Living within walking distance to Wrigley Field, I have developed a love-hate relationship with the Cubs over the years. I have to admit…they do grow on you, their die-hard team spirit is contagious –despite the Curse of the Billy Goat and their seemingly endless losing streak.
The Cubs have not won a National League pennant and have not won a World series since 1908. So they may not be the greatest winning team but they do have a passionate fan base, an impressive roster of Hall of Fame players, and a beautiful, timeless ball park that reeks of unique traditions and which is actually part of the personality of the team and the city celebrating it’s 100th birthday this year!
“Chicago Cubs fans are the greatest fans in baseball. They’ve got to be.” – Cubs Manager Herman Franks (1978)
A Very Short History of the Chicago Cubs:
Ironically known initially as the ‘white stockings‘ they were originally formed as an amateur team less than a decade after the Civil War (1870) and then joined the National League (1876) for its initial season. They are the only franchise to play continuously in the same city since the formation of the National League.
At the turn of the 20th century they changed their names to Cubs. The 1906 Cubs had it all. The team won 116 games, a record that still stands, and finished twenty games ahead of the competition. The only thing the Cubs did wrong in 1906 was lose the World Series. They did win the World Series in 1907 and 1908, both times against Ty Cobb’s Detroit Tigers. These back to back championships are the only two the franchise has ever won.
Throughout the years they have won 10 National League Pennants and have 30 former players in the Hall of Fame!
Chicago reached the World Series four times between 1906 and 1910, winning twice.
A Very Short history of Wrigley Field:
Wrigley Field was built in 1914 costing $250,000 and originally named as Weeghman Park. It was called Cubs Park between 1920 and 1924 when it was finally named Wrigley Field in 1925 by new owner and chewing gum tycoon, William Wrigley, Jr. in order to generate more exposure for his brand of chewing gum. William Wrigley and his family had owned it for 65 years and in 1981 they sold Wrigley Field to The Tribune Company for 20.5 million dollars! Since 2009 it’s been under the ownership of Joe Ricketts–the founder, former CEO and former chairman of TD Ameritrad.
The current capacity (2013) is 41,019 making Wrigley Field the 10th-smallest actively used ballpark. It is the oldest National League ballpark, the second oldest active major league ballpark and the only remaining Federal League park. Wrigley is known for its ivy covered brick outfield wall, the unusual wind patterns off Lake Michigan, the iconic red marquee over the main entrance, the hand turned scoreboard, and for being the last major league park to have lights installed in 1988 for play after dark.
Did you know that the Chicago Bears played at Wrigley Field from 1921 to 1970 before relocating to Soldier Field (see photo below)? They even named themselves the Bears in order to identify with the baseball team, a common practice in the NFL in those days.
You are all invited to the Party of the Century throughout the 2014 season to celebrate Wrigley Fields 100th birthday! There will be decades-themed homestands, throwback uniforms, unique promotional items, commemorative merchandise, surprise guests and entertainment for all you die-hard cubs fans.
I will leave you with some tips for those who are newly Cubs fans or future fans so you can get the most of this seasons 100th year celebration!
How to be a ‘Proper’ Cubs Fan for Beginners:
- Do not be a Chicago White Sox fan. — Either you are a Cubs fan or a Sox fan; there is no binding of the two. Period.
- Show your Pride! — Your new favorite color is now blue and red. Purchase yourself a starter kit which includes a jersey, t-shirt, hat, banner, flag or home made sign about how much you love the Cubbies!
- Start drinking beer or get use to hanging around people who drink beer…lots of beer!
- Know where to tailgate. — Since Wrigley Field does not allow tailgating in parking lots, you can instead tailgate at one of the 80+ bars and restaurants in Wrigleyville. Some fan favorites are Sluggers, Cubbie Bear, Murphys, John Barleycorn and Harry’s Tavern.
- Go to as many games as you can possibly (afford to) go to. — Don’t forget the ‘bleacher’ experience as well as the ‘roof top’ experience to get a unique view of the park from the outside. Oh and of course boo every time the opposing team hits a home run.
Do not forget to get your commemorative historic never-before-produced booble-head (given out to first 10,000 fans during the first Friday home game of each decade-themed homestand) and enjoy the the 100th year celebration of the 2014 Chicago Cubs Baseball Season!