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Updated: April 23, 2014
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Happy Birthday, Wrigley Field
CHICAGO, Illinois (USA) - Today (Wednesday, April 23) is a historic day in Chicago, as Wrigley Field celebrates its 100th birthday. The home of Chicago Cubs hosted its first game exactly 100 years ago today. That game was played between the Chicago Federals and Kansas City Packers in the Federal League, which back then was the third Major League besides the National and American League.

...The statue of Ernie Banks...
(© Photo: Marco Stoovelaar)
That moment was celebrated today before the game between the Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks. Both teams played in uniforms from 1914 with the Diamondbacks wearing Kansas City Packers-uniforms (including collars).

The Cubs were leading 5-2 in the top of the ninth today, but then closer Pedro Strop got the bases loaded with no outs. He then struckout a batter, gave up a 2-run single to Martin Prado, followed with another strikeout and was relieved by James Russell. He then gave up a single to Miguel Montero that tied the score. Next, Justin Grimm became the new pitcher, but he was greeted with a 2-run triple by Aaron Hill that gave the Diamondbacks (or KC Packers) a 7-5 lead. The Cubs were unable to turn the game around in the home of the 9th and were left empty-handed.

Before the game, several former greats from the Cubs were introduced, including Mr. Cub Ernie Banks (who hit his 500th career homerun in Wrigley Field), Ferguson Jenkins, Billy Williams, Andre Dawson, Milt Pappas, Bob Dernier, Gary Matthews, Lee Smith and Ryan Dempster. Also honored was former great third baseman Ron Santo, who passed away in 2010 and was represented by his grandsons.

The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Sue Quigg, the grand-niece of former Cubs-owner Charles Weeghman. The ball she threw was used 100 years ago by her grandmonther Dessa Weeghman during a first pitch ceremony at a Chi-Feds game.

After completion of the top of the fifth inning, 'Happy Birthday' was sung in the stadium. During the 7th inning stretch, 'Take Me Out To The Ball Game' was sung by Sue Quigg, Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams and former Chicago Bears-linebacker Dick Butkus. At that moment, former Cubs radio/tv broadcaster Harry Caray was also honored, as he was born 100 years ago. Caray (1914-1998) was famous for singing 'Take Me Out To The Ball Game' in the stadium and was frequently accompanied by celebrities who sang the wellknown sung with him.

Wrigley Field is the second-oldest Major League park behind Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox, which was constructed in 1912. Behind the outfield of Wrigley Field, several stands were built through the years on roofs of homes and companies, where fans also can enjoy watching the game.

On New Year's Eve 1913, Charles Weeghman, the owner of the Chicago Federals, agrees to a 99-year lease on a small parcel of land located at the corner of Clark and Addison Streets on Chicago's North Side. In two months, a ballpark is constructed there, costing 250,000 dollars with a seating capacity of 14,000 and is named Weeghman Park. On April 23, 1914, the Chicago Federals played their first Major League-game at the new ballpark and won 9-1 vs. the Kansas City Packers. Art Wilson, catcher of the Chi-Feds, hits two homeruns. In its first season, Chicago finishes in second place.

In 1915, the team is renamed Chicago Whales and it wins the championship on the final day of the season.

In 1916, after the Federal League stopped, the ássets of the Whales are combined with the Chicago Cubs of the National League to become the Cubs. The Cubs played their first game at Weeghman Park on April 20, winning 7-6 in eleven innings vs. the Cincinnati Reds.

After Charles Weeghman resigns as club president in 1919, the ballpark is renamed Cubs Park.

In 1920, the first American football-game is played in the stadium by the Chicago Tigers. In 1921, the Chicago Bears start to use the stadium as their home site.

On August 11, 1924, William Wrigley, Jr. purchases the lease of Cubs Park. On October 1, 1924, the first baseball game of a Chicago-team is broadcast by WGN Radio.

In 1926, construction of a second deck began and in December of that year, the stadium is renamed Wrigley Field.

In 1932, the Cubs installed the first public address system. Until then, the announcer would walk from bullpen to bullpen with a megaphone, announcing line-ups and changes.

On October 1, 1932, the Cubs played in the World Series against the New York Yankees. It was on this date in Wrigley Field, in Game 3, that Babe Ruth supposed to have made his legendary 'called shot'. Ruth appeared to have pointed to the outfield moments before hitting a homerun.

In 1937, the famous ivy (350 Japanese Bittersweet plants and 200 Boston Ivy plants) is planted at the base of the new brick outfield walls. Also, the famous bleachers and scoreboard were constructed that year.

In 1941, the Cubs become the first team to have an organ playing inside the ballpark.

On July 13, 1946, WBKB broadcast the first televised baseball game from Wrigley Field when the Cubs meet the Brooklyn Dodgers.

In 1988, Wrigley Field becomes the last Major League-stadium to install lights. On August 8 of that year, the lights shine for the first time when the first night game is played in Wrigley Field. However, the game rains out.

More history-facts of Wrigley Field

...The media room in Wrigley Field...

...Stadium Organist Gary Pressy...
(© All Photos: Marco Stoovelaar)

(April 23)

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