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Wrigley Field historical sleuthing: You make the call

This one has stumped me, so far. Perhaps you, the BCB reader, can help.

This photo is from... well, I spent an inordinate amount of time on this one and couldn’t nail it down. Here is the full photo:

Here are the facts that we can glean from this photo:

  • It’s approximately 4:50 p.m.
  • It appears to be in the late innings of the game, possibly even the ninth inning
  • The scoreboard appears to show every other MLB game that day as a night game
  • The visiting team’s starting pitcher appears to still be in the game
  • The Cubs are batting. There’s a runner on first base, a righthanded hitter is about to step in to the batters box, and another Cub is on deck, also righthanded
  • The visiting team’s pitcher is righthanded
  • The crowd is likely close to capacity, but there are empty areas both in the main stands and the bleachers

I’ve got a couple more things here. This game must have been between 1988 and 1996. It’s no earlier than 1988 because we can see the shadows of the light towers. Remember that the construction of those towers was completed and so they were in place by mid-July 1988, even though the first night game wasn’t until August 8. It has to be no later than 1996, because we can see the batter’s eye with the benches removed, and the shrubbery now in center field was first placed there in 1997.

I’ve gone back and forth with Mike Bojanowski on a number of possibilities for this game, and neither of us was able to nail down an exact date. With the time of day being (about) 4:50, that implies a 2:20 or 3:05 start, and there were many of those in that era. But... could it also be a game that had a delayed start for rain, only to see it clear up and become sunny later in the day? Or, perhaps, the second game of a doubleheader?

The fact that the shadow of the upper deck is just beginning to cross home plate at 4:50 p.m. implies that this game has to be between about Memorial Day and early August. Before or after those dates, the shadow would have crossed the plate earlier in the day.

Also, neither of us could quite suss out the team logo in the visitors’ on-deck circle. It kind of looks like a Phillies or Padres logo from that era, but no Wrigley games against the Phillies or Padres from that time frame match the scene here.

So I’m throwing this open to you, the BCB reader. Perhaps you can find something that Mike and I couldn’t. Let us know in the comments.