Category Archives: Baseball

What Cubs game did Ferris Bueller go to? The answer is revealed!

Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus did some research, and from some clues, figured out the actual game that Ferris Bueller went to on his day off.

Here is what was written in the article:

As movie-viewers, we don’t learn anything about the Wrigley Field trip until we see Principal Rooney in the greasy pizza joint. As he wipes off the soda that was just thrown into his face, Rooney walks up to the restaurant’s counter where the game is being shown on television. There, we get a good glimpse at what is going on in the game (including some play-by-play from, I believe, Harry Caray):

Note: The baseball scenes begin at the 2:17 mark.

On the screen we see Chicago first-baseman #10 holding on an Atlanta Braves player wearing #18. The announcer pipes in: “Runner on first base, nobody out. That’s the first hit they’ve had since the fifth inning, and only the fourth hit in the game. … 0-2 the count.”

Chicago pitcher #46 throws the pitch to a left-handed Atlanta hitter with a two-digit number ending in “5” and what appears to be a long last name. The batter swings at the pitch and hits a long fly ball to left. “That’s a drive! Left field… twisting… and into foul territory.”

The Chicago leftfielder races for the ball but it screams foul, into Ferris’ hand. The announcer continues with a train of thought we must have missed: “Boy, I’m really surprised they didn’t go for it in that inning. Lee Smith…”

This is the point where Principal Rooney has his brief conversation with the pizza maker. In the background, we hear one of the announcers say something about playing “a very shallow third”. We then hear “There’s the ball bunted foul back to the screen. Boy I don’t know…”

The scene finally shifts to Wrigley Field, where Ferris and company are sitting near the leftfield foul pole. Off in the distance, we can see the Cubs on the field and one or two baby blue uniforms around the diamond.

It appears obvious now that this is a real ballgame that Ferris is at, not just something recreated for a film crew. The Harry Caray play-by-play and the Braves players on the field are pretty solid evidence of that. So what game, then, are they watching? Did the Cubs win, or did Ferris sing “Danke Schön” as a way to wash away the stink of a Cubs loss?

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.

Sadly, we don’t have pitch-by-pitch data for the game, so we can’t verify all the details presented in the movie (an 0-2 foul ball from Washington and then a bunt foul? Was that a bunt by Ramirez before his home run swing?). I have no reason to doubt that they are correct, though.

More interesting than that is the timeline that this presents for Ferris. It’s said in the movie that the reservation he stole was for noon, but we can’t say with certainty if that’s what time they ate. Seeing as how they finished the lunch with no hassles, it’s safe to assume either Abe never showed up or he showed up well after their lunch was finished. Either way, with a start time of 1:25pm that afternoon, there is plenty of time for Ferris and company to make it to Wrigley in time for the game.

The eleven-inning game took 3:09 to complete, which means that the foul ball Ferris catches had to have been sometime after 4:00pm. That leaves, at the most, one hour and forty-five minutes for their trips to the museum, Sears Tower, the lake, and Sloane’s house, while squeezing in two musical numbers during the parade before racing home at 5:55pm. Seems a bit tough to squeeze all of that in for most normal people. But, seeing as Ferris has the magical ability to sound exactly like both a young Wayne Newton and a young John Lennon, I’m willing to believe he could make the schedule work.

Now that we know exactly what was happening at the Cubs game they went to, “Ferris Bueller” fans will be clamoring all over themselves to add the signatures of Claudell Washington, Paul Zuvella, and Lee Smith to their posters “signed by the complete cast”. Anything less just won’t cut it. I’m just disappointed that the Cubs let the 25th anniversary go by last summer without a celebration. What a shame.

R.I.P. Sparky Anderson (February 22, 1934 – November 4, 2010)

Sparky Anderson, Baseball Hall of Fame manager, died yesterday, at the age of 76, of complications resulting from dementia. He was known for managing the Cincinnati Reds’ 1970s Big Red Machine dynasty, as well as the Detroit Tigers, who had an incredible 1984 season.

The Cincinnati Reds won the World Series under Sparky Anderson in 1975 and 1976. The 1975 World Series, against the Boston Red Sox, is considered to be one of the greatest of all time. The following year, the Reds swept the New York Yankees.
Sparky Anderson was hired to be the manager of the Detroit Tigers in the middle of the 1979 season. The Tigers became a winning club almost immediately, finishing above .500 in each of Sparky’s first three full seasons, but did not get into contention until 1983, when they finished second to the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.

