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Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Chicago Sun Times: ‘84 Cub World Series would have been at Comiskey

And other rat-fink bombshells from Big Daddy Ueberroth.

If the 1984 Cubs had defeated the San Diego Padres to capture the National League pennant, the World Series would have been played at—gasp—Comiskey Park.

That shocking piece of history—and Chicago baseball sacrilege—comes courtesy of Peter Ueberroth, the former baseball commissioner-turned-United States Olympic Committee Chairman.

...’‘Umpires were on strike. The Cubs were in postseason play. And we were under contract to have the World Series at night or we’d lose millions and millions of dollars. Plus, we would have violated our contract,’’ Ueberroth recalled.

‘‘If they had won, I had made the decision privately that we’d move to Comiskey Park. People in Chicago would not have been really happy with that. But, as it turned out, Steve Garvey [brought the Padres back from a two-games-to-none hole], and the rest is history and I didn’t have the problem. It went away.’‘

Repoz Posted: November 07, 2007 at 01:28 PM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, history, white sox

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   1. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: November 07, 2007 at 01:42 PM (#2607649)
This is old news. It was pretty well known that some sort of shenangians were afoot. Either Comiskey or Milwaukee, or Wrigley but messing with the schedule to have only weekend games there. It was a hot topic once it looked like the Cubs would win the east.
   2. zonk Posted: November 07, 2007 at 02:09 PM (#2607663)
I suppose that's the one upside to war criminal Garvey --

He likely prevented me from becoming a felon at age 11 (... though - can one be a felon at age 11?)
   3. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:04 PM (#2607811)
Either Comiskey or Milwaukee, or Wrigley but messing with the schedule to have only weekend games there.

How could they have possibly gotten away with Milwaukee when Comiskey was right there? I mean, sure, it was much more of a rival's park, but...it's in the same city. Milwaukee wouldn't have even entered my mind, if I were planning such a move.

I also think it's kind of funny that 20 years after lights were added, the summary doesn't feel it's necessary to point out WHY they were moving the games. I bet there are lots of pretty big baseball fans who couldn't figure the reason out off the top of their heads.
   4. Dr. Vaux Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:10 PM (#2607818)
Some probably think it's because of the capacity. How long does it take to install lights? Couldn't they have just installed the lights during the road part of the NLCS and the off-day before the World Series? (Now, the Cubs might be refused to do it, n which case it would be their fault that the WS wasn't played at Wrigley.)
   5. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:21 PM (#2607834)
An outfit like Musco Lighting could have installed temporary lighting in a couple days that would have been sufficient.
   6. Urban Faber Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:25 PM (#2607840)
I call BS because a) the ump strike had been settled the morning of Game 5 and b) the WS schedule had already been altered to take HFA away from the Cubs (it was the NL's turn to host Game 1).
   7. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:27 PM (#2607843)
Heck, Musco had done it nearby only 2 years before. It wouldn't have been a problem:

• 1982 “The night the lights went on at Notre Dame Stadium,” Keith Jackson, ABC Sports broadcaster. Made television history by taking sports lighting on the road with Musco Mobile™ lighting systems for broadcast of Notre Dame vs. Michigan primetime football game
   8. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:28 PM (#2607846)
According to the wiki, had the Cubs won, they would have switched around home field. Instead of starting in the NL city on Tuesday, they would have started in the AL city, and played games 3-5 in Chicago on Fri, Sat, and Sun.

I don't believe Ube here. He had just become commish on Oct 1, and his first official act would have been to deny a team making it to their first WS in 40 years the right to play at home? I don't think so. I think the schedule swapping is the most plausible. The real game 5 was a day game. Don't know about game 4 on Saturday.
   9. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:34 PM (#2607857)
Musco's entire business is temporary sports lighting, since 1976. Although I think a football field would be easier to light up than a baseball stadium, due to the lack of the OF corners.
   10. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:36 PM (#2607860)
Musco's entire business is temporary sports lighting, since 1976. Although I think a football field would be easier to light up than a baseball stadium, due to the lack of the OF corners.

A football field vs. A baseball field, I agree, but not as much about Wrigley vs. Notre Dame stadium. That's one big football stadium. Tall, too. Wrigley has almost nothing behind the outfield obstructing the lights, and not a whole lot, compared to ND, behind the plate.
   11. Urban Faber Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:38 PM (#2607866)
Not to mention the logistics of matching up the seats for Wrigley to Comiskey - which I doubt had been done in advance. They would have had either two days to do that or five, if they still took HFA away (which would have been unnecessary with the venue switch).

