Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs and one of the most storied stadiums in baseball history, will celebrate the 100th anniversary of it’s original opening today. A host of festivities have been planned to commemorate the event and at least for today, much of the baseball world’s attention will be squarely focused on the city of Chicago.
The stadium, then known as Weeghman Park, would open it’s doors for the first time on April 23, 1914 for Federal League (a third league opposite the American and National Leagues that folded following the 1915 season) game between the Chicago Federals (or Chicago Whales, as they were also known) and the Kansas City Packers. The park took just two months to construct and cost a mere $250,000 (roughly $5.8 Million in today’s economy). 21,000 fans were reportedly in attendance for the affair, which the Federals would end up winning by a 9-1 final score. The Cubs, then playing their games at West Side Grounds, would not move into Weeghman Park until two years later following the collapse of the Federal League. The stadium wouldn’t be re-named Wrigley Field until 1926.
Both the Cubs and the Arizona Diamondbacks will be wearing throwback uniforms for today’s anniversary game, scheduled for a 2:20 PM EST start. The Cubs will don replicas of that 1914 Federals team. The D’backs will wear a modified version of the Packers’ uniform, but with some semblance of their current branding for good measure (their black alternate away hats and a patch on the sleeve with the D’backs logo). Wade Miley and Jeff Samardzija are the two team’s projected starters.
Much of the celebration will kick off before the game, but there will be plenty running throughout according to Carrie Muskat at MLB.com. MLB Commissioner Bud Selig will be in attendance to take part in pre-game ceremonies as will a number of Cubs greats including Ernie Banks, Ferguson Jenkins, Billy Williams, and Andre Dawson.
The first 30,000 fans will receive a replica 1914 Chicago Federals jersey. The first 10,000 will even get a birthday cupcake, courtesy of Jewel-Osco. Fans will also be asked to take part in singing “Happy Birthday” to the stadium during the 5th inning.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 22, 2014
The team also has plans to honor members of their past ownership groups throughout the day, Muskat notes. Sue Quigg, a grand-niece of former Cubs owner Charles Weeghman, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch with a 100 year old ball that her grandmother, Dessa Weeghman, threw at a Federals game. The Wrigley Field concourse will also be littered with photographs and other notable mementos from the past 100 years of history. Harry Caray’s daughter is also expected to be in attendance to help lead the crowd in the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch.
Tags: Chicago Cubs