Wrigley Field

Wrigley Field
The Friendly Confines
Cubs Park
Wrigley Field on July 24, 2015.jpg
Wrigley Field in July 2015
Former names Weeghman Park (1914–1920)
Cubs Park (1920–1926)
Address 1060 West Addison Street
Location Chicago, Illinois
Coordinates 41°56′53″N 87°39′22″W / 41°56′53″N 87°39′22″W / 41.948; -87.656
Public transit Addison (CTA Red Line station)
Owner Chicago Cubs
Operator Chicago Cubs
Capacity 41,268 [1]
Record attendance 47,101 [2]
(May 18, 1947 vs. Brooklyn Dodgers)
Field size Left Field – 355 ft (108.2 m)
Left-Center – 368 ft (112.2 m)
Center Field – 400 ft (121.9 m)
Right-Center – 368 ft (112.2 m)
Right Field – 353 ft (107.6 m)
Backstop – 60 ft 6 in (18.4 m)
Outfield Wall Height:
Bleachers – 11 ft 6 in (3.5 m)
In corners – 15 ft (4.6 m)
Surface Merion bluegrass/ Clover
Construction
Broke ground March 4, 1911
Opened April 23, 1914 (1914-04-23)
(103 years ago)
Renovated 1937, 1988, 2014–2019
Expanded 1922, 1927, 2006
Construction cost $250,000
($5.98 million in 2016 dollars [3])
Architect Zachary Taylor Davis
General contractor Blome-Sinek Company
Tenants
Chicago Whales ( FL) (1914–1915)
Chicago Cubs ( MLB) (1916–present)
Chicago Tigers ( APFA) (1920)
Hammond Pros ( NFL) (1920–1926)
Chicago Bears ( NFL) (1921–1970)
Chicago Cardinals ( NFL) (1931–1939)
Chicago Sting ( NASL) (1977–1982; 1984) [4]
Designated February 1, 2004
WrigleyField is located in the US
WrigleyField
Wrigley
Field
Location in the United States
WrigleyField is located in Illinois
WrigleyField
Wrigley
Field
Location in Illinois

Wrigley Field i/ is a baseball park located on the North Side of Chicago, Illinois. It is the home of the Chicago Cubs, one of the city's two Major League Baseball (MLB) franchises. It first opened in 1914 as Weeghman Park for Charles Weeghman's Chicago Whales of the Federal League, which folded after the 1915 baseball season. The Cubs played their first home game at the park on April 20, 1916, defeating the Cincinnati Reds with a score of 7–6 in 11 innings. Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. of the Wrigley Company acquired complete control of the Cubs in 1921. It was named Cubs Park from 1920 to 1926, before being renamed Wrigley Field in 1927.

In the North Side community area of Lakeview in the Wrigleyville neighborhood, Wrigley Field is on an irregular block bounded by Clark (west) and Addison (south) Streets and Waveland (north) and Sheffield (east) Avenues. Wrigley Field is nicknamed "The Friendly Confines", a phrase popularized by "Mr. Cub", Hall of Fame shortstop and first baseman Ernie Banks. The oldest park in the National League, the current seating capacity is 41,268; [1] it is the second-oldest in the majors after Fenway Park (1912), and the only remaining Federal League park. [5]

Wrigley Field is known for its ivy-covered brick outfield wall, the unusual wind patterns off Lake Michigan, the iconic red marquee over the main entrance, the hand-turned scoreboard, its location in a primarily residential neighborhood with no parking lots and views from the rooftops behind the outfield, and for being the last Major League park to have lights installed for play after dark, in 1988. Between 1921 and 1970, it was also the home of the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. The elevation of its playing field is 600 feet (180 m) above sea level.

History

Baseball executive Charles Weeghman hired his architect Zachary Taylor Davis to design the park, which was ready for baseball by the date of the home opener on April 23, 1914. [6] The original tenants, the Chicago Whales (also called the Chi-Feds) came in second in the Federal League rankings in 1914 and won the league championship in 1915.

In late 1915, Weeghman's Federal League folded. The resourceful Weeghman formed a syndicate including the chewing gum manufacturer William Wrigley Jr. to buy the Chicago Cubs from Charles P. Taft for about $500,000. [7] Weeghman immediately moved the Cubs from the dilapidated West Side Grounds to his two-year-old park.

