Last week’s Hit List, submitted for Thursday publication prior to my departure for Milwaukee (hence the holiday traffic title reference) but alas, not run until Friday. The list marks the first time since Opening Day that the Dodgers were not #1; they were one point short of the Rays. Ouch.
Meanwhile, at a Fourth of July barbecue in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, my in-laws challenged me to repeat a recent feat of box score archaeology. As White Sox fans during their pre-Milwaukee days in Chicago, they rarely frequented Wrigley Field, but they recalled a rare visit. It was a game where the Expos’ Warren Cromartie led off with a home run, but only after Cubs third baseman Steve Ontiveros dropped a pop foul and was charged with an error. “That might have been all the scoring,” said my father-in-law.
Bingo: July 4, 1979 — thirty years to the day! It was a low-scoring affair, with Cubs starter Bill Caudill allowing just one other hit besides Cromartie’s homer, an Ellis Valentine solo shot. He wound up on the short end of a 2-1 decision, with Spaceman Bill Lee getting the win. Years later, my brother-in-law recounted, he was getting Caudill’s autograph after he’d moved on down the line and said he’d seen him pitch a good game in Chicago. “Is that the one where Ontiveros dropped the ball?”
They never forget.