This one’s from a long-ago Chicago exhibition game.
The photo is obviously of Ron Santo, Cubs third baseman, and Tommy John, White Sox lefthander. They’re clearly at old Comiskey Park. Here’s the full photo:
The Cubs and White Sox played an annual mid-summer exhibition game to benefit boys baseball in the Chicago area from 1949-72. Often, it drew large crowds, as you can see in this photo, there’s almost a full house. In those days, long before interleague play, the Cubs playing the Sox was a novelty.
So when was this? There are enough clues in this photo to guess the date.
Tommy John played for the White Sox from 1965-71. But the Cubs stopped wearing that style of road uniform after 1968. So that narrows things down to the four seasons from 1965-68.
Checking the Hall of Fame’s awesome uniform database for White Sox uniforms for those four years, we see that the Sox wore numbers on the front only in 1967 and 1968. So which is it?
There’s one more clue that clinches it. Look at the Sox uniforms from 1968:
That year, the Sox (and also the Cubs) wore an Illinois sesquicentennial patch that honored the 150th anniversary of Illinois statehood. It was, as shown here, worn on the left sleeve of Sox uniforms in 1968. There’s no patch on Tommy John’s jersey, so this has to be from the Cubs/Sox exhibition game in 1967.
That game was played at Comiskey Park on Thursday, June 22, 1967. At the time, the Sox were flying high in first place in the American League, three games ahead of the Tigers, with a 38-24 record. The Cubs were 34-28, in third place, six games behind the first-place Cardinals, one of their best records at that time of the season in years. They’d later briefly take over first place before fading and finishing third.
On that Thursday evening on the South Side, 39,443 saw the Sox shut out the Cubs 2-0. John threw two innings, the fifth and sixth, and allowed a hit and two walks, with a pair of strikeouts. Santo went 1-for-2 before being removed from the game in the middle innings. The gate receipts totaled $83,361.80 (the equivalent of about $770,000 today).
Here’s the full Chicago Tribune box score from the game:
Just another slice of Cubs history from more than half a century ago.