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Cubs historical sleuthing: Ryne Sandberg and Shawon Dunston together

Obviously not from their playing days. But when?

Lately, I’ve posted a lot of Ryne Sandberg and Shawon Dunston sleuthing photos from the 1980s here.

Here, you see the two men in a much more recent photo at Wrigley Field, obviously long after their playing days ended.

I carefully cropped this photo so that I didn’t give away the most important clue. Here’s the entire photo:

Obviously, the scoreboard is the method we’re going to use to identify the date this photo was taken. Just at the left of the photo you can see the left-field video board, so that dates this to the summer of 2015 or later.

I zoomed in on the matchups on the board. The Cubs are playing the Brewers. No. 32 is the Cubs starting pitcher. Two pitchers wearing No. 32 have started games for the Cubs since 2015: Dallas Beeler and Tyler Chatwood. Beeler, though, didn’t start any games against Milwaukee, so this has to be a game started by Chatwood.

There were just two such games. Of the two, the one that matches the other games shown on the board happened Sunday, September 1, 2019.

Why were Ryno and Shawon at Wrigley on that day?

That day, in a pregame ceremony, the Cubs honored Lee Smith, who had been elected to the Hall of Fame earlier that year. Many Cubs alumni attended, including Sandberg and Dunston, and obviously this is a pose taken on the field around the time of that ceremony. I can’t tell which — the ceremony was scheduled for 12:40 p.m. — because the photo is cut off just below where you could see the scoreboard clock.

Yu Darvish was supposed to start this game, but was scratched with “forearm tightness,” so Chatwood made an emergency start. and had another one of the starts that drove us nuts — 3⅔ innings, three hits, four walks, seven strikeouts, 77 pitches. Somehow, even with all those baserunners, he allowed just one run. Relievers Brad Wieck, David Phelps, Steve Cishek, Kyle Ryan and Rowan Wick combined for 4⅓ innings of shutout relief, allowing two hits and a walk, striking out seven.

So the game went to the ninth with the Cubs trailing 1-0. Craig Kimbrel was summoned. This began Kimbrel’s awful month of September 2019. He allowed a pair of baserunners, but did manage two outs, and ran the count full on Christian Yelich. One strike from getting out of the inning.

Kimbrel tried to sneak a curveball past Yelich, and Yelich hit it a long, long way:

Yikes. The Cubs actually won nine of their next 14 games and appeared headed for at least a wild-card berth, then lost nine straight.

Here’s the ceremony honoring Lee Smith; you can see Sandberg and Dunston sitting among the dignitaries on the field [VIDEO].