Thursday, April 21, 2005


April 21st, 1986

Pirates Play at Cubs

I have something for a fondness for extra inning games that just go on-and-on-and-on. I don't know where this started, but I suspect it had something to do with my further fondness for seeing something unusual, a guy playing out of position, an AL team losing the DH, things like that which don't happen much except in games that go on, seemingly, forever.

The Cubs-Pirates game on April 21st of 1986 was, at first, fairly routine. The Pirates came back from two runs down to build a 5-3 lead, and came back again to take a 8-5 lead after the Cubs tied the game. It seemed like a bad day for the Cubs, as they were down three heading into the ninth. However, pinch hitter Thad Bosley hit a triple and scored on a Davey Lopes double. Pirates' manager Jim Leyland pulled Bob Walk and replaced him with Jim Winn (no relation to Jimmy Wynn). Winn promptly threw a wild pitch, sending Lopes to third, but settled down to strike out Shawon Dunston and Ryne Sandberg, leaving the Cubs down two runs with just an out to go. Their fortunes changed however, when Keith Moreland slammed a home run off Winn, tying the game at eight. Leon Durham singled, suggesting perhaps the Cubs had one more trick up their sleeve, but it was not to be as Brian Dayett grounded out to the shortstop.

The game went on, with the Cubs managing to load the bases in the eleveth but pinch-hitter Manny Trillo struck out looking. Running low on pitchers, Cubs' manager Gene Michael--who was filling in regular skipper Jim Frey--called on Rick Sutcliffe to make his first relief appearence since 1983, and the last he would make until 1989. The Pirates loaded the bases in the thirteenth with just one out, but with the infield in, Bill Almon made an out to second base and R.J. Reynolds (that's really his name, by the way) was caught looking, giving the Cubs a chance to win in their half of the
thirteenth, but it was not to be. At this point, they game had gone on for nearly five hours. Being Wrigley Field pre-1988, this meant was more than just trivia, it meant the game had to be suspended on account of darkness, to be resumed at a later date. And when that dates comes around, so will the story of this game. Unless you cheat and look it up. But what fun is that?

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