On August 25, 1922, the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies played in the highest scoring game in Major League Baseball history. It was on this day that the Cubs defeated the Phillies 26-23 at Cubs Park(now Wrigley Field).
The Phillies came into the game with a 40-71 mark and in seventh place of eight teams in the NL standings. Only the Boston Braves were behind them in the standings. They were managed by Kaiser Wilhelm.
The Cubs were in the midst of a pennant race and were in second place in the NL standings behind the New York Giants with a 66-53 record. They were managed by Bill Killefer, who was in his first full year as manager of the club. He took over during the 1921 season and went 23-34 as the team finished seventh in the NL standings.
The Cubs began playing their games at Cubs Park(it became Wrigley Field in 1927) in 1916. It was a year away from the grandstands being added by now owner William Wrigley and another five away from adding an upper deck in 1927. The ballpark also was years away from having the high outfield walls and ivy covering them. It was far different than what the ballpark resembles today.
Baseball was in a time of transition as the game was just moving into the Live Ball Era. Before 1920, the game was centered around strategy and what fans now refer to these days as "small ball". But when Babe Ruth came over to the Yankees in 1920, the home run began to become a prominent strategy for that franchise and would eventually filter down to the rest of the teams.
It hadn't caught on as much in the National League as of yet in 1922, but looking at the score of this game seemed to indicate it was on the way. However, no one knew exactly how crazy this game between the Phillies and Cubs would be.
7,000 fans at Cubs Park were about to find out.
The Phillies started Jimmy Ring on the mound against Cubs starter Tony Kauffman. Ring was going for his 12th win of the year while Kauffman was trying to win his 7th game.
The Cubs got the scoring started in the 1st inning when first baseman Ray Grimes singled in lead-off batter and center fielder Cliff Heathcote with two outs to take a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the 2nd inning, the Phillies got in on the scoring.
Philadelphia scored their first run on an error by Cubs third baseman Marty Krug off the bat of first baseman Roy Leslie. Art Fletcher, who reached on an error with two outs by shortstop Charlie Hollocher, scored on the play. Ring then helped himself and singled in Leslie to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead. Russ Wrightstone's single drove in Ring to extend the Philadelphia lead to 3-1. All three runs were unearned due to the error by Hollocher with two men out.
Philadelphia's 3-1 lead would be the last time they led all game long.
With the Cubs having two outs in the 2nd inning, it appeared they wouldn't get anything out of it. But an error on a foul pop fly by Wrightstone from Heathcote opened the flood gates for Chicago.
Heathcote later walked in his at-bat to load the bases. Hollocher then singled to right to score Krug and catcher Bob O'Farrell to tie the game. Zeb Terry doubled in Heathcote and Hollocher to put the Cubs back out in front 5-3. After Grimes walked, Marty Callaghan reached on an error by right fielder Curt Walker that allowed Terry to score. Hack Miller then hit the first homer of the game -- a 3-run shot -- to give the Cubs a 9-3 lead. Krug then doubled in his second at-bat of the inning before O'Farrell hit a 2-run homer to score him. Kauffman then struck out to end the inning. All 10 Cubs runs in the inning were unearned and they recorded six hits and benefited from two Philadelphia errors.
The Cubs led 11-3 after two, but the scoring was far from done in this one.
The Phillies scored two in their half of the 3rd inning when Walker hit a lead-off triple, and scored on a double to right field by Johnny Mokan. Mokan then scored on a sacrifice fly by Leslie to make it 11-5.
The Cubs got their lead-off man on in the 3rd inning, but the next three batters were retired.
The Phillies got another run in the 4th inning when Mokan singled in Cy Williams to make it 11-6.
But the scoring barrage the Cubs had in the 2nd inning failed in comparison to what they'd do in the 4th inning.
