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Cubs historical sleuthing: Glenn Beckert edition

This is a very early photo of the Cubs second baseman from the 1960s.

Bettmann / Contributor

Getty Images supplied most of the clues necessary for sleuthing this photo, so I present them and then will have some further explanation of what you’re seeing above.

Glenn Beckert of the Cubs makes head first dive back to 2nd base just in time as Cincinnati Reds 2nd baseman Pete Rose attempts tag in 1st inning of game in Wrigley Field here 4/22. Throw was from Reds’ catcher Don Pavletich. Umpire is Chris Pelekoudas.

With a date that made things fairly easy. This game happened Thursday, April 22, 1965. Beckert, inserted in the leadoff spot in the lineup that afternoon, singled and stole second. It’s not clear from the angle of the photo whether this is his initial slide into second, or whether he overslid the base and then got back safely.

Two outs later Beckert scored on a single by Billy Williams to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

After the tragic death of Ken Hubbs in a plane crash in February 1964, the Cubs were desperate to find a second baseman. That year, second base wound up split between Joe Amalfitano (81 starts), Jim Stewart (55 starts) and Ron Campbell (24 starts). None of those guys was the long-term solution.

Beckert, who the Cubs had selected from the Red Sox in a minor-league draft (then called a “first-year player draft”) in November 1962, had played in A ball for the Cubs in 1963. Jumped to Triple-A in 1964, he hit well enough to be promoted to the major leagues in 1965. This game was just his ninth major-league game and it’s likely this is the earliest surviving photo of Beckert.

Beckert singled again in the eighth, moved to second on a sacrifice and scored on another Williams single to give the Cubs a 3-2 lead, which was the final score. Just 3,813 paid to see this Cubs early-season win. The ‘65 Cubs muddled around .500 until mid-May, but eventually lost 90 games, perhaps the final impetus for P.K. Wrigley to hire Leo Durocher as manager after that season ended.