Then the Tigers had a historic run in 1984. They won their first 9 games of the season, and were 35-5 after the first 40 games. They were in first place for the entire season from the first game all the way to the end. Relief pitcher, Willie Hernandez won the Cy Young Award and was chosen as the American League Most Valuable Player. The team also had great players such as catcher – Lance Parrish, 2nd Baseman – Lou Whitaker, shortstop – Alan Trammell, 3rd Baseman – Howard Johnson, Outfielders Kirk Gibson, Chet Lemon and Larry Herndon, as well as starting pitchers Jack Morris, Dan Petry, and Milt Wilcox. The tigers finished with a record of 104-58, 15 games ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays.
They then went on to sweep the Kansas City Royals 3-0. And they beat the poor San Diego Padres (in the Padres first World Series), 4 games to 1. Sparky Anderson was the first manager to lead a team to a World Series victory in both leagues.
Here is a clip of Sparky Anderson receiving a phone call from President Reagan after the Tigers won the series:

The Tigers made the playoffs again in 1987, with the best record in baseball that year. However, they were upset by the Minnesota Twins.

Anderson retired from managing after the 1995 season, upset with the state of baseball after the nasty players strike from the 1994 and beginning of the 1995 season. But, it is widely believed that Anderson was pushed into retirement by the Tigers, who were unhappy that Sparky refused to manage replacement players during spring training in 1995.

Anderson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager in 2000. His Hall of Fame plaque has him wearing a Cincinnati Reds uniform. He chose to wear the Reds cap at his induction in honor of former GM Bob Howsam, who gave Anderson his first chance at a major-league managing job.

Survivors include his wife, Carol Valle Anderson, three children and nine grandchildren. At his request, there will be no funeral or memorial service.

R.I.P. Ben Mondor (March 26, 1925 – October 3, 2010)

Ben Mondor, owner of the Pawtucket Red Sox, died Sunday night after a battle with cancer. I’m not sure if people outside of Rhode Island or New England have heard of him, but in the late ’70s-early ’80s, Mr. Mondor singlehandedly saved the Pawtucket Red Sox from bankruptcy, and made minor league baseball in New England relevant.
He made McCoy Stadium family friendly, and very affordable.
I have met him several times, and he was genuinely one of the nicest people I have ever met in my life. How many sports team owners do you see roaming around the stadium among the fans? And he was always more than willing and happy to sign autographs. He had a great sense of humor, and always had a big smile as he enjoyed life immensely. He will be greatly missed.

Here is an article on him from the Providence Journal:

Ben Mondor, rescued PawSox from bankruptcy, dies at 85

By DANIEL BARBARISI

Journal Sports Writer

Ben Mondor, the playful and beloved Pawtucket Red Sox owner who took the franchise off the scrap heap and created a jewel of minor league baseball, has died in his Warwick home. He was 85.

“It’s the end of a great era,” said his trusted friend and PawSox president Mike Tamburro. This guy was an icon. What he accomplished here is just absolutely remarkable. It’s a great loss, not only for us personally, but I think for the entire community. He was a Rhode Island treasure.”

Mondor was known as a one-of-a-kind in the baseball world, a former businessman who bought the team in shambles and transformed it into a model organization. He was friendly and sharp-tongued at the same time, and never took himself too seriously. He saw the value of his baseball team as part of the fabric of his community, and he fervently believed that his purpose to was keep the PawSox fun and inexpensive — and the McCoy Stadium parking free — for the people of Rhode Island.

“Ben was a giant among men who saved baseball for the State of Rhode Island. On both a personal and professional level, I am saddened to hear of his passing,” said Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino. “He was a good friend of many years and was one of the finest people to ever be a part of the game of baseball. When we honored him on ‘Ben Mondor Day’ at Fenway Park in 2004, the sheer number of people who came to join us in the celebrations showed the profound impact that his life had on the game and on the lives of people.”

Mondor died Sunday night after a battle with cancer. Ownership of the team will pass to Mondor’s wife, Madeleine, but the leadership structure of the team — president Tamburro and general manager Lou Schwechheimer — will remain, and no major changes are expected in the near future.

“He told us both — if you guys screw this up, I’m going to come back and haunt you,” Tamburro said.

A celebration Mass will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at the Cathedral of Saints Peter & Paul, 30 Fenner St., in Providence. The Mass is open to the public. A private burial will follow.

Mondor, born in Quebec in 1925, left Canada as a boy. As an adult, he invested in the New England textile industry, owning several mills. In the 1970s, he sold his interests and retired. In 1977, he bought the-then Rhode Island Red Sox franchise. At the time, the organization was flailing, bankrupt and having lost its membership in professional baseball, drawing only 1,000 fans a game in a run-down McCoy Stadium.

