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A Day In Wrigley Field History: July 4, 1994

This was one of the longest days ever at the ballyard at Clark & Addison.

Brian Kersey

The 1994 season was awful, in just about every way.

For baseball in general, a black mark stands forever, as the World Series was cancelled due to a labor dispute.

For the Cubs, they got off to a horrendous start, losing their first 14 home games, and on May 15 they stood 11-24, 11½ games out of first place. Manager Tom Trebelhorn had earlier had his famous "firehouse chat," detailed in this BCB history post from a year ago.

But after that 11-24 start, the team played pretty much .500 ball the rest of the way (38-41), and a doubleheader split with the Rockies on July 4 was entertaining, not just for the baseball, but for the fact that the teams had to dodge multiple rain delays and long extra innings in Game 2. It started at noon and didn't end until about 10:20 p.m., and as Paul Sullivan (making his first appearance as Cubs beat writer in this series) wrote in the Tribune:

Conceivably, a Rockies fan could have flown in for the first game, left the ballpark, endured a traffic jam on the Kennedy, flown back to Denver and watched the last few innings of Game 2 on TV.

The Cubs won the first game 4-3 in walkoff fashion when Mark Parent and Derrick May, two players not notable for much in team history, drove in runs in the bottom of the ninth.

Then the rain fun began. There was a delay before the second game started of nearly an hour. There was another delay of 37 minutes during the second game. And then, wrote Sullivan:

Dante Bichette's two-run double with two out in the top of the 15th gave the Rockies a 4-2 win in the nightcap for a split in the double-header after the Cubs rallied in the ninth to win the opener 4-3.

In a driving thunderstorm that followed two rain delays, Bichette lofted a fly off Randy Myers that landed on the warning track near the 368-foot marker in right. Eddie Zambrano watched the ball drop while standing only a few feet away, and Nelson Liriano and Walt Weiss scored.

Minutes later, as Mark Grace stepped up to lead off the bottom of the inning, the storm picked up even more, causing a third delay of 52 minutes. Then the day finally ended, after 10 hours and 14 minutes.

Fun, I suppose, if you don't mind long days (it was likely that the players had been there since 9 a.m.), wet weather, or doubleheaders in general. Sullivan quoted someone we are all quite familiar with:

"It kills you," said Colorado catcher Joe Girardi, who caught the last two innings of Game 1 as well as the entire windup.

"It kills your everyday starters and your pitching staff. It's physically demanding on players, and I don't know if the fans really like them either. Kids may like it, but parents probably hate it."

There are virtually no scheduled doubleheaders any more; teams loved them in the 1950s and early 1960s because fans back then could be attracted to two games for the price of one. That's when you could finish a doubleheader in perhaps five hours. Now? No way would a traditional DH finish in less than seven, and the fact that teams make more money on separate-admission twin bills means that the latter is the only kind you see these days, and then only when you have to make up a rainout. The last single-admission doubleheader at Wrigley Field was August 3, 2006. The previous night's game against the Diamondbacks had been rained out, it was Arizona's last visit, there were no common off days to make up the game, and it was too short notice to arrange a split doubleheader.