Game 4 of the 1984 WS was an early afternoon start in Detroit, which I'm pretty sure was the last time a WS game started before late afternoon.
   12. bunyon Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:38 PM (#2607867)
Musco's entire business is temporary sports lighting, since 1976. Although I think a football field would be easier to light up than a baseball stadium, due to the lack of the OF corners.

And not needing to light the air as high.

Really, had the Cubs won the pennant, plans were to simply cancel the World Series and fold the league.
   13. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:39 PM (#2607869)
The reason I mention it is they bring in a limited number number of light stands that are pretty powerful. For Iowa football games, I think they only bring in four. The corners of a baseball stadium would seem to require additional angles to reach the corners. Then again, Wrigley lighting in the corners stinks now.

But for the World Series, I figure MLB could splurge. :)
   14. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:46 PM (#2607878)
Really, had the Cubs won the pennant, plans were to simply cancel the World Series and fold the league.

that's why Ueberroth & his henchmen took Leon Durham aside and said "look Leon, if you field ANYTHING coming your way, you'll never see your family again"
   15. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: November 07, 2007 at 04:48 PM (#2607881)
Game 4 of the 1984 WS was an early afternoon start in Detroit, which I'm pretty sure was the last time a WS game started before late afternoon.


OK, so they would have lost 1 night game (game 3). I don't think that would have cost them "millions and millions of dollars", especially considering that having the Cubs in the series instead of the Padres would have more than covered the loss.
   16. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:01 PM (#2607910)
Thank god for Leon Durham.
   17. TerpNats Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:05 PM (#2607920)
What's the big deal? The Cubs played World Series games at Comiskey in 1918 (due to its larger seating capacity), just as the Braves played WS home games at Fenway in 1914 and the Red Sox returned the favor in 1915 and '16 by playing their home games at Braves Field once it opened in mid-1915.

Of course, one of the myths that arose from all this was that the NLCS games were switched, thus depriving the Cubs of home-field advantage and perhaps leading to their loss. Not true. The West had NL home advantage in '84, just as the East did in '83 (Phillies beat Los Angeles).
   18. schuey Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:08 PM (#2607924)
The Cubs played the 1918 World Series at Comiskey Park so there was precedent. Along with the Red Sox playing at Braves Field in 1915 and the Braves playing at Fenway in 1914. So Uberroth was trying to revive the precedents of the National Commission. No wonder he cost baseball hundreds of millions in collusion with thinking like that.
Did ABC broadcast the 1984 World Series? I could swear at some point that year Howard Cosell said rumours that ABC wanted the Cubs Stadium changed were wrong and ABC would be thrilled to broadcast from Wrigley. But Howard always thought he ran the network.
   19. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:10 PM (#2607931)
Of course, one of the myths that arose from all this was that the NLCS games were switched, thus depriving the Cubs of home-field advantage and perhaps leading to their loss. Not true. The West had NL home advantage in '84, just as the East did in '83 (Phillies beat Los Angeles).


Why would anyone think that? Games 1 and 2 were weekday games. Why would people think that MLB took away weekend day games from the Cubs so they could play weekday day games?
   20. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:12 PM (#2607936)
What's the big deal? The Cubs played World Series games at Comiskey in 1918 (due to its larger seating capacity), just as the Braves played WS home games at Fenway in 1914 and the Red Sox returned the favor in 1915 and '16 by playing their home games at Braves Field once it opened in mid-1915.

I don't think you can compare the teens to the 80s.

In another precedent, they used to only allow underhand pitching.
   21. They paved Misirlou, put up a parking lot Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:13 PM (#2607937)
Did ABC broadcast the 1984 World Series? I could swear at some point that year Howard Cosell said rumours that ABC wanted the Cubs Stadium changed were wrong and ABC would be thrilled to broadcast from Wrigley. But Howard always thought he ran the network.


As I said, switching the Pads for the Cubs, even if it meant losing one weekday (Friday) night game, would have produced much more revenue for the league and the network.
   22. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:15 PM (#2607942)
NBC carried the Series in 1984, back when the games were carried on real networks and featured non-idiot announcers, without a single mention of Frank TV.
   23. schuey Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:19 PM (#2607949)
It's a different sport/different circumstances but the New York Rangers used to play road games in the Stanley Cup finals (1940) because Madison Square Garden had the circus (big money makers) booked at the time.
I thought at the time it would be wrong to switch the Cubs (there was even speculation they might play home games in St Louis) but baseball has been a business ever since they charged people money to watch.
   24. Urban Faber Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:52 PM (#2608013)
NBC carried the Series in 1984, back when the games were carried on real networks and featured non-idiot announcers, without a single mention of Frank TV.

