Danke Schön: Baseball Expert Identifies Ferris Bueller's Chicago Cubs Game
Some days, the Internet gives you a lump of coal; some days, it gives you a diamond. Baseball Prospectus writer Larry Granillo has identified the exact 1985 Chicago Cubs game that Ferris Bueller and Cameron Frye attended during their epic day of hooky in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Spoiler: The Bears were not, in fact, winning. Sorry, Mr. Rooney!
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 [Cubs pitcher] 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.
In case you were curious, the foul ball that Ferris catches was hit by Braves outfielder Claudell Washington in the top of the 11th inning, shortly before Rafael Ramirez would hit a go-ahead 2-run home run. Washington ended his at bat by flying out.
Granillo goes on to explain that so much of the latter stages of Ferris Bueller's Day Off would have had to happen in an incredibly short amount of time (the game ended after 4 p.m., and Ferris still had to go to the art museum, Cameron's house and sing "Danke Schön" among other things), but that's just nonsense. What I'm most excited about is finally knowing who Cameron was razzing from his seat on the third base line. From this moment forward, "Hey batter batter, swing batter" shall now be known as "The Claudell Washington."