The inning started with three straight singles by Callaghan, Miller, and Krug. Callaghan scored on the hit by Krug. After an O'Farrell sacrifice and Turner Barber pinch-hit walk, Heathcote singled to center field to score Miller and Krug to make it 14-6. After the Heathcote hit, the Phillies replaced King on the mound with Lefty Weinert.
Weinert was greeted with a double to right field off the bat of Hollocher as Barber and Heathcote came around to score. After Terry walked and Grimes was hit by a pitch, Callaghan in his second at-bat of the inning singled to drive in Hollocher and Terry to make it 18-6. Miller then hit his second 3-run homer of the game.
Later in the inning, Heathcote hit a bases loaded double to score two more for the Cubs. Hollocher then hit a sacrifice fly to score Barber to make it 24-6. Grimes, the Cubs leading batter that year, then doubled to right field to score Heathcote for the final run of the inning. Callaghan struck out in his third at-bat of the inning.
The Cubs had scored 14 runs on 11 hits and two errors in the fourth inning. Two of those runs were unearned because Barber reached on an error with two outs in his second at-bat. So they scored in double digits in runs for the second time in the game, and got a record three at-bats from Callaghan in the inning.
The Cubs were up 25-6 and seemingly the game was over.
The Phillies got three runs in the top of the 5th inning on a 2-run triple from Wrightstone and run-scoring double from Frank Parkinson to make it 25-9. They scored their three runs off of Cubs reliever George Stueland.
A Hollocher RBI single in the Cubs' 6th inning extended their lead to 26-9.
The Phillies would be held scoreless in the 6th and 7th innings. But that would change in the 8th inning.
Uel Eubanks took over for Stueland on the mound for the Cubs in the top of the 8th inning.
Cliff Lee, who replaced Leslie at first base, walked to lead-off the inning. Catcher Frank Withrow reached on an error before Weinert helped himself out with the bat by singling in Lee for their first run of the inning. After Wrightstone walked, Parkinson hit a sacrifice fly to score Withrow to make it 26-11. Bevo LeBourveau then singled in Weinert for another run. After a Walker sacrifice, and Mokan walked to load the bases, Jimmy Smith reached on a bases loaded error by Heathcote that allowed Wrightstone and LeBourveau to score to keep the Phillies inning alive. Lee then singled in his second at-bat of the inning off of Eubanks.
Eubanks would be replaced on the mound by Ed Morris. For Eubanks, it would be the last time he'd ever play in a Major League game.
Withrow greeted Morris rudely with a bases-clearing double that made the score 26-17. Morris struck out Weinert to end the inning. In all, the Phillies scored 8 runs on only four hits in the inning. Only two runs were earned.
The Cubs had the bases loaded in the 8th inning, but Callaghan hit into a 6-4-3(shortstop to second base to first base) double play to end the frame for them.
The Phillies weren't done scoring just yet.
Philadelphia got their first run in the top of the 9th inning on an RBI single from LeBourveau to score Wrightstone. Walker followed that up with a run-scoring double allowing Parkinson to come in to score. Morris was then replaced by Tiny Osborne on the mound for the Cubs.
Mokan was the first batter Osborne faced, and he struck him out. But Jimmy Smith singled in LeBourveau and Walker to make it 26-21. Osborn struck out Withrow for the second out of the inning before Lee singled and pinch-hitter Goldie Rapp walked. In his second at-bat of the inning, Wrightstone singled again to drive in Jimmy Smith. The game should've ended when O'Farrell's replacement at catcher, future Baseball Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett, made a throwing error on a pick-off attempt that allowed Lee to score. Parkinson then walked to load the bases.
Amazingly after trailing 26-9 in the game, the Phillies had the tying run at the plate with LeBourveau coming up. But Osborne struck him out to end the game, and preserve the once insurmountable lead for the Cubs. The Cubs won it 26-23.
The winning pitcher was Kauffman to bring his record to 7-8. He gave up six runs(three earned) on nine hits in four innings. That would be the last win he would get that season. He would go on to win 64 games in his career.
