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Cubs historical sleuthing: A moment in time from 1989

We have the year here. Exactly when was this pitch?

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Getty Images says:

General view as the Chicago Cubs play against the New York Mets in June, 1989 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.

Okay, that’s pretty detailed, but we can do better than that.

The Cubs played a four-game series against the Mets in June 1989, from June 5-8. June 5 was a night game, so that’s out.

It’s the bottom of the fifth inning and you can see the Cubs have already scored some runs in that inning, as there’s a yellow numeral on the board in the last of the fifth, indicating an inning in progress. There’s nobody out and the batter is No. 10, Lloyd McClendon.

Yes, that’s right — before Ron Santo’s No. 10 was retired in 2003, 10 other Cubs wore it after Santo left the team in 1973: Billy Grabarkewitz (1974), Mike Sember (1977), Dave Kingman (1978-80), Leon Durham (1981-88), Lloyd McClendon (1989-90), Luis Salazar (1991-92), Steve Lake (1993), Scott Bullett (1995-96), Terrell Lowery (1997-98) and Bruce Kimm (manager, 2002).

McClendon had a nice year for the Cubs in 1989 after coming over from the Reds for Rolando Roomes. He hit 286/.368/.479 with 12 home runs in 92 games, playing catcher, first base, third base and left field. It was by far his best MLB season.

McClendon played in all three day games in that series. The Cubs didn’t score any runs in the fifth inning June 8, so that’s eliminated. They scored a run in the fifth June 7 — on a leadoff homer by McClendon, and that’s obviously not what we’re seeing here, McClendon batting with runners on base.

So we are looking at the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday, June 6, 1989. Doug Dascenzo, Mitch Webster, Ryne Sandberg and Damon Berryhill all singled off Bob Ojeda. Two runs scored from all that and the Cubs led the game 5-2 at the time McClendon came to the plate with Sandberg on second and Berryhill on first.

The scoreboard shows the count was 1-1 on McClendon at the time the photo was taken. McClendon eventually ran the count full. Then he singled to center and Sandberg scored to make it 6-2 Cubs, and leaving runners on first and second.

Vance Law was the next hitter — and he hit into a triple play! Law hit a line drive to first baseman Dave Magadan. According to the Tribune, the runners had taken off with the pitch, so it was easy for Magadan to double McClendon off first. He then threw to shortstop Kevin Elster to triple Berryhill off second.

The Cubs won the game anyway, 8-4. They were 32-23 and in first place by two games over the second-place Expos.