In August 1968, Mike Shannon slowed the Cubs’ momentum by hitting the first grand slam of his big-league career and helping the Cardinals split a four-game series at Wrigley Field.
In August 2016, Randal Grichuk slowed the Cubs’ momentum by hitting the first grand slam of his big league career, helping the Cardinals split a four-game series at Wrigley Field.
Grichuk became the first Cardinals batter to hit his first big-league grand slam at Wrigley Field since Shannon did so 48 years earlier.
On Aug. 13, 2016, Grichuk, celebrating his 25th birthday, hit a grand slam off reliever Joe Smith in the eighth inning, carrying the Cardinals to an 8-4 victory in the third game of the series and snapping the Cubs’ 11-game winning streak. Boxscore The next night, the Cardinals won again, 6-4, and earned a split.
On Aug. 15, 1968, Shannon, 29, hit a grand slam off reliever Bill Stoneman in the second inning, carrying the Cardinals to an 8-0 victory in the finale of the series and putting a dent in the Cubs’ pennant hopes. Boxscore
Second City showdown
The Cardinals, defending World Series champions, entered their August 1968 series at Wrigley Field in first place, 14 games ahead of the second-place Cubs in the National League. After the Cubs won the first two of the set, cutting the Cardinals’ lead to 12, fans in Chicago were fired up, sensing their club was poised to get back into the pennant race.
Cardinals ace Bob Gibson dampened those hopes in Game 3, pitching a complete game in a 3-1 victory.
That set up a scenario in which the Cubs needed to win Game 4 in order to gain any ground on the Cardinals.
Get up, baby
A crowd of 23,116 turned out for the Thursday afternoon series finale. The bleachers were packed with rowdies.
Gibson, in a playful mood, pinned a button with the words “We’re No. 1” to the bill of his cap and bantered with fans in the right-field bleachers before the game. “I led the boos for Roger Maris,” Gibson said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, referring to his outfield teammate.
In the first inning, the Cardinals scored four runs off starter Ken Holtzman and knocked him out of the game. Shannon contributed a RBI-single.
In the second, the Cardinals loaded the bases with two outs against former teammate Jack Lamabe. With Shannon up, Lamabe was replaced by Stoneman.
Shannon hit Stoneman’s second pitch into the left-field seats. The grand slam _ the only one of his Cardinals career _ was his 500th hit in the big leagues.
“In Wrigley Field, if you get the ball in the air, you have a heck of a chance,” Shannon said.
The Bleacher Bums took out their frustrations on Cardinals outfielders Lou Brock, Curt Flood and Ron Davis.
“They were hitting us with everything,” said Flood. “Ice cubes, burned-out flashbulbs, fruit, tennis balls, paper cups and old sandwiches.”
Said Davis: “If you turned around, then you’d really get it. That’s when they’d start throwing things at you.”
Plotting his revenge, Flood printed a banner that stated, “We’re still No. 1.”
In the bottom of the ninth, with the Cardinals ahead 8-0, Flood took the banner with him to his position in center and spread it on the outfield grass, with the words facing the bleachers.
Knowing what was to come, Brock had stuffed his ears with cotton to block out the taunts.
Shannon finished the game 3-for-5 with five RBI and two runs scored. The performance gave him a .415 batting average (27-for-45) in day games that season.
“I just can see that ball better in the daytime,” Shannon told the Associated Press.
The Cardinals went on to win the 1968 pennant, finishing nine games ahead of the Giants and 13 in front of the third-place Cubs.
Shannon finished his Cardinals career with 68 home runs. He had 16 against the Cubs, including 12 at Wrigley Field.