Wrigley Field is a baseball stadium in Chicago, Illinois, United States that has served as the home ballpark of the
Chicago Cubs since 1916.
built in 1914 as Weeghman Park
for the Chicago
baseball team, the
. It was called
between 1920 and 1926 before being
renamed for then Cubs team owner and chewing gum magnate
, William Wrigley Jr.
. Between 1921 and
1970 it was also the home of the Chicago
of the National
. It hosted the second annual NHL Winter Classic
on January 1,
the residential neighborhood of Lakeview, Wrigley
Field sits on an irregular block bounded by Clark (west) and Addison (south)
Streets and Waveland (north) and Sheffield (east) Avenues.
The area surrounding the ballpark contains bars, restaurants and
other establishments and is typically referred to as Wrigleyville
. The ballpark's
mailing address is 1060 W. Addison Street.
Field is nicknamed The Friendly Confines, a phrase
popularized by "Mr. Cub", Hall of Famer Ernie Banks.
Since 2006, its capacity has been 41,118, making Wrigley Field the
fourth-smallest actively used ballpark in 2006. It is the oldest
National League ballpark and the second oldest active major league
ballpark (after Fenway
Park on April 20, 1912), and the only remaining Federal League park.
The park was built in six weeks in 1914 at a cost of about $250,000
($5.3 million in 2008 dollars) by the Chicago lunchroom magnate
"Lucky Charlie" Weeghman, who owned the Federal League Dolphins.
signed a fifty-five-year lease to use the park for app $18,000 per
year.) It was designed by the architect Zachary Taylor Davis (who four years
earlier had designed Comiskey Park for the Chicago White
Sox), incorporating the new "fireproof" building codes recently
enacted by the city.
According to some sources, when it
opened for the 1914 Federal League season, Weeghman Park had a
According to another source, the original seating capacity was
In late 1915 the 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. 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. In February 1926, he renamed the park
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.
Wrigley Field was a hold-out against night games, not installing
lights until 1988 after baseball officials refused to allow the
Cubs to play any post-season games without lights. Night games are
still limited in number by agreement with the city council.
Capacity is set at 44,250.
Wrigley Field follows the jewel box
ballparks that was popular in the early part of the 20th
Ivy-covered outfield walls
Wrigley Field is known for its
distinct ivy-covered outfield walls.
The ballpark is famous for its outfield walls which are covered by
. In the first weeks of the baseball season,
the ivy has not leafed out, and all that is visible are the vines
on which it grows. However, as the baseball season progresses
further into spring, the ivy grows thick and green, disguising the
hard brick surface of the outfield wall. Many a ball has been lost
in the ivy when hit towards the outfield fences. An outfielder will
signal that a ball is lost, by raising his hands. When this occurs,
the umpires will call time and rule the play a ground-rule double
. Also, there have been
occasions of fielders being injured when slamming into the wall
after a fly ball. The ivy that covers the outfield wall is Boston Ivy
, which can endure the harsh Chicago
winters better than its English
Old-time ballparks were often surrounded by buildings that afforded
a "freebie" look at the game for enterprising souls. In most
venues, the clubs took steps to either extend the stands around, or
to build spite fences
to block the view.
the most notorious of these was the one at Shibe Park in Philadelphia, which caused a rift between the residents and the
team that never healed. The Cubs themselves had built a high fence
along the outfield at West Side Park, to hide the field from flats whose back porches
were right next to the outer fence of the ballpark.
But at Wrigley it was different. The flat rooftops of the apartment
buildings across Waveland and Sheffield, which pre-date the
ballpark, were often populated with a reasonable number of fans
having cookouts while enjoying the game for free. The Cubs
tolerated it quietly, until the 1990s, when some owners of those
apartments got carried away: they began building little bleacher
sections, and charging people to watch the games. That was a whole
different ball game, and the Cubs management became very vocal in
expressing their displeasure, threatening legal action. In 2003
they went so far as to line the screens that top the outer walls
with opaque strips, to block the best exterior sight lines. That
was the closest thing to a spite fence that Wrigley had seen.
