[photo courtesy of nydailynews.com]
On April 23, 1914, a new era in baseball history was born. It was the first day the (then) Chicago Whales played the Kansas City Packers at Wrigley Field (originally named, “Weeghnam Park”) in Chicago. If we fast-forward the hour-glass a mere one hundred years to the date, we see the Chicago Cubs playing the Arizona Diamondbacks on April 23, 2014.
Wrigley Field cost $250,000 to build. It is the second oldest major league ballpark in the United States (Fenway Park in Boston was built in 1912).
[photo courtesy of sportingnews.com]
The above photo was taken on opening day of Wrigley Field (Weeghnam Park) in 1914. It was extremely difficult to find a photo from 1914 in front of the ballpark; nonetheless, we can at least take a peek inside the park!
Oh and we mustn’t forget the team photo from 1914:
[photo courtesy of the Chicago History Museum]
Seminal Wrigley Field has an interesting and colorful history, to say the least. I’ve noted a few highlights:
In 1937, a hand-turned scoreboard was installed and is still used today (note the digital board below the original):
[photo courtesy of wikipedia.org]
Wrigley Field was certainly a holdout for modern conveniences! The park did not get lights for night games until 1988:
[photo courtesy of bing.com]
Ah, the dreaded, “Curse of the Billy Goat”. Legend has it that in 1945, Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis (ah yes, his first name was indeed, “Billy”) was asked to leave a World Series Game (and I am certain it was done um, politely!) due to the captivating odor his pet billy-goat was exuding. Rumor has it that Mr. Sianis notably declared, “Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.” Truth be told, the Chicago Cubs have not won a National League pennant since then, nor have they won a World Series since 1908. Nonetheless, one of these days you will see the Cubbies as the World Series Champs! I just know it!
[photo courtesy of bing.com]
And the above photo is of the two “Billys”. *grin*
Clearly, I would be remiss if I did not mention a Canadian connection to Wrigley Field. Much to my total and utter surprise, this year marks the beginning of a new restaurant in “Wrigleyville”; this is the neighborhood surrounding Wrigley Field. Ah, I can see you wondering what it is! Let me give you a hint: the restaurant is indeed owned by Canadians, the food served is, in fact, Canadian. If any of you said, “Tim Hortons”, oh how I wish it were true! No, the restaurant is called, “The Big Cheese Poutinerie“. They serve 30 types of poutine!
[photo courtesy of chicago.eater.com]
For those who don’t know what on earth poutine is, I’ll cut straight to the fries; well, they are the main ingredient after all! Yes, poutine is a plate of french fries, topped with cheese curds, drenched in gravy. It was invented in the 1950’s in rural Quebec (the Canadian province whose residents are primarily French-speaking). I have never had poutine. I think it is becoming much more popular in the rest of Canada; however, I’m not quite sure if I am brave enough to eat the melding of these ingredients quite yet. Here, take a look:
What do you think, my fellow readers? Should I try it? Ah, perhaps the proof is in the poutine! 🙂
And there you have it, baseball fans (and non-baseball fans alike). Wrigley Field is certainly a gem in Chicagoland. Perhaps the irony will not be lost if I attend a game this year AND have my first filling of Canadian poutine right here in the good ‘ol US of A!