Trister: Mike Montgomery traded, but place in Cubs history secure

From Noah Trister at the Associated Press on July 22, 2019:

It took 108 years for the Cubs to end their championship drought, so the final play of that 2016 World Series won’t be forgotten any time soon.

Mike Montgomery, who at that point had no saves in his big league career, got Michael Martinez to hit a weak grounder for the last out of Game 7 in Cleveland. Chicago won 8-7 in 10 innings.

Montgomery was traded to Kansas City this past week in a deal that sent Martin Maldonado to the Cubs, closing the book on the left-hander’s stint in Chicago. Although he hasn’t had a very effective 2019 season, Montgomery’s place in Cubs lore is secure because of his contribution to the title team.

He’s also part of an interesting bit of trivia. No, it’s not about who threw the last pitch of the 2016 World Series. This goes back much further.

The Society for American Baseball Research defines a “Golden Pitch” as any time the pitching team and the hitting team both have a chance to win the World Series on a given pitch. It’s obviously rare. It requires a winner-take-all game at the end of the World Series. The home team has to be trailing and down to its last at-bat, with the winning run either batting or on base.

Montgomery’s situation qualified, because the Indians had a man on first, and a home run by Martinez would have flipped the outcome. According to SABR, Montgomery was the eighth pitcher to throw a Golden Pitch: The others were Christy Mathewson (1912), Pete Alexander (1926), Ralph Terry (1962), Rollie Fingers (1972), Jose Mesa (1997), Mariano Rivera (2001) and Madison Bumgarner (2014).

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Originally published: July 24, 2019. Last Updated: July 24, 2019.