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Cubs historical sleuthing: Shea Stadium edition

Just when did this play happen?

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Getty Images gives us these details about this photo:

John Milner #28 of the New York Mets stretches to take the throw at first base against the Chicago Cubs during a Major League Baseball game circa 1974 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City.

Right away I can tell you that’s not correct. That’s Don Kessinger running to first base, and the only year the Cubs wore the uniforms shown here, with the red-white-and-blue piping on the sleeves, was 1972.

So this photo has to be from that year.

The Cubs played nine games against the Mets at Shea in 1972. Two of those were night games and this is obviously from a day game, so now we’re down to seven.

Of those seven games, John Milner played in only three, but in one of the three, he played right field.

Now we’re down to just two games. Kessinger did not play in one of those two.

So that leaves just one game where this play could have happened — Sunday, August 6, 1972.

Kessinger went 2-for-3 with a walk that afternoon. He singled to center in the first inning — that’s not what we see here. He grounded out second to first in the third inning, walked in the fifth and doubled to left-center in the eighth.

The only one of those plays that matches what we see here is the ground out. It must have been a ground ball toward the middle of the infield, where Mets second baseman Ken Boswell had to move to his right and quickly throw to get Kessinger at first.

So this is from the third inning of the game on August 6, 1972. The Cubs got blown out 11-2; Ron Santo accounted for one of the runs with a homer, his 24th of the year.

Just another little slice of Cubs history from more than 50 years ago.