clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Cubs historical sleuthing: Managerial edition

We know who these two managers are. But when did this happen?

Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Getty Images focused on the visiting manager here:

Manager Buck Rodgers #37 of the Montreal Expos argues with an umpire during a Major League Baseball game against the Chicago Cubs circa 1986 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.

The Cubs manager in this photo is Gene Michael. Michael managed the Cubs for the last 102 games of 1986 and the first 136 of 1987. Rodgers was the Expos manager both of those seasons.

There were 11 games managed by Michael for the Cubs against the Expos at Wrigley Field during those seasons (he wasn’t the manager for the first 1986 series or the last 1987 series).

Thus, now we have to turn to the umpires to figure out when this was taken.

The umpire in the background, with the number “8” on his sleeve, is Doug Harvey. The number matches, but even without that, Harvey is one of the most recognizable umpires of his day.

Harvey is clearly the plate umpire in this game — he’s got the shorter brimmed cap that umpires wear under their masks, and is also holding a mask.

Harvey was the plate umpire for two of the 11 Cubs/Expos games noted above, so that narrows things down significantly. Both of those games were in 1987. The other umpire in the photo is Gerry Davis

I ruled out the game of July 30, 1987 because the Tribune recap of that game said it was suspended for darkness after some delays for rain and was played under “bleak skies.” That doesn’t match what we see here.

The other game happened Sunday, April 19, 1987. At first, that doesn’t look much like April — it’s clearly sunny and warm, as people are in short sleeved shirts. However, the Tribune confirmed that day, which happened to be Easter that year, was “unseasonably warm” with sunshine and a high of 77. So that’s a match.

The other thing that happened in that game that confirms the photo is this, from this Bob Verdi Tribune column of April 20, 1987, an incident between Cubs shortstop Shawon Dunston and Expos pitcher Andy McGaffigan:

On a 2-2 offering, Dunston went reeling, but not for long. He dropped his bat and charged the mound with malice aforethought. Dunston cocked his fist, telegraphing a roundhouse right all the way, and McGaffigan ducked. The surprise was not that Dunston swung and missed, because these are the Cubs, remember. No, the surprise was that plate umpire Doug Harvey permitted Dunston to remain in the game. No harm, no foul.

Players, coaches and managers from both sides convened immediately, creating a scene that would warm the cockles of a wrestling fan’s heart. There were no blows struck and still bodies fell, another clue that these boys of summer were mixing their sports.

A storybook ending would have had Dunston stepping back in there, only to unleash a mighty home run. Or even a bunt single. However, he struck out, later to depart with a .167 average, up .013 from game’s start. This exit unfolded after Mitch Webster, the Expos’ leadoff batter in the eighth, was plunked by Ed Lynch, who exhibited the kind of hair Dallas Green has been craving in his hurlers. Lynch was ejected, as was manager Gene Michael. They’d been warned by Harvey. Rules are rules, sometimes.

So that’s got to be it, either the conference had by the two managers with the umpires after this incident, or the ejection of Lynch and Michael after the warnings were issued.

Amazingly enough, 35 years later, we have a bit of video of the beginning of this bench-clearing incident:

(Note that there’s about a second’s worth of another game at the end of that clip.)

It’s amazing the things you can find out about one single photo that tell a story. The Expos had scored three runs in the first inning and held on to beat the Cubs 3-1 that warm April afternoon in 1987.