This is the 100th year anniversary of famed Wrigley Field in Chicago. Along with Fenway Park in Boston, and Yankee Stadium in New York, it is among the three most storied American ballparks. I am fortunate to have visited all three stadiums over the years. Here is some information about Wrigley:
For trivia buffs, the stadium holds a treasure trove of tidbits. Brush up on your knowledge of Wrigley Field history before your visit with this cheat sheet:
•In 1914, the 14,000-seat ballpark was built on the grounds once occupied by a seminary for a cost of $250,000
•Wrigley Field was originally called Weegham Park, after the owner of the Chicago Federals
•The park hosted its first game April 23, 1914, with the Chicago Federals defeating the Kansas City Packers 9-1
•In 1915, the Chicago Cubs were bought and moved to the park for the 1916 season
•In 1926, the park was renamed Wrigley Field in honor of the club’s owner, William Wrigley Jr.
•The bleachers, score-board and ivy in the outfield were installed in 1937 and remain today
•In 1988, lights were installed at Wrigley, and the first night game took place on August 8
I have been to several Cubs games at Wrigley Field, all day games, and all enjoyable. The most remarkable part about the ball park is being so close as to see the baseball actually curve! And to hear the players talking! It is a truly religious experience as far as baseball is concerned.
The old ballpark also presents a few changes from more modern ballparks. Let’s look at some of the ground rules:
The following are the ground rules for Wrigley Field.
•Baseball hits top or face of screen in front of bleacher wall and bounces back on playing field — In Play
•Baseball hits top of screen and drops between screen and wall — Home Run
•Baseball hits screen and bounces into bleachers — Home Run
•Baseball sticks in screen in front of bleachers — Double
•Baseball sticks in vines on bleacher wall — Double
•Baseball comes out of vines — In Play
•Baseball hits leftfield or rightfield foul markers above painted mark — Home Run
•Baseball hits foul markers below painted mark and bounces back on playing field — In Play
•Baseball goes under grates in leftfield or rightfield and remains there — Double
•Baseball goes in or under grates on either side of home plate and remains there: •Pitched Ball- One Base
•Thrown Ball – Two Bases
•Also: Players cannot enter the dugout steps at Wrigley Field to catch any foul pop
Another redeeming feature of Wrigley is being able to take the “L” to the game from downtown. My parents actually lived on Addison Street for a short time toward the end of World War 2. Wrigley is located at 1060 West Addison. When it opened in 1914, it was called Weeghman Park, for a team called the Chicago Whales. Then it became Cubs Park between 1920 to 1926. Then, it was finally named for its owner, William T. Wrigley of chewing gum fame, who bought the team for a mere $500,000.
Wrigley Field is the tenth smallest ballpark in major league baseball, with seating at 41,009. It is the second oldest ballpark after Fenway Park, which was built in 1912. Wrigley is well known for its ivy covered outfield walls, the unusual wind patterns that come from Lake Michigan, and the last ballpark to have lights for night baseball (1988).
This is one of the bigger thrills in professional sports, to see an afternoon ballgame at Wrigley, taking the “L” to and from, eating a Wrigley dog or a Chicago beef, and a cold beer. It does not get much better than this! I guess it can if the ghost of Harry Caray comes back in the bottom of the 7th inning to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in his inimitable off-key voice. Play ball!!!!!