In 1918, Wrigley acquired the controlling interest in the club. [8] In November 1926, he renamed the park "Wrigley Field". [9] In 1927, an upper deck was added, and in 1937, Bill Veeck, the son of the club president, planted ivy vines against the outfield walls. [8]

Renovation

The Ricketts family aggressively pursued a Wrigley Field renovation since buying the team and the stadium in 2009. During the annual Cubs Convention in January 2013 the family revealed the 1060 Project which called for a $575-million, privately funded rehabilitation of the stadium that was to be completed over the course of five years. [10] The proposal was vast, and included planned improvements to, among other things, the stadium's facade, infrastructure, restrooms, concourses, suites, press box, moving the bullpens and clubhouses, as well as the addition of restaurants, patio areas, batting tunnels, a 5,700-square-foot jumbotron, and an adjacent hotel, plaza, and office-retail complex. [11]

After months of negotiations between the team, local Alderman Tom Tunney, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the plan obtained the endorsements of both the city's Landmarks Commission and Plan Commission before receiving final approval by the Chicago City Council in July 2013. To help fund the project, the team planned to more than double the amount of advertising signage in and around the stadium to about 51,000 square feet, including additional signage to be placed beyond the outfield walls – a move that was opposed by many owners of the rooftop clubs that surround the stadium who worried that such signage would obstruct their sightlines. [12] [13] Before work on the project began, the team wanted the rooftop owners to agree not to pursue legal action challenging the construction and continued to negotiate privately with them – offering to reduce the size and number of signs to be built – in order to gain their assent. [14] The team could not come to terms with the rooftop owners who had a lease agreement with the team until 2023 in exchange for paying 17% of the gross revenues. In May 2014 the Cubs announced they would pursue the original 2013 plan to modify the park [15] Over the course of the next three years, the Ricketts family began to purchase many of the rooftop locations. [16]

Ongoing renovation

The "1060 Project – Phase One" started Monday, September 29, 2014. During the off-season, the bleachers in both outfields were expanded and the stadium's footprint was extended further onto both Waveland and Sheffield Avenues. A 3,990 sq ft (370 m2) Jumbotron scoreboard was added to the left field bleachers. It is topped with a sign advertising Wintrust Financial, a Rosemont-based bank and a Cubs Legacy Partner; the "W" in Wintrust flashes after every Cubs win. A 2,400 sq ft (220 m2) video scoreboard was also added in the right field bleachers, and the parking lots along Clark Street were excavated for future underground players' locker rooms and lounges. [17] [18]

Videoboard above new left field bleacher seats in 2015

After the close of the extended 2015 season, work began on "Phase Two" of the project. The area just west of the stadium was converted into an underground 30,000-square-foot (2,800 m2) players locker room and strength/conditioning/training and hydrotherapy sections, players lounges, a media center, and team offices. The previous clubhouse space was utilized to enlarge the dugout and add two underground batting cages, an auditorium, and more team office space. A new "Third Base Club" next to the batting tunnels and a "Home Plate Club" was introduced behind home plate and a new 30,000 square foot concessions preparation and staging area was constructed below the new Triangle Plaza. All seats, from the left field foul pole to the main gate, were replaced. An upper-deck exposed concourse was added along the south and west roof-line of right field. Bathroom facilities and concessions were improved throuout the park. [19]

Exterior renovations of the park seek to restore design elements present before the 1960s. These details include ornamental muted-green grill-work and red terra cotta roofing. [20]

Phase Three of the 1060 Project was completed before the start of the 2017 season. The left and right field bullpens were relocated to enclosed areas under the bleachers, the brick walls were extended toward the field and new seating was added in the vacated bullpen areas. A visiting team "batting tunnel" was added. Partial facade replacement and concourse restoration was completed along Addison Avenue along with structural improvements to the right field bleachers. The outfield turf was replaced just weeks before the start of the season. The Cubs Plaza building just to the west of Wrigley was finalized and the Park at Wrigley, the area above Cubs players dressing rooms, was in use for fans before and during games. [21] Construction of Hotel Zachary along the west side of Clark street was ongoing. [22]

Firsts since renovation

On May 26, 2015, Cubs rookie third baseman Kris Bryant was the first to hit the new left field videoscreen with his 477-foot (145 m) home run. [23] On October 13, the Cubs clinched a playoff series at home in Wrigley Field for the first time in franchise history with a 6–4 victory in game four of the 2015 NLDS. After Anthony Rizzo hit what would be the game-winning and series winning home run in the 6th inning, Kyle Schwarber's 7th inning insurance home run ball landed on top of the right field scoreboard. The ball was left in place, encased in clear Plexiglas to protect it from the elements. [24]

100th Anniversary

During the 2014 season, the Cubs celebrated the centennial of Wrigley Field throughout the season. Each decade was represented during ten homestands throughout the season. The April 23rd game, the 100th Anniversary, featured the Cubs playing the Arizona Diamondbacks in a throw back game. Each team represented one of the teams which played in the inaugural game at the stadium. The Cubs wore the uniforms of the Chicago Whales (Federals), the original occupants of the stadium and Diamondbacks wore uniforms representing the Kansas City Packers, whom the Federals played on April 23, 1914.

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