Tamburro recalled the winter day when he and Mondor first walked around McCoy Stadium after the sale. The challenge seemed far too great as they walked around the decrepit old park, pausing in front of a beat-up old chicken stand on the third-base side.

“It was cold,” Tamburro recalled, “sleet, ice, a slushy day, and there were chicken bones frozen in front of that concession stand. And I remember looking around this place, and saying, ‘What the hell are we doing here?’ ”

Mondor paused to look around, and as they moved, he lost his footing, slipping on one of the chicken bones and falling flat on his back, Tamburro said.

“And he looked up at me, and said to me, ‘Every businessman makes one mistake. You’d better make sure this isn’t mine.’ ”

It wasn’t.

With his forceful personality at the core, the PawSox rose from an annual attendance of 70,000 when Mondor took over to nearly 700,000 20 years later.

He was known for his wit and willingness to speak his mind, and for treating his employees well — most of his top executives, like current president Tamburro, GM Schwechheimer and VP of public relations Bill Wanless, started with the team in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

“If you look around at the people who have been around for not one decade, not two decades, but three decades, this crew is a testament to Ben. The fact that you can look around this building on a given day and see folks who have been together for 30 years is unheard of,” Schwechheimer said.

Mondor considered his longtime employees family, and let them know they were close with playful barbs. Getting needled by Mondor was preferable to the alternative — it meant he liked you.

Over time, his PawSox and their consistent success became known throughout the baseball world.

Former baseball agent and San Diego Padres CEO and now Red Sox senior adviser Jeremy Kapstein, a Rhode Island native, said that wherever he would go in baseball, major and minor league executives would ask about Ben Mondor and his Pawtucket Red Sox.

“They know about Ben Mondor. They know about the team of people he hired — Mike, and Lou, and Bill — Ben was a nationally known and respected baseball figure,” Kapstein said. “He built the PawSox into a true local treasure, and a nationally respected franchise… Ben was one of those very rare people who have a vision, plus the drive and skill to accomplish his goal. The PawSox are proof of his vision accomplished.”

The PawSox routinely lead the minor leagues in attendance or rank in the top 10 despite climate issues and the presence of a major league team less than an hour away. They are an important part of a player development powerhouse that has helped the Red Sox win two World Series in the past decade, as Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein noted.

“He played a significant role in developing hundreds of Major League players many of whom contributed immensely to the success of the Boston Red Sox. He treated the players like his own family and his devotion to their development was absolute. We will miss him,” Epstein said.

Over 33 seasons, Mondor’s PawSox participated in some great moments, including baseball’s longest game in 1981, and the Triple-A All Star game in 2004, and hosted hundreds of major league rehabbers and big-time prospects who came up through the organization’s ranks.

Scores of former players and employees have called to offer condolences, Tamburro said. Among them was Roger Clemens, a former PawSox, paid tribute to Mondor on his Twitter account today: “Lots of prayers and hugs out to Ben Mondor’s family. I am very thankful to have met him,” Clemens wrote.

While he’s no George Steinbrenner — a man Mondor admired — the PawSox owner has lasted through his fair share of managers, 12 in all. Mondor’s final PawSox manager was Torey Lovullo, who took over this past spring and guided the PawSox this past year.

From the moment he arrived, Lovullo was struck by the class and professionalism of the PawSox organization, and fed off the feeling of being part of something big. He and his wife were greeted with flowers, and his children received generous Christmas presents. Right away, he felt at home, and it all started with Mondor, he said.

At the beginning of each homestand, Lovullo would sit down in Mondor’s office, to talk about the previous trip. Mondor loved to win. He hated losing, even though to the Red Sox, the minor leagues are about player development, not wins and losses. Mondor knew that conceptually, but a bad road trip still rankled.

“He cared so much about the wins and losses, but he was in it with me, he knew why we couldn’t quite get there. He knew it was about development. But he felt the wins and losses. And we’d have great baseball discussions,” Lovullo said.

“I’ve managed and played in about every city in the United States of America, and it’s just unmatched, the passion and care for the players, and for the Boston Red Sox and the Pawtucket Red Sox,” Lovullo said.

PawSox broadcaster Dan Hoard first met Mondor in the 1980s — when as an intern, the owner offered Hoard a ride home from the park. When he returned as a radio man several years ago, Hoard was welcomed immediately, but on the road constantly. Mondor tried to soften that blow.