Osborne is now credited with a save since it was not an official statistic at the time this game was played. He struck out the side, but gave up two earned runs on three hits in the 9th inning.
Ring took the loss for the Phillies as his record went to 11-12 on the season. He went 3.1 innings giving up 16 runs(only six earned), 12 hits, two homers, five walks, and striking out two. Weinert went 4.2 innings while giving up 10 runs(eight earned) on 13 hits and five walks.
Hack Miller was the leading batter in the game going 4-for-5 with two homers, six RBI, three runs scored, and a walk. He was known for his strength, and it was once said he could hammer nails into two inch planks of wood with his bare hands. Although he had legendary strength, he struggled to maintain his weight and was out of MLB by 1925. However in 1922, he had a strong season as he finished third in the league in batting average at .352. His nickname was passed off to future Cubs legend Hack Wilson in 1924 when he was entering the league as a rookie. Wilson would become most famous for setting a single season record of 191 RBI in 1930.
Hollocher went 3-for-5 with six RBI in the game. He batted .340 and had 201 hits that year, but was out of MLB himself in 1924.
Heathcote went a perfect 5-for-5 for the Cubs and scored five runs in the game. He came over to the Cubs from the Cardinals during the season. He would spend the next seven years in Chicago and retire from the game in 1932.
Krug had four hits and four runs scored for the Cubs. It would be the only 4-hit game of his career. He wouldn't play another MLB season after 1922.
O'Farrell, who hit a homer in this game, remained the Cubs starting catcher until an injury in 1924. He would end up in St. Louis in 1925 and serve as a backup catcher the remainder of his career. Hartnett would take over the starting role in 1924 and go on to become the NL's best catcher. He would play in four World Series and become a Baseball Hall of Famer in 1955. To date, he's the only player from this game that's in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The top batter for the Phillies was Wrightstone, who went 4-for-7 with a triple, four RBI, and three runs scored in the game. He would bat .297 in nine years played before retiring in 1928.
Cliff Lee went 3-for-4 with four runs scored in the game. He remained in Philadelphia until 1924 when he was sent to Cincinnati. He finished his career in Cleveland and retired from the game in 1926.
Walker went 4-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored. This was his best season in Philadelphia after batting .337 with 196 hits, 102 runs scored, and 59 extra base hits. He would also end up in Cincinnati in 1924, and play there for the remainder of his career that ended in 1930.
Records were set for the most runs scored with 49 and hits in a 9-inning game with 51. Callaghan pulled off a rare feat in the game's history by batting three times in one inning when the Cubs scored 14 runs in the 4th inning. Both teams also combined to have nine errors that played a factor in 21 unearned runs being scored in the game. It should also be noted that even in a time when MLB just hit the Live Ball Era, Philadelphia scored all 23 of their runs without the benefit of a homer and had just six extra base hits in the game. The Cubs scored their 26 runs on 11 extra base hits that included three homers.
Neither team saved enough runs for the following game they played.
Both teams battled to a scoreless tie that went into extra innings. The Phillies scored three in the top of the 11th inning and won 3-0 the following day.
The Phillies would remain in seventh place in the NL standings with a 57-96 mark.
The Cubs stayed in the race and were as close as five games out of first at the end of the month. But they slumped in the last month of the season and finished 80-74 and 13 games behind the Giants in fifth place in the standings.
57 years later, the two teams played a game that was strikingly similar to this one on the scoreboard, but with different results. It also happened at Wrigley Field.
On May 17, 1979, the Phillies jumped out to a huge lead only to see the Cubs tie it at 22-22 to send the game to extra innings. The Phillies got a solo homer from Mike Schmidt in the top of the 10th inning that helped them hold on to win 23-22.
Both teams have played two of the wildest and highest-scoring contests in the game's history. But no other game in terms of scoring has topped this one. In a game that took only three hours to complete, it was filled with offense and sloppy play from pitchers and in the field. This August game between the two was one for the record books, and for those that love a lot of offense.