The Cubs vs Cardinals rivalry. Old Photos.
I found some old photos in a box.
Crappy, from an old point and shoot in the pre-digital days.
I asked a buddy if he thought that was crazy Mitch Williams on the mound for the Cubs, he said he thought it was Rod Beck.
And then I simply had to find out what the shots were from.
I scanned 'em at high resolution and you know what? Fuzzy shots scanned at high resolution still look pretty fuzzy. But blown way up you'll see two #30's (starting pitchers) in the shot of the scoreboard. That would be Geremi Gonzalez and Todd Stottlmyre.
The batters, of course you'll remember Cardinal #25 and Cub #21.
I found out that these are from (I'm 99.9% certain) May 1, 1998, when Sammy and McGwire were in the process of The Great Home Run Battle. Back when players were doing evil black magic in the locker rooms with needles.
But let's forget that stuff for a minute and look at these photos.
Wrigley Field back in a far more innocent time, seats nowhere near filled, Torco sign, cigarette smoking Mark Grace at first, and that IS Rod Beck throwing the ball for the Cubs. They won 6-5.
This was the year Harry died - he passed away just a couple months earlier. On Opening Day my brother and I sat in the front windows at Bernie's (which was still a pleasant old man bar) thinking we'd watch it there. But we ran across the street just before the game and got tickets at the will call window for face right down the 3rd base line about 20 rows up and watched a thousand black balloons fly into the sky in honor of Harry before the game started.
This was just 12 years ago. The photos look like they're from another time completely.
Brant Brown cf
Mickey Morandini 2b
Sammy Sosa rf
Mark Grace 1b
Henry Rodriguez lf
Jeff Blauser ss
Tyler Houston c
Kevin Orie 3rd
Geremi Gonzalez p
Royce Clayton ss
Delino DeShields 2b
Mark McGwire 1b
Ray Lankford cf
Willie McGee lf
Gary Gaitti 3b
John Mabry rf
Eli Marrero c
Todd Stottlemyre p
You can go to Baseball Almanac to see the actual box score.
Anyway,I don't remember this at all, but I guess we got to see a McGwire homer, Grace and McGee double, about 50 guys steal on Tyler Houston, and Rod Beck get the 9th save of his 51-save season. (If there is a heaven, I hope to have a couple beers with Rod some time in the future.)
A couple months after these photos were taken the Cards would dump Gary Gaetti, the Cubs would pick him up and in a 2-month span he'd hit .320, slug .594, hit 8 homers and 27 RBIs, and be a big deal in helping the Cubs get to the playoffs.
I also liked Brant Brown - we all thought he was gonna be a star, but later this season he'd make his famous NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! (that's Santo, of course) Error.
The Cubs would win the wild card in a 1-game playoff vs. the Giants and go on to... get swept by the Braves in round one of the NLDS?
Must be some kind of Cubs' theme or something.
Anyway, I hope you like the photos, and hope the Cubs contribute to the St. Louis Slide of 2010.
(click on the image for the full-size version)
You can view Tim Souers work on a daily basis at Cubby Blue.