Wrigley Field

 Major League Baseball Park #9 out of 39

 

Monday, July 4, 1994

 

Chicago 4, Colorado 3

 

W Jose Bautista

L Bruce Ruffin

 

Attendance 37,167

Tuesday, July 5, 1994

 

Colorado 9, Chicago 6

 

W Kevin Ritz

L Chuck Crim

 

Attendance 30,142

Wednesday, July 6, 1994

 

Colorado 7, Chicago 1

 

W Curtis Leskanic

L Steve Trachsel

 

Attendance 32,637

 

Thursday, July 7, 1994

 

Houston 9, Chicago 3

 

W Darryl Kile

L Willie Banks

 

Attendance 31,877

Sunday, August 1, 1999

 

New York 5, Chicago 4 (13)

 

W Pat Mahomes

L Scott Sanders

 

Attendance 39,222

 

 

           

          After visiting 39 major-league baseball parks, Wrigley Field is still my all-time favorite. The location, the view, the inside, the outside, the "Bleacher Bums", Harry Caray singing "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" (until 1998). If I owned the place, I wouldn't change anything. Of course, I owned the place, I'd live there every day.

          Wrigley Field opened on April 23, 1914 as the "North Side Ball Park" and that's the least and the most it's ever been. The Cubs didn't play a night game at home until August 1988 and the first game was postponed due to rain. If there are baseball gods, one might think they weren't happy about the change of tradition. Babe Ruth reportedly called his shot there during the 1932 World Series. Bill Veeck added the outfield bleachers and the ivy in 1937. You know, I discovered (while writing this piece) that the ivy came from Boston. If there is a curse on this franchise, the greenery on the walls might be something to take another look at.

          Gabby Hartnett hit his "Homer in the Gloamin'" there in 1938. Ernie Banks hit his 500th homer in 1970 and Pete Rose tied Ty Cobb with his 4,191st hit in September of 1985. And on and on.

          Tim and I had tickets for a day game at Wrigley on July 4, 1994, and a night game at Comiskey on the south side. Sure, that sounds like a perfect day for a baseball fan, but some goof in the Cubs' front office thought it would be a good idea to schedule a makeup game right after the day game -- on the 4th of freakin' July! No one wants to spend (what turned out to be) 10 hours to watch the Cubs play, unless of course, they're like us and had nowhere else to go for the Fourth of July. So we grudgingly left in the 3rd inning of the second game and caught the subway to the White Sox game which was starting in a few hours.

         As for the Cubs game, the weather was perfect at the beginning. A slight breeze blowing in, the smell of the ivy in the air. A quintet of (what looked to be) senior citizens wearing Panama hats playing jazz/ragtime tunes -- "The Florsheim Five". All of the ushers were wearing Panama hats, as well. A manual scoreboard showing game results from both leagues. No between-innings recorded music or six-foot-tall alien mascot launching t-shirts into the crowd. It was as if we'd gone back to a time when going to a baseball game meant you saw a baseball game.

        We had seats along the first level of the third-base line for the first game and the first-base line on the second level for the second game. Not a bad seat in the whole place. Every game had some kind of giveaway. The highlight of the second game was a kid who spotted my Mariners t-shirt and said, "You guys are from Seattle? Wow, you get to watch Griffey play in the Kingdome!" And we thought we were the lucky ones to be away from that concrete bunker.

        Clouds began to roll in from the south as we headed in that direction for the White Sox game. Thunderstorms delayed the nightcap of the Monday doubleheader long enough that the game had ended after the White Sox game and just before we passed Wrigley Field on the way back to our car. There's a little more on the storm on the Comiskey page.

        We also visited the Sears Tower, the Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Natural History (the whole thing in about an hour -- Evelyn Wood and her speed readers would've been proud) and ate stuffed pizza at a great little Italian-food place just south of the park. During those four days, we left our stuff at the Motel 6 in Rolling Meadows, a suburb about 30 miles NE of Chicago. Tim drove to a neighborhood of brownstones just north of Chicago and then we caught the El into town. Other than forgetting where we'd parked after the White Sox game, the plan was perfect.

        The pictures below were taken during our 1999 trip because I haven't turned the slides from the 1994 trip into prints yet. We couldn't get a seat for the 1999 game -- a fun, 13-inning affair during which the pitchers were hitting the ball as far as the hitters were -- so we stood along the first-base line for the whole game. I'm not smiling in the last picture below because I'm squinting into that Midwestern summer sun. I was having a lot of fun, though, because I had returned to Wrigley Field.

        

 

 

                   

           

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