12/31 Top 10 Cubs games of the Decade

It’s time to ring in the new year and new decade. In the first 10 years of the 2000s, the Cubs reached the postseason three times (2003, ’07 and ’08), had five managers (counting Rene Lachemann’s one-game in ’02 and Bruce Kimm), and changed ownership. Here are 10 of the most memorable games of the last decade. Agree? Disagree? What’s your favorite game?  

1. Game 5 of National League Division Series, Oct. 5, 2003: For the first time since 1908, the Cubs won a playoff series. Kerry Wood had won Game 1 of the ’03 NLDS when he struck out 11 and hit a two-run double. In the deciding Game 5 on Oct. 5 in front of 54,357 at Turner Field, Wood fanned seven and held the Braves to one run in a 5-1 victory. Aramis Ramirez, a key in-season acquisition from the Pirates, hit a two-run homer.

2. Game 7 of NL Championship Series, Oct. 15, 2003: After the debacle of Game 6 (see No. 3), Wood started the deciding game of the series on Oct. 15, and served up a three-run homer to Miguel Cabrera in the first inning. But Wood gave Cubs fans hope when he hit a two-run homer in the second to tie the game at 3. Moises Alou’s two-run homer in the third opened a 5-3 lead. But the Fish scored three in the fifth and dashed the Cubs’ dream with a 9-6 series-clinching win.

3. Game 6 of NLCS, Oct. 14, 2003: The Cubs led the NLCS against the Marlins, three games to two, and had taken a 3-0 lead in Game 6 in front of 39,577 at Wrigley Field. Then the fateful eighth. Mark Prior started the game and retired the first batter. The Cubs were five outs away from getting to the World Series for the first time since 1945. Juan Pierre doubled, and Luis Castillo popped up, sending a ball to foul territory which fans in the left field seats tried to catch. So did Cubs left fielder Moises Alou. Nobody did, and Castillo walked. Both he and Pierre moved up on a wild pitch by Prior. Ivan Rodriguez hit a RBI single and Miguel Cabrera reached on an error by shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Derrek Lee — yes, the same D-Lee now with the Cubs — delivered a two-run double which tied the game and chased Prior. The Marlins would score eight runs in the inning and win, 8-3.

4. Carlos Zambrano’s no-hitter, Sept. 14, 2008: The Cubs and Astros were relocated to Miller Park in Milwaukee because of hurricane damage to Houston, and 23,441 bought tickets to the last-minute game. What a trip. Big Z struck out 10 and walked one in a 5-0 victory over the Astros, the first no-hitter by a Cubs pitcher since Milt Pappas did so Sept. 2, 1972.

5. Sammy Sosa’s 500th home run, April 4, 2003: In the top of the seventh inning in Cincinnati, Sosa connected off Scott Sullivan for his historic blast, launching a 1-2 fastball over the right-center field wall. It was his first home run of the ’03 season.

6. Greg Maddux’s 300th win, Aug. 7, 2004: Maddux had returned to the Cubs for the 2004 season, and in San Francisco, he became the 22nd pitcher to join the elite 300-win club. The Cubs posted an 8-4 victory over the Giants in front of a sellout crowd of 42,578. Maddux notched the win in his second try.

7. The Ramirez walkoff, June 29, 2007: Aramis Ramirez belts a two-run walkoff homer with two outs in the ninth off Francisco Cordero to power the Cubs to a 6-5 victory over the first-place Brewers in front of 41,909 at Wrigley Field. The win was the Cubs’ seventh straight and boosted them to .500 for the first time since early May. “I know it’s early,” Mark DeRosa said, “but it’s an exciting win for us.”

8. Lou’s first ejection, June 2, 2007: One day after Michael Barrett and Carlos Zambrano scuffled in the dugout, Lou Piniella erupted and was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing a call at third base. It was the first time he was tossed as a Cubs manager and the 60th ejection of his career.

