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Cubs historical sleuthing: Another Shawon Dunston photo

A few good clues made this one pretty easy.

Jonathan Daniel / Allsport

Getty Images supplied the following information about this photo:

Shortstop Dave Anderson of the Los Angeles Dodgers (center) makes a play during a game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois.

It’s good that they put (center) there because otherwise, how would we have known which guy was the Dodgers shortstop?

All right, sarcasm over, here are your clues.

It’s obviously Shawon Dunston sliding into second base. The Getty info says Anderson was playing shortstop that day. The Cubs uniform style tells us this is between 1985 (Dunston’s rookie year) and 1989 (the last year the Cubs wore the beltless pants).

Anderson played 23 games at Wrigley Field in those five seasons. However, only 11 of them were as a shortstop, so that narrows things down quite a bit.

The last, and most important, clue here is the umpire. You can only see a partial number (1) on his shirt, but that’s absolutely, positively John McSherry, who was a National League umpire from 1971-95.

As I have previously noted, Retrosheet has an umpire database in which they have day-to-day listings of where umpires worked and what bases they were assigned to. So I looked up games where McSherry was the second base umpire in a Cubs/Dodgers game in the time frame we’re talking about. Also, in a fair number of Cubs/Dodgers games at Wrigley in this era, either Dunston or Anderson or both did not play.

The match to what you see here happened in 1988. The Cubs and Dodgers played a six (!) game series in July 1988 that included two doubleheaders, one of them forced by a tie game, the last tie game called for darkness before lights were turned on at Wrigley Field.

The play you see above happened Thursday, July 14, 1988, in the first game of a doubleheader (that one was a makeup from a prior rainout). Dunston singled leading off the bottom of the first inning and was caught stealing when Rafael Palmeiro, the next hitter, was at the plate. That turned out to be a key play in the game, because after Palmeiro grounded out, Andre Dawson hit a triple that would have scored Dunston. The Cubs lost the game 1-0. Rick Sutcliffe threw a complete game in this loss, one of only eight such CGs by any Cub in a losing effort since 1988. No one’s done that since Matt Garza in 2011.

Just another little slice of Cubs history.