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Cubs historical sleuthing: A pitcher on the basepaths edition

Just who is this jacketed fellow? And when did this happen?

Getty Images Sport

Getty Images says:

Second baseman Robby Thompson of the San Francisco Giants throws the ball as a player for the Chicago Cubs sits on the ground near the base bag.

Well, yes. The “player for the Chicago Cubs” does appear to be sitting on the ground, but obviously that’s not his intention, the runner is sliding in what is a clear attempt to break up a double play. It’s further obvious that’s a pitcher, because back in the day, pitchers wore jackets on the basepaths. Ostensibly this was to keep their arms warm.

Getty also helpfully said this photo was taken in 1991. I had to enlarge the photo, but in those days Cubs batters had numbers on the back of their batting helmets matching their uniform number.

That’s clearly a “47” on the runner’s helmet and so that’s Shawn Boskie.

This game was played at Candlestick Park Saturday, June 22, 1991. It was the only game Boskie started against the Giants that year in San Francisco.

Boskie had singled leading off the fourth inning and the next batter was Doug Dascenzo, who hit into a 5-4-3 double play. We’re looking at Boskie sliding into second (not “sitting”), the first out of that twin killing.

This game was one of Boskie’s worst as a Cub. The Giants scored four runs off him in the first inning and Boskie did not complete the fourth inning, allowing eight hits and six runs. The pen, that day consisting of Mike Bielecki, Chuck McElroy and Heathcliff Slocumb, held the Giants hitless the rest of the way, but it wasn’t enough and the Cubs lost 6-3.

After a promising start to his Cubs career in 1990 (15 starts, 3.69 ERA, 1.331 WHIP, 2.4 bWAR), Boskie had a bad 1991 and 1992 with ERA’s over 5 both years and negative bWAR. He was a bit better throwing mostly in relief in 1993, and in April 1994 the Cubs traded him to the Phillies for Chicago-area native Kevin Foster. Foster had a couple decent years as a Cub (but, sadly, died of cancer in 2008, way too young at age 39).

Boskie, meanwhile, went on to play for the Phillies, Mariners, Angels, Orioles and Expos and was still hanging on in the minors as late as 2001.

It’s also the second time 1990s Giants second baseman Robby Thompson has been featured in this series; a couple of weeks ago we saw him retiring Greg Maddux on the basepaths.