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Cubs historical sleuthing: Yet another Shawon Dunston photo

The Cubs shortstop of the 1980s and 1990s was a popular photo subject.

Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Getty Images says:

Shawon Dunston #12 of the Chicago Cubs in action against the New York Mets during a Major League Baseball game circa 1986 at Shea Stadium in the Queens borough of New York City.

This time, they’re correct. Let me show you why. Here’s the entire photo. It got cropped a bit at the top:

Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

The baserunner is Kevin Mitchell. Mitchell played for the Mets in only 1984 and 1986, and Dunston wasn’t a Cub in 1984, so this has to be from 1986.

Mitchell and Dunston played in three day games at Shea in 1986, so that narrowed this down quickly.

There’s only one play in those three games that matches this description. It happened in the bottom of the fourth inning Saturday, June 21, 1986.

The Mets had loaded the bases off Dennis Eckersley on a pair of walks sandwiched around a single. Mitchell singled, driving in a run. The bases remained loaded. George Foster was next and he hit a sac fly, scoring another run. Mitchell remained at first base. Mookie Wilson hit into a fielder’s choice, with Mitchell out at second — that’s the play we see here.

The Mets scored three runs in that inning and trailed 6-5. They tied the game two innings later, but a home run by Keith Moreland leading off the ninth gave the Cubs the lead back, and they scored another run later in the inning to win 8-6.

The Cubs weren’t very good in 1986 and that win “improved” their record to 28-38, 10 games under .500. The Mets “dropped” to 45-19, eventually winning 108 games and the World Series that year. The Cubs finished 70-90.