Before the ninth inning heroics of, well, five different players (Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Ben Zobrist, Willson Contreras, and Javy Baez) in Game 4 of the NLDS, the Cubs played eight other innings of baseball. I know, it’s tough to remember (possibly because we’ve emotionally blocked it out), but the game didn’t really start in the 9th.
Indeed, the Cubs had plated two runs in the eight innings prior to their explosion in the ninth. Both came off the bat of David Ross and were extremely consequential – after all, the Cubs won by just one run. Working backwards down the box score, Ross scored Javy Baez from third with a sac fly in the fifth inning, and, of course, he also hit a solo home run in his first at-bat in the top of the third.
Relive this surprisingly distant memory:
That homer opened up the scoring for the Cubs (and against Matt Moore) in a game where offense was seriously difficult to find. It was also Ross’ first hit of the postseason, and second playoff home run of his career (his first came back with the Braves in 2012, when he was a spritely, young, 35-year-old catcher).
But the fun doesn’t end there.
According to Jesse Rogers, with that home run, Ross became the oldest Cub to hit a home run in the postseason and the oldest catcher in postseason history to ever hit a home run.
And he didn’t just barely get it. According to Statcast, the homer traveled 385 feet, and left the bat at 105 MPH with a 40 degree launch angle. Ross crushed that ball, and helped send the Cubs to the NLCS as much as anybody.
Add that to the #YearLongRetirementParty.