A Tip of the Pennant Recap – NLCS Game 6 (National League Champs 5, Dodgers 0)
Series Status: Cubs win 4-2
W: Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 0.71)
L: Clayton Kershaw (1-1, 3.00)
MVP: Kyle Hendricks: 7.1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 6 K, 0 BB
In October of 1945, the Second World War had been over for two months. Harry S. Truman was entering the sixth month of his Presidency. The National Basketball Association was not yet in existence and the National Hockey League had six teams. And the Chicago Cubs were playing in their tenth World Series against the Detroit Tigers. The 41,590 in attendance at Wrigley Field for Game 7 on October 10, 1945 had no idea how long they would have to wait for another Cubs World Series game. As it turns out, that would be 71 years and 15 days to be exact.
On Saturday night, the Chicago National League Baseball Club won it’s 11th pennant against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
A game took place, but this recap will only briefly touch on the details. What happened at Wrigley in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series is really just a small part of the story. This is still a recap, though, so let us do a quick summary of the game.
Dexter Fowler doubled to open the bottom of the 1st and was singled home by Kris Bryant. Left fielder Andrew Toles dropped an Anthony Rizzo fly ball for a two-base error. Bryant scored on a Ben Zobrist sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 after one. It was quickly evident that Dodger ace Clayton Kershaw was not at the top of his game Saturday. Addison Russell doubled to start the 2nd inning and scored on a two-out Fowler single. The 3-0 lead became 4-0 in the 4th inning on a Willson Contreras home run to left. Rizzo struck the final blow in the 5th with a solo shot to right center field.
Kyle Hendricks only really needed one run to send the Cubs to the World Series. Hendricks had arguably the club’s greatest postseason pitching performance since Three Finger Brown outdueled Christy Mathewson to win the 1908 pennant. After allowing a leadoff single to Toles in the 1st, The Professor didn’t allow another hit until the 8th inning.
Aroldis Chapman got the final two outs in that inning on an amazing Javy Baez double play. After Carlos Ruiz walked with one out in the 9th inning Yasiel Puig stepped up to the plate, Puig hit a chopper to Addison Russell.
These are the saddest of possible words:
“Russell to Baez to Rizzo.”
Trio of bear cubs, fleeter than birds,
Russell and Baez and Rizzo.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Dodger hit into a double –
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
“Russell to Baez to Rizzo”
With Puig’s 6-4-3 double play, the Cubs won the series and the pennant 5-0.
What happened Saturday night was much more than just a game. It was a moment for everyone who is a Cubs fan or knows a Cubs fan. Countless individuals have lived their entire lives without ever seeing what happened Saturday, something many people felt confidant would never ever happen. Many reading this are thinking of someone who weren’t able to make it to this day. But they did make it in the memories of those of us who watched and cheered and screamed, and maybe cried a little, because they are alive in us.
My grandfather, David L. Holland, was the biggest Cubs fan I knew. He made my whole family fans. I can still hear him bellowing at the TV when a Cubs player would boot a ball or strand a runner at third. Yet he always was hopeful, he had seen Chicago teams in the World Series before. He always knew eventually they would be back there some day. We lost him in 2009, but his love of the Cubs continued in his family.
When Baez’s relay throw hit Rizzo’s glove, my thoughts immediately turned to my Papa. I’m not ashamed to admit I started to cry like a little kid. The emotion just flowed through me, and I was far from the only one. Fans all over Wrigley cried and hugged and thought of those they lost.
This is the fans who have stuck through the hard times and the losing. For however long each of us has been a part of this crazy journey that is being a Cubs fan. No matter what happens next — don’t get me wrong I would love a title — the seven-decade drought is done. The World Series starts Tuesday, but for right now bask in this. Think of those you lost, and raise a toast to this bunch of Cubs who made us all cry. Go Cubs!!!