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Cubs historical sleuthing: Bill Buckner edition

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Here’s Buckner scoring in a game at San Francisco. But when?

Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Here’s what Getty Images supplied as a caption with this photo:

Bill Buckner #22 of the Chicago Cubs scores against the San Francisco Giants during an [sic] Major League Baseball game circa 1983 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Buckner played for the Cubs from 1977-84.

Well, that’s clearly Bill Buckner, and it’s clearly at Candlestick Park, so those are correct.

We have a number of other clues in this photo, notably the catcher, and a player backing him up. The catcher is John Rabb, who played for the Giants from 1982-84, and the backup player is Jim Barr, who pitched that afternoon.

Barr pitched in six games against the Cubs in 1982 and 1983, the only years Buckner would have worn that uniform at Candlestick in a game Barr pitched. Buckner would have worn that uniform in 1984 until he was traded, but Barr’s career ended after 1983, so we can eliminate that year.

Meanwhile, Rabb played in only two games in 1982, neither of which was against the Cubs, so the caption’s year is correct — this happened in 1983.

Just two games in 1983 had Buckner playing vs. the Giants at Candlestick when Barr was pitching — Saturday, July 9, 1983 and the first game of a doubleheader Sunday, July 10, 1983. Both were day games. Rabb, though, did not play in the July 9 game.

Rabb was the starting catcher in that July 10 game, and Barr threw one inning — the fifth.

And checking the play-by-play, Buckner led off the top of the fifth inning with a single and scored on a Leon Durham double, so that’s what we’re looking at here.

That run gave the Cubs a 7-3 lead, which they proceeded to blow. The Giants scored seven runs from the fifth through eighth innings and won the game 10-8.

Just another little slice of Cubs history.