9. The rally vs. the Rockies, May 30, 2008: The Cubs rally from deficits of 8-0 and 9-1 to beat the Colorado Rockies, 10-9, at Wrigley Field. Kosuke Fukudome, Jim Edmonds and Henry Blanco each homered and DeRosa smashed a two-run shot to cap a six-run seventh inning. Ryan Theriot and Aramis Ramirez didn’t start the game and Piniella pulled Derrek Lee and Geovany Soto after the Rockies opened a 9-1 lead in the sixth.

10. The Barrett-Pierzynski game, May 20, 2006: Barrett and A.J. Pierzynski collide at home plate in the second inning of the Cubs’ Interleague game against the White Sox, sparking a bench-clearing fight and four ejections. The White Sox had the bases loaded with one out against Rich Hill at U.S. Cellular Field. Pierzynski raced home on Brian Anderson’s fly ball and barreled into Barrett. Pierzynski slapped the plate with his hand and got up. Barrett grabbed the White Sox catcher and delivered a right punch to the face. The Cubs eventually lost, 7-0.

– Carrie Muskat

22 Comments

I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed I am to see a manager ejection on the top 10 of a decade. That it depressing. Also surprising is Maddux’s 300th win. How that Atlanta Brave has a flag at Wrigley is beyond me.

I would change those oddities with the following:

Cubs defeated the Cardinals on September 20, 2008 to win the division (how many times have they done that?!)

Cubs came back from 8 down to defeat the Rockies in 2008.

Cubs came back from 8 down to defeat the Rockies in 2008, was a great one, but I recall a few games in which they did the same thing. I cannot recall the dates, but I remember that season being amazing in that they just kept coming back.

Thanks and Happy New Year

I like the “fans” tried to catch the ball which is how it should be stated. I think Bartman should get lifetime luxury box seats, and should become our mascot.

cubs just signed byrd!!!!!!!!! you heard it from me first

I agree obout the Maddux flag .. He will be in the Hall someday as a Brave not a Cub .. Cubs gave him away when he was a kid …

You forgot the game in 2001 or 2002 (can’t remember for sure). Rockies at Cubs, night game. “Mongo” McMichael threatens the ump during the 7th inning stretch and gets tossed. The Cubs scored the winning run in the bottom of the 9th when Ricky Gutierrez slipped around 3rd but a rundown between 1st and 2nd allowed him to dash to the plate and he made it home by an inch and the Cubs won. I think Ron Santo almost had a heart attack on the radio at the end of that game!

This decade could’ve been amazing, but the two things that I will remember the most were these two things

1) Bartman in ’03.

2) The collapse in ’08 in the NLDS.

What’s unfortunate is that may be the longstanding memories in Cubs fans when they remember this decade.

top Cubs games of the decade? Easy, the five I went to in Wrigley, the two I went to in Arizona, and the one I went to in Colorado. Win or lose, the best Cubs games are the ones I saw live.

You know what I find to be really sad? DeRosa is named on this list twice and yet at this time last year, Hendry was tossing him aside for Bradley. Two opportunities to get him back, but now he’s a Giant. We miss you, DeRo!

I dont usually complain about other people’s lists, because its their list not mine and its their opinion. But if this is a list of the Cubs “top” games of the decade, how is it that 4 of them are losses. You honestly think that one of the most crushing, dissappointing games in Cubs history is one of their “Top Ten” games of the decade (NLCS Game 6, and 7 for that matter)? And a game in which we lost 7-0 to our archrivals? How is that a top game? I think these should be on a seperate “Bottom Ten” list. You wouldn’t find any of those games anywhere near my top ten list. In fact, Game 6 of the NLCS is definitely the very last on my list of all the games the Cubs played in the 2000s. A “Top Ten” list is supposed to be happy times not bad. This should be Cubs 10 “Most Memorable” or something.

In no particular order, off the top of my head, heres what I got.

