Wrigley Field is the second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, opening on April 23rd, 1911, roughly two years after Fenway Park. Similar to Fenway, Wrigley is considered a shrine to baseball and enjoys the same legendary reputation. Also similar to Fenway, this venue has hosted a team that suffered through a lengthy drought. Similar to the Boston Red Sox, who finally broke the curse of Babe Ruth and won a World Series in 2004, the Cubs have dealt with the Curse of the Billy Goat, which is partially blamed for a World Series drought that is now 107 years old, making it the longest in North American pro sports history.
Wrigley Field was constructed at a cost of $250,000. A massive renovation project that will last at least four years was started in 2014 to bring the ballpark up to current standards. These changes are expected to cost approximately $575 million and involve expanded bleachers, new scoreboards and a giant video screen. Along with Fenway Park, this is one of two stadiums remaining that was built in the “Jewel Box” style of ballpark.
Chicago Cubs Stadium
After spending a century as America’s lovable losers, the Cubs have improved drastically over the past decade or so, winning a trio of division titles, although they’ve yet to win a National League pennant since 1945.
In 2014, they had a down year, finishing last in the division due to a horrendous road record of 32-49, although they managed to finish a respectable 41-40 at home. In 2015, they clinched a playoff birth through vastly improved play on the road, as well as a home record that’s several games above the .500 mark.
The 2015 MLB Park Factor statistics place Wrigley Field in the middle of the pack in terms of the rate of run production compared to other venues. This stadium is in the top five in terms of home runs created, dead last in doubles and in the top third rank for triples and walks. The rate of hits produced, however, is near the bottom of the league.
Perhaps the most defining feature of Wrigley are the outfield walls that are covered in Ivy, which occasionally swallows the baseball, forcing the fielder to raise his hand to indicate his difficulty to the umpire, who may opt to judge the play as a ground-rule double.
Date Opened: April 23, 1914
Construction Cost: $250,000
Architect: Zachary Taylor Davis
Ballpark Type: Jewel Box
Capacity Attendance: 41,160
Playing Surface: Marion Bluegrass & Clover
Previous Chicago Cubs Stadiums
23rd Street Grounds; Lakefront Park I & II; West Side Park I & II; South Side Park;
Other Major Events
The first college football game in 40 years was played at Wrigley on November 20th, 2010, featuring the Illinois Fighting Illlini and the Northwestern Wildcats. Illinois beat Northwestern by a score of 48-28, earning the right to lift the Land of Lincoln Trophy.
2009 Winter Classic
The 2009 Winter Classic took place on New Year’s Day of 2009, with the Detroit Red Wings defeating the Chicago Blackhawks by a score of 6-4, making it one of the highest scoring outdoor games of the Winter Classic and NHL Stadium series.
Do the Bartman
One of the most infamous fan interference plays took place on October 14th, 2003, as Steve Bartman reached out and grabbed a foul ball that Moises Alou attempted to catch for the second out of the inning. The Cubs would’ve been four outs away from their first World Series appearance since 1945, but ended up losing the game and the series. Bartman had to be escorted out of the facility by security.