No constant promos for "Hill Street Blues" or "The Facts of Life"?
   25. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: November 07, 2007 at 05:55 PM (#2608025)
No constant promos for "Hill Street Blues" or "The Facts of Life"?

Actually, I remember Tootie and Blair in the stands in San Diego.
   26. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: November 07, 2007 at 06:45 PM (#2608139)
I was young at the time, but weren't they also talking about playing the Cubs home games in St. Louis? Maybe that was just some wacky sportswriter's suggestion.
   27. schuey Posted: November 07, 2007 at 07:00 PM (#2608176)
NBC had idiotic broadcasters back in the 1980s. I recently watched the Mets 1986 DVDs and while Vin Scully was pretty decent, Joe Garagiola contributed absolutely nothing. Which surprised me because at the time I thought he was decent.
   28. McCoy Posted: November 08, 2007 at 12:31 AM (#2608672)
I doubt they could have gone with temporary lighting. They would have had to get permission from the city on that one.
   29. McCoy Posted: November 08, 2007 at 01:17 AM (#2608711)
Apparently nobody RTFA because this was the biggest bombshell in the piece:
The former commissioner also revealed that he invoked his all-powerful ''best interests of baseball'' clause to block the Tribune Co. from demolishing Wrigley Field.

''The decision had been made internally to ... take it down and move to a suburb,'' he said. ''And I just -- the best interests of baseball. I didn't permit it. You cannot do that.

''So, I said, 'Just get the lights [issue] off my plate. We'll figure out how we're gonna get lights.' ... We worked and fought. I took a beating for two years, but we got lights on a limited basis. It didn't ruin the sacred thing called Wrigley Field. And when I left as commissioner, they sent me the home plate from the 8/8/88 first night game. That's the only [piece of baseball memorabilia] that I treasure.''

The home plate from that first night game at Wrigley, which happened to be rained out, has an inscription on it.

It reads, ''Keep the lights off my plate.''


I leaning towards BS on this. I know there were threats and such that if they didn't get lights they would have to do something. But I think them moving to the suburbs was as much of a reality as the Sox moving to St. Petersburg a few years later. It was just a threat to get the politcos to move.
   30. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: November 08, 2007 at 01:27 AM (#2608720)
No constant promos for "Hill Street Blues" or "The Facts of Life"?
Actually, I remember Tootie and Blair in the stands in San Diego.


I also thought I saw two of the "Facts of Life" girls at a ballpark several years back. But it turned out it was just Eric Gregg and John McSherry.
   31. Dash Carlyle Posted: November 08, 2007 at 01:34 AM (#2608724)
I was young at the time, but weren't they also talking about playing the Cubs home games in St. Louis? Maybe that was just some wacky sportswriter's suggestion.

I think MLB told the Cubs in the mid-to-late '80s that if they didn't install lights, their home playoff games would be played in Busch stadium.
   32. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: November 08, 2007 at 01:47 AM (#2608734)
I also thought I saw two of the "Facts of Life" girls at a ballpark several years back. But it turned out it was just Eric Gregg and John McSherry.

That's gonna leave a mark!
   33. zonk Posted: November 08, 2007 at 01:49 AM (#2608736)

I leaning towards BS on this. I know there were threats and such that if they didn't get lights they would have to do something. But I think them moving to the suburbs was as much of a reality as the Sox moving to St. Petersburg a few years later. It was just a threat to get the politcos to move.


No doubt.

After going back to RTFA, I'm now convinced that in addition to being jackass, Ubey's a liar, too... of course, one could argue that we've really known that for a long time.

As much as I really dislike Selig - and sure, to some extent comparing the commish circa 2007 under the current inmates running the asylum system to the commish in 1984 is apples/oranges - I'll take Selig in an absolute heartbeat over Uberdickhead any day of the week.
   34. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: November 08, 2007 at 03:23 PM (#2609108)
But I think them moving to the suburbs was as much of a reality as the Sox moving to St. Petersburg a few years later. It was just a threat to get the politcos to move.

In the case of the Sox, it was no mere threat. Eddie Einhorn really hoped the state wouldn't come through, and when they did, he was crushed. Before that, he was every bit as much a public face of the ownership as Reinsdorf; after that, you almost never heard his name.

Also I doubt the Trib was bluffing in the least. They were riding high off a successful demolition of the printers' union, and there's no doubt in my mind they'd've gone west if they'd had to.

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