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Today in Cubs history: A movie shoot between games of a Wrigley Field doubleheader

It wound up with some unintentional humor.

Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images

The 1992 Cubs were not a very good team. A 7-14 start put them in last place in the NL East May 1, and after winning Opening Day they didn’t get back over .500 until August 23, when they were 62-61.

Four weeks later, September 19, they were hosting the Cardinals for a doubleheader at Wrigley Field, made necessary by a June 17 rainout.

The Cubs won the first game 6-5. Between games — back in the day when single-admission doubleheaders were the norm — the crowd of 32,236 was asked to do something no Wrigley Field crowd had ever done before, nor has it happened since.

Director Daniel Stern and cast were on hand to film scenes for ”Rookie of the Year.” I’m reasonably certain you’re familiar with this film, which was released in July 1993, but in case you aren’t, the link above summarizes the plot:

When an accident miraculously gives a boy an incredibly powerful pitching arm, he becomes a major league pitcher for the Chicago Cubs.

The film’s producers wanted a real ballgame crowd for a scene involving the kid’s first time entering the game from the bullpen (then, of course, on the field at Wrigley). The character’s name, as you probably know, was Henry Rowengartner. So Director Daniel Stern got on the PA microphone and asked everyone to chant “Henry! Henry! Henry!” as the actor, Thomas Ian Nicholas, trotted to the mound.

I was at this doubleheader. My recollection is that the film crew did three takes. Stern, satisfied he had enough for use in the film, thanked everyone, and then Game 2 began.

Lefthander Ken Patterson, normally a reliever, was pressed into service for the Game 2 start — the only one he made as a Cub and one of only four starts he made in 224 total major-league appearances from 1988-1994. He began to get hit hard and the Cardinals scored four runs in the first inning, though three of them were unearned due to an error. The Cubs tied the game in the bottom of the first and took the lead 5-4 in the second, but when Patterson issued a leadoff walk in the third, followed by a two-run homer by Andres Galarraga to give St. Louis a 6-5 lead, the crowd began chanting....


That’s perhaps the funniest thing I have ever seen at Wrigley Field. Gales of laughter came from the crowd, and also the players. Oddly, none of the beat writer recaps of the game mentioned this at all.

The game went back and forth, and the Cubs entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 10-8. They tied the game up on a single by Dwight Smith followed by a two-run homer from Ryne Sandberg. Unfortunately, Paul Assenmacher gave it right back in the 10th, and the Cubs lost that second game 11-10.

This all happened at Wrigley Field 30 years ago today, Saturday, September 19, 1992.