Wrigley Field celebrates 100 years of baseball

Today is the 100th anniversary of the ball park named after chewing gum magnate, William Wrigley, Jr..  It's because of Wrigley's still-looming presence in the park that I feel perfectly comfortable sticking my gum to the bottom of my bleacher seat.

Built in 1914 as Weegham Park, the team, debuting on April 23, 2014 was called the "Feds".  Almost seems like a mystical foretelling of the coming of Prohibition and Eliot Ness.

Inexplicably, "Whales" was the official name chosen for Chicago's Federal League team.  The league, however collapsed in 1915 and the park's developer, Charles Weegham arranged for William Wrigley, Jr and other investors to buy the Chicago Cubs from Charles Taft.

The Cubs were moved to Weegham's new ball park, which was called Cubs Park between 1920 and 1926.  Wrigley gained control of the franchise in 1918 and renamed the park, in honor of himself, Wrigley Field.  If you live within 50 miles of Chicago, you've met at least one Black Lab named, "Wrigley".

Anyone know if there's an "Abrams Field" for sale somewhere, really cheap?

One of Wrigley's many legends shrouded in controversy is who coined the phrase, "Friendly Confines".  Opinions seem about evenly split between Harray Caray and Ernie Banks, although I think more people attributed the park's nickname to Banks before Caray's passing in 1998.  We tend to aggrandize the departed.  Either way, it's Banks-also known as "Mr. Cub"-whose statue greets us at Wrigley's entrance.

I've also heard the name Steve Stone mentioned, but that might have been by Stone, himself.

A curse placed on the Cubs in 1945 by Billy Goat Tavern's owner, Billy Sianis is an integral part of the angst of every Cubs fan.  As the story goes, Sianis was asked to remove his goat from a World Series game between the Cubs and the Detroit Tigers.  Apparently, Mr. Sianis' neighbors in the park found his goat's odor objectionable.

Must've been some powerful curse, right?

Wrigley is the site of one of baseball's most famous legends involving one of baseball's most legendary players.  In Game 3 of the the 1932 World Series, New York Yankee, Babe Ruth pointed at-or gestured toward-Wrigley's center field and hit a 440-foot homer over that wall on the very next pitch.  Theories abound as to what Ruth was actually pointing to, but the facts remain that he pointed and then he homered.

Cubs' pitcher, Charlie Root stayed in the game for one more pitch, which  Lou Gehrig drilled into the right field seats for his second homer of the day.

Beautiful Wrigley Field, with its ivy-covered walls has hosted many well-known movie scenes.  Hollywood legend has it that Vince Vaughan and Jennifer Anniston fell in love in Wrigley Field while filming their 2006 movie, "The Break-Up".  Read about it here.

On their famous day off, Ferris Bueller, Cameron Frye and Sloane Peterson took in a Cubs game at Wrigley.  View that scene here.

In the 1980 hit, "Blues Brothers", Elwood revealed to Jake that he falsified his address on his drivers license as 1060 W. Addison, otherwise known as Wrigley Field.

Other movies filmed in and around Wrigley Field include "Man v. Food", "Uncle Buck", "Wanted", "Rookie of the Year" and "The Babe".

The oldest park in MLB, Wrigley is both storied and legendary.  Happy birthday, Wrigley Field.

As a word of caution to Cubs fans, who are notoriously world-class optimists, I say, "Remember the goat".

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    Bob Abrams

    Bob "RJ" Abrams is a political junkie, all-around malcontent and supporter of America's warriors. After a career path that took him from merchandising at rock concerts to managing rock bands to a 27-year stint in the pits of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, he's seen our nation from up and down. As the Illinois Coordinator of the Warriors' Watch Riders (a motorcycle support group for the military and their families) Bob plays an active role in Illinois' support of our troops, past and present. Send comments and/or suggestions to bob@bobabrams.net

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