Therefore the bleachers are sometimes called "The Spiteless Fence"
as well as "The Ivy Wall".
This led to meetings and to a peaceful settlement among the various
parties. The building owners agreed to share a portion of their
proceeds with the Cubs, and the Cubs obtained permission from the
city to expand the ballpark's own bleachers out over the sidewalks
and do some additional construction on the open area of the
property to the west, bordered by Clark and Waveland, and to close
the remnant of Seminary Avenue that also existed on the property.
The rooftop seats are now effectively part of the ballpark's
seating area, although they are not included in the seating
Some of the rooftops have become legendary in their own right. The
Lakeview Baseball Club, which sits across Sheffield Avenue
(right-field) from the stadium displays a sign that reads, "Eamus
Catuli!" (roughly Latin for "Let's Go Cubs!"—catuli
translating to "whelps
", the nearest
Latin equivalent), flanked by a counter indicating the Cubs' long
legacy of futility. The counter is labeled "AC," for "Anno Catuli,"
or "In the Year of the Cubs." The first two digits indicate the
number of years since the Cubs' last division championship as of
the end of the previous season (2008
), the next two digits indicate
the number of years since the Cubs' last trip to the World Series
), and the last three
digits indicate the number of years since their last World Series
Today, Wrigley rooftops have become a unique alternative venue to
watch baseball games. Many rooftop venues feature bleachers, open
bar, specialty food items, and a great game-day atmosphere,
although the quality of the view can vary depending on the specific
Unusual wind patterns
and May the wind often comes off Lake Michigan (less than a mile to the east), which means a
northeast wind "blowing in" to knock down potential home runs and
turn them into outs.
In the summer, however, or on any warm
and breezy day, the wind often comes from the south and the
southwest, which means the wind is "blowing out" and has the
potential to turn normally harmless fly balls into home runs. A
third variety is the cross-wind, which typically runs from the left
field corner to the right field corner and causes all sorts of
interesting havoc. Depending on the direction of the wind, Wrigley
can either be one of the friendliest parks in the major leagues for
pitchers or among the worst. This makes Wrigley one of the most
unpredictable parks in the Major Leagues.
Many Cubs fans check their nearest flag before heading to the park
on game days for an indication of what the game might be like; this
is less of a factor for night games, however, because the wind does
not blow as hard after the sun goes down.
With the wind blowing in
, pitchers can dominate, and
no-hitters have been tossed from time to time, though none
recently; the last two occurred near the beginning and the end of
the 1972 season, by Burt Hooton
respectively. In the seventh
inning of Ken Holtzman
no-hitter, on August 19, 1969, Hank Aaron
of the Atlanta Braves
that looked like it was headed for Waveland, but the wind caught it
just enough for left fielder Billy Williams
to leap up
and snare it in "the well".
With the wind blowing out
, some true tape-measure home
runs have been hit by well-muscled batters. Sammy Sosa
broke windows in the apartment buildings across
Waveland Ave. several times. Glenallen
put one on a rooftop. Batters have occasionally slugged it
into, or to the side of, the first row or two of the "upper deck"
of the center field bleachers. Sosa hit the roof of the center
field camera booth on the fly during the NLCS
Florida Marlins, some 450 feet away.
But the longest blast was probably hit by Dave Kingman on a very
windy day in 1976 while with the Mets. According to local legend,
that day, Kingman launched a bomb that landed on the third porch
roof on the east (center field) side of Kenmore Avenue, some 550
No batter has ever hit the center field scoreboard, however it has
been hit by a different kind of ball: a golf ball, hit by Sam Snead
, using a two iron.
No matter the weather, many fans congregate during batting practice
and games on Waveland Avenue, behind left field, and Sheffield
Avenue, behind right field, for a chance to catch a home run
Wrigley Field has served as the home baseball park for Major League Baseball
's Chicago Cubs
franchise since 1916.
Chicago Bears of the National Football League played at
Wrigley Field from 1921 to 1970 before relocating to Soldier Field.
