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Cubs historical video: The 1969 season

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Some Hall of Famers are in this Flagstaff Films video.

Flagstaff Films

Here’s another great video from our friends at Flagstaff Films:

This one obviously doesn’t require any date sleuthing because, well, the date’s right there in the tweet.

But now that you know the date, here are the details of exactly what you’re seeing in this excellent video of the game August 16, 1969.

The first batter you see (No. 25) facing Fergie Jenkins is Bobby Bonds. Jenkins strikes him out. That happened in the bottom of the seventh. Jenkins also struck out Bonds in the bottom of the sixth, but the film clearly shows the Cubs leaving the field, so that Bonds K ended the inning. The Bonds K in the sixth led off the inning.

Next, you see Willie Mays (No. 24) hitting a fly ball to deep center field, caught by Don Young. That was the second out of the bottom of the eighth. Interestingly, the Cubs then gave Willie McCovey an intentional walk — with the bases empty! McCovey, who was N.L. MVP in 1969, had been on a tremendous hot streak, hitting .462/.600/1.000 (12-for-26 with four home runs) over his previous nine games, so you can see why the Cubs didn’t want him to beat them in what was a scoreless tie at the time.

Ken Henderson (No. 15) was the next hitter; Fergie walked him, but got out of the inning with no runs scoring.

The Cubs scored three runs in the top of the ninth, all after two were out. Two runners reached and Paul Popovich singled in two runs, and then Fergie batted — something you would never see in 2019 baseball. He reached on an error and two more runs scored.

In the bottom of the ninth, with Fergie still pitching, Dave Marshall (No. 18) singled, but was forced at second by Bob Burda (No. 19), and the last scene shows Fergie leaving the field and being congratulated for completing the shutout, a three-hitter (though with six walks). Fergie threw seven shutouts in 1969, his career best; that was the last one.

After this 3-0 win, the Cubs were 75-44 and led the N.L. East by nine games. Oh, well.

Also of note here is who caught this game. No. 19 for the Cubs is Bill Heath, who started just seven games behind the plate in 1969. Three days later he would be the starting catcher for Ken Holtzman’s no-hitter at Wrigley Field. In the eighth inning of that no-hitter, Heath would take a foul ball off the bat of Tommie Aaron off one of his fingers, breaking it. That was the last MLB appearance for Heath.

This video also gives me the opportunity to note that this year we mark the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Cubs, the team beloved by so many of us from that era even though they never won anything. Throughout this year I’ll have posts on the history of that star-crossed team. It’s hard to believe half a century has gone by.