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Cubs historical sleuthing: Roger Clemens edition

He’s still a baseball villain... but also was a great pitcher.

This photo was also sent to me by Joseph Boyle, who sent the one I posted here on Sunday.

So there’s the first clue — it very likely came from the same series.

The pitcher is clearly Roger Clemens. Clemens pitched in five games in Wrigley Field as a member of the Astros from 2004-06 — that’s clearly a Houston uniform he’s wearing.

Indeed, Clemens started against the Cubs Wednesday, June 2, 2004, the day after the game depicted in the Sunday post.

So let’s see if the other things we see in the photo match that date.

The third baseman is wearing No. 26. That’s Mike Lamb — but Lamb also played third base in a Cubs/Astros game started by Clemens August 28, 2004. What about the other players visible?

I sent this photo along to Mike Bojanowski to see if he could find anything else. Here’s what he told me:

The left fielder is a left-handed thrower, that’s Lance Berkman (6/2), and not Craig Biggio (8/28). The shortstop is a double-digit number, first digit 2, second digit obscured. This is Adam Everett (No. 28, 6/2). and not Jose Vizcaino (No. 10, 8/28).

The clincher was the plate umpire. Mike Fichter, a vacation-relief umpire, wore No. 80 that year, and that’s definitely an “8” as the first digit on his sleeve. Fichter was the plate umpire in the June 2 game, so that confirms we are looking at a photo from June 2, 2004.

The batter is lefthanded, and has a number beginning with “2” — that’s Corey Patterson.

Now here’s where we get into a bit of conjecture.

Patterson faced Clemens three times that afternoon, leading off the inning each time, in the third, fifth and seventh. The at-bats wound up, in order, in a ground ball to short and two infield popups. Since he was the leadoff hitter of the inning, there aren’t any baserunners who could give us clues as to which inning this was.

What other clues are in the photo?

Look at the bleacher crowd. It’s still fairly crowded out there. The Cubs were trailing 4-1 going into the bottom of the seventh; it’s a reasonable assumption (though just an assumption) that the crowd would have thinned out a bit after the seventh-inning stretch in a game the Cubs were losing.

Other than that, though, we don’t really know. I lean toward the third inning, the first of Patterson’s three at-bats vs. Clemens, but that’s just a hunch, nothing more.

Which at-bat do you think we’re looking at here? And why?


This photo is of Corey Patterson’s at-bat vs. Roger Clemens on June 2, 2004, in the...

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    ... third inning
    (46 votes)
  • 24%
    ... fifth inning
    (19 votes)
  • 16%
    ... seventh inning
    (13 votes)
78 votes total Vote Now