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Cubs historical sleuthing: Rick Reuschel edition

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“Big Daddy” at bat.

Photo by H. Armstrong Roberts/Classicstock/Getty Images

The information included with this Getty Images photo is... not really grammatically correct:

1970s Strike Batter Missing The Pitched Ball Philadelphia Phillies And Chicago Cubs Baseball Game Veterans Stadium Philadelphia Pa USA

Well, I suppose it could have been fixed with a little punctuation:

1970s. Strike. Batter Missing The Pitched Ball. Philadelphia Phillies And Chicago Cubs Baseball Game, Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia Pa, USA

Nah, that’s still not very good.

Anyway, that’s obviously Veterans Stadium, and even more obviously, that’s Rick Reuschel batting for the Cubs. You can see the Cubs 1876-1976 centennial patch on his sleeve, so we’re looking at a game from 1976.

The catcher is Tim McCarver, who was in a pretty good “second act” for the Phillies in the late 1970s after years with the Cardinals. From 1976-78 he hit .283/.396/.438 in 579 plate appearances and caught for the Phillies in three straight NLCS.

Reuschel pitched two games in Veterans Stadium in 1976 where McCarver was the Phillies’ catcher. Which one?

There are two clues. First, only one of those was a day game, and we’re clearly looking at a day game. But the other good clue is the plate umpire. That’s Doug Harvey, a MLB umpire from 1962-92 who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2010.

So this swing-and-miss by Reuschel happened Thursday, July 29, 1976. While we don’t have any specific indications during which of Reuschel’s four at-bats that afternoon this happened, but given that we can still see a bit of the batters’ box chalk, I’m guessing it would have been his first at-bat, which happened leading off the top of the third inning. Reuschel did, in fact, strike out facing Steve Carlton in that at-bat.

The 1976 Cubs weren’t very good, while the Phillies were headed to a NL East title. The game went to extras tied 2-2, and Reuschel threw the 10th inning. Just nine other Cubs have thrown 10 innings in a game since then, none since Mike Bielecki in 1990.

The Phillies won the game 3-2 in the 11th on an RBI single by... McCarver.