Which Cubs game was Ferris Bueller at?

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  February 8, 2011 03:46 PM

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You have a new excuse to call in sick in June.

In the 1986 movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," main character Matthew Broderick turns a fake sick day into a hilarious romp through Chicago, at one point going by "Abe Froman, the Sausage King of Chicago" to get a table at an upscale restaurant. Also included in the film are trips to the Sears Tower, the Art Institute, and Wrigley Field.

Larry Granillo over at Baseball Prospectus has figured out the date of the Cubs game Bueller (anyone?) and his friends attended in the film. Granillo gets his information from the scene below:

From that scene, Granillo comes to this conclusion:

The movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" was released on June 11, 1986. The ballgame then must have been filmed either real early in the 1986 season or sometime during 1985. Looking at game logs from those seasons, we see that there was no game in 1986 in which Lee Smith (#46) faced the Braves at Wrigley Field. There were four such games in '85, though Smith left the Braves hitless in one of those. Of the remaining three games, it isn't hard to find the game we're looking for.

Ferris Bueller and his pals were at the June 5, 1985, tilt between the Cubs and the Braves. The foul ball that Ferris caught was hit by Atlanta rightfielder Claudell Washington (#15) in the top of the 11th inning. The game was tied at two (not scoreless, like the pizza guy claimed) and backup second-baseman Paul Zuvella (#18) was being held on first by Leon Durham (#10) after a leadoff single (the fourth hit of the game, and Atlanta's first hit since the fifth). Washington would end his at-bat with a flyball to leftfielder Davey Lopes. The next batter, Rafael Ramirez, would wind up hitting a two-run home run and the Braves would go on to win 4-2. The movie, however, cut away before that happened.

Granillo suggests that Broderick and his co-stars actually attended that game, but Al Yellon at SB Nation points out that Chicago filming of the movie wasn't scheduled to begin until Sept. of 1985. Yellen suggests that the actors filmed inside Wrigley on a Cubs off day in September, and that they were edited into actual game footage from that June 5 game. That would mean Broderick didn't actually catch a fly ball during a game, which would have been pretty fortuitous for the film crew, anyway.

Props to both Granillo and Yellen for researching this and allowing me to watch clips from the movie in the name of doing work. When June 5 comes around this year, think of Ferris. Maybe hit a museum. Just don't get yourself on NESN shagging a fly ball in front of Pesky's pole.

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