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How rare is this Friday off day for the Cubs?

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Let’s get in the Wayback Machine and find out.

CHICAGO, IL - 1980's: General view as the Chicago Cubs take on the Philadelphia Phillies circa 1980's at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Hint: This is what Wrigley Field looked like the last time the Cubs had a Friday scheduled off day this late in the season
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

A number of you have wondered about the Cubs’ off day today. Friday is usually a day where all 30 MLB teams are playing.

Extra off days were negotiated in the last CBA, and today wound up an off day for the Cubs conveniently because they had a two-game series to play against the White Sox, and that slotted in on the weekend before the All-Star break. The Reds and Indians are doing the same thing this weekend: Friday off, two games in Cincinnati Saturday and Sunday.

Some asked, “When was the last time the Cubs had a Friday off?” Must have been a long time ago, right?

The answer is... three months ago, Friday, March 28, after Opening Day in Texas. They had a Friday off after the season opener in 2018 in Miami, too.

Perhaps you meant “this late in the season and not after Opening Day.” Before I tell you, I’m sure you recall the last time the Cubs had a rare Sunday off day in mid-season. That happened Sunday, June 29, 2014, and that was because of a scheduling mixup. The Cubs generally put on their schedule requests to be out of town on the day of the Pride Parade, which brings thousands of people to an area not far from Wrigley Field. Evidently someone didn’t notice that in 2014 and scheduled the Cubs home against the Nationals that weekend. The Sunday game was rescheduled, before the season even began, to a split doubleheader Saturday, June 28, and the Cubs had June 29 off.

I checked through original schedules for seasons going back 40 years. The only time I could find a Friday off day, other than after a Thursday Opening Day, was Friday, October 1, 1982. The Cubs wrapped up their road season with a two-game series against the Mets in New York Thursday, September 30 and had two games remaining at Wrigley against the Cardinals, played Saturday, October 2 and Sunday, October 3. It wasn’t a rainout date — October 1 was listed as an open date on the original schedule:

Why this was done is lost to the mists of time. Neither the Tribune page published with the schedule on Opening Day nor the Cubs 1982 media guide makes any mention of the reason for the Friday off day.

So there it is — nearly 37 years since the last scheduled Friday off day.