April 23, 1914 Wrigley Field opened her gates for the first time. Originally called Weeghman Park and home to the Chicago Federals, April 23, 1914 marked the beginning of a legacy. President Woodrow Wilson was in the White House, and Mother’s day was not even a recognized holiday yet. Civil War veterans populated the earth, and the world was on the brink of war. She has seen a lot in her time, but she still waits for that elusive World Series title.
She’s taken many names, Weeghman Park, Cubs Park, Wrigley Field, the Friendly Confines, and have hosted many different teams. The Chicago Bears called Wrigley Field their home for more than 50 years. Bears legends such as Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers made history playing at Wrigley. Babe Ruth “called his shot” at the Friendly Confines, and is the last standing ballpark that Jackie Robinson played at. Although the Cubs have not won a world series since before Wrigley Field opened, Wrigley has been home to many of the Cubs greats. Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Lou Brock, Andre Dawson, Jimmie Foxx, Fergie Jenkins, Greg Maddux, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, and Hack Wilson (to name a few) dawned the Cubbie blue.
Not only has she been home to tremendous players, but she has seen her ups and downs. She was home to the 1918, 1929, 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1945 World Series, and all Cubs fans know they came up on the losing side. The historic collapse of 1969, and of course…Bartman. On a positive note, she remembers Banks’s 500th home run, and the home run race between Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire.
Although Wrigley, from a structure stand point, is far from perfect, and her downfalls are well documented, there is no place like the Friendly Confines. The rooftop seating across the street, the ivy in the outfield, manual scoreboard, brick walls, and the bleachers, make Wrigley Field one of a kind. Much debate has been made about renovating Wrigley, or dare I see it, even move because people see it as a “dump”. The fact of the matter is, Wrigley Field is not the nicest of ballparks, but to go as far as to say it is a dump means that one is not capturing the true essence of the Friendly Confines.
Taking the Red Line on the ‘L’ to the Addison stop, hearing the firetruck sirens from the firehouse across the street, walking into the ballpark under the Wrigley Field marquee, walking up the grandstand and seeing the true beauty of Wrigley gives Cub fans chill. Wrigley is one of the last two true ballparks (Fenway Park the other), and as NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon found out the hard way NEVER call it Wrigley Stadium. Wrigley has seen nearly everything, and each April she, along with the Cubs faithful, hope that this is finally the year that the Cubs win the World Series. She might not be perfect, but for a Cubs fan, she is pretty darn close. Happy 100th birthday Wrigley Field, and many, many more.