Greatest moment from each year of Kris Bryant’s Cubs career
Now that Kris Bryant is a member of the San Francisco Giants, it’s officially time to close out the Cubs chapter of his career.
Bryant will go down as one of the organization’s greatest draft picks ever and Cubdom will be forever grateful for Houston’s decision to pass on Bryant and take Mark Appel 1st overall in 2013.
Over his 7 years in Chicago, Bryant was an All-Star four times, won the 2015 Rookie of the Year and was named the NL MVP in 2016. Of course, there’s also the big one: He was an integral part of the World Series championship in 2016.
He hit .279/.378/.508 as a Cub (.886 OPS) with 160 homers, 465 RBI and 564 runs scored.
Since the start of the 2015 season, Bryant ranks 5th in Major League Baseball in WAR (FanGraphs), behind only Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Jose Altuve and Francisco Lindor. Among National League players, Bryant is actually No. 1, just ahead of Nolan Arenado and Christian Yelich.
As we reflect on Bryant’s time in Chicago, let’s take a look at his greatest moment from each season:
Walk-off homer vs. Rockies (July 27)
On that summer evening at Wrigley Field, the Cubs took a comfortable 7-4 lead into the 9th inning. But the Rockies stormed back with 4 runs to take an 8-7 lead.
In the home half of the frame, Bryant stepped to the plate with Dexter Fowler on first base and 2 outs. Bryant already had an RBI single in the game and connected on a 1-0 pitch for a 2-run, walk-off homer.
It was a turning point for the 2015 Cubs, who entered the series fresh off a sweep at the hands of the Phillies (including Cole Hamels’ no-hitter). After Bryant’s walk-off, the Cubs went on to win 15 of the next 17 contests.
World Series Game 5 homer/Game 7 final out
You knew the final out had to be on there. It is the signature moment in the history of the franchise, ending the longest championship drought in American sports.
But Bryant also deserves credit for the Cubs even getting to a Game 7.
With Cleveland leading 1-0 in a deciding Game 5, Bryant woke up a sleeping Cubs offense with a solo homer to lead off the 4th inning against Trevor Bauer. The Cubs scored 2 more runs that frame and went on to pick up a World Series win at Wrigley Field, setting the stage for one of the greatest comebacks ever.
Game-winning HR in Milwaukee (Sept. 21)
The Cubs entered the series in Milwaukee 3.5 games up on the Brewers in the NL Central. But earlier in the month, the Brewers swept the Cubs at Wrigley Field and were hungry for a shot at the division.
In the series opener, the Brewers took a 3-2 lead into the 9th inning but Javy Báez collected a 2-out RBI single off Jeremy Jeffress to tie the game. In the 10th, Bryant followed a Jon Jay double with a 2-run shot to right-center to give the Cubs the lead for good.
The Cubs went on to win 3 of the 4 games in that series and put the Brewers firmly in their rearview mirror as they cruised to the division title.
448-foot homer off Adam Wainwright (Sept 28)
As the Cardinals came to Wrigley Field for the final series of the 2018 regular season, the Cubs were in the thick of a tense battle with the Brewers for the division title.
Bryant missed 60 games that season, most of which came because of a left shoulder injury. But he was also hit on the wrist by a pitch and was out of the lineup for a couple of games prior to this series.
After the Cubs opened up a 2-0 lead, Bryant crushed a pitch off Adam Wainwright for his 13th homer of the season. The Cubs went on to win 8-4 as Kyle Hendricks permitted just 2 runs in 8 innings of work.
3-homer game vs. Nationals (May 17)
In a game started by Max Scherzer, the Cubs put up 14 runs. But most of those came in the final few frames and Bryant led the charge with homers in each of the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.
He went deep off Justin Miller, Kyle Barraclough and Matt Grace as the Cubs scored 11 runs over the final 3 innings to put together a 14-6 victory.
It was part of Bryant’s resurgent campaign, as he made the All-Star team in 2019 for the first time in three years and hit 31 homers.
Grand slam vs. White Sox (Sept. 26)
Bryant dealt with a wrist/finger issue throughout most of 2020 and entered the final series of the regular season with only 2 homers and 5 RBI in 32 games. He nearly doubled that RBI tally with one swing against the White Sox.
Bryant missed 4 games prior to the series and after he singled in the 2nd inning, he crushed the first pitch he saw from Dane Dunning into the left-field bleachers at Guaranteed Rate Field for a grand slam.
The next night, Bryant also went yard in what wound up as his final Crosstown appearance in a Cubs uniform.
2 HRs vs. Braves (April 17)
The Cubs offense entered the series with the Braves in the midst of a historically tough stretch. But they jumped all over Atlanta’s Huascar Ynoa, building a 6-0 lead after 3 innings. In the 5th, Bryant gave the Cubs a bit more breathing room with a 2-run shot to left field.
In the 6th inning, Bryant did it again, smacking another 2-run shot into the bleachers.
The Cubs crushed 6 homers in the game and Bryant finished with 3 hits, 3 runs and 4 RBI in a badly needed offensive breakout.