The team had transferred from Decatur, and
retained the name "Staleys
" for the
1921 season. They renamed themselves the "Bears" in order to
identify with the baseball team, a common practice in the NFL in
those days. Wrigley Field once held the record for the
most NFL games played in a single stadium with 365 regular season
NFL games, but this record was surpassed in September 2003 by
Stadium in New
Jersey, thanks to its dual-occupancy by the New York Giants and New York Jets.The game played between the Jets
and Miami Dolphins on
September 14, 2003 was the 366th regular season NFL game at Giants
Stadium breaking Wrigley's regular season record.
seasons the Bears spent at Wrigley Field had been an NFL record
until 2006 when Lambeau
Field duplicated this feat by hosting the Packers for the
50th season, and broke it in 2007.
Initially the Bears worked with the stands that were there.
Eventually they acquired a large, portable bleacher section that
spanned the right and center field areas and covered most of the
existing bleacher seating and part of the right field corner
seating. This "East Stand" raised Wrigley's football capacity to
about 46,000, or a net gain of perhaps 9,000 seats over normal
capacity. After the Bears left, this structure would
live on for several years as the "North Stand" at Soldier Field, until it was replaced by permanent
The football field ran north-to-south, i.e. from left field to the
foul side of first base. The remodeling of the bleachers made for a
very tight fit for the gridiron. In fact, the corner of the south
end zone was literally in the visiting baseball team's dugout,
which was filled with pads for safety, and required a special
ground rule that sliced off that corner of the end zone. One corner
of the north end line ran just inches short of the left field wall.
There is a legend that Bronko
, the great Bears fullback, steamrolled through the
line, head down, and ran all the way through that end zone,
smacking his leather-helmeted head on the bricks. He went back to
the bench and told Coach "Papa Bear" George
, "That last guy gave me quite a lick!" That kind of
incident prompted the Bears to hang some padding in front of the
The Bears are second only to the Green
in total NFL championships, and all but one of
those (their only Super Bowl
championship) came during their tenure at Wrigley. After a
half-century, they found themselves compelled to move, because the
NFL wanted every one of its stadiums to seat at least 50,000.
had one experimental game at Dyche Stadium (now Ryan
Field) on the Northwestern University campus, but otherwise continued at Wrigley until
their transfer to the lakefront ended their five-decades run on the
One remnant of the Bears' time at Wrigley was
uncovered during the off-season 2007–2008 rebuilding of the playing
field: the foundations for the goal posts.
Chicago Sting of the North American Soccer League
used Wrigley, along with Comiskey Park, for their home matches during the late 1970s and
Hockey rink layout
The Sting hosted the San Diego Sockers
on August 25, 1979
Wrigley when the Bears were using Soldier Field. Unlike the Bears'
football gridiron layout, the soccer
pitch ran east-to-west, from
right field to the foul territory on the third-base side.
On January 1, 2009, the National
played its 2009 Winter Classic
in The Friendly
Confines pitting two "Original Six
teams - the host Chicago
and the visiting Detroit Red Wings
- in an outdoor ice hockey
game. The rink ran across the field
from first base to third base with second base being covered by
roughly the center of the rink. According to espn.com, the
attendance for this game was 40,818. The Red Wings won 6–4.
In recent years Wrigley Field has been opened on a limited basis to
popular concerts, not without some controversy. Artists and groups
to play Wrigley Field have included Jimmy Buffett (2005), The
Police (2007), Elton John and Billy Joel (2009), and Rascal Flatts
(2009). Local neighborhood groups have expressed concerns about the
impact of concert crowds and noise on the surrounding residential
neighborhood, particularly in 2009 when three concerts were added
to the schedule, one conflicting with an annual neighborhood
Traditions and mainstays
Some Wrigley Field advertising in
Wrigley Field shares its name with the Wrigley Company
, as the park was
named for its then-owner, William
, the CEO of the Wrigley Company. As early as the
1920s, before the park became officially known as Wrigley Field,
the scoreboard was topped by the elf-like "Doublemint
Twins", posed as a pitcher and a
batter. There were also ads painted on the bare right field wall
early in the ballpark's history, prior to the 1923 remodeling which
put bleachers there. After that, the Doublemint elves were the only
visible in-park advertising. The elves were removed permanently in
1937 when the bleachers and scoreboard were rebuilt. It would be
about 45 years before in-park advertising would reappear.
