Chicago Cubs fans are finding it difficult to celebrate anything about this year’s team, but there is something to celebrate. Wrigley Field will turn 100 years old on Wednesday, April, 23, and the Cubs are planning a big celebration on Wednesday as well as throughout the season.
First, a short history session is in order. What we now know as Wrigley Field was originally called Weeghman Park, built in 1914 by Charlie Weeghman owner of the Chicago Federals. After two years, the Federal league folded and Weeghman, along with a group of investors that included William Wrigley Jr., bought the Chicago Cubs and moved them from the West Side Grounds on the west side of Chicago to Weegham Park. Eventually Wrigley bought out the other investors and renamed the park Cubs Park in 1920. In 1926, he renamed it Wrigley Field.
Fans today know the park for its ivy covered walls, but the ivy wasn’t always there. In 1937, Bill Veeck purchased the ivy and helped plant it on the outfield walls. Since then, its role in the ground rules for the park is legendary, with special rules if a ball gets lost in the vines.
To celebratee 100 years of the ball park, the Cubs plan to hold a huge birthday celebration on Wednesday, exactly 100 years after the first pitch was thrown at then Weeghman Park. The first 30,000 fans to arrive on Wednesday will receive a replica 1914 Chicago Federals jersey. Also, the first 10,000 fans to enter the park will receive a birthday cupcake. An elaborate birthday cake will be on display near the Ernie Banks statue on Clark Street until the third inning. After that, it will be transferred to the Field Museum where the annual Bricks & Ivy Ball will be held. A portion of that cake will be served at the fundraiser.
Pregame festivities will feature Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, as well as representatives from each family or organization that owned the Cubs, while fans take in sights and sounds from 100 years ago. Sue Quigg, grandniece of Weeghman, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch and former Cubs players will take their old positions in a ceremony prior to the game. Look for Ernie Banks at shortstop, where he began his career. Even food popular 100 years ago will be featured in the Decade Diner (formerly known as Sheffield Grill) and at a couple of stands within the concourse.
The Cubs will be celebrating 100 years of the ballpark throughout the season with special bobble heads on Fridays and other giveaways. More information can be found on the Cubs website and in future articles.