Photo of the infield at Wrigley Field during a Chicago Cubs home game.

Image Credit: AuntJojo/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" is a popular movie about an upper middle-class teenager growing up in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. The plot includes Ferris pretending to be sick, playing hooky from high school and exploring Chicago with his girlfriend Sloane and best friend Cameron. However, their quirky principal ends up pursuing Ferris all day with the hopes of catching him and suspending him. On that eventful day, Ferris and his friends attended a Chicago Cubs game at Wrigley Field in addition to visiting the Art Institute of Chicago, performing at the Von Steuben Day Parade and eating at an upscale restaurant. The question is which Chicago Cubs game did Ferris and his friends attend at Wrigley Field? Let’s explore.

For starters, we know that the movie was first released on June 11, 1986. That means that the movie was filmed either during the 1985 Major League Baseball season or at the very beginning of the 1986 MLB season. We also know that Ferris and friends attended a day game and that there were no night games at Wrigley Field until August 8, 1988 (8-8-88). We find out the most about the game when Principal Rooney wonders into a pizza parlor and inquires about the score of the Chicago Cubs game.

The television depicts former Chicago Cubs pitcher Lee Smith on the mound and facing the Atlanta Braves. Lee Smith did not face the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field during the 1986 MLB season. However, he did pitch against the Atlanta Braves four times in 1985 including a game in which he held them hitless. That left only three games to choose from. During the game, we also witness a foul ball hit by Claudell Washington (Atlanta Braves). Ferris is depicted as the person that catches the foul ball in his seat but Principal Rooney fails to notice on the television. Judging from the Wrigley Field seating chart, Ferris and his friends were sitting in section 140 or an adjacent section at Wrigley Field.

This scene also shows Leon Durham (Chicago Cubs) holding Paul Zuvella (Atlanta Braves) on first base. All of those players were collectively in the lineup on June 5, 1985; a game that ended in the Atlanta Braves defeating the Chicago Cubs 4-2. Principal Rooney inquired about the score of the game while inside the pizza parlor. The employee stated that the game was tied 0-0 but it was actually 2-2. This study was put together by Larry Granillo of Baseball Prospectus

However, SB Nation threw a wrench in Baseball Prospectus’ theory when they discovered evidence that filming for Ferris Bueller did not begin until July 1985. The Von Steuben Day Parade that Ferris and his friends attended after the Cubs game was also held on September 28, 1985 meaning filming could have taken four months to complete (highly unlikely). It’s blatantly obvious that there is no way Ferris and his crew could have completed all of the activities they did in one single day.

SB Nation went on to suggest that Ferris and company actually attended a game in September 1985 and a Cubs-Braves game from earlier in the season was being shown on the pizza parlor television. When the television showed Ferris catching Claudell Washington’s foul ball, the foul ball was hit in the shade. When the film cuts to Ferris actually catching the foul ball, the sun is shining brightly. The game Ferris Bueller and friends attended was a Chicago Cubs vs. Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals) game on September 24, 1985. The blue uniforms the Montreal Expors used to wear pretty much gave it all away. The game ended with a score of 17-15 in favor of the Montreal Expos in front of a crowd of less than 7,000 people. Talk about strange! The crew then attended the Von Steuben Day Parade later that week and filmed those scenes.

Ferris Bueller joins a string of other popular movies that were filmed at Wrigley Field including “A League Of Their Own”, “Rookie Of The Year” and “The Breakup”. Earlier this year, real life imitated art when a middle schooler was caught by his school principal at Wrigley Field. The story made national news. The biggest gripe we had with Ferris and friend’s trip to Wrigley Field is that Cameron wore a Detroit Red Wings jersey to the game. A Chicago Blackhawks jersey would have been nice; maybe similar to the one Clark Griswald wore in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation”.

If you haven’t attended a game at Wrigley Field yet, you’re missing out. Make sure to visit while the Chicago White Sox are also playing at Guaranteed Rate Field.


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