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Cubs historical sleuthing: Joe Girardi edition

A play at the plate. But when?

Photo by:Bernstein Associates/Getty Images

Before Joe Girardi was a longtime MLB manager for the Marlins, Yankees and Phillies, he was a Cubs catcher. Originally drafted by the Cubs in the fifth round in 1986 (a draft that also produced Derrick May, Jim Bullinger and Rick Wilkins), Girardi made his MLB debut in 1989 and played for the Cubs through 1992. He was then taken by the Rockies in the expansion draft, played a couple of years there, then went on to win three World Series rings with the Yankees in 1996, 1998 and 1999, eventually returning to the Cubs for two years in 2000 and 2001.

Getty Images says of this play (typo fixed):

Joe Girardi #7 of the Chicago Cub moves to tag out Dave Hansen #15 of the Los Angeles Dodgers during a 1992 season game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.

Well, that’s pretty specific. Hansen played in all six games the Dodgers played at Wrigley in 1992.

There’s only one play in any of those six games that matches what we see here. It happened in the top of the second inning Saturday, May 30, 1992. The Cubs had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. With one out and a runner on first in the second inning, Hansen hit an RBI double to tie the game. He advanced to third on an infield single and then was thrown out trying to score with Orel Hershiser at the plate.

The PBP in the bb-ref boxscore says “Fielder’s Choice P; Hansen out at Hm/P-C.” Usually if it’s a bunt the PBP will say so, but it didn’t here. Off to the Tribune archive to see if the game recap mentioned this play.

Bill Jauss’ recap confirmed it was a bunt:

The Dodgers tied it in the second and would have scored more if [Shawn] Boskie hadn’t thrown out Hansen at the plate on Hershiser’s attempted squeeze play.

So that’s what we’re looking at here, a failed squeeze play that resulted in the Cubs recording an out at the plate. Unfortunately, it did not help them win on a chilly (53 degrees) day with strong winds blowing in at 23 miles per hour. Ryne Sandberg’s RBI double gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead in the third, but Hansen made up for his out at the plate by homering to tie the game in the fourth. Eric Karros homered off Ken Patterson in the fifth and that held up for a 3-2 Dodgers win. Of course, both Hansen (1997) and Karros (2003) would later play for the Cubs.

As for Girardi, he’s got over 1,000 wins as a manager (1,098) and has a World Series title (2009 Yankees). He’s 57 years old and likely will manage the Phillies for several more seasons. If he can manage them to a World Series, there could be a Hall of Fame case to be made for Girardi.