EDITOR’S NOTE: During the lockout, thinking I would need material to fill baseball-less days, I wrote several of these Spring Training history articles.
Now, of course, we have baseball coming soon, but by gum, I wrote these so you’re going to get to read them, even on upcoming game days. Including this one, there will be five of these Spring Training “Today in Cubs history” articles. Hope you enjoy.
Actor/comedian Will Ferrell has been a funnyman in a great number of films, notably “Anchorman,” “Talladega Nights” and the two Zoolander films.
But seven years ago, Ferrell, then 47 years old, arranged to play in 10 different Spring Training games across the Valley of the Sun.
He thus wound up being co-workers, and likely “co-people,” with several dozen major-league players Thursday afternoon as he helicoptered between five Cactus League ballparks and played for 10 big-league teams. It was all for laughs and to raise money for cancer charities, a good cause, and in a way I regret skipping this one because it would be fun to have a scorecard on which I had written Ferrell’s name — for both the Cubs and Angels.
Ferrell played the field for nine of the 10 teams — serving only as DH for the White Sox — but batted for just two of them, the Sox and Cubs. Unsurprisingly, he struck out in both of those at-bats.
He also served as a third-base coach for the Cubs for part of their game in Tempe against the Angels. BCB’s Danny Rockett did go to the game and wrote up his experience at Tempe Diablo Stadium. He concluded:
I hoped that Ferrell’s performance wouldn’t devolve into a carnival of buffoonery. Thankfully, it didn’t. He didn’t ham it up too much, the jokes he made were decent and he played adequately (except for the strikeout). How do you take a pitch? Just go up there hacking, Will! But overall, it was a fun day at the ballpark despite the Cubs loss, which, we were reminded by Ferrell’s third base coach sign, doesn’t matter.
Today was a great reminder of why so many people love baseball. It’s one of the only sports where you think, if a team ran out of players, they could just choose a guy out of the stands and say, “Suit up, buddy! you’re playing left field.” Today, that Buddy was Buddy the Elf. If baseball is ultimately about entertainment, then today was a successfully entertaining day for baseball.
Ferrell’s day of baseball got him his very own baseball-reference.com page, which included a list of the “transactions” that got him from team to team:
March 12, 2015: Signed by the Oakland A’s as an undrafted amateur free agent.
March 12, 2015: Traded to Seattle Mariners for Comedic Actor to be Named Later
March 12, 2015: Joined Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in unknown transaction.
March 12, 2015: Traded to Chicago Cubs for a washing machine.
March 12, 2015: Traded to Arizona Diamondbacks for a Churro Dog and D-Bat Dog.
March 12, 2015: Claimed off waivers by Cincinnati Reds, Norm MacDonald released.
March 12, 2015: Granted unconditional release by Cincinnati Reds.
March 12, 2015: Signed by Chicago White Sox as Free Agent.
March 12, 2015: Traded to San Francisco Giants for unknown compensation.
March 12, 2015: Traded to Los Angeles Dodgers for unknown compensation.
March 12, 2015: Traded to San Diego Padres for unknown compensation.
I hope the Angels enjoyed the washing machine they got from the Cubs. Here’s the boxscore from the Cubs’ 10-9 loss, showing Ferrell pinch-hitting for Matt Szczur.
Here’s video Danny Rockett shot of Ferrell coaching third base for the Cubs:
And here’s Ferrell’s at-bat for the Cubs that afternoon (via the FS West Angels broadcast):
All of the team gear and memorabilia from Ferrell’s big league day was auctioned and proceeds went to Stand Up 2 Cancer and Cancer for College.
It all happened seven years ago today, Thursday, March 12, 2015.