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Wrigley Field historical sleuthing: Mountain Dew picnic bag night

This oddly specific message was the best clue for this photo.

Photo by Owen C. Shaw/Getty Images

Getty Images says:

Wrigley Field circa 1990 during batting practice, in Chicago, Illinois.

Not much of a clue. One thing we do know for sure is that this is BP before a night game — the clock reads 4:40. There aren’t any fans in the ballpark, then as now, gates opened two hours before night games.

It’s tough to read some of the matchups, but the most important clue is the message board beneath the scoreboard, which reads:


The Cubs’ 1989 media guide lists this promotion as happening Wednesday, May 10, 1989. The Cubs were hosting the Giants that night. You’ll note that doesn’t look like SAN FRANCISCO above CUBS, and it’s not. As I’ve noted here previously, from the time the board was repainted in 1987, through 1996, the Giants were abbreviated as SAN FRAN on the Wrigley board, which does match what we see. You can see that better in this 1991 photo:

Photo by:Bernstein Associates/Getty Images

Back to the featured photo for this article: You can also see a score posted on the American League side of the board, where the White Sox score usually goes. The Sox defeated Milwaukee 12-2 in an afternoon game that day.

Only eight games were played that day, and usually NO GAME is posted on the Wrigley board when there’s less than a full schedule. It’s possible that wasn’t done for night games, or, as it’s before the gates opened, maybe the schedule was not finished up yet.

The Cubs led this game 3-0 going into the seventh inning, but the Giants scored a pair in that inning thanks in part to an error and a wild pitch, and then two more in the eighth, the lead run scoring on a balk by Mitch Williams. The Giants won the game 4-3.