-Zambos no-no
-Rally vs. the Rockies
-01 when the Cubs beat someone (I think it was the Rockies) on a crazy game ending play
-Ramirez’s walkoff vs. Milwaukee
-Ramirez’s walkoff vs. the Sox
-NLCS Game 3
-Clinching the division in 08 vs. St. Louis
-The doubleheader against Pittsburgh in which we clinched the division in 03
-Sammy’s 500th
-I remember beating the Yankees in exciting fashion in 03 or something. If I had more time to think I would probably come up with something better.

What about the Randall Simon and the Miller Park Sausages? He was a Pirate at that time of the incident, but came to the Cubs next year. Remember when he was a Cub and bought sausages for a section of Brewers fans at Miller Park as an apology during his first game back to Miller Park.

Maybe he should get an Honorable Mention.

When Muskat got here in 87, was she a part of the contract Dawson signed? He signed for so little because this writer needed a job? *Sigh* Top ten games huh? Some readers here have got it: half her list does not belong. I have no opinion on her half-witted list, only her half-witted writings. She is consistent though.

Tim_cleghorn, I couldn’t agree more. I can’t believe that we got rid of DeRo and still haven’t tried to get him back even with the opportunities. His numbers alone are more than enough reason, but not just that. Look at the times he came through in the clutch, look at the attitude he brought to the team, look at the versatility, look at the connection to the fans. He’s a rare player, and it was a huge mistake to let him go. I know he’s getting older, but he still had/has some good time in him I believe. I’m glad we got Byrd, but I’d rather have DeRo..

joecoolie is right, the win over the Yankees he recalls was in 2003. Roger Clemens had the Cubs shut out 1-0 (maybe 2-0) into the 7th inning. The Cubs got a couple of men on and Eric Karros hit a 3-run homer to give the Cubs the lead, and they held on to win.

Speaking of Clemens against the Cubs, I recall a game when he was with Houston. There was a gale-force win blowing in from left, and Sammy got a hold of one. That ball would have hit the building across Waveland on a calm day, but it barely reached the warning track. That was the hardest hit ball I have ever seen that didn’t leave the yard.

trib09sale – that was an incrdible game, I still have the Newspaper article on it LOL

my favorite game wasn’t even an official game – i’ll never forget that cubs-cardinals game in early 2003 with the wind howling out. matt clement was on the mound for the cubs and i remember tino martinez hitting a routine pop up that the wind threw into the bleachers. the game was eventually rained out but it was a very high scoring game in the 4th inning only.

Why is the comeback against the Rockies so low? That should rank above the ejection of Lou Piniella at least

I WAS AT BTHAT CUBS CARDS GAME THE SCORE WAS 9TO5 CARDS WHEN THEY CALLED IT AND IT WAS MORE LIKE SNOW AND SLEET

The game in September of 2008 vs the Brewers has to be on the list. The Cubs were down 4 with 2 outs and no one on. Then Ramirez hit a “double” that Braun misplayed, DeRosa and Edmonds had hits, then Soto tied it with a homer on the first pitch. Kerry Wood escaped a bases loaded, no out jam and Derrek Lee had the game winning hit in the 11th inning. I hope all of those facts are indeed facts, but I definitely remember it was one heck of a game!

This list is open to debate. Ryan O’Malley’s ML debut game on Aug. 16, 2006, vs. Astros would be on my list of personal favorites (8 IP, 0 R). And I felt the Lou ejection was key because it deflected attention from the Barrett/Zambrano fight the day before and seemed to spark the team in ’07. Maybe tim_cleghorn said it best — his top 10 were games that he attended.

yanks at wrigley, clemens bidding for 300th win and 3,000th K, wood for cubbies, keros 3-run homer to win game. perfect weather. great mix of yankee and cubs fans. it could only have been better if it were game 7 of WS. until then, a cherished memory.

It will be great to watch NLCS: St. Louis Cardinals, i have bought tickets from
http://ticketfront.com/event/NLCS_St_Louis_Cardinals-tickets looking forward to it.

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