This photo came to me from BCB reader Ron Sklansky, who’s on the right, with his son on the left.
This is what he told me:
I actually know the year of the attached photo, but I don’t know which game this is because even with the help of a magnifying glass I can’t read the scoreboard or the banner in the right field corner.
Of course, I didn’t want to know the year, since that’s the fun of sleuthing!
Ron’s right — you can’t read the scoreboard.
Well, except for one thing. You can read the name and statistics on the message board beneath the iconic center-field scoreboard.
First, though, a note. You can also see the much-disliked Toyota sign behind the bleachers. As I noted last week, that dates this photo to between June 2010 and the end of the 2014 season.
The following is legible on the message board:
AVG. 257 HR 9 RBI 27
All right, that’s helpful. Scott Hairston, as you probably remember, played for the Cubs in 2013. But he was pretty terrible — I didn’t recall him ever hitting anywhere near .257 that year. Eventually, the Cubs traded him to the Nationals for minor league pitcher Ivan Pineyro. Pineyro was swapped to the Marlins in 2015 (along with Elliot Soto) for Dan Haren. Pineyro never played in the big leagues.
Back to the photo: The team in the field in the photo is wearing white uniforms — thus, the visitors have to be batting. So, which visiting team is this for Hairston?
One thing you can read on the scoreboard is the batter’s number — 12. Hairston wore No. 12 playing for the Padres in 2010, but at the time they played in Wrigley that year, his numbers didn’t match what was on the board.
He also played for the Mets in 2012 wearing No. 12, and that’s where we have our match.
Hairston entered the game on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 with the exact numbers noted above.
So what we are looking at, behind the photo of the two men, is Scott Hairston batting in the top of the second inning of that 2012 game, his first at-bat that afternoon. There was one out at the time. Result of the at-bat: Ground out to third base.
The result of the game? Uh... the Cubs lost 17-1, one of the lowest points of that horrid 101-loss season. Hairston went 2-for-5 with a home run and four RBI.
After I emailed Ron back with the date, he told me:
It’s no wonder I wanted to forget that one and why I couldn’t find my scorecard for the game. That was the only time I threw one out in disgust. Every time I saw Jeff Samardzija pitch in person he was awful. I know it was the first year of the rebuild, but he, and the managerial decision to allow him to get pounded in the 5th, spoiled an otherwise beautiful, warm, sunny day.