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Wrigley Field historical sleuthing: Old scoreboard edition

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This is a really good view of the iconic Wrigley board.

Those of us of “a certain age” will certainly remember the Wrigley Field scoreboard of this vintage.

I found this photo on Cubs Reddit and if you check that out you already know the answer to the date of this photo, but I decided to sleuth it before I looked at the answer, and here’s what I found.

In 1982, Tribune Co.’s first year of Cubs ownership, they added a small electronic message board underneath the center field board, so it has to be before then. Also, you see TORONTO on the American League side, and the Blue Jays began play in 1977.

So, 1977-81 is the range of years we’re looking at here.

From there it was fairly simple to look at all the Cubs/Dodgers games at Wrigley in those five seasons in which the Cubs scored at least seven runs. The Dodgers were a pretty good team in those days — winning the NL pennant three of those five years — and won mainly with great pitching. So you will not be surprised to learn that of the 30 games the Cubs played against the Dodgers at Wrigley in those five years, they scored seven or more runs in just three of them. (Overall, the Cubs were 16-14 in those 30 games.) In fact, in those three games they scored 10+ in all of them. This made the search quite easy.

This game was played Sunday, June 10, 1979. As you can see on the board, the Cubs led 7-0 after five innings and went on to win 10-3. Bill Buckner and Dave Kingman homered for the Cubs and this was a good pitching matchup between Rick Reuschel and future Hall of Famer Don Sutton. Reuschel threw six innings and allowed just one run, with Lynn McGlothen throwing the final three innings for a save, his second of 1979 (and career). The Cubs roughed up Sutton for the seven runs you see on the board and he did not complete the fifth inning.

Sutton had a curious career against the Cubs. In his first 14 starts against the Cubs from 1966-69, he was 0-13 with one no-decision (and the Dodgers lost that one, too). But after that he went 18-5 against the Cubs the rest of his career, with a 3.52 ERA in 49 total games (44 starts).

I was also curious about the Montreal/Cincinnati game which is shown in a rain delay at the time this photo was taken. The Retrosheet box score for that game notes there was a 40-minute rain delay, but the game was completed and the Reds won 3-2.

Just another little slice of Cubs/Wrigley history, a moment captured in time, now more than 40 years ago. If you’re interested in knowing who all the other pitchers listed on the board for the out-of-town games were that day, here’s the scorecard back from that series listing those pitchers. (For a larger version click here.) Also, check out the ticket, concession and souvenir prices!