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Cubs historical sleuthing: Greg Maddux on the basepaths edition

Just when did the Cubs righthander make this baserunning play?

Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Getty Images says:

Robby Thompson #6 of the San Francisco Giants gets his throw off to complete the double-play over the top of Greg Maddux #31 of the Chicago Cubs during a Major League Baseball game circa 1987 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.

Right away I can tell you that’s not 1987, because the Cubs weren’t wearing that style of road uniform that year. They were still wearing the blue pullover/white pants on the road in ‘87 and did through 1989.

In 1990 they switched to road grays, but the “CHICAGO” on the front was in a smaller font than what you see here.

So this photo has to be from 1991 or 1992, since Maddux left the Cubs after 1992. (Sigh.)

Off to baseball-reference!

Maddux pitched in exactly two day games in San Francisco in those years, one in 1991, the other in 1992.

There’s one play in the 1991 game that matches. That game was played Thursday, August 29, 1991.

Here’s the full photo from Getty, since I cut the top off above:

Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

In the top of the second inning, Joe Girardi singled with one out. Maddux attempted a sacrifice bunt and was safe on a fielder’s choice. The next hitter, Shawon Dunston, grounded to third. Maddux was forced at second — that’s what we are looking at here — and Dunston was safe at first.

Maddux threw a 128-pitch complete game. Yes, they did that frequently in those days. The game went to the eighth tied 4-4 and Dwight Smith’s RBI single gave the Cubs a 5-4 lead, and Maddux finished up for the win.

There aren’t any plays in the 1992 game that match the photo, so I’m confident this is from the 1991 game.

Lastly, Robby Thompson, the Giants second baseman in that photo, is most assuredly not the same person as Rob Thomson, the current Phillies manager. The Giants’ Thompson did coach for several years after he was done playing with San Francisco, Cleveland and Seattle, but has been out of baseball since 2013.