Owned by the Tribune Company
1981, Wrigley Field has been a notable exception to the recent
trend of selling corporate naming
to sporting venues. The Tribune Company chose not to
rename the ballpark, utilizing other ways to bring corporate
sponsorship into the ballpark.
the mid-1980s, Anheuser-Busch placed Budweiser and Bud Light advertisements beneath
the center field scoreboard.
Bud Light became the sponsor of
the rebuilt bleachers in 2006.
In the early 2000s, following the trend of many ballparks, a
green-screen chroma key
installed behind home plate, in the line of sight of the center
field TV camera, to allow electronic "rotating" advertisements
visible only to the TV audiences. By 2006, the board was set-up to
allow advertisements to be both physical and electronic (thus they
can be seen in both live and replay shots).
In 2007, the first on-field advertising appeared since the park's
early days. Sporting goods firm Under
placed its logo on the double-doors between the ivy on
the outfield wall, in left-center and right-center fields.
Advertisements were also placed in the dugouts, originally for
department stores, then Walter E. Smithe
furniture and now State Farm
Corporate sponsorship has not been limited to the park itself.
Wrigley Field is famous for its view of the neighborhood buildings
across Waveland and Sheffield Avenues. In addition to spectators
standing or sitting on the apartment roofs, corporate sponsors have
frequently taken advantage of those locations as well. In the
earliest days of Weeghman Park, one building across Sheffield
Avenue advertised a local hangout known as Bismarck Gardens (later
called the Marigold Gardens after World War
). That same building has since advertised for
the Torco Oil Company, Southwest Airlines, and the Miller
A building across from deep right-center field was topped by a neon
sign for Baby Ruth
candy beginning in the
mid-1930s and running for some 40 years. That placement by the
Chicago-based Curtiss Candy
, coincidentally positioned in the line of sight of
Ruth's called shot
", proved fortuitous when games began to be
televised in the 1940s—the sign was also in the line of sight of
the ground level camera behind and to the left of home plate. The
aging sign was eventually removed in the early 1970s.
Another long-standing venue for a sign is the sloping roof of a
building behind left-center field. Unsuitable for the bleachers
that now decorate many of those buildings, that building's angling
roof has been painted in the form of a large billboard since at
least the 1940s. In recent years it has borne a bright-red
Budweiser sign and, beginning in 2009, an advertisement for
Horseshoe Casino. Other buildings have carried signs
sponsoring beers, such as Old Style (when it was a Cubs
broadcasting sponsor) and Miller; and also WGN-TV, which has
telecast Cubs games since April 1948.
For 2008 and 2009, the Cubs worked out an agreement with the
Chicago Board Options
to allow the CBOE to auction some 70 box seat season
tickets and award naming rights to them.
For the 2009 season, the The Chicago Cubs announced that the
renovated restaurant space in the southeast corner of Wrigley
Field, formerly known as the Friendly Confines Cafe, will now be
known as the Captain Morgan Club.
On October 27, 2009, Thomas S.
officially took over 95%
ownership of the Chicago Cubs
Field and 25% ownership of Comcast SportsNet Chicago
Tribune will retain 5% ownership. 
"White flag time at Wrigley!"
The term "White flag time at Wrigley!"
means the Cubs have
won. The ritual of raising flags after a game is decades-old, but
the saying itself only began in the 1990s, as coined by Chip Caray
Beginning in the days of P.K. Wrigley and the 1937
bleacher/scoreboard reconstruction, a flag with either a "W" or an
"L" has flown from atop the scoreboard masthead, indicating the
day's result. In case of a doubleheader that is split, both flags
Past Cubs media guides show that the original flags were blue with
a white "W" and white with a blue "L", the latter coincidentally
suggesting "surrender". In 1978, blue and white lights were mounted
atop the scoreboard, to further denote wins and losses.
