Some great Chicago Cubs players have gone unsung and forgotten over the years so here’s the story of 1984, the Chicago Cubs and outfielder Bobby Dernier.
In 1984 I was a freshman at Mt. Carmel High School in Chicago; and as the school year hit April and May many of us began making our way over to Wrigley Field for day games. The trick was not getting caught on television (like in the movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” which came out in 1986) and hoping the Cubs would win for all the trouble it took to skip school. So let me take you back to what it was like that year and the heroics of Chicago Cubs center fielder, Bob Dernier.
Chicago fans were disappointed in a Chicago Bears team that didn’t make the playoffs going into 1984 as they finished the season 8-8 under head coach Mike Ditka and quarterback Jim McMahon. Although the Bears didn’t get fans rocking, the rock band Van Halen released their critically acclaimed album in January called, “1984” and everyone was ‘Jumping’ as the single “Jump” hit the Billboard Hot 100.
Music was big in 1984 for teens, as Bruce Springsteen released, “Born in the U.S.A.” in June of that year and a wave of patriotism rolled across the country as blue jeans, baseball hats and red bandannas sold out in stores across the country. I actually got to see ‘The Boss’ and his tour that summer in East Troy, Wisconsin at Alpine Valley on a road trip with friends.
Road trips to concerts were the cool things for high school teens to do in 1984. There was even tragic music news which brought fans to tears on April 1, 1984 when legendary singer Marvin Gaye was shot by his own father. Two days later the Cubs played their first game of the season in San Francisco.
Speaking of California, in 1984, the Los Angeles Raiders won the Super Bowl which is also famous for running the first ad for the Apple Macintosh personal computer during that game. The Edmonton Oilers would win the Stanley Cup while the Boston Celtics would capture their 15th NBA Championship in seven games against the Los Angeles Lakers. On the Hollywood side of California, Eddie Murphy’s “Beverly Hills Cop” was the highest grossing movie that year followed by “Ghostbusters”, “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, “Gremlins” and “The Karate Kid”. Notice the family trend in movies?
For high school kids, dancing had not been cool since disco died but the release of “Footloose” in February made dancing all the craze for teens once again. The only other great movie to mention of 1984 came out October 26 and looked like a B-movie from the trailers. However, as audiences went to see the movie it became a cult classic from word of mouth by Christmas. That movie franchise is still running today and so even if you weren’t born in 1984, remember that the first “Terminator” movie, the original, was released that year.
What was going on in Wrigley Field? The Chicago Cubs were the family-friendly team playing in the Friendly Confines. The red, white and blue of the Cubs uniform was in perfect step with the country’s call for patriotism. With the help of a new centerfielder from the Philadelphia Phillies, the Cubs were about to make a run all the way to the National League Championship Series; this was going to be the year of the Cubs.