The Marquee Network, which just launched earlier Saturday afternoon, has promised us some vintage Cubs games and highlights.
You have probably seen this clip from the very first show that ran on the network:
A Network as Dedicated as You... It's on! pic.twitter.com/5YpLSbIiYB— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) February 22, 2020
This is a well-produced video that includes old and new highlights and messages from current and former Cubs players, narrated by Billy Williams.
What caught my eye was a clip within this video that didn’t run more than two or three seconds. It starts at just after :08 into the video. Here’s this very brief clip [VIDEO].
Now, you might not think there’s enough information in that video to identify the players or the date of this game. Ah, but there is. This is the first time I’ve tried to do this with a video clip as opposed to a still photo.
The catcher has a “1” as his second number. This clip is clearly from the 1960s or 1970s, as the Cubs are still wearing uniforms with belts (they didn’t from 1972 through 1989). The only Cubs catcher in that entire time frame who wore a number ending in “1” is Jack Hiatt, who was only with the Cubs for a few months in 1970.
Watch the clip and you can clearly see who the visiting player is: Dick Allen, and that’s a Cardinals uniform. You can’t see the front, but the numbering style is the one the Cardinals used in that era. Allen played for the Cardinals for just one year, 1970.
All right, that narrows things down. Hiatt caught all four games of a Wrigley series against the Cardinals, June 19-21, 1970 (June 21 was a doubleheader).
But which game from that series is this? I immediately eliminated the second game of the doubleheader, which started after 4 p.m., because of the shadows.
Now scroll the video back and forth. It seems pretty clear the second number on the pitcher’s jersey is “6”.
That has to be Joe Decker, who started the first game of that series, Friday, June 19, 1970. Given the shadows and bright sunshine, that clip pretty much has to be Allen’s at-bat in the first inning against Decker. He swings and misses — you can see Hiatt catching the ball. Allen eventually walked in that at-bat.
That game was quite notable. It went 17 innings. The Cubs lost when Steve Barber — another short-timer in Chicago, he pitched in only five games for the Cubs — gave up a two-run single to Ted Simmons in the top of the 17th.
Thanks for this great video, Marquee. Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got in your library.