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Cubs historical sleuthing: Ryne Sandberg edition

This one was easy, because of the uniform.

Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Getty Images says:

Ryne Sandberg of the Chicago Cubs turns a double play as outfielder Kevin Mitchell of the San Francisco Giants slides into second during a 1990 season game at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California.

Yes, that’s definitely Ryno. And it’s also Kevin Mitchell, and the game is obviously a Cubs road game, so it has to be at Candlestick Park.

Further, this photo was definitely taken in 1990, because the Cubs had ditched the blue pullover/white pants road look they’d worn since 1982 that year, and switched back to a traditional road gray button-front shirt. However, in 1991 the “CHICAGO” on the front was rendered in larger lettering, so 1990 was the only year the Cubs wore this specific gray road jersey.

Off to baseball-reference!

The Cubs played six games at Candlestick Park in 1990. Three of them were day games. Mitchell and Sandberg played in all three, so I looked for a double play begun by Ryno. There wasn’t one.

However, in the first game of a doubleheader Sunday, July 8, 1990, Mitchell singled with one out in the fourth inning and then was forced at second by Matt Williams. This is the only possible play from any of those games that matches what we see here, so that has to be the play.

The Cubs lost the game 5-3. Late in that game, Cubs manager Don Zimmer got tossed for arguing balls and strikes:

You can see in that clip that the numerals on the back of the Cubs road jerseys were blue that year. They were changed to red the following year and have remained so ever since.

The Cubs then got swept by losing the second game to the Giants 10-4. Two days later, the All-Star Game was played at Wrigley Field, the last ASG to be played in the Friendly Confines. Hopefully we’ll see another one there soon.