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Cubs historical sleuthing: 1980s scoreboard edition

You have to squint a bit, but all the clues are easily locatable.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The only thing Getty Images tells us about this photo is the following:

General view of the Chicago Cubs home field at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.

Well, that could be just about any time, right? You can’t see the lights so this could be pre-lights. It’s obviously before any bleacher renovations.

The reason I say “1980s” in the headline is that’s easily sussed out from looking at the mini-electronic board beneath the main scoreboard in center field. From that, we learn that Mitch Webster is the batter and he’s gone 1-for-3.

Looking at the rest of the board, it’s the bottom of the fifth inning with nobody out, and the Cubs are playing the Mets.

Webster played for the Cubs in 1988 and 1989, and in only four day games against the Mets in those years. It’s pretty clearly got to be a weekday afternoon, since all the other games on the board are night games.

Looking at the AL side of the board, we see the White Sox (always the bottom team on the right in those years) playing a team with a short name which has to be Texas.

There are two games that match those matchups, both in the same series in June 1989.

Webster batted in the bottom of the fifth inning in only one of those, so that has to be the game: Tuesday, June 6, 1989. Doug Dascenzo led off the inning with a single, and you can see him leading off first base. We are now in the era of reliable pitch counts, and the count on the board reads ball 1, no strikes. The PBP of the game says Webster ran the count to 2-0 and then singled.

The Cubs were leading 3-2 going into that inning and scored three more times, on RBI singles by Ryne Sandberg, Damon Berryhill and Lloyd McClendon, to take a 6-2 lead. The Cubs won 8-4 in front of 33,558 and were in first place in the NL East, two games ahead of the Expos.

The photo is a really nice view of Wrigley Field as it was in the late 1980s with a full house.