By Jacob Kornhauser on April 24, 2014
Wrigley Field has had a very eventful century-long history. It's seen its fair share of ups and downs along the way and most people are aware of those ups and downs. However, there are some things about Wrigley that aren't very well known at all. For one of baseball's lasting cathedrals, here are 10 interesting facts you may have never heard about the old ballpark.
Chicago restaurant tycoon Charlie Wheegman bought the land that eventually became Wrigley Field and named it after himself. It wasn't until several years later, after already being renamed to "Cubs Park", that the ballpark took on the Wrigley name.
When Wheegman first bought the lot for Wrigley Field, he had the team built for his Federal League team, the Chi Feds (they were really creative back then). After two years of challenging organized baseball, the Federal League fell apart. Wheegman purchased the Cubs from the west side and moved them north, and the rest, as they say, is history.
When Wheegman bought the land that Wrigley Field now stands on at the corner of Clark and Addison streets, it was a church. It was sold and Wheegman was eventually given a 99-year lease on the land. Who would've thought the ballpark would actually outlive that lease?
Even though the Cubs are playing their 98th season in Wrigley Field, the park has only been used to host the All-Star game three times. The latest All-Star game at Wrigley Field was in 1990, and there's a good chance the park could get the Midsummer Classic again very soon.
This one is a bit more obvious but no less amazing. Only the first 29 years of Cubs baseball at Wrigley Field saw them competing for World Series. Since then, almost 70 years have passed without the Cubs even reaching a World Series. 1945 was the last time they reached the World Series right before the curse of the Billy Goat was born.
It's crazy to think about now, but there was a time when Chicagoans thought the Cubs only belonged on the west side of town. When talks of the Cubs moving to the north side surfaced, the public hated it. They wanted the Cubs to stay on the west side and out of the developing north side of the city. Completely associated with the north side of Chicago now, it's weird to think the move was once frowned upon.
The Wrigley Field rooftops are almost synonymous with the ballpark. You can also always envision people running along Sheffield Avenue trying to catch home run balls that go out of the ballpark. Both of these traditions actually started during the first game ever at Wheegman Park. It was packed to capacity so people crowded rooftops to catch the action and children waited behind the stadium to catch home run balls; one made its way to them.
The ivy on the outfield walls of Wrigley Field wasn't always loved. At first it was thought of as ugly weeds. Eventually it became associated with the ballpark and the grounds crew took care of it and actually began growing more beautiful forms of it until it became what it's known as today.
An astonishing 7,000+ games have been played at Wrigley Field over the years. Averaging out to about three hours per game, games at Wrigley Field has accounted for 875 days, or almost three full years of game time. That's just part of the reason Wrigley Field is so closely associated with summer time in Chicago.
A council unanimously voted in 2004 for the key features of Wrigley Field to be preserved through giving it landmark status. Among them was the center field scoreboard, which has looked the same during the entirety of Wrigley Field's lifespan. That gives hope that there will be another 100 years of baseball in the Friendly Confines.
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