With MLB on hiatus for an extended period of time, I thought I’d bring back the sleuthing posts. This photo was sent to me on Twitter (see original source below). Again, if you have any old Cubs or Wrigley Field photos you’d like to see me sleuth here, send them to me by Twitter or email.
Now this is a photo of an era in Chicago sports. The “CHICAGO” usher at the right, part of the Andy Frain system, a company that ran sports security for decades for Chicago teams until they took security under their own umbrellas in recent years.
The game in the photo was relatively easy to sleuth out. There are still 16 teams in the major leagues, eight in each, but a lot of the franchise movement of the 1950s has happened. Teams are in Baltimore, Kansas City, Los Angeles and San Francisco. There are only three years when that setup existed: 1958, 1959 and 1960.
From there it was pretty easy to figure the date of this game. It’s obviously summer (ivy full and fans in summer clothing), that eliminates April and most May dates.
So I just had to find the game that matched the score on the board. It’s 2-0, the Cubs are losing to Milwaukee in the top of the third inning.
This game took place Saturday, July 23, 1960. The Braves were good that year and the Cubs weren’t. Future Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews is the batter. There’s a runner on first base with two out. Mathews eventually flied to center to end the inning. The Braves won the game 3-0, and Juan Pizarro, who would later pitch for the Cubs, threw 8⅓ innings and struck out 12. He was relieved by Ron Piche with one out in the ninth and the tying run at the plate. Piche got Richie Ashburn and Sammy Taylor to ground out to end the game.
The most interesting thing in this photo isn’t shown at the top of this post. Here’s the full version:
Now there’s a snapshot in time, fans clothed in the garb of 60 years ago watching the game. You can see the actual “box” seats — railings around groups of seats creating a “box.” Up to 1965 the lower box seats at Wrigley were folding chairs like these.
The seating sections are noted as “BOX 106” and “BOX 107.” Those numbers were changed in the early 1970s, as noted on this 1978 seating chart:
The seats shown in the photo are fairly close to the wall (which you can see in the photo) and are in the lower boxes, what would be the club box seats now, probably in the area around where sections 29 and 30 are in the 1978 seating chart above. That area is currently section 31/32:
Just another slice of Wrigley Field life that honestly doesn’t look much different from the view from that area would have been in 2019, except for hairstyles, the way fans dressed, the center-field hitters background and the scoreboard being a bit different. You could have taken a photo from that location in 2019 and had much the same look. Of course, the shirt-and-tie CHICAGO usher wouldn’t have been there, either.
After I wrote all this, I got pointed to some further photos on Facebook and realized this is the second time I’d sleuthed this particular game. Here’s the previous post from December 2018 showing Ron Santo at bat and Ernie Banks on deck.
And here are the rest of the photos from the set, with, among other things, a great look at the marquee in its aqua-blue days and a better look at how those “boxes” around the box seats were set up:
Credit where credit is due: Here is the original source of the photos.