Chicago Cubs History: Owners Approve of Sale to Tribune Company

The Wrigley Family still holds a large place in the history of the Chicago Cubs. However, on this day in 1981, Bill Wrigley began the process of selling the team to the Tribune Company, as the National League owners approved of the sale.

Even though it has been quite some time since the Wrigley family owned the Chicago Cubs, they still have a presence with the franchise. The venerable Wrigley Field is still named for the family, making them synonymous with the Cubs although they sold the franchise years ago.

It would be on this day in 1981 when the selling process truly kicked in to gear. Forced to sell the team due to the large estate taxes upon the death of his parents, Bill Wrigley entered into an agreement to sell the Cubs to the Tribune Company for $20.5 Million. That sale was agreed upon on this date by the rest of the owners in the National League, leading to the sale being completed three weeks later.

The sale would help usher in a new era in Cubs history. They would reach the postseason for the first time in 40 years only three years later, and in 1989, the first night game in the history of Wrigley Field would be played. The family had resisted installing lights, making Wrigley Field the last stadium to have a night game.

The Tribune Company, although they did not get the team to the World Series, certainly had a solid run. Those failures would sting however, perhaps none more than in 2003, when needing five more outs, Steve Bartman snagged a foul ball from in front of Moises Alou, leading to an eventual collapse and subsequent series loss.

The Tribune Company helped bring the Chicago Cubs into the modern era, and saw quite a bit of success during their tenure as owners. Yes, the Cubs did not make it to the World Series during their time, but they were brought to a much better place.