Bill Buckner Jersey

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Here’s what Getty Images supplied as a caption with this photo:

Bill Buckner #22 of the Chicago Cubs scores against the San Francisco Giants during an [sic] Major League Baseball game circa 1983 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. Buckner played for the Cubs from 1977-84.

Well, that’s clearly Bill Buckner, and it’s clearly at Candlestick Park, so those are correct.

We have a number of other clues in this photo, notably the catcher, and a player backing him up. The catcher is John Rabb, who played for the Giants from 1982-84, and the backup player is Jim Barr, who pitched that afternoon.

Barr pitched in six games against the Cubs in 1982 and 1983, the only years Buckner would have worn that uniform at Candlestick in a game Barr pitched. Buckner would have worn that uniform in 1984 until he was traded, but Barr’s career ended after 1983, so we can eliminate that year.

Meanwhile, Rabb played in only two games in 1982, neither of which was against the Cubs, so the caption’s year is correct — this happened in 1983.

Just two games in 1983 had Buckner playing vs. the Giants at Candlestick when Barr was pitching — Saturday, July 9, 1983 and the first game of a doubleheader Sunday, July 10, 1983. Both were day games. Rabb, though, did not play in the July 9 game.

Rabb was the starting catcher in that July 10 game, and Barr threw one inning — the fifth.

And checking the play-by-play, Buckner led off the top of the fifth inning with a single and scored on a Leon Durham double, so that’s what we’re looking at here.

That run gave the Cubs a 7-3 lead, which they proceeded to blow. The Giants scored seven runs from the fifth through eighth innings and won the game 10-8.

Just another little slice of Cubs history.

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Sure, St. Louis (Nolan Arenado) stole some of Chicago’s (Joc Pederson) thunder yesterday, but the Cubs still got themselves a good, young player and I’m digging the positive vibes of a potentially looser budget for 2021, as well. And all of that positivity led me down a wormhole of Joc Pederson clips, until I landed on that time he totally trolled Addison Russell, who could never hold onto his dang bat, and it’s cracking me up.

I don’t know how I don’t remember this:

Okay … LOL. I like this guy already.

Anyone who watched the Cubs with some regularity from 2015-2019 remembers how freakin’ often Addison Russell would just … I don’t know, lose control of his bat(?) from time to time. I’m sure this isn’t right, but it sure felt like it happened almost every week.

Onto the field, into the opposing dugout, into the stands … he just couldn’t hold onto it. And this time, Joc Pederson had enough, taping up Alex Verdugo’s hands as a tip to Russell for his next at-bat.

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Smith spent the first eight years of his 18-year career with the Cubs, establishing himself as one of the game’s elite relief stoppers. The big righty notched 180 of his 478 career saves with Chicago, setting a club record that still stands and retiring as MLB’s all-time saves leader at the time.

Over 458 career games with the Cubs, Smith logged a 2.92 ERA and finished 342 contests. He was particularly brilliant in 1983, when the closer posted a 1.65 ERA in 103 1/3 innings (66 games). Smith, who was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2019, made two of his seven career All-Star teams with the Cubs.

Lee Smith to enter Hall of Fame
Dec 10, 2018 · 1:15
Lee Smith to enter Hall of Fame
5. Kerry Wood
Drafted: First round in 1995

This final slot could have easily gone to Rick Reuschel, whose 48.3 WAR (Baseball Reference) lead all pitchers drafted by the Cubs. Instead, Wood gets the nod for the historic nature of his 12 years spent with Chicago. Specifically, the way Wood burst onto the scene in 1998 was unforgettable.

Just five games into Wood’s career, the right-hander struck out 20 batters in a May 6 game against Houston that will forever be one of the great performances in baseball history. Wood went on to win the 1998 NL Rookie of the Year Award (his 12.6 strikeouts per nine innings that summer remain a single-season club record).

Wood topped 200 strikeouts for the Cubs in four seasons, including piling up 266 in 2003. In the Modern Era, only Fergie Jenkins has fanned more in one year for the Cubs. Injury issues plagued Wood’s career and he eventually reinvented himself as a closer, making the 2008 All-Star team in a 34-save season for Chicago.

Wood strikes out 20
May 6, 1998 · 3:37
Wood strikes out 20
A few more notable homegrown Draft picks

• 2014 (first round): Kyle Schwarber — His home run exploits were a key part of recent Cubs’ postseason teams, including the 2016 World Series run. Schwarber’s rate of one homer per 14.9 at-bats is second in team history.

• 2011 (first round): Javier Báez — The dynamic shortstop has made multiple All-Star teams, contended for the NL MVP Award, won a Gold Glove Award in 2020 and helped bring a World Series to the franchise.

• 2001 (11th round): Geovany Soto — The catcher developed into an All-Star in 2008, winning the NL Rookie of the Year Award that summer. Had 77 homers and a .342 on-base percentage in eight years with the team.

• 2001 (first round): Mark Prior — The talented righty lived up to the hype in 2003, when he went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA and finished third in NL Cy Young Award voting. From there, injury setbacks led to only a five-year career.

• 1982 (first round): Shawon Dunston — The shortstop spent parts of 12 seasons with the Cubs, spanning from 1985-95 and again in 1997. Dunston made two All-Star teams (1988, ’90) as a fixture in Chicago’s infield.

• 1970 (third round): Rick Reuschel — The Illinois-born pitcher had 135 wins with a 3.50 ERA in 12 years (1972-81, ’83-84) with the Cubs. Reuschel was an All-Star and Cy Young Award contender in 1977 (20 wins, 2.79 ERA).

• 1965 (fourth round): Ken Holtzman — The Cubs’ first-ever Draft produced the left-handed Holtzman, who won 80 games over parts of nine years (1965-71, ’78-79), authoring two no-hitters. He was also part of a trade tree that led to the Cubs netting Ryne Sandberg.