Today in 1984. Wrigley Field.
I watched this video earlier today and immediately texted my dad asking if he remembered ‘The Sandberg Game’. His response?
Not only do I remember, but was there with Jennie Vormazelle.
I asked him if he’d take the time to write a quick blurb about it. Take it away, pops.
There were several very cool things about the 1984 Sandberg game besides the fact that it launched Sandberg’s MVP recognition. The best part by far was that Sandberg took Bruce Sutter deep twice. Once in the 9th inning to tie the game and again in the 10th inning to tie the game a second time. Bruce Sutter came up with the Cubs and much like Gregg Maddux would do later he abandoned them for free agency at his first opportunity.
I actually met Bruce Sutter at the farm (my dad raised cattle on Rick Reuschel’s farm growing up) in around 1979 when he was still with the Cubs. At that time he didn’t have the ugly beard. He isn’t a very big guy so his dominance as a closer for many years was surprising. Most of his saves were more than one inning. Typically the starter went through 7 and the save guy would go 8 and 9. There weren’t many middle relievers and there was no such thing as a set up man. When Sutter gave up the homer in the 9th it wasn’t a surprise for him to return in the 10th. It was a surprise to give up home runs in back to back at bats to any player let alone a guy who at the time wasn’t really considered a power hitter. The Cubs were on their third or fourth pitcher and I am pretty sure Sutter was number 3 for the Cardinals. My seats were behind the second aisle on the third base side a little to the outfield side of third base.
In 1984 it was still all day baseball at Wrigley and even though the Cubs were doing well the bleachers weren’t even full until about the 7th inning and it was SRO after the 9th inning. People came out of the bars to see the 10th inning so the crowd was bigger and louder for the second home run. Gary Mathews was on deck for both home runs and after the 10th inning homer he ran back and forth near home plate riling up the crowd even more. Sandberg also made two really nice defensive plays in the game. One play robbing Tommy Herr of an RBI up the middle. Tommy Herr was a second basemen thought to be in Sandberg’s class but he really wasn’t.
Wrigley has never emptied quickly but after the game people hung around talking about the game for over an hour.
Have a great weekend, everyone. Go Cubs Go!