Gwynnpointing the play

As has become a recurring theme with me, I was looking for a different card, saw this one, and got completely sidetracked. One sub-hobby of my larger hobby of collecting cards is trying to pinpoint when the play pictured took place, and this card featuring a pair of Hall of Famers seemed like a good candidate.

Since this card is from 1996, the photo is from 1995. I looked at Tony's 1995 game log to narrow it down to the six games the Padres played in St. Louis. Their first road set against the Cardinals was from June 13 through June 15. Gwynn got on base all three games, but Tripp Cromer played all 27 innings at shortstop for the Cards that series. That meant it had to take place in one of the three games from September 7 through September 9.

Both September 7 and September 8 were quickly eliminated since Tony posted a rare 0-for-4 each game and didn't reach base any other way. Now that it was down to one possible day, I thought I was on the home-stretch. However, Gwynn had a big game on September 9; even more confusing to my quest was that he stopped at second base four times, stealing it twice.

Right when I was about to give up, like I do with most things in life, I took another glance at the card and something occurred to me. Both Gwynn and Smith's uniforms are spotless, and the dirt around second base is in nearly pristine condition. Also, Busch Stadium is notorious for being extremely hot on the field of play, and there's nary a drop of sweat to be seen on either one of them. All of this leads me to believe that this picture was taken during the first inning, when Tony took second on a wild pitch by Mike Morgan. Beside, if I were a photographer, I would snap whatever action I saw early in the game in case I didn't get a chance later.

So there you have it. Maybe.

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