Sunday, October 21, 2012
10,000 days since the Ferris Bueller game at Wrigley FieldPosted by Chris Jaffe
Every generation has some iconic movies, and today marks a “day-versary” in the life of one of them. Ever seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? It’s one of those films that apparently everyone my age (except me) has seen. Well, it turns out that Ferris Bueller’s day away from school was 10,000 days ago.
Oh, there is a baseball tie-in, by the way. In fact, it’s thanks to baseball researcher (and former THT writer) Larry Granillo that we know when Bueller’s big day was. You see, part of Bueller’s school-skipping activities was taking in a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Granillo noted that there was too much info and play-by-play in the game to be a mere recreation. This was a real game.
Granillo noted several clues given in the game to determine when Ferris Bueller’s real day off was. It was a Cubs-Braves game, and it must have been in 1985. The only game that fits all the markers noted in the movie was on June 5, 1985.
Lee Smith faced the Braves that day (as seen in the movie). When you see Chicago’s No. 10 holding Atlanta runner No. 18 at first, that’s Leon Durham and Paul Zuvella. Oh, and when Ferris catches a foul ball, its hit by Claudell Washington.
That was a Wednesday. The Cubs at the time were defending champions in the NL East and looking to repeat. When that game began, Chicago was in second place, a game behind the Mets with a record of 29-18. The Cubs lost that game in 11 innings to the Braves (with the winning run scoring shortly after Ferris caught the foul ball), but the Mets lost, too.
Unfortunately for Ferris and the Cubs, things were about to implode. The entire Cub pitching staff went down with injuries at the same time, and exactly a week after Bueller came to the Friendly Confines, Chicago began a franchise-record tying 13-game losing streak. The contending days were over, and the CUbbies finished under .500. Call it the Curse of Bueller.
As for the Braves, they were having a poor season. This win moved their record up to a substandard 20-29 mark as they trudged their way to an unfortunate 66-96 season. That’s 14 games worse than the 80-82 mark that got manager Joe Torre canned the year before. In the Year of Ferris, the Braves wouldn’t even wait until the end of the season to fire their skipper, dumping new boss Eddie Haas in late August, giving him quite a few days off.
It’s been 10,000 days and in some ways, the game shows how things have changed. Hall of Fame reliever Bruce Sutter entered the game in a non-save situation and lasted three innings. Atlanta’s bullpen threw five full innings on the day but used just two relievers total. When was the last time you saw that happen?
The Cubs also used their relief ace in a non-save situation, as Smith came on to pitch in the 11th. He pitched just one inning—because starter Scott Sanderson lasted a full 10 frames. The Cubs have had a pitcher last that long only six times since then, most recently in 1990, when Mike Bielecki did it. A pitcher has done it against the Braves only three times since the Bueller game.
The game featured one Hall of Famer in Sutter and two men still on the Cooperstown ballot, Smith and Atlanta outfielder Dale Murphy. As it happens, Bueller saw quite possibly the worst game of Murphy’s career, or at least one of the worst, as Murphy was 0-for-5 with four strikeouts. He had just three games in his career with four whiffs, no hits, and at least five at-bats. Another one took place just five days later, when he was 0-for-8 against the Giants, but at least Murphy scored in that one. Despite his bad day, Murphy would pace the league with 37 homers and 90 walks on the season while batting .300.
Two future managers appeared in the game, Larry Bowa and Davey Lopes, both playing for the Cubs. Also playing for Chicago was current Cubs radio broadcaster Keith Moreland.
Ryne Sandberg was not in the game. He apparently dinged himself at the beginning of the month and was in the midst of a seven-game stretch where he didn't play. That was his longest period off the field from Opening Day 1982 until mid-June 1987. In other words, Ferris Bueller's Day Off took place during Ryne Sandberg's Week Off. But they both apparently were at Wrigley Field on June 5, 1985, 10,000 days ago.
Aside from that, many other baseball events have their anniversary or “day-versary" today. Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim through things:
1,000 days since Mark Loretta announces his retirement after 15 years in the majors.
3,000 days since the fourth walk-off home run in the career of Albert Pujols.
3,000 days since the Cardinals announce that their new park also will be named Busch Stadium.
5,000 days since the Padres give a non-roster contract to Garth Brooks, allowing him to attend their spring training camp.
