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Cubs historical sleuthing: Partial uniform edition

Just who is this Cubs player?

Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Getty Images says:

Steve Sax #3 of the Los Angeles Dodgers attempts a double play against the Chicago Cubs during a 1985 season game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.

So, not only do we need to find out what game this was, but — who is that Cubs player?

Operating under the assumption that “1985” is correct, I went and looked. Four of the six games the Cubs played at Dodger Stadium in 1985 were night games, so that leaves just two games to look at.

The Cubs player’s number ends in “5.” There were two players (other than pitchers, who I didn’t think would be involved in a play like this) who wore numbers like that in 1985 for the Cubs: Davey Lopes and Gary Woods.

Woods didn’t play in either of those games, so it has to be Lopes.

Lopes played against his former Dodger teammates in Los Angeles just once in 1985 — Sunday, July 28. In fact, that was a big game for Lopes, as he went 3-for-5, homered and drove in four runs.

The play we are looking at happened in the sixth inning. Lopes had led off with a single and Gary Matthews hit into a 6-4-3 double play. This is Lopes trying to break up that double play.

The Cubs won the game 9-2. Rick Sutcliffe got knocked out of the game in the first inning and Lary Sorensen relieved him. Sorensen, in perhaps his best game as a Cub, threw 5⅓ shutout innings, allowing only one hit.

The Cubs were still in contention then, but just barely, at 50-46 and 8½ games out of first place. They edged a game closer by August 2 at 54-47, but then lost 12 of 14 to put them out of the race. That was the year that all five starters hit the disabled list and the Cubs had 36 games started by Sorensen, Jay Baller, Steve Engel, Derek Botelho, Reggie Patterson, Johnny Abrego and Larry Gura. (Seriously, the 2022 Cubs had better pitchers.)

Lopes, though, had a very good year at age 40 in a part-time role. He hit .284/.383/.444 in 99 games, with 11 home runs and 47 stolen bases. To this day that’s still the most steals for anyone age 40 or older — only one other age 40-plus player (Rickey Henderson, 37 in 1999 and 36 in 2000) even had 30.