Friday 11 July 2014

Happy 100th Anniversary, Wrigley Field!

Nineteen fourteen is the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field in Chicago.  Here are ten facts you may not know about the famous ballpark.

1.  Wrigley field was not built for the Chicago Cubs, but for the Chicago Feds.  The team, which later changed its name to Chicago Whales, folded in 1915.  Whales owner Charles Weegham teamed up with other businessmen like William Wrigley and bought the Chicago Cubs.

2.  The site was originally a Lutheran seminary.  However, with the arrival of the noisy elevated train to the neighbourhood, the seminary changed locations.

3.  No baseball has ever hit Wrigley Field scoreboard.  A golf ball, however, struck the scoreboard in 1951 when Hall of Famer Sam Sneed teed off from home plate.

4.  The wide gate in right field, nicknamed elephants gate, used to be used for the circus, one of the many events that Wrigley staged at the venue.

5.  Wrigley Park was the first field to allow fans to keep foul balls.  Owner Charles Weegham wanted to prove that he was a wealthy man.

Charles Weegham with a chicago player courtesy

6.  On June 13, 1956, not one but two baseballs hit a parked car outside the stadium, one hit by Giants player Willie Mays, the other, by Eddie Miksis.

7.  The idea of a benefit game was started at Wrigley Field which hosted Flag Day, Newsboy Day, Booster Day and a day to honour the dead from the sinking of the S.S. Eastland on the Chicago River.

S.S. Eastland courtesy

8.  A bear cub, brought by a local zookeeper, greeted players and fans at the first national league game in 1916.

9.  Lights were not added to Wrigley Field until 1988.  Wrigley first purchased materials in the 1940s but then donated them to the war effort.  In the meantime, the neighbourhood campaigned against the idea of bright lights keeping its occupants awake at night.  Finally an agreement was reached decades after the war.

First Chicago Cubs game with lights courtesy

10.  The World Series has been contested three times in Chicago, 1907, 1908 and 1945, the Cubs last appearance at the series.

World Series 1945 courtesy


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