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John Baker — the catcher — pitches an inning, gets the win and scores the winning run

Jul 30, 2014, 8:23 AM EDT

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 7.51.51 AM Getty Images

The game was ugly, but what Cubs catcher John Baker did was pretty sweet.

Pressed into service in a 16-inning marathon, Baker threw 11 pitches, six for strikes, walked a batter but saw him erased on a double play. The other out was a foul out, showing that the Rockies couldn’t touch his wicked stuff. In the bottom of the sixteenth he drew a walk, took second on a sacrifice, took third on a single and then lumbered home on a Starlin Castro fly to left, scoring the winning run as the throw home skipped to the backstop.

That Baker was pitching was something less than an accident, actually. Cubs manager Rick Renteria actually used pitcher Jake Arrieta as a pinch hitter in the 13th with two men on and one out, rather than use Baker, his lone remaining position player. Renteria was saving Baker, he said, to pitch. That’s the sort of decision that you can almost laugh at after a win. If things had turned out differently, however, you’d have to really scratch your head. Well, I’ll scratch my head anyway. We live in an era of 13-man pitching staffs. You gotta feel like managers can manage their resources better.

But as it was, Baker pitched for the first time since he played in the Cape Cod League. And he became the first Cubs position player to get a win in more than 100 years.

  1. saintssince8 - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:43 AM

    Not a Cubs fan, but you gotta give this guy cudos…

  2. blacksables - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    How can teams carry 13 pitchers and run out. Ridiculous.

    A reliever making millions of dollars a year should be able to pitch more than one inning a day.

    • okobojicat - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:40 AM

      The Cubs did pull their starter (Edwin Jackson) after 4 innings. He looked pretty terrible up to that point. So, the bullpen through 12 innings and gave up no runs.
      Jackson was also pinch hit for by another pitcher – Travis Wood.

      • yahmule - Jul 30, 2014 at 2:01 PM

        Edwin Jackson is a walking bullpen stress test.

  3. gothapotamus90210 - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    Is it me, or has there been an inordinate amount of position players pitching this year?

  4. renaado - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    History well made, certainly a moment to remember for John Baker.

  5. Ayase Yano (綾瀬市 矢野) - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    100 years is a damn long time.

    • rbj1 - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      Next thing you know, the Cubs will win the World Series. To be followed by a once in 10,000 year asteroid strike.

  6. general74 - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:28 AM

    Teams carry 13 pitchers but you have to remember 5 of those 13 are starters so thats only 8 pitchers out of the Pen. The Cubs starter last night only went like 4 innings so in 12 innings the cubs used 7 pitchers (pitcher 8 was not available because he had pitched 4 of the last 5 days) thats using your resources pretty well as most relievers only usually pitch an inning or two. If a pitcher has not been stretched out and is forced to pitch more innings than they are use to thats when injuries happen.

  7. windycity0301 - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:33 AM

    The question is, how can a team carry 13 pitchers and run out. The answer is simple: Edwin Jackson. He had 105 pitches in 4 innings and gave up 3 runs. Travis Wood was used to pinch hit in the bottom of the 4th rather than a position player. Strop and Rondon were supposed to be on the no pitch list due to recent use. (though Strop ended up pitching two) And of course, you have your situational lefty for one batter (which I can’t stand). In a 16 inning game, that’s how it happens. And it all starts with one Edwin Jackson being completely awful. It’s like clockwork that if you miss the first couple innings of a Jackson start you can usually figure the Cubs will be down a few runs by the time you turn on the TV. If they tried to offer cash and Jackson for a bucket of balls I don’t think there’d be a taker.

    Venting complete, I feel better…

    • blacksables - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:24 AM

      And only one of those relievers pitched more than 2 innings.

  8. DelawarePhilliesFan - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    Wilson Valdez is saying “In my day, we would start the game in the field and then get the win as a pitcher”

    Just having cheeky fun – this is awesome by Baker. And to score the winning run makes it even better.

    These are the fun things no other sport has

  9. yourcubreporter - Jul 30, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    You have to LOVE Baker’s post-game comments. This guy just had the game of his life, one he’ll remember to his grandchildren! Glad we were on the winning side!

    #gocubsgo

  10. scamp516dp - Jul 30, 2014 at 11:52 AM

    Go Cubs! A win is a win, pitching will be a premium for both teams tonight. Thursday get a way came is an afternoon affair. If wind is blowing out double digits tonight unless bats are as tired as arms!

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