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Wrigley Field historical sleuthing: 2000s edition

This one was fairly easy to narrow down.

This could be just about any time in recent years, right?

No, and I’ll explain the systematic way I found this date.

First, the clock reads about 4:43, and there are no NITE GAME indicators on the board. Thus, this has to be just before the gates opened on the day of a Wrigley night game.

There are four team locations that narrow this down even further.

It has ARIZONA and TAMPA BAY on the board, thus it cannot be any earlier than 1998.

LOS ANGELES is on the American League side. The Angels were known as CALIFORNIA from 1966-96 and ANAHEIM from 1997-2004. So this cannot be earlier than 2005.

FLORIDA is on the National League side. The Marlins changed their designation to MIAMI in 2012.

So, 2005-11 are the search parameters, and there are seven other games being played on this date — everything else says NO GAME.

With all that confirmed, it was fairly easy to find the date of this game, which was played Thursday, August 28, 2008. That was, of course, a very good year for the Cubs in which they won 97 games and the NL Central title.

The Cubs won this game 6-4. Ryan Dempster threw six innings and allowed four runs. Sean Marshall, Bob Howry and Kerry Wood finished up, Wood posting his 28th save.

The Cubs trailed 4-1 going to the bottom of the eighth. Mike Fontenot led off the inning pinch-hititng for Howry and hit a home run, making it 4-2. Alfonso Soriano then doubled, Ryan Theriot singled and Derrek Lee walked, loading the bases.

Aramis Ramirez stepped to the plate.

The slam gave the Cubs the lead 6-4, and they held on for the win. It was the sixth win of what would become a seven-game winning streak, and the Cubs were 84-50 and 6½ games ahead in the division race.

The mark of 34 games over .500 was the first time the Cubs had been that far over .500 since the last day of the 1945 season. They peaked at 35 games over and finished 97-64. The Cubs wouldn’t be more than 35 games over .500 until 2016, when they finished 45 games over at 103-58.

That was an exciting day in Cubs history, and it happened only 15 years ago.