Chicago Cubs: San Francisco Giants
There are two obvious candidates for the best moment between these two old National League foes, so I’ll just focus on those. The first one is the 1998 NL Wild Card tiebreaker game at Wrigley Field. 1998 was a magical year on the north side of Chicago, but a lot of people forget that the Giants had to make up five games on the Cubs with just ten games to go to force the tiebreaker game, held at Wrigley Field since the Cubs won a coinflip.
Steve Trachsel had an awful September, yet he came through for them with a strong performance in this game while a late Giants rally fell just short as the Cubs won, 5-3. They were quickly swept in the NLDS against the Atlanta Braves, yet I might not be a Cubs fan if it weren’t for this game. I was 13 years old, and my interest in the team was fading after the miserable 1997 season.
As great as that game was, the best Cubs-Giants moment has to come from the 2016 NLDS. Game 1 was an incredible back-and-forth pitching duel between Jon Lester and Johnny Cueto, and the Cubs eventually came out on top thanks to a Javier Baez eighth-inning home run. The Cubs won Game 2, but the Giants won Game 3 and lead Game 4 in San Francisco 5-2 after eight, leading some to believe the Giants could bring back that “even year” magic.
Then there was the most incredible, seemingly most improbable four-run ninth-inning rally that shocked even the most optimistic of Cubs faithful. Aroldis Chapman sealed the deal in the bottom of the ninth as the Cubs advanced to the NLCS for the second straight year. More people will remember the NLCS and the World Series, which were great in their own right, but that rally was one of those magical moments that we simply cannot forget.