Thirty-five years ago today on September 16, 1975, one of the most one-sided baseball games in history took place in Wrigley Field. As you can probably guess by that opening sentence, the Cubs were on the receiving end of the epic butt kicking as the Pittsburgh Pirates mauled them 22-0. The Pirates sent 14 batters to the plate in the first inning and kept pouring it on all game long. Among other things, this game witnessed:
– The biggest blowout shutout of the 20th century. How’s that for an achievement?
– The worst loss in Cub history. Given the franchise we’re talking about, that might be even more impressive that the previous item. (Technically it’s tied for worst drubbing with an 1892 game the Cubs lost 23-1, but most people out there in reader-land don’t care much for pre-1900 stuff anyway.)
– The most one-sided game ever played in Wrigley Field. The Cubs won a game by 22 runs once in the last 90+ years, but it was on the road (Cubs 24, Braves 2 on July 3, 1945).
– It’s the biggest win by any Pirate team since 1900. (On August 1, 1893 they beat St. Louis 25 to 2.)
– For Cub starter Rick Reuschel, it was the worst game of his career. Eight of the nine men he faced reached base and all scored. His Game Score was a pitiful 5 on the day.
– Perhaps most notably, the day saw one of the great one-day performances in baseball history from Pittsburgh’s leadoff hitter Rennie Stennett. He went 7-for-7 on the day, a record for most hits in a nine-inning game.
Twice the Pirates batted around in the game (in the first and fourth innings) and Stennant led off both innings with a double and later rapped out run-scoring singles in each frame. Between those innings, he lined a single to center in the third. In the final frames, he had another single and an eighth-inning triple put him in the history books with seven hits. At that point the team lifted him for a pinch runner— young Willie Randolph, later of Yankee fame, appearing in only his 23rd MLB game.
The Pirates may have had trouble in recent years, but they were one of the best teams of the 1970s, and this was their best one-day performance of that decade.