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Cubs historical sleuthing: Shawon Dunston edition

This photo is not what it appears to be.

Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Getty Images provided the following information with this photo:

Shawon Dunston #12 of the Chicago Cubs gets caught stealing against the Houston Astros during a Major League Baseball game circa 1988 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.

All right, that shouldn’t be too hard to find... a caught-stealing against Dunston in 1988 against the Astros.

Except there wasn’t one. And Dunston wasn’t caught stealing by Houston at Wrigley Field any time between 1985 and 1989. After 1989, as I have previously noted, the Cubs switched back to belts on the home uniform pants.

So this has to be something else — perhaps a single that Dunston was trying to stretch into a double, and got thrown out?

Off to baseball-reference. Dunston played in six games against the Astros at Wrigley in 1988, and since the photo info had that year on it, I thought I’d start there.

Two of the games (August 22 and August 23) are eliminated because they were night games — ah, yes, now we’re getting into the era when we can do that. Dunston went 0-for-3 in the August 24 game, wasn’t on base at all, so that one’s out.

The other Cubs/Astros series at Wrigley in 1988 was in late May.

May 27: Dunston was 0-for-3, not on base at all.

May 28: Dunston was 4-for-5, per the box score three singles and a triple, Except... in the third inning with two out, Dunston singled and was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double, the play going from right field to shortstop. The Astros shortstop that day was Rafael Ramirez, and that’s definitely Rafael Ramirez in the photo:

Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

And the Astros second baseman that May afternoon in 1988 was Jim Pankovits and that’s definitely NOT Pankovits.

The second base umpire in that May 1988 game was John McSherry, and that is absolutely, positively John McSherry.

So this play happened in the bottom of the third inning Saturday, May 28, 1988. As I mentioned, Dunston had four hits and the Cubs won 14-7. The Cubs had 19 hits in total, including two home runs by Rafael Palmeiro.