Wrigley Field historical sleuthing: Tony Oliva edition

Getty Images says:

Tony Oliva of the Minnesota Twins poses before a MLB game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. Oliva played for the Minnesota Twins from 1962-76.

Well. You certainly know that the Minnesota Twins did not play a single game in Wrigley Field during Oliva’s MLB career; the first Twins game at Wrigley in interleague play didn’t happen until 1997.

However, that’s definitely Oliva, and it’s definitely Wrigley Field. Here’s the full photo:

Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images

So, this has to be some sort of exhibition game, for Oliva to be in full Twins uniform. The first clue — which you will have to look closely for — is the “BUD LIGHT” ad on the Wrigley scoreboard. That ad (and a similar “BUDWEISER” ad on the left side) were there from 1983-86.

Now we’ve got a time frame. But… what sort of game was this?

I sent the photo to Mike Bojanowski, who looked through his collection of scorecards and program magazines. The Cubs published the latter for many years starting in 1982.

The magazine noted a series of Old Timers Games, sponsored by True Value Hardware, beginning in 1982. But it can’t be ‘82, since as noted, the BUD LIGHT ad wasn’t on the board until ‘83. Oliva did, in fact, play in a Wrigley Old Timers Game, Cubs old-timers against an All-Star team, in 1982.

Oliva also played in the 1983 game, and that’s when…

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