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Cubs historical sleuthing: Bill Buckner edition

Just when did Billy Buck score this run?

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Getty Images says:

Bill Buckner #22 of the Chicago Cubs scores against the San Francisco Giants during an Major League Baseball game circa 1983 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.

In this case Getty happens to be correct — this photo was, in fact, taken in 1983.

Narrowing this one down was very easy because of the catcher shown. That’s John Rabb, who was a backup catcher for the Giants from 1982-84.

In those years Rabb played in just one game for the Giants against the Cubs at Candlestick Park. That was the first game of a doubleheader July 10, 1983.

Bill Buckner went 3-for-5 and scored twice in that game. So which of the two runs is this?

For that we go to clue number two, the pitcher standing at the right backing up the play. That’s Jim Barr, who pitched in relief that day, one inning, the fifth. (Curiously, “Rabb” and “Barr” have the same letters in their names.)

Buckner led off that inning with a single and scored on Leon Durham’s double. That’s what we’re looking at here. The run gave the Cubs a 7-3 lead.

Unfortunately, they couldn’t hold it. Steve Trout and Mike Proly were touched up for three runs in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 7-6 and the Giants scored two more off Proly and Warren Brusstar in the seventh to take an 8-7 lead. A Keith Moreland sac fly tied the game in the top of the eighth, but the Giants scored two off Bill Campbell in the bottom of the inning and won the game 10-8. The Cubs lost the nightcap, too, 4-2. That was in the middle of a stretch where the ‘83 Cubs lost nine of 10 after getting to within one game of .500 and two games out of first place on July 3.

This Bill Buckner run scored in Game 1 of a doubleheader in San Francisco Sunday, July 10, 1983.