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Cubs historical sleuthing: Another play at the plate

The players tell the story.

Bettmann / Contributor

Getty Images says:

Cubs’ Billy Williams throw to catcher Dick Bertell was too late as Giants Jim Hart slides safely to home on Tom Haller’s single to left field in game here July 9. Plate umpire William Jackowski and Giants Jim Davenport, (12), look on. Giants took a 9-4 victory over the Cubs.

Our time frame is bracketed by the following men in the photo:

  • Jim Hart, better known in his playing days as Jim Ray Hart, began to be the Giants’ regular third baseman in 1964.
  • Dick Bertell was the Cubs’ regular catcher in 1964, but played only a handful of games for them in 1965 before being traded ... to the Giants, for Ed Bailey, Bob Hendley and Harvey Kuenn, yet another deal where the Cubs were trying to recapture good play from older players.
  • William Jackowski, better known in his umpiring days as Bill, was an NL umpire from 1952-68.

Davenport and Williams both played for more than a decade with the Giants and Cubs, respectively, and were on their teams during the timespans noted above.

Looks like this has to be 1964, then. The 9-4 score is the final clue.

This game was played at Wrigley Field Thursday, July 9, 1964, in front of 13,243.

Hart scored twice in this game. The second run is the one on which he scored on a single by Haller. With one out and a runner on second in the top of the fifth and the Giants leading 3-1, Hart singled, driving in the run to make it 4-1. Hart advanced to second on a throwing error. The following hitter was Haller, who singled to left, scoring Hart. As noted, Williams was playing left field that afternoon, so it’s his high throw that Bertell is fielding, too high to tag the runner trying to score.

This game was all Giants, as they took a 9-2 lead into the ninth. The Cubs scored a pair of runs on a double by Ron Santo, but that was far too little and Ernie Banks popped to short to end it.

A couple of notes about this game:

  • Larry Jackson started the game and allowed six runs in 4⅓ innings. It was the second-most runs he allowed in any start in 1964. Jackson wound up a 24-game winner with a 3.15 ERA and finished second in Cy Young voting. This was back when there was only one Cy Young winner for both leagues. Dean Chance of the Angels won the award; had there been separate awards for each league, Jackson almost certainly would have been the NL winner.
  • A 31-year-old reliever named Dick Scott faced six batters in the third inning. Five of them got hits, including a home run by Willie McCovey, and three runs scored. Scott had been acquired from the Dodgers the previous winter for Cuno Barragan and Jim Brewer. He pitched again the following day against the Giants, gave up three more runs in a single inning of work, and never again pitched in the major leagues.

The Cubs had attempted to help their pitching staff a few weeks earlier with the ill-fated Brock-for-Broglio trade. They were 27-27 at the time of the trade; they were 37-40 after this loss to the Giants. They managed a bit of a run after that, getting back over .500 at 46-45 and only 7½ games out of first place after a win over the Giants in San Francisco. But then they went 30-41 the rest of the way, finishing eighth at 76-86.