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Cubs historical sleuthing: Fox Sports edition

Here’s a Cubs game that was on Fox-TV. But when?

Here’s a nice view of Wrigley Field in a game that was televised by Fox Sports. It was sent to me by BCB reader PACubsfan1, who also sent me the photo from Nationals Park I posted here last weekend. That’s a reminder — if you’ve got any Cubs photos you want me to sleuth, send them over (email on my profile).

So, what do we have here? It’s a full house and the first baseman is wearing No. 3. That’s one clue, but the better one is the numbering font on the visiting team. There’s only one team that wears gray uniforms with numbers like that: the Red Sox.

The Red Sox first visited Wrigley Field in 2005, but the Cubs player wearing No. 3 that year was Jeromy Burnitz, who did not play first base for the team.

Their next visit was in 2012. Paydirt. Jeff Baker wore No. 3 for the Cubs in 2012 and started 20 games for them at first base. Baker was a forgettable Cub who had been acquired from the Rockies for the charmingly-named Al Alburquerque in 2009.

Baker started two of the three games against the Red Sox at Wrigley Field in 2012, and it wasn’t too hard to figure out which one. A Fox Sports broadcast had to be, in that year, on a Saturday. Further, zooming in the photo to the pitcher, that’s Jeff Samardzija, who did in fact start the game against Boston Saturday, June 16, 2012.

The batter, too, is unmistakable. It’s David Ortiz. Ortiz had four plate appearances in this game (three vs. Shark), so which one is it?

I found the video of this game, which you can watch here. Looking at the batters’ boxes in the photo, as well as the lighting, I think this is Ortiz’ second at-bat of the game, where he led off the top of the fourth. Ortiz doubled in that at-bat. You can find this at-bat at 58:00 into the video.

The Red Sox took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh behind future Cub Jon Lester. Baker doubled and one out later, Welington Castillo walked. Then Luis Valbuena homered to make it 4-3, but the Cubs could get no closer and Boston won this game by that score.

Just another little slice of Cubs history, and you can also watch Lester pitch in Wrigley Field three years before he would sign with the Cubs as a free agent.