The flags were replaced in the early 1980s, and the color schemes
were reversed with the "win flag" being white with a blue W, and
the "loss flag" the opposite. In 1982, the retired number of Ernie
Banks was flying on a foul pole, as white with blue numbers.
Keeping with tradition, fans are known to bring win flags to home
and away games, and displaying them after a Cubs win. Flags are
also sold at the ballpark. On April 24, 2008 the Cubs flew an extra
white flag displaying "10,000" in blue, along with the win flag, as
the 10,000th win in team history was achieved on the road the
previous night. Along side the tradition of the "W" and "L" flags,
the song "Go Cubs Go" is sung after each home win.
References in popular culture
The iconic sign outside Wrigley
The back of Wrigley Field, with old
fashioned scoreboard taken during an offseason before the
reconstruction of 2005
Wrigley Field had a brief cameo in the movie The Blues Brothers
starring John Belushi
and Dan Aykroyd
as Jake and Elwood Blues. Elwood
listed 1060 W. Addison as his fake home address on his Illinois
driver's license, tricking the police and later the Nazis listening
on police radio. The
Natural (1984), starring Robert
Redford, had a scene set at Wrigley but was actually filmed at
All-High Stadium in Buffalo, New
York. All other baseball action scenes in that
movie were shot in Buffalo, at the since-demolished War Memorial
During Cubs games, fans will often stand outside the park on
Waveland Avenue, waiting for home run balls hit over the wall and
out of the park. However, as a tradition, Cubs fans inside and
sometimes even outside the park will promptly throw any home run
ball hit by an opposing player back onto the field of play, a
ritual depicted in the 1977 stage play, Bleacher Bums
, and in the 1993 film,
Rookie of the
The ballpark was featured in a scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off
scenes from Rookie of the
were filmed at Wrigley Field. Later, the film,
, would use
Wrigley Field as the setting for its opening scene. An early 1990s film about Babe Ruth had the obligatory
scene in Wrigley Field about the "called shot" (the ballpark also
doubled as Yankee
Stadium for the film).
A scoreboard similar to the
one existing in 1932
atop an ivy wall (though that did not exist until later in the
The ballpark was used for the establishing tryouts scene in
A League of Their Own
(1992). This film was a Hollywood account of the 1940s women's
baseball league which Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley championed during
World War II
. Garry Marshall
(older brother of the film's
director Penny Marshall
) has a cameo
as "Walter Harvey", Wrigley's fictional alter ego. The sign behind the
scoreboard was temporarily redone to read "Harvey Field", and
filming was split between Wrigley and Cantigny Park near Wheaton, IL.
Many television series have made featured scenes set in Wrigley
Field, including ER
, Prison Break
, Perfect Strangers
. Also, the animated comedy,
featured a scene at
Wrigley Field, which parodied the Steve Bartman incident
. In an episode
of The Simpsons
"He Loves to Fly and He
", upon arriving in Chicago, Homer
walks past a number of famous Chicago
landmarks, including Wrigley Field, followed by a generic looking
stadium bearing the name "Wherever the White Sox play". In 2007,
the band Nine Inch Nails
promotional audio skit, which involved Wrigley Field being the
target of disgruntled war veteran's terrorist
The late-1970s comedy stage play, Bleacher Bums
, was set in the right field
bleachers at Wrigley. The video of the play was also set on a
stage, with bleachers suggesting Wrigley's layout, rather than in
the actual ballpark's bleachers. The tradition of throwing
opposition home run balls back was explained by Dennis Franz
's character: "If someone hands you
, you have to throw it back at them!"
The stadium was also featured on the popular Travel Channel
television show, Great Hotels
, starring Samantha Brown
. She attended a game during a
visit to Chicago.
