Cubs Classics: 1990’s Week
Get your Zack Morris cell phones and Dunkaroos ready — as we go back in time with 1990’s Week on Marquee Sports Network.
You’ll see a lot of Sammy Sosa, Mark Grace and 1990’s fashion, plus some momentous events at “The Friendly Confines,” including the last All-Star Game played at Wrigley.
Here are five of the most impactful Cubs moments from the decade:
July 10, 1990: MLB All-Star Game
This was the last time the All-Star Game was at Wrigley Field, approaching its 30th anniversary this summer.
The National League club lost this Midsummer Classic 2-0, but two Cubs were in the starting lineup: Ryne Sandberg playing second base and hitting 2nd and Andre Dawson playing right field and hitting 5th. Cubs shortstop Shawon Dunston was a reserve for the NL team.
Sandberg finished 4th in NL MVP voting in 1990, leading the league with 40 homers and 116 runs scored in addition to driving in 100 runs, stealing 25 bases and hitting .306. He also won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award at age 30.
At age 35, Dawson also drove in exactly 100 runs, hitting 27 homers with a .310 batting average and finished 19th in MVP voting.
Despite the production from their pair of All-Stars, the Cubs finished only 77-85 in 1990, in 4th place in the NL East under manager Don Zimmer and GM Jim Frey (who just passed away Sunday).
In the All-Star Game, Sandberg and Dawson combined to go 0-for-5 with a strikeout as the AL staff permitted only 2 hits while pitching a shutout.
Ready for a blast from the past? Here were the complete lineups for both teams in the contest:
1. Rickey Henderson – LF
2. Wade Boggs – 3B
3. Jose Canseco – RF
4. Cal Ripken Jr. – SS
5. Ken Griffey Jr. – CF
6. Mark McGwire – 1B
7. Sandy Alomar – C
8. Steve Sax – 2B
9. Bob Welch – P
1. Lenny Dykstra – CF
2. Ryne Sandberg – 2B
3. Will Clark – 1B
4. Kevin Mitchell – LF
5. Andre Dawson – RF
6. Chris Sabo – 3B
7. Mike Scioscia – C
8. Ozzie Smith – SS
9. Jack Armstrong – P
- IMDB.com launched in the summer of 1990 on UserNet.
- “Home Alone” was the top movie at the box office that year. “Cheers” was the highest-rated TV show.
- Minimum wage was $3.80 an hour in 1990.
Aug. 18, 1995: Cubs score 26 runs vs. Rockies
Hope you’re ready for a lot of offense.
Playing in Coors Field, the Cubs jumped out to a 7-0 lead before the Rockies even came up to bat and kept their foot on the gas pedal from there.
The Cubs scored 2 runs in the 3rd inning, 6 in the 5th, 3 in the 6th, 4 in the 7th and 4 more in the 8th inning, tallying 26 runs on 27 hits in the ballgame with 48,082 fans in attendance.
Eleven of those 27 hits went for extra bases, including starting pitcher Kevin Foster’s first double of the season. Seven different Cubs players collected multiple hits in the game, including relief pitcher Anthony Young, who went 2-for-2 while tossing 1.1 innings out of the bullpen (and picked up the win).
Cubs manager Jim Riggleman opted to give most of his starters a breather in the blowout, with only Mark Grace, Sammy Sosa and catcher Scott Servais playing the entire game.
Grace went 1-for-6 with a walk, scoring 3 runs and driving in 2. Sosa was 4-for-6 with 4 runs scored, 4 RBI, a walk and his 22nd homer of the shortened season.
Luis Gonzalez doubled, homered and drove in 6 runs.
- The price of a hot dog at the ballpark was $1.49
- The top song of the year was “One Sweet Day” by Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men.
- The first professional sports game was streamed online: a 6-5 Seattle Mariners victory over the New York Yankees on Aug. 31, 1995. The audio of the game was aired on ESPN SportsZone.
June 5, 1996: Sosa’s first career 3-homer game
No 1990’s week would be complete without some monster power games from Sosa, who hit 307 homers in a Cubs uniform in the decade.
On this afternoon at Wrigley, Sosa led the Cubs to a 9-6 victory over the visiting Philadelphia Phillies, homering in the 4th, 6th and 7th innings.
Sosa went deep twice off former Cub Terry Mulholland and once off Phillies reliever Russ Springer. The Cubs slugger drove in 5 runs in the game, running his season total to 20 homers and 45 RBI less than halfway through the ’96 campaign.
He finished the year with his first career 40-homer season, driving in 100 runs and landing at 15th in NL MVP voting.
Two years later, Sosa was involved in one of the most impactful summers in baseball history…
Sept. 13, 1998: Sosa hits 61 and 62
Sosa’s record-setting home runs weren’t the only thrilling parts of a wild afternoon at Wrigley Field.
The Cubs led most of the game after a 6-run 3rd inning, but the Brewers stormed back to take a late lead and force some late-inning heroics from the Cubs offense. That included Sosa’s 62nd homer of the season with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th inning, setting the stage for Gary Gaetti’s game-tying single two batters later.
Sosa’s blast off Brewers pitcher Eric Plunk tied him with Mark McGwire for the home run lead as they became the first two players to hit more than 61 homers in a Major League Baseball season.
Earlier in the contest, Sosa hit his 61st homer off Bronswell Patrick, a 2-run shot in the 5th inning to give the Cubs an 8-3 lead.
Grace eventually won the game with his two-out homer into the right-field bleachers in the bottom of the 10th inning.
- Google.com was founded in 1998.
- “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” was published.
- “Titanic” became the first film to surpass $1 billion at the box office and won a record 11 Academy Awards.
- Ricky Gutierrez set the Major League Baseball record for seeing the most pitches in a single at-bat (20) on June 26, 1998 against Bartolo Colon.
Sept. 28, 1998: Game 163 vs. Giants
This could otherwise be referred to as “The Gary Gaetti Game.”
The Cubs acquired “The Rat” on Aug. 19 after the St. Louis Cardinals had released him a few days prior.
All Gaetti did was hit .320 with a .991 OPS with the Cubs, driving in 27 runs in 37 games. That includes a huge 2-run shot in Game 163 against the Giants to begin the scoring and give the Cubs a lead they did not relinquish in the do-or-die contest.
The Cubs and Giants finished the 162-game season tied with identical 89-73 records and the National League Wild-Card spot needed an extra game to determine who was going to move on to face the Atlanta Braves in the NLDS.
The Cubs sent Steve Trachsel to the mound against Mark Gardner in front of 39,556 fans at Wrigley Field for a 7:10 p.m. first pitch. More than 3.5 hours later, the Cubs walked away winners (though they eventually were swept by the Braves 3-0 in the NLDS).
Still, it was the first time the franchise had made it to the postseason in nearly a decade (since the 1989 season).
Gaetti hit a 2-run shot in the 5th inning off Gardner and the Cubs added 3 more runs to build a 5-0 lead. The Giants mounted a comeback in the top of the 9th, scoring 3 runs off Kevin Tapani and Terry Mulholland, but closer Rod Beck came on to shut the door and pick up his 51st save of the season.
Barry Bonds hit 37 homers and finished 8th in NL MVP voting that season, but he went 0-for-4 with only a sacrifice fly against the Cubs in Game 163.