Tonight, the first Saturday night game since June 20, 1998 will be played at Wrigley Field. In that Saturday night tilt almost 13 years ago, rookie Kerry Wood struck out 11 in 7 1/3 innings and Sammy Sosa hit his 28th and 29th home runs in a 9-4 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.
Hero: Darwin Barney went 3-for-4 (all singles), was hit by a pitch, and scored twice.
Heroes: Carlos Pena (home run) Kosuke Fukudome (double) each contributed three hits and bookended a dramatic two-run ninth inning rally off Cincinnati closer Francisco Cordero (2-1) to lead the Cubs (15-17), as Pat Hughes described it, "to their most gratifying victory of the season."
Cubs relievers have not allowed a run in their last 17 2/3 innings over nine games.
(Editor's Note: Twenty-eighth in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)
My friend, Terry, gave me a call on Wednesday morning, May 6, 1998, and asked if I wanted to join him for that afternoon's game at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and the Houston Astros.
Hero: Alfonso Soriano hit his fourth home run of the season - a three-run shot during the Cubs' five-run first inning - and, with help from a Starlin Castro relay throw, gunned down Houston's Brett Wallace at the plate when Wallace tried to score from first on a Matt Downs double in the second inning.
Hero: Man, does this guy rake lefties! Jeff Baker went 4-for-5, including a go-ahead, three-run homer off Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf (0-2) in the fourth inning. Baker is 6-for-11 against southpaws this season.
Baker also contributed a two-out RBI single in the sixth and scored in the ninth on a Marlon Byrd double after reaching on a leadoff single.
So much has been written about the Cubs' 103-year world championship title drought that it has become cliche. So much venom has been directed at Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, club management, and many of the team's players in the blogosphere that it makes one wonder why they are fans.
Hero: Andrew Cashner was terrific in his first major league start before exiting after 5 1/3 innings with tightness in his pitching shoulder. The 24-year-old right-hander allowed just two hits, struck out two, and walked one. He went to a three-ball count on just two batters, and fired 43 of his 72 pitches for strikes.
Hero: Alfonso Soriano hit a game-tying home run - his second in as many days - in the third inning and contributed a clutch two-out single in the eighth to drive in a crucial go-ahead run. Soriano didn't hit his second homer until his 15th game last season.
Hero: Blake DeWitt put a miserable spring training behind him by delivering a tie-breaking, two-run double to cap a five-run Cubs eighth.
I remember fondly throughout my childhood the February day in which my father would bring home a stack of baseball preview magazines.
I would devour those things and have continued the practice into adulthood. All of that reading material has helped me get through those final few weeks without baseball, but I learned long ago that such publications should not be believed as gospel.
According to my father, the only way to keep me quiet and still as a baby was to sit me in front of a Cubs game on TV. The voice of Jack Brickhouse apparently had a hypnotic effect on me, and for better or worse, I've been hooked on baseball ever since.
The snow has melted, the days are getting noticeably longer, and the Cubs are playing spring training games in Arizona.
(Editor's Note: Twenty-third in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)
The 1998 Cubs will never be mentioned when the greatest teams in franchise history are discussed.
The acquisition of pitcher Matt Garza by the Cubs, along with two minor leaguers, from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in exchange for five prospects - that include right-handed pitcher Chris Archer, outfielders Brandon Guyer and Sam Fuld, shortstop Hak-Ju Lee, and catcher Robinson Chirinos - is a brilliant and gutsy move by general manager Jim Hendry.
(Editor's Note: Eleventh in a series recalling the 30 greatest moments in Cubs history.)
The 1950s were a dreadful decade for the Cubs, but the emergence of Ernie Banks as one of the game's premier players and a bumper crop of pitching prospects seemed to indicate better times ahead in the 60s.