Chicago Cubs rightfielder Jorge Soler reached base in his first nine career postseason plate appearances, an MLB record that is still active heading into Tuesday’s game.
The previous record of five was achieved several times, most recently by Johnny Damon in 2001.
Both Soler and Damon played in the Midwest League. Soler batted .338 with 3 HR and 15 RBI in 20 games with the 2012 Peoria Chiefs. Damon was the MWL Prospect of the Year in 1993, when he batted .290 with 5 HR, 50 RBI and 59 SB in 127 games for the Rockford Royals.
Soler was one of six different Cubs players to homer in Monday’s National League Division Series game vs. the St. Louis Cardinals. It was the first time in MLB postseason history that any team hit six home runs in one game, and the first time five or more different players homered for the same team in the same playoff game.
Kyle Schwarber, Starlin Castro, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Dexter Fowler are the other five players who homered for the Cubs. Of them, only Schwarber played in the Midwest League, which I wrote about here last week.
Jeff Passan, MLB columnist for Yahoo Sports, wrote an interesting story about the six men who caught the Cubs’ home-run balls Monday. (You can read it here.) I mention that here because the man who caught Bryant’s homer — Dr. Jim Gatto of Wisconsin — has an uncle who played six seasons in the Cubs organization, including two years in Clinton.
George Gatto played third base for the Clinton Cubs in 1947 and 1948, batting .239 in 205 games. Clinton was part of the Central Association at that time, and won the league championship both years Gatto played there. Gatto played three more years in the minor leagues, for the Mississippi-Ohio Valley League’s Centralia team. The MOVL changed its name to the Midwest League in 1956, two years after Clinton joined the league.
Clinton is the only current MWL team that was part of the league when it became known as the Midwest League in 1956. Clinton teams have played at Riverview Stadium (now known as Ashford University Field) since the ballpark was built as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project in 1937.