Friday, May 12, 2023

Stadium Fridays - Wrigley Field

Hello friends. It's Friday. Time for another Stadium Friday post.

I've briefly mentioned the Wrigley Field in Los Angeles. There was also a Wrigley Field on Catalina Island when the Cubs did Spring Training there.. Now today is the lasting Wrigley Field..

Of course, we're talking about the Wrigley Field in Chicago. 

I'm sure it's common knowledge now, but the Cubs weren't the team this park was designed for. 

No, this beautiful piece of architecture was commissioned by Charles Weeghman for his Federal League team, the Chicago Whales. 
Weeghman had a number of lunch counters in Chicago. The success of these allowed him to first try to purchase the St Louis Cardinals, but was unsuccessful. He bought the Whales and when the Federal League closed, he bought into the Cubs. The park was named after Weeghman until 1920.
William Wrigley bought the Cubs in 1921. The park was renamed Cubs Park until 1926.

A little interesting fact I didn't notice until just now.. The "first Game" listed on the back of these Fleer Stickers is the first MLB game. The park hosted the Federal League, an outlaw Major League from 1914-1916.

The Park has undergone many renovations and updates over the years. In the early days 

Wrigley Field 1935. Chicago Collections

In the early days it was a Square for lack of better terms. In this configuration, you can tell it was capable of hosting football as well, going from left field to centre/right.. After looking it up though, it was actually angled from Home plate area to left field and they put bleachers down in right. 

Anyway, in 1926 the stadium was double-decked and the playing field was lowered. The now iconic ivy was planted in 1937 by Bill Veeck. Over that time we also had the current outfield configuration come into being. 

The next big thing was in 1988 when Wrigley became illuminated. There were originally supposed to be lights installed way back in 1942, but Phillip Wrigley donated the lights that were to be used on the field to the war effort. 
Temporary lights were used in 1943 for an All American Girls Professional Baseball League game.
In 1984, had the Cubs made the Word Series, a plan was set in place. Detroit would host the night games during the week and the Cubs would have three day games over the weekend. So games 1,2, 6, and 7 would be in Detroit, while 3,4, and 5 would be in Chicago on Friday Saturday Sunday.
Obviously, the Cubs failed to beat the Padres so it was a moot point.
By the late 80s, the league was saying that any postseason "home" games the Cubs would have would be in St Louis if lights were not installed. As a result, lights were added in August of 1988.

In 2014, another set of renovations occurred. In this set, bleachers were extended and a new scoreboard was installed. Also done was improving the Cubs locker room and facilities. The outside also got a freshening up with some terra cotta work being added. 
In 2013, the club agreed to National Landmark status. 

The Ivy was specifially mentioned in the Landmark registration. MLB made a change in the rules to require padded fences. The ivy covered wall was grandfathered in. 
So many things around the park have become legendary. The rooftop seats across from the park for example. Originally started as a way for the building owners to make a little cash, they became more regulated by the city and eventually the Cubs came calling for their share of the pie.. The rooftop seat owners worked out a deal where the Cubs got 17% of the revenue. 

Aside from Baseball, Wrigley has been used for football and soccer. Concerts have also been held here. Winter Classic hockey games have been hosted here by the BlackHawks. 

Tenants of Wrigley: 
Chicago Whales (Federal League) 1914-1915
Chicago Cubs (MLB) 1916-present
Chicago Tigers (APFA) 1920
Hammond Pros (NFL) 1920-1926
Chicago Bears (NFL) 1921-1970
Chicago Cardinals (NFL) 1931-1939
Chicago Sting (NASL) 1977-1982, 1984

This would be the football configuration. 

The grand old Yard has been around for over 100 years now. I want to say 110 now, but I don't know. Depends on the system, I guess lol

On a side note: I know I intended these to show cards of the stadium and some history. Do the extended things with some external pictures or historical pictures bother anyone? Or is this format enjoyable? I enjoy doing the deeper dives. Plus is gives me more fodder if I ever get a chance to actually work on creating custom cards 


  1. The more information and photos the better... but I'm just one opinion among a sea of readers. Keep up this great series. I learn at least a couple of new things every time.

    1. I feel a sense of accomplishment from these and the Canadians in the Majors posts I do. There's always a place for the "shiny new cards I got" posts but I got bored of doing them, if that makes sense

  2. No love for the 1989 Score card # 652 there Mike & I was lucky to attend a Cubs win back in 2013 during the game was able to sneak a few vines of ivy as well Watch Yasiel Puig miss a diving catch & Don Mattingly be ejected from the game

  3. Love this park, but the Ricketts have kinda chipped away at its charm.

    I knew they couldn't play World Series games at Wrigley if the Cubs advanced in '84 but did not know they'd have to play the night games in Detroit. Figured they'd just use Comiskey Park. It's amazing to me that a major league stadium didn't have *lights* until I was eight years old!