Earlier in the series everyone seemed to believe that the Cubs had pulled off the unprecedented feat of winning a best-of-five series in two games. But then, the Padres, returning home to an unexpected outpouring of affection from their fans, said, "Let's play five." And so they did.
Although the official venues were the Friendly Confines and Jack Murphy Stadium, this series seemed to be played on a somewhat higher plane, up above what centerfielder Bob Dernier called "the little white puffies." Outside the House of the Good Shepherd, a shelter for women and children a block from Wrigley Field, vendors sold A TICKET TO HEAVEN T shirts, each of which featured a drawing of a Cub World Series ticket. During Game 3 in San Diego, one banner implored the late Padre owner Ray Kroc, DEAR RAY, HELP! Another banner in Game 4 pointed to his "sky box."
After the first game of the series, Frey said, "Some people believe we have a strange force in the sky who wants the Cubs to win. Actually, we have a 6'7" guy who throws the hell out of the ball and who can put it where he wants to. That's our strange force."
With both sides laying claim to being Destiny's Darlings, Fate's Favorites, Kismet's Kids, this was bound to be a special series. The weather for the first game in Chicago was certainly something special, bright and blue and breezy. The breeze, out of the southwest at as much as 20 mph, had the Cub hitters salivating in batting practice. Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, who had been designated a special coach for the playoffs, came up to Keith Moreland at the cage and said, " Keith Moreland, how do you feel?"
"Let's play two," said Moreland, borrowing Banks' immortal line.
"Let's play two," agreed Banks.
Banks had the honor of throwing out the first ball, and after a touching ovation, he delivered a magical flip pitch to catcher Davis, throwing the ball with his right arm over his left shoulder, a trick he'd learned from Satchel Paige.
Sutcliffe, that 6'7" guy Frey was talking about, retired the Padres in order in the first. Then in the bottom of the first, Dernier, leading off, hit Eric Show's second pitch into the leftfield bleachers, thanks in some small part to the wind. Over the air, Harry Caray screamed, "It might be...it could be...it is! Holy cow!"
The Cubs' third batter, Matthews, lined Show's 3-1 pitch over the fence in left, a drive that needed no assistance, and just like that, Chicago led 2-0. "Show spelled backwards is wohs, and that's what he's having today," said Caray. In the bottom of the third, Sutcliffe got into the act with a towering home run that landed on Sheffield Avenue out beyond the rightfield bleachers.
The Padres' only threat came in the top of the fourth, when they loaded the bases with two outs. Martinez hit a sinking line drive to right, and Moreland made a shoestring catch. "Just before the play," said Moreland, "I looked at the scoreboard and thought, 'Don't do nothing crazy.' So I go and do something crazy. The ball went in my glove and stuck, thank you."