Wrigley 100 June 17: Kessinger and The Joy of Six
On this day in 1971, the Cubs prospects didn’t look great as they took the field facing Cardinals ace Steve Carlton and his 10-3 record. Exactly three hours later, they felt a lot better after six straight line drive hits by Don Kessinger led the team to a 7-6 win in 10 innings. The six hits in a game tied a Cub record that has been reached a total of ten times.
Don’s big day:
1st inning: single off Steve Carlton – scored run
2nd inning – RBI single off Carlton
4th inning – single off Carlton
6th inning – single off Carlton
8th inning – double off – scored run
10th inning – single off – scored winning run on Ron Santo single
Kessinger had a feeling the morning of the game, but it wasn’t a confident one. “When I left that morning, I told my wife that maybe today would be a good day to give me a day off, because Steve Carlton was pitching. I had played every inning of every game and I was about oh-for-three-years against him. Then, I went to the park and it turned out to be a day where I got six hits. My sixth hit led off the 10th inning of a tie game and I scored the winning run, so it was a fabulous day.”
Newcomer Burt Hooton made his major league debut for the Cubs that day, three weeks after leaving the University of Texas. Hooton lasted only 3 1/3 innings, but the day belonged to the Cubs light-hitting switch-hitting shortstop who had endured an 0-for-28 slump as a right-handed hitter earlier in the year. As busy as he was at the plate, Kessinger didn’t have an assist in the field.