Throwback Thursday: The Opening Of Wrigley Field

It is well known that Wrigley Field is one of the oldest stadiums in all of a American sports. However what is probably a little less known is that Wrigley Field was not originally intended for the Cubs. Wrigley Field first opened its doors in 1914 when it was called Weeghman Park.

The area occupied by the stadium was originally settled by the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary. Surrounding it was Eliza Hall, the presidents house, St. Marks Church and other buildings. Early as 1905 rumors of the minor league American Association planned to franchise in Chicago. With the Sox on the south side and the Cubs in the west at West Side Park, the Northside was ideal. After construction of the first elevated train lines leading to thr northside, the Lutheran seminary abandonned their expansion projects seeking quieter environments and sold their property to AA owners.

The presidents house (right) is near location to to the present day Wrigley Scoreboard and centerfield bleachers. Eliza Hall (center) locates todays left field bleachers.

As the AA owners failed to capitlize on their efforts to franchise, Charles Weeghman aquired a 90 year lease on the land. He built Weegham Park soon after for the Chicago Whales, the baseball team he owned. However the Federal Baseball League folded at the end of the 1915 season as well. The Chicago Cubs started playing at the stadium the very next season.

In 1920 the stadium was renamed to Cubs Park. A year later in 1921 William Wrigley Jr. took complete control of ownership of the Cubs. Soon after he would rename the field to its current namesake, Wrigley Field, in 1927.

During the stadium’s first season under the rebranding over 1 million fans flocked to Wrigley to watch the Cubs play. The franchise became the first National League team to ever achieve that feat. Making this fest all the more impressive was the fact that the upper deck was not even finished at that point. In 1929, the Cubs put together one of the best batting lineups in baseball history and attendance rose to over 1.5 million as a result. For the next 17 seasons, that stood as a record.

Many years and many renovations later Wrigley Field still stands loud and proud as the home of Chicago Cubs baseball. Though it does not have quite the same look as it did in the 20’s and 30’s, it indeed has never lost its charm as one of America’s most iconic sports venues. That it shall remain for many years to come.

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