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Wrigley Field historical sleuthing: A 2010s mystery, solved

I couldn’t figure this out for the longest time. Then I had help.

This photo was one of a set that was on an old phone of mine that I saved to my computer when I got rid of the phone. This was more than a decade ago when it wasn’t as easy to transfer photos from one Android phone to another as it is now.

I managed to identify the dates on all the photos — except this one.

What we have is the Wrigley Field scoreboard at 10 a.m. on what appears to be the morning of an afternoon game. It’s likely summer, or close to it, because of the angle of the sun on the back of the scoreboard clock.

The problem with identifying this date can be seen on the National League side of the board, and it’s probably the reason I took this photo in the first place. The scoreboard operators were in the middle of changing the city name panels. Three of them are open, so we only see nine city/team names on the NL side. The Cubs appear to be playing a home game against ST. LOUIS — but maybe that was about to be changed, too, I’m not sure.

Further, it’s possible that the AL side hadn’t been touched at the time I took this photo and the scoreboard operators were going to get to that later.

I was, however, 100 percent certain this photo was taken between 2010 and 2012, because it was with a large set of other pics I took off my old phone that had been taken in that time frame.

I sent this photo to Mike Bojanowski. After first telling me he couldn’t do it, he finally solved the mystery:

This is based on two pairings I can confirm through letter shapes. As the board stands, the Cubs are playing St. Louis, and New York is at Milwaukee. There is only one mutual pair of series in the span 2010-12 where that happens, May 28-30, 2010. That the board is in mid-change strongly suggests that this is Friday morning, May 28. The board is being changed from the bottom up. Next game up is Houston at Cincinnati. Then NY/MIL. Next up, Philadelphia is the road team playing a blank, that will be Florida; Philadelphia had played at New York the day before. Next up, Atlanta is the road team, but that is in process of being changed, Atlanta will host Pittsburgh this day. The home team at the top is San Diego, they will host Washington this day; they had hosted St. Louis the day before.

The AL side has not been changed, those are games from Thursday, May 27. From the bottom: Chicago/Tampa Bay, Oakland/Baltimore, Kansas City/Boston. The top two pairings are “NO GAME”, the next up is obviously Texas/Los Angeles; neither played that day. The top pair is a guess, only four AL teams played at home that Thursday, of the four remaining AL teams not accounted for, the best matches, given the shapes, would be Detroit and Seattle. As so often happens, the “NO GAME” pairs are space fillers, and not necessarily placed for the sake of future convenience.

Most memorable thing regarding this game (the Cubs lost 7-1): The first six Cardinals batters reached against Randy Wells, (the only batters he faced, six base hits), and five of them scored; that essentially was the contest. Tyler Colvin homered (pinch hit) for the only Cubs run.

So, that’s it: Friday, May 28, 2010, just after 10 a.m. Here’s Mike’s ticket and scorecard from that game (click here for a larger version of the scorecard):