In a season in which the Cubs flirted with a franchise-record losing streak and even set a record for their longest home skid (13), they made more history in their 2021 finale Sunday in St. Louis.
Catcher Tyler Payne pinch hit in the fifth inning, becoming the 68th Cubs player to appear in a game this season. That broke a tie with the 2019 Mariners for most players used in a season in MLB history.
It didn't take long for the Cubs to extend the record. Reliever Joe Biagini became the 69th player when he took the mound in the bottom half of the fifth.
The Cubs' previous franchise record was 56, set back in 2013.
"I saw something before the game, the lineup from Day 1 and 162," Ian Happ said. "I think I might have been the only guy who was in there for both of them, which is crazy. Crazy year."
With Payne and Biagini playing Sunday, 44 players made their Cubs debuts in 2021 — 10 more than the previous franchise record set back in 2013.
The Cubs promoted Payne from Triple-A Iowa Sunday — he was with them in St. Louis on their taxi squad — after placing Willson Contreras on the 10-day injured list with right hip inflammation.
They called up Biagini from Iowa Saturday, activating him from the taxi squad, after Tommy Nance became the fifth player to go on the injured list without a designation amid the club's COVID-19 outbreak.
Catcher Erick Castillo and infielders Trent Giambrone and Tyler Ladendorf also made their Cubs debuts this week.
"With the group that we finished with, I think a lot of awesome stories," Happ said.
"Between, [Patrick Wisdom], Frank [Schwindel], T. Payne coming up and getting that start, Castillo — a guy that I played with in the minor leagues at different levels and seeing him get a couple big-league hits — those are really cool moments that you get to experience."
It was an up and down season for the Cubs but it certainly provided plenty of memorable moments.