Ferris Bueller's Day Off: Was It June 5, 1985?

Was yesterday the 31st anniversary of Ferris Bueller’s legendary day off? One keen-eyed baseball writer thinks so.

Back in 2011, Larry Granillo first posted his hypothesis at Baseball Prospectus. After scrutinizing the scant footage of the Chicago Cubs game that Matthew Broderick’s delinquent Ferris attends with girlfriend Sloane (Mia Sara) and best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) in John Hughes’ 1986 comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Granillo deduced that the trio had to have been at Wrigley Field on June 5, 1985. In the film, Cubs pitcher Lee Smith is on the mound vs. the Atlanta Braves. That matchup occurred four times in the Chicago ballpark in 1985, but Granillo’s research found it’s the June 5 game that lines up with the movie action. (Watch the baseball scene that provided Granillo with his calendar-pinpointing evidence above.)

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On Sunday’s anniversary, The Huffington Post contacted Granillo for his recollections about his discovery:

“I was watching the movie one Saturday and it occurred to me that the Cubs footage they showed on the TV screen, combined with the audio, had to have come from a real game. I pulled up Baseball Reference (still the greatest gift the internet ever created), and with a little digging into the game logs of the players mentioned on screen, I found the game.”

Of course, if this was the actual game, it raises some questions about the rest of Ferris’ day, a fact Granillo grappled with in his original Baseball Prospectus post:

“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.”

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Other timeline issues, as noted by The Huffington Post, are that the Von Steuben Parade that Ferris attends takes place in the fall, and there are contradicting statements in the movie about what time of year it is. Nonetheless, give Granillo credit for stepping up to the plate, and note that no one had to skip school to see the Cubs lose Sunday’s “anniversary” game at Wrigley 3-2 to Arizona.

‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’: Watch the trailer: