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Cubs historical sleuthing: Jerry Martin edition

When did this play at second base happen?

Bettmann / Contributor

Getty Images says:

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Dave Concepcion leaps over Chicago Cubs Gary Martin as he slides in at 2nd, on the front end of a double play, during the second inning of the first game of a doubleheader in Chicago, Illinois.

Well, first of all, the name of the Cubs player is wrong. It’s Jerry Martin, not “Gary Martin.”

Martin played for the Cubs in 1979 and 1980 and during those years, the Cubs played 12 games against the Reds in Wrigley Field. Martin played in all 12 of those games.

However... we are given a clue:

during the second inning of the first game of a doubleheader

So that narrows things down quite a bit. There were only two Cubs/Reds doubleheaders in those years: July 7, 1979 and September 6, 1980.

Thus I had to look at only two games. Martin didn’t bat in the second inning of the first game in that 1979 doubleheader, so this has to be from 1980.

Sure enough, Martin singled in the second inning of that game, following a leadoff single by Jim Tracy. But Tim Blackwell followed with a double play ball, and that’s what we are seeing here, Martin sliding into second trying to break up that DP.

1980 was a bad year for the Cubs. They lost 98 games, which was then third-worst in franchise history. But they came from behind to win this game. Trailing 3-1 going into the bottom of the eighth, the Cubs scored a run in that inning on a Reds error, then tied it in the bottom of the ninth on an RBI double by Mike Vail.

In the 10th, Bruce Sutter set the Reds down scoreless, and in the bottom of the inning, Bill Buckner led off with a single, then Cliff Johnson was hit by a pitch.

Carlos Lezcano then laid down a bunt, but Reds third baseman Ray Knight threw it away and the Cubs won 4-3.

The play you see at the top of this post happened in the first game of a doubleheader Saturday, September 6, 1980.

UPDATE: Mike Bojanowski sent me his scorecard and ticket stub from this game and said, “Won’t see this again, unless they change the rules back. A full Sept roster, bench emptying during a doubleheader.”

For a larger version of the scorecard click here.