Ernie Banks, Ron Santo and Billy Williams starred for the Cubs from the mid-1950s (Banks) to the mid-1970s (Williams), icons for a generation of Cubs fans. Sadly, only Williams played in the postseason (0-for-7 for the 1975 Athletics), and Santo and Banks passed away before they could see the Cubs win the World Series in 2016.
Here’s where I found this photo:
“Old Days”Cub Legends and HOFers Ernie Banks,Ron Santo and Billy Williams return to the dugout after a HR by Banks during a 1969 game at Wrigley Field.#Cubs #chicago #mlb #WrigleyField #1960s pic.twitter.com/ckhUhhgWMP— Tom's Old Days (@sigg20) November 14, 2020
The tweet says 1969, and that’s easy to confirm — you can see the 100th anniversary MLB patch on the right sleeve of all three players.
Ernie Banks hit 23 home runs in 1969. Fifteen of those were hit at Wrigley Field. Four were hit with two men on base, three of those with Williams and Santo on base.
Two were hit in the famous 19-0 shellacking of the Padres Tuesday, May 13, 1969, one in the first inning, one in the fifth.
The other one happened in a 14-8 win over the Reds Friday, June 6, 1969, in the first inning.
So which one? Weather conditions as reported in the boxscore were the same both days: 60 degrees, cloudy.
The attendance figures likely give it away. The May game had just 5,080 in attendance, while 22,185 paid to see the June game. It’s hard to extrapolate an entire crowd from the small number we see in the background of this photo, but I’m going to say that a crowd of 5,000ish would have seen far fewer people in that part of Wrigley Field. Further, back in that era it seems to me far more likely that a news photographer would have been at a Friday game against a contending team (Reds) than a Tuesday game against the expansion Padres.
So that’s my call: First inning, June 6, 1969.
What I really want to know is: Who’s that guy in the jacket and sunglasses in the Cubs dugout?