“He would do whatever he could to try to make up for that,” Hoard said. “I joked with my wife Peg today, that I’m going to have to remember to send her flowers at appropriate occasions. Because Ben always did it — it’s amazing.

“Birthday, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, any holiday when it’s appropriate to send your spouse or significant other flowers, he took care of it for me. So now I’m back to having to write these things down,” Hoard laughed.

While Mondor may have been known nationally, his focus was local, and he never stopped trying to promote his adopted home. The Pawtucket Red Sox are one of Rhode Island’s best and most well-known brands, and resonate at a level beyond most minor league baseball teams. The PawSox act as a giant billboard of sorts for Rhode Island, said Robert D. Billington, president of the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council.

“He was a character, he was charismatic,” Billington said. “He single-handedly has done more than anyone else to bring the good Pawtucket name across the country.”

“Our brand was nothing,” before Mondor took over the Pawsox, Billington said. “What he did was nothing short of monumental. There are not many people who can do that in their life and he did it.”

Yet the PawSox are anything but a baseball factory. They remain the quintessential baseball experience, an inexpensive, family-friendly option in an age where high ticket prices are the norm. Parking is always free at McCoy Stadium, and it’s possible to get in and out quickly and easily — there is none of the hassle of the modern sporting event.

That starts at the top. John C. Gregory, president of the Northern RI Chamber of Commerce, said Mondor imbued everyone in the organization, from the executives to the ticket-takers, with the idea of customer service.

“A lot of the folks who work there started as interns. They grew up in the PawSox way,” Gregory said. “My guess is if you didn’t buy into it, gave it more than just lip service, you probably didn’t last long.”

He recalled how during the stadium renovation debate in the mid 1990s, Mondor turned down an ornate design that would have completely rebuilt the exterior of the stadium and made it more in line with the Camden Yards ballpark in Baltimore. Mondor held out for a simpler plan that kept much of McCoy’s signature exterior, like the circular stairway, intact.

“There isn’t a single luxury box in the place,” Mondor said when the new plan was unveiled in 1998. “It’s for my people, the little guys … We still have $4 and $3 tickets for everybody. That’s the kind of ballpark it’s going to be.”

“I know it’s overstated, but it’s the passing of a legend,” Gregory said.

Mondor was elected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2004. According to the Red Sox Hall of Fame selection committee, “Ben Mondor rescued Triple-A baseball in Pawtucket and…has turned the PawSox into one of the most beloved franchises in Minor League Baseball. Along the way, he has contributed to the development of countless Red Sox prospects on the road to Fenway Park.”

The PawSox are a valuable franchise, and Mondor received offers to sell often. He never listened to one, Tamburro said.

“He got many many offers, and I don’t think he ever paid attention to any offer. This is what he loved. This is where he wanted to be. He retired god-knows how many times, and couldn’t leave the ballpark. And we loved him for it. I still think he’s going to walk through that door, one more time. And we’d be the happiest guys in the world if he did,” Tamburro said.

He will not. No one has touched Mondor’s office since he fell ill and left McCoy for the last time Aug. 22. He did, however, know when to go.

Mondor passed away Sunday afternoon, just as the Red Sox were finishing their final game of the season against the rival New York Yankees. Baseball in Boston was over for the year. That was, in a way, when Tamburro always expected Mondor to go.

“You’ve probably heard me say that I never worry about Ben during the season; it’s when the season ends that I worry about him,” Tamburro said.

“And it’s remarkable that we lost him just about the time when the Red Sox got the last out in [Sunday’s] ballgame against the Yankees. It was almost him saying to us, ‘It’s time for me to go.’ I’ll never forget. It was just a remarkable moment.”

19 Somethin’ – Baseball Cards


The 19 Somethin’ series continues. If you missed the previous articles, you can get caught up here.

Here is the next line in the song:

had a shoebox full of baseball cards

Before I had money to buy music, I had my parents’ money to buy baseball cards. I also had football cards, and The Empire Strikes Back cards. But, since baseball is my favorite sport, I had more than a shoebox ful of baseball cards. Remember how the gum would come in the package? You could break your teeth trying to chew it. And a lot of times, the gum would stick to the back of the last card, and the card would rip a little bit.

