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Cubs historical sleuthing: Rick Reuschel edition

This photo isn’t what it seems at first glance.

Getty Images

If this photo looks familiar, it should: Josh used it as the lead photo for BCB After Dark on Wednesday night/Thursday morning.

A sharp-eyed reader noticed something and wondered if I could sleuth it. Here’s what I got emailed from that reader:

At first, it seems to contain no info other than Reuschel’s uniform. But isn’t that someone in one of those 1970’s White Sox jerseys at the far right? It looks like a night game with a big crowd. Would the Cubs have used their ace in some sort of exhibition game?

That is correct, and I hadn’t noticed that at first. That’s definitely a Sox uniform from the late 1970s. Here’s what Getty Images says about the photo;

CIRCA 1977: Rick Reuschel #48 of the Chicago Cubs pitches during an MLB game. Reuschel played for 19 seasons, with 4 different teams and was a 3-time All Star,

Well, not really helpful, except for the “CIRCA 1977.” Given the uniform Reuschel is wearing and the Sox uniform shown, this photo must be from either 1976 or 1977.

I checked, and the Cubs and White Sox did not play any exhibition games against each other in either of those two seasons.

Then I heard from my correspondent again:

Could this picture be from the 1977 All-Star Game? Or did the Cubs wear those white-pinstriped road uniforms in 1977? Did the White Sox provide the first-base coach in the game?

Ah, ha. As soon as I got that email I figured that had to be it. If you look closely at the bottom of the photo, you can see bunting on the wall of the ballpark, implying an ASG. The big crowd also implies the same.

That is the correct solution. White Sox manager Bob Lemon served as the American League’s first-base coach in the 1977 All-Star Game. You can see that confirmed at various points in this video of the game, the first such view is at 33:30:

Reuschel pitched the eighth inning of the 1977 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, which was played in front of 56,683. He got Fred Lynn to ground out, then hit Ken Singleton with a pitch and allowed a single to Jim Rice. Then Reuschel got Butch Wynegar to hit into an inning-ending double play. It’s impossible to tell exactly when this photo was taken, but it has to be during Lynn’s or Singleton’s at-bat, because Reuschel is throwing from a full windup, thus with no one on base.

The NL won the game 7-5. Other Cubs who appeared in the game: Manny Trillo (0-for-1) and Jerry Morales, who was hit on the knee with a Sparky Lyle pitch. That was actually a key moment for the 1977 Cubs; Morales had an outstanding first half that year, batting .336/.398/.523, but was never quite the same player after that injury. He hit only .245/.297/.374 the rest of the way. Bruce Sutter was also a NL All-Star in 1977, but did not play in the game.