6,000 days since John Mabry hits for the cycle.
6,000 days since Lenny Dykstra plays in his last game.
9,000 days since Whitey Herzog loses his 1,000th game as manager. His record is 1,162-1,000.
9,000 days since Dave Stieb throws the third (of five) career one-hitters. It’s Stieb’s second straight start to be a one-hitter, and in both of them he was one out from a no-hitter when someone singles off of him. At this point, he’s never thrown a no-hitter, but eventually he’ll get one.
9,000 days since Joaquin Andujar plays in his last game.
9,000 days since Sandy Alomar Jr. makes his major league debut.
9,000 days since President Ronald Reagan does a half-inning of play-by-play at Wrigley Field for the Cubs in place of Harry Caray, who is recovering from a stroke.
10,000 days since Dennis Martinez posts his 100th win. He’s 100-85 for his career at this point.
30,000 days since Bill Dickey hits his second and final inside-the-park home run. It’s just his 15th career homer overall.
1909 Bill Lee, Cubs pitcher, is born.
1922 Babe Ruth’s barnstorming tour ends when Yankee co-owner Col. Huston gets him to stop after Commissioner Landis issued suspensions to Ruth and his tour-mates for their unauthorized tour.
1925 Marv Goodwin becomes the first active player to die in a plane crash. He’s piloting the plane at the time.
1928 Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford is born.
1932 The A’s release longtime pitcher Eddie Rommel.
1934 An All-Star squad led by Babe Ruth and Connie Mack sails the Pacific where they’ll play in Hawaii and Japan.
1947 The Indians release veteran catcher Al Lopez.
1957 The Giants purchase the San Francisco Seals. They’ll move the Seals to Phoenix and take up residence in San Francisco themselves.
1959 George Bell, 1987 MVP, is born.
1964 The Braves board of directors vote to seek permission from MLB to move to Atlanta in time for the 1965 season.
1968 Longtime catcher Elston Howard announces his retirement.
1969 The Cardinals trade Dave Giusti to the Pirates, where he’ll emerge as a star reliever.
1975 Toby Hall, one-time hot prospect catcher who became a journeyman, is born.
1975 It’s one of the most famous games in World Series history as Carlton Fisk’s walk-off homer ends a dramatic 7-6 Red Sox win over the Reds in 12 innings in Game Six.
1979 Khalil Greene, infielder, is born.
1981 The Yankees trade Willie McGee to the Cardinals for Bob Sykes. It’s a good trade for St. Louis.
1981 Tommy John leads the Yankees to a victory over the Dodgers in Game Two of the World Series. This makes John the fifth pitcher to beat all 26 teams, joining Rick Wise, Mike Torrez, Gaylord Perry, and Doyle Alexander. This is the only time John ever defeats the Dodgers.
1983 San Diego signs amateur free agent catcher Sandy Alomar Jr.
1983 Zack Greinke, pitcher, is born.
1993 Curt Schilling has his first great postseason game, leading the Phillies to a 2-0 win over the Blue Jays in Game Five of the World Series. This keeps the Phillies alive, as they’re now down three games to two.
1995 Vada Pinson dies.
1995 The Braves top the Indians, 3-2, in Game One of the World Series. Both teams have as many hits as they have runs.
1997 Dolph Camilli, former start NL slugger, dies.
1997 The Marlins top the Indians, 14-11, in Game Three of the World Series. Florida scores seven in the top of the ninth for the win.
1998 The Yankees win their 125th and final game of the season, topping the Padres 3-0 in Game Four of the World Series to finish the sweep and conclude their great season.
2000 The Yankees narrowly edge the Mets, 4-3 in 12 innings, in Game One of the World Series.
2001 The Yankees top the Mariners, 3-1, in Game Four of the ALDS. It’s 0-0 after seven innings and 1-1 after eight. New York gets a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth for the win.
2011 Theo Epstein officially resigns from the Red Sox. He’ll switch to the Cubs during the offseason.
History instructor by day, statnerd by night, Chris Jaffe leads one of the most exciting double lives imaginable; with the exception of every other double life possible to imagine. Despite his lack of comic-book-hero-worthiness, Chris enjoys farting around with this stuff. His new book, Evaluating Baseball's Managers is available for order. Chris welcomes responses to his articles via e-mail. Oh, and now he's on twitter.