Here are a sample of the Topps cards from the ’80s:

1980

Carl Yastrzemski
1981

Tim Raines
1982

Nolan Ryan
1983

Wade Boggs
1984
Mike Schmidt
1985

Dwight Gooden
1986

Don Mattingly
1987

Mark McGuire
1988

Kirby Puckett
1989
Randy Johnson

Bob Ueker recovers from heart surgery and returns to broadcast booth

On April 30 this year, Bob Ueker underwent heart surgery. 3 months later, the 75 year old will return to the Milwaukee Brewers broadcast booth. ’80s fans remember Ueker from his famous call in the movie Major League: “Juuuuust a bit outside”. He is also known for playing George Owens on the television show Mr. Belvedere, which ran from 1985-1990. He is also known for apearing in some hilarious Miller Lite commercials: “I must be in the front row!”

Uecker is in his 40th season broadcasting Brewers games. The Brewers have not said if Uecker will travel for the team’s road games upon his return, but Uecker had indicated previously he would not.

Reference: ESPN

R.I.P. George Steinbrenner (July 4, 1930 – July 13, 2010)

George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, died this morning from a massive heart attack in Tampa, Fla. He was 80.

Steinbrenner was either loved or hated by baseball fans – depending on whether you are a Yankees fan or not. His outspokenness and role in driving up players salaries made him despised by fans outside of Yankee country. He was known for being a hands-on owner, and earned the nickname “The Boss”. He tended to meddle in on field decisions, and was known for hiring and firing (and re-hiring and re-firing) many managers – especially Billy Martin. In his first 23 seasons, he changed managers 20 times (including dismissing Billy Martin on five separate occasions), and general managers 11 times in 30 years.

The Yankees only appeared in 1 World Series in the ’80s – 1981. They lost that series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. After a Game 3 loss in Los Angeles, Steinbrenner called a press conference in his hotel room, showing off his left hand in a cast and various other injuries that he claimed were earned in a fight with two Dodgers fans in the hotel elevator. Nobody came forward about the fight, leading to the belief that he had made up the story of the fight in order to light a fire under the Yankees. After the series, he issued a public apology to the City of New York for his team’s performance, while at the same time assuring the fans that plans to put the team together for 1982 would begin immediately. He was criticized heartily by players and press alike for doing so, as most people felt losing in the World Series was not something that needed to be apologized for.

The loss was also bad for the Yankees because they had acquired Dave Winfield that year, as he became the highest payed player in baseball history at that time. He helped get them to the World Series, but he went 1 for 22 (for a .045 batting Average) in the series, as the Dodgers won the series 4 games to 2.
The ’80s was the only decade that the Yankees did not win a World Series in.

On July 30, 1990, Commissioner Fay Vincent banned Steinbrenner from baseball for life after he paid Howie Spira, a small-time gambler, $40,000 for “dirt” after Winfield sued him for failing to pay his foundation the $300,000 guaranteed in his contract. Winfield later entered the Hall of Fame as a San Diego Padre, which is where he played before he went to the Yankees.

Steinbrenner was reinstated in 1993. However, his attitude had changed, and he did not interfere as much, and left the decision making to the executives.

Since 2006, George Steinbrenner spent most of his time in Tampa, Florida, leaving the Yankees to be run by his sons Hank and Hal Steinbrenner. Hank is taking on his father’s traits by being outspoken and stirring up controversy.

April 29, 1986: Roger Clemens has first 20 strikeout game

Today in 1986, Roger Clemens struck out 20 Seattle Mariners for a 3-1 victory. Going into that evening, Boston fans were focusing more on the Larry Bird and the Celtics, who were on their way to their 16th NBA title, and facing the “Human Highlight Film” Dominique Wilkins and the Atlanta Hawks.
But, Clemens struck out the first 3 batters he faced. Then he struck out 2 in the next inning. He went on to be the first pitcher in Major League Baseball to strike out 20 batters in a nine-inning game. He broke Steve Carlton, of the St. Louis Cardinals, record of 19 strikeouts in a nine-inning game, which was set in 1969 and duplicated by the Mets’ Tom Seaver in 1970 and the California Angels’ Nolan Ryan in 1974.
Future Red Sox player, Spike Owen was strikeout victim number nineteen and Phil Bradley was number twenty. Boston Red Sox trainer Charlie Moss said in the dugout after those two historic Ks to starter Bruce Hurst, “We should get the ball to save it.” Hurst replied, “You don’t have to, that ball ain’t going anywhere” and he was correct as Ken Phelps grounded out to end this legendary game. Kerry Wood and Randy Johnson each recorded 20-strikeout games after Clemens. However, Clemens repeated the feat 10 years later on September 18, 1996, in a game against the Detroit Tigers at Tiger Stadium.

However, Roger Clemens’ reputation is now tainted since his name came up in the Mitchell Report, which alleged he used performance-enhancing drugs during the 1998-2001 seasons.

Reference: Baseball Almanac