(Editor's Note: Sixteenth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)
On May 14, 1978, I was 8 years old and out for dinner with my family at a restaurant. The Cubs' game against the host Los Angeles Dodgers was on the TV behind the bar and early in the meal I excused myself from the table on several occasions to check out the game.
Dave Kingman's finest day of his short tenure with the Cubs came on May 14, 1978. He hit 94 home runs and struck out 286 times in three seasons on the North Side.
My grandmother was not amused.
"Behave, Christopher," she said."This could be her last Mother's Day"
My grandmother was referring to my great-grandmother and it was indeed her last Mother's Day. I remained seated for the rest of the meal, which was certainly the right thing to do, but oh what a show I missed from Dave Kingman.
Kingman was the first high-profile free agent to join the Cubs during the previous offseason after signing a five-year, $1.3-million contract. After a slow start - he hit just.193 with two home runs in April - he began to hit in May.
He turned in his most memorable performance as a member of the Cubs on Mother's Day, hitting three homers and driving in eight in the Cubs' 10-7 victory in 15 innings at Dodger Stadium.
Kingman hit a two-run homer in the sixth off starter Doug Rau and followed with a two-out, two-run blast in the ninth off former Cub Mike Garman that traveled an estimated 430 feet and tied the game at 7.
Kingman walked in the 11th and struck out in the 13th before walloping a three-run blast off Rick Rhoden in the 15th to give the Cubs a 10-7 advantage.
It was Kingman's second three-home run game at Dodger Stadium. He had previously accomplished the feat as a member of the New York Mets on June 4, 1976.
In the Cubs' clubhouse after the game, Kingman pulled aside a Tribune reporter and asked him to send his mother a greeting from him in his game story.
"Just make it simple: 'Happy Mother's Day, Cappy' ... and tell her I love her."