Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cup of Coffee: Dave Owen

Every Thursday the JOBC blog features stories about players who only got a "cup of coffee" with the Cubs. If you'd like anyone featured, by all means, drop me a line at rick (at) justonebadcentury (dot) com.

This week's Fan of the Week video is all about the famous Ryne Sandberg game, which took place 24 years ago this week. In the video, an obscure Cub named Dave Owen is mentioned.

Dave Owen was a rarely used backup infielder on the Cubs in 1983, 1984, and 1985. In his Cubs career Owen had a grand total of 134 at bats, with one home run, 16 RBI, and a batting average of .194. One of those 16 RBIs however, will go down in history because of when it occurred.

Ryne Sandberg famously hit a home run off the best relief pitcher in baseball (Bruce Sutter) to tie the nationally televised game on June 23, 1984 in the bottom of the ninth. After the Cardinals scored again in the top of the tenth, Sandberg hit another home run off Sutter to tie it again in the bottom of the tenth. It's the game that propelled him to the MVP award, and made his career. Whitey Herzog said after the game that Sandberg was the best player he had ever seen.

But Sandberg didn't win the game for the Cubs that day, he merely tied it. In the bottom of the 11th inning, little used backup infielder Dave Owen came to the plate with the bases loaded and hit a single, which knocked in the winning run. Considering the importance of the game in a Hall of Famer's career, Dave Owen cemented his place in Chicago Cubs history.

He may have only had a cup of coffee in the big leagues, but he made it count.