Wrigley Field

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Wrigley Field

At 1060 West Addison Street in Chicago sits Wrigley Field, the venerable home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team of the National League. Wrigley Field has played host to some of the most memorable and bizarre incidents in the history of professional baseball. Opposing teams dread playing within "The Friendly Confines" due to the vicious winds blowing in from nearby Lake Michigan as well as the raucous, loyal fans who turn out in droves to cheer on their beloved and "Cubbies," one of the least successful teams in baseball history.

Wrigley Field came into existence in March of 1914 as the home of the Chicago Whales, taking the name Weegham Park, after Whales owner Charles Weegham. In 1916, Weegham bought the Cubs and moved them to Weegham Park. The name changed shortly thereafter to Cubs Park when the Wrigley family (of chewing-gum fame) bought the Cubs in 1920, changing its name yet one more time in 1926 to Wrigley Field. Despite many changes throughout the years, Wrigley Field still preserves a touch of old-time baseball with its downtown stadium surrounding a domeless field with real grass, plus 1930s-vintage amenities like a hand-operated scoreboard, a beautiful ivy-covered outfield wall with no advertising placards, and an infamous bleacher section often packed with "Bleacher Bums." Wrigley Field and the Cubs also maintain a longstanding commitment to afternoon baseball games.

Among the more-famous incidents in the history of Wrigley Field include Babe Ruth's "called shot" and the 1969 "black cat." The legend of Ruth's "called shot" in Game Three of the 1932 World Series, in which he purportedly predicted the trajectory of one of his home runs, has achieved almost mythical status, despite evidence suggesting the story was probably apocryphal. In the midst of the dramatic, disastrous 1969 season, a black cat wandered into the Cubs dugout, supposedly contributing to the bad-luck season that found the Cubs relinquishing a huge lead to New York's "Miracle Mets."

In the late 1990s, Wrigley Field remains the only major-league baseball park to prohibit advertising on any of the walls or scoreboards surrounding the playing field. The Tribune Company, publishers of the Chicago Tribune, bought the Cubs in 1985 and made one concession to the modern age by installing lights for night-baseball games, though the first night game at Wrigley Field (August 8, 1988 vs. the Philadelphia Phillies) was rained out after three and a half innings. The Cubs completed its first official night game the next evening, defeating the New York Mets 6-4.

With a seating capacity of 38,902, Wrigley Field is one of the smallest parks in major-league baseball, which only adds to the intimacy of watching an old-fashioned baseball game within the stadium's "Friendly Confines."

—Jason McEntee

Further Reading:

Golenbock, Peter. Wrigleyville: A Magical History Tour of the Chicago Cubs. New York, St. Martin's Press, 1996.

The Chicago Cubs Media Guide. Chicago, Chicago National League Ball Club, published annually.

"The Official Web Site of the Chicago Cubs." http://www.cubs.com/index2.frm. June 1999.