MILWAUKEE — During a discussion about holds and other changing stats in baseball this afternoon in Jim Tracy’s office at Miller Park, someone mentioned the GWRBI, which was boxscore lingo for game-winning run batted in. GWRBI was an official stat from 1980-88, but was discontinued because it was awkward and kind of a cheap stat.
A GWRBI was awarded to a player who drove in a run which gave his team a lead it never relinquished. For example, Whiffer McStrike bloops a run-scoring single in the first inning to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead. He pulls his hammy running to first base and leaves the game. In the eighth inning, Joe Blow hits a grand slam to make it 17-11. The Pirates never trail or are tied, and win 17-16. Was Whiffer’s RBI really the game-winner? According to the stat book back in the ’80s, it would’ve been.
Like I said, a dumb stat.
“One of my home runs, as a matter of fact, was a … what’d you call it?” Tracy said.
On Sept. 27, 1980, Tracy, then a rookie with the Chicago Cubs, homered in the seventh inning at Wrigley Field off Pirates pitcher Jim Bibby. The ball landed in the wire mesh along the top of the outfield wall.
“Bibby was going for his 20th win that day, and we beat him 1-0,” Tracy said. “It was against the wind. It hit it the other way. A tisket, a tasket, I hit one in the basket.”
It was the third — and final — home run of Tracy’s brief career in the majors. He played in 87 games for the Cubs in 1980 and ’81, and batted .249 (46 for 185) with 14 RBI.
This is wild: all three of Tracy’s homers came in a span of seven days. He went deep against the Phillies’ Dick Ruthven on Sept. 21, the Expos’ Bill Gullickson on Sept. 25 and Bibby.