Chicago folk singer Steve Goodman
featured Wrigley Field as the setting for his popular Cubs lament
"A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request", extolling both the trials of the
Cubs and the place Wrigley Field holds in Cub fans' hearts. After
his untimely death from leukemia, Goodman's ashes were in fact
scattered at Wrigley Field as described in the lyrics.
The Statler Brothers
' 1981 song
"Don't Wait On Me" referred to a then-implausible situation: "When
the lights goon at Wrigley Field." However, after lights
were installed, the line for
their 1989 Live-Sold Out
album. was changed to: "When they
put a dome on Wrigley Field."
A few brief shots of Wrigley Field appear in the 1949 movie
It Happens Every Spring
is also seen on the History
's show Life After
The stadium made a brief appearance in the open for the first
episode of The
Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien
, with Conan rushing
through the turnstiles while running from New York (where his
previous show, Late
Night with Conan O'Brien
, was taped) to Los Angeles (where
his new show tapes) and then running onto the field while being
chased by Cubs security. The route O'Brien takes is somewhat
misleading, as he is shown running south on Michigan
Avenue past the Tribune Tower before arriving at Wrigley Field, which is well
north of the Tribune Tower.
Accessibility and transportation
Red Line stop
at Addison is less than one block east of Wrigley
The stadium was originally built for proximity to the
train tracks. At the conclusion of games, the scoreboard operator
raises to the top of the center field scoreboard either a white
flag with a blue "W" to signify a Cubs victory or a blue flag with
a white "L" for a loss. This is done not only to allow passengers
on the nearby "L" trains to see the outcome of the game, but also
anyone passing by the park can now know the results of that day's
game. Interestingly, the basic flag color was once the exact
opposite of the colors used today (the rationale being that white
is the traditional color for surrender
). In addition to rail
service, the CTA provides several bus routes which service Wrigley.
CTA bus routes #22 Clark, #152 Addison and #154 Wrigley Field
Express all provide access to the ballpark. Pace also operates the
#282 Schaumburg-Wrigley Field Express from Woodfield Mall in
Schaumburg and the #779 Yorktown-Wrigley Field Express from
Yorktown Shopping Center in Lombard. Biking to the field is also a
popular alternative. As Halsted, Addison, and Clark streets all
have designated biking lanes, getting to the field via bicycle is a
great way to avoid hectic traffic before and after games. Bikers
need not worry about their bike during the game, because Wrigley
Field offers a complimentary bike check program. Cyclists may check
their bikes up to 2 hours before games at the bike racks off of
Waveland Ave, and may pick up their bikes up to one hour after
Parking in the area remains scarce, but that does not seem to
bother fans who want to come to this baseball Mecca, which has
drawn more than 3 million fans every year since 2004, averaging to
a near-sellout every day of the season, even with many weekday
afternoon games. The little parking that is
around the park can go for as much as $100 per space. To partially
alleviate this problem, the Cubs sponsor a parking shuttle service
from the nearby DeVry University campus at Addison and Western as
part of their agreement with local neighborhood groups.
In 2001, a series of commemorative postage stamps on the subject of
baseball parks was issued by the U.S. Postal Service. Most of them
were engravings taken from old colorized postcards, including the
illustration of Wrigley Field. In the case of Wrigley, the famous
scoreboard was sliced off, presumably to hide the original
postcard's banner containing the park's name. It may also be
observed that the original black-and-white aerial photo, presumably
from the 1945 World Series, was taken from nearly the identical
spot as the photo of the 1935 Series, allowing a comparison before
and after the 1937 alterations to the bleachers. The stamp and its
sources also provide a rare look at the center field bleachers
filled with spectators, a practice which was later discontinued due
to the risk to batters, who might lose the flight of a pitch amidst
the white shirts. This led to the development of darker backgrounds
to the pitchers
- A Day at the Park, by William Hartel
- Ballparks of North America, by Michael Benson
- Cubs Journal, by John Snyder
- Green Cathedrals, by Philip J. Lowry
- Wrigley Field: The Unauthorized Biography, by Stuart
- Top 10 Ballparks of 2008 by Devin Pratt