When John Baker showed up at Wrigley Field on Tuesday, his expectations probably weren’t too high.
After all, the Cubs backup catcher had appeared in just 47 games in 2014 and likely expected another night off as his Chicago Cubs took on the Colorado Rockies.
Boy, was he wrong.
Baker ended up playing a remarkably key role in the longest game in Cubs history, a 6-hour, 27-minute affair that ended in the 16th inning with a 4-3 Chicago win.
Entering the 16th inning having already used eight pitchers, Cubs manager Rick Renteria turned to Baker. The 33-year-old backup catcher held down the fort, inducing an inning-ending double play to keep the score tied at 3-3.
Naturally, Baker was the first batter in the bottom of the 16th and got things going with a walk. Three batters later, Starlin Castro hit a fly ball to right field deep enough to allow Baker to race home from third with the winning run.
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For those scoring at home, that means Baker not only earned the win as a pitcher in his first-ever appearance, but scored the game-winning run after his only plate appearance. That’s a pretty efficient night.
If Baker has someone to thank for making his heroics possible, though, it might be Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon.
If it wasn’t for Blackmon’s leaping catch on a line drive in the gap in the 10th inning, everyone would’ve gone home earlier and Baker would’ve never gotten his shot at glory. Thanks, Charlie.
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Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@MLBFanCave