over the place, including the aisles and the field itself. One newspaper account says 65,000 were there. The Cubs lose to Brooklyn 5-4. Rogers Hornsby hits a homer for the Cubs…In 1959, Billy Williams makes his debut for the Cubs. (full story above)
August 7: In 1955, Bob Rush beats the Dodgers thanks to three RBI from his double play combination of roommates Gene Baker and Ernie Banks…In 1980, the Cubs stage Dave Kingman day, and Dave Kingman doesn’t show up… In 1984, Keith Moreland charges the mound and knocks down Mets pitcher Ed Lynch, igniting a bench-clearing brawl…In 1989, the Cubs move into first place with a victory…In 2001, former Bears defensive tackle Steve McMichael threatens the home plate umpire when he sings during the 7th inning stretch and is kicked out of Wrigley.
August 8: On this day in 1937, Tex Carleton throws a one-hitter against the Boston Bees. The only Boston hit is a double by light-hitting first baseman Elbie Fletcher. Phil Cavarretta, playing centerfield, gets the game winning hit for the Cubs…In 1941, Paul Erickson matches Carleton by pitching another one-hitter. His comes against the Pittsburgh Pirates…And in 1988, the Cubs attempted to play their first night game ever. It was rained out. (Full story below)
August 9: On this day in 1988 the first official night game is played at Wrigley Field against the Mets. Sandberg, Grace, Dawson and Palmeiro all knock in runs, and the Cubs win 6-4. Goose Gossage gets the save.
August 10: On this day in 1941, the Cubs stage Charlie Root Day at Wrigley Field to thank their all-time winningest pitcher for his great career. The club gives him many gifts including a live pig and a station wagon. They lose a heartbreaker in ten innings to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Pinch hitter Tommy Warren gets the only two RBI of his big league career to win it in the tenth.
August 11: In 1923, Cubs rookie catcher Gabby Hartnett hits a homer in the bottom of the tenth to win the first game of a double header. Grover Cleveland Alexander pitches all ten innings for his 17th win of the season…In 2016, Cubs win their tenth game in row, beating the Cardinals 4-3.
August 12: In 1981, the Chicago Sting defeat the Dallas Tornado 3-1…In 1985, Thad Bosely homers off Expos closer Jeff Reardon in the bottom of the 8th to beat Montreal 8-7. It’s his second homer of the game. Lee Smith pitches the ninth for the save…In 2016, Cubs hit five homers and beat the Cardinals 13-2 for their 11th win in a row.
August 8, 1988
After 5,687 consecutive day games played by the Cubs at Wrigley Field, the lights were finally lit for a game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
It really was a spectacle.
A 91-year-old Cubs fan who attended his first game in 1906 signaled the lights to be turned on. A record number of press credentials were issued. The Governor (Jim Thompson) was there. The Commissioner of baseball (Peter Ueberroth) was there. Billy Williams and Ernie Banks both threw out the first pitch.
The game itself started with a bang too. The fourth pitch of the game was hit for a home run by the Phillies (Phil Bradley vs. Rick Sutcliffe). But the Cubs came back. Ryne Sandberg hit a homer and the Cubs were leading 3-1, when the rain began.
During the rain delay, Cubs players entertained the fans by sliding on the tarp (including Greg Maddux). They were fined by manager Don Zimmer for their antics.
In what can only be described as typical Cubs luck, the rain never stopped, and the game was rained out. Everything that happened that night didn’t count.
The next night ended up being the first official night game, on the uncool day of 8/9/88. The Cubs won 6-4.