December 13, 2013
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Saturday, February 09, 2013
10,000 days ago, one of the wildest games in Wrigley Field history took place. For a while, it looked like one of the most one-sided, but it ended up a lot closer than anyone could’ve imagined.
It was a sunny afternoon day on Sept. 24, 1985—and the wind was most assuredly blowing out.
Early on there wasn’t much scoring. Sure, Montreal plated a pair in the first on an Andre Dawson homer and added another run in the second, but after four innings it was just 3-1 Expos. Rather routine stuff so far.
The top of the fifth would be anything but routine. After back-to-back singles opened the frame, Dawson broke up the game with a three-run homer. Montreal didn’t back off from there. The next eight batters combined for three singles, a double, two walks (one intentional) and two outs for a 10-2 Expos advantage—with seven runs coming in this inning.
And it still wasn’t over. After all, up to the plate was—again—Andre Dawson. Wouldn’t you know it? Dawson crashed his second three-run homers of the inning. Now it was 13-2. It was also Dawson’s third homer of the game—and second of this inning. Not bad at all.
The workers in Wrigley’s hand-operated scoreboard were so flummoxed by all the fast and furious scoring that they initially put an upside 10 in the top of the fifth inning square for Montreal. They needn’t fix it, because a few minutes later Tim Wallach connected for a two-run homer and a 15-2 lead. Somehow, the Cubs finally got a third out and, man, did it ever look like the game was over. After all, no team had ever overcome a 13-run deficit.
The Cubs scored run one in the sixth. Big whump. Call it a moral victory. It was 15-3 when Harry Caray led the crowd singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the seventh-inning stretch.
The Cubs showed a little more life in the seventh, scoring three runs. 15-6 now. Then they gave up a pair in the eighth. They now trailed by 11 with six outs to go. Maybe now would be a good time to head for the exits, right?
Well, in the bottom of the eighth the Cubs had a mighty nice rally. Three singles, a wild pitch, and a Gary Matthewshomer made it 17-10. That’s close if it were a football game. But the inning kept going and with one out they had runners on the corners. But that’s where the rally died, with a strikeout and then a fly ball. Momentary thoughts of a comeback are predictably dashed.
When the Cubs made the second out in the bottom of the ninth, it was still 17-10 with runners on third and second. Chances for victory were non-existent, but the Cubs were going to show some fight yet.
First Ron Cey singled in both runners to make it 17-12. Then second baseman Dave Owen (who replaced star Ryne Sandberg when the game was a blowout) walked. Veteran shortstop Chris Speier singled home Cey to make it 17-13. The tying run was actually on deck.
After Leon Durham doubled home Owen and Speier, the game was 17-15 with the tying run at the plate. Four straight batters had reached base and five runs had scored with two outs. Unfortunately for the Cubs, they’d run out of people on their bench and so up to the plate representing their last out came backup catcher Steve Lake. Hitting .149 on the year, he was no one’s last best hope. Just to make sure, the Expos put relief ace Jeff Reardon in to nail down the win. That he did, with an easy grounder to first.
The Expos controlled the game throughout, but did anyone ever imagine that they’d have to use their bullpen fireman? They led by 13 at one point!
Oh, and there’s one more memorable feature about this game. Among the 6,947 fans in attendance, were a couple of people named John Hughes and Matthew Broderick—or, as he was called that day, Ferris Bueller. Yup, this is the day they shot the Wrigley Field scenes for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. They used clips from a different game in the movie, but this was the day they were at the ballpark.
A mighty full day at the ballpark it was—and it was 10,000 days ago.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary.” The are listed below, with the better ones in bold if you’d prefer to just skim.
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