Tim Wallach was a California guy, through and through. He was born in Huntington Beach, went to California State in Fullerton, and was even selected in the 8th round of the 1978 draft by the California Angels. Wallach chose, however, to return to college and increase his stock, and it paid off. In 1979, Wallach was a first-round pick (10th overall) of the Montreal Expos. Have fun in the frozen tundra of Canada, SURFER BOY.
Wallach was assigned to the AA Memphis Chicks (HA HA!) and batted .327/.417/.630 with 18 home runs and 51 RBIs in only 257 at-bats. In 1980, he was promoted to the AAA Denver Bears. He destroyed AAA pitching to the tune of a .281/.343/.576 slash line, 36 home runs, and 124 RBIs in 575 plate appearances.
The Expos called up the 22-year-old when the rosters expanded at the end of the 1980 season. Wallach made his Major League debut on September 6, 1980, against the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park. With the Expos already blowing out the Giants 8-0 in the fourth inning, manager Dick Williams inserted Wallach to replace Ron LeFlore in left field.
In his first MLB plate appearance, Wallach drew a walk. In his first MLB at-bat, however, Wallach launched a solo home run to give the Expos a 9-0 lead that they would hold.
Wallach was on the Expos’ Opening-Day roster at the start of the 1981 season, and his first appearance against the Cubs came on May 22 of that year. Wallach started at third base and batted seventh in front of everyone’s favorite base coach, Chris Speier. In Wallach’s very first at-bat against the Cubs, he lined a base hit off of Cubs starter Mike Krukow to load the bases in the second inning of a scoreless game. Wallach was then along for the ride when Speier doubled to clear the bases and give the Expos a 3-0 lead. In the fifth inning, Wallach singled with a runner on second to collect his first of many RBIs against the Cubs and to give the Expos a 6-0 lead. The Expos beat the Cubs 6-3, and Wallach finished the game 2-5 with a run, an RBI, and a unquenchable thirst for more Cub pitching.
Wallach spent thirteen seasons in Montreal, hitting 204 home runs and driving in 905 RBIs. In the 1991 and 1992 seasons, however, Wallach hit only .224/.294/.333 and averaged 11 home runs and 66 RBIs over those two seasons. After the 1992 season, the Expos traded Wallach to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Tim Barker.
After another disappointing 1993 season, Wallach bounced back in 1994 to hit .280/.356/.502 while driving in 23 home runs and 78 RBIs. After the 1995 season, Wallach was granted his free agency and subsequently signed with the California Angels. Just before the trade deadline in 1996, the Angels granted Wallach free agency. He was picked back up by the Dodgers, and finished out the 1996 season with the Dodgers before riding off into the baseball sunset.
Throughout the course of his career against the Cubs, Wallach batted .275/.342/.461. Wallach has scored more runs against the Cubs (93) than he did against any other team but the St. Louis Cardinals (102), and he did it in about 70 fewer plate appearances. Wallach’s 213 hits against the Cubs are second only to those he has against the New York Mets (229) and Philadelphia Phillies (222). Wallach has more home runs (31) against the Cubs than he does against any other team. Against teams he faced at least a dozen times, his .275 batting average is fourth-best, and both his .461 SLG and his .342 OBP are second-best. Wallach’s 357 total bases against the Cubs are the most he has against anyone else in the league. In fact, the only thing the Cubs could do right against Wallach was throw him out. Wallach stole only three bases against the Cubs and was caught stealing an astonishing thirteen times. That’s good managing.
At Wrigley Field, Wallach was even better. Twenty-one of Wallach’s 31 anti-Cub home runs were hit at Wrigley, more than at any visiting ballpark during his career. Wallach slugged .491 at Wrigley, collecting more total bases (208) at Wrigley than he did at any other opponent’s ballpark. WHY DID EXPOS PLAYERS HATE THE CUBS SO VERY MUCH?
Why You Should Hate Him: April 15, 1986. Dennis Eckersley and the Cubs rolled in to Olympic Stadium to face Jay Tibbs and the Expos. Eckersley was cruising along, and had a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the 7th inning. Wallach already had a single on the day, but had a chance to face Eckersley with runners at the corners and one out. Wallach hit a three-run homer to left-center field to tie the game. The game remained tied into the bottom of the 11th, when Lee Smith put Dan Schatzeder on second base with a walk and a passed ball. And, hey, if the 1984 season was still sticking in your craw, Leon Durham made a crucial error to put runners on first and third with no one out. Smith was forced to intentionally walk Wallach to set up forces anywhere. Smith WASN’T forced to walk Mitch Webster, though. But he did. The walk-off walk sent the Montreal crowd home happy with a 4-3 win.
Did You Know? Wallach’s role as a Cub annoyance continues even beyond his playing career. Wallach was the 2009 Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year while coaching the Albuquerque Isotopes, right between former Iowa Cub managers Pat Listach and Ryne Sandberg.