Wrigley Field will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2014, and Chicago Cubs fans are invited to the "Party of the Century" throughout the 2014 season to celebrate. The team today announced plans to commemorate the ballpark's rich century of history during 10 decade-themed homestands complete with historic player uniforms, specialty food offerings, promotional items and entertainment. Wrigley Field's 100th birthday will be celebrated April 23, 2014, vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks.
"Wrigley Field has played host to a century of remarkable events. We're honored and humbled to commemorate such a treasured icon that millions of fans have enjoyed, whether to watch Cubs baseball, Chicago Bears games, summer concerts or other special events," said Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts. "We look forward to looking back at the last 100 years while working toward our family's goal of ensuring Wrigley Field is restored and improved for the next generation of Cubs fans."
Wrigley Field History
In 1914, a one-level, 14,000-seat ballpark was built on the North Side of Chicago on the grounds once occupied by a seminary for a cost of $250,000. Originally named Weeghman Park after Chicago Federals owner Charles Weeghman, the ballpark was first home to the Chi-Feds (later the Chicago Whales) of the Federal League. The park hosted its first game April 23, 1914, with the Chi-Feds defeating the Kansas City Packers 9-1, and hosted the Federal League-champion Chicago Whales in 1915. In December of 1915, the Federal League folded. Charles Weeghman assembled a group of investors including William Wrigley Jr. to purchase the Chicago Cubs and move them to Weeghman Park for the 1916 season. Weeghman sold his shares to Wrigley Jr. in 1919 and the park was renamed Cubs Park - eventually becoming Wrigley Field in 1926. Many of the iconic features of today's modern-day ballpark were installed in 1937, such as the bleachers, scoreboard and ivy on the outfield walls.
Wrigley Field has since hosted thousands of Chicago Cubs baseball games and some of the game's most historic moments, such as Babe Ruth's alleged "called shot" in the 1932 World Series, Gabby Hartnett's famous "Homer in the Gloamin'," Ernie Banks' 500th home run, Pete Rose's 4,191st career hit (tying Ty Cobb for the most hits in baseball history at the time), Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout game, Sammy Sosa's 60th home runs in 1998, 1999 and 2001, Tom Glavine's 300th career victory, Greg Maddux's 3000th career strikeout and the 1947, 1962 and 1990 All-Star Games.
Wrigley Field's history includes much more than just baseball. The ballpark has played host to the Chicago Bears and collegiate football games, All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, a Harlem Globetrotters game, the NHL Winter Classic, ski jumps, a circus and rodeo, boxing match, soccer games, golf challenges, movie nights and a number of popular concerts. Wrigley Field continues to be one of the most popular entertainment destinations in the country.
Chicago History Museum
The Cubs have partnered with the Chicago History Museum to highlight historic Wrigley Field photos from the Chicago Daily News collection in a variety of upcoming collectors' items celebrating Wrigley Field's 100th birthday. This relationship will allow the team to make rarely-seen historical images available to Cubs fans while highlighting the museum's contributions to preserving Chicago history and culture, of which Wrigley Field is a key part.
The Chicago Daily News was a sponsor of the Chicago Cubs from the earliest days of Wrigley Field - then known as "Cubs Park" - and advertised with the Cubs throughout the 1920s. The Daily News also covered some of the more important moments of Cubs and Wrigley Field history.
Celebrating Wrigley Field's Past
With so much history taking place at Wrigley Field over the past century, the Cubs have planned a season-long celebration to give fans a look and feel of the last 100 years of baseball and other events that have taken place at the historic ballpark. Between decades-themed homestands and unique promotional items, Wrigley Field's 100th birthday, commemorative merchandise and entertainment, fans will want to plan ahead for as many Cubs games as possible to participate in this historic year.
Celebrate 10 Decades, Experience 10 Homestands
Following Opening Week, fans coming to Wrigley Field will be treated to a variety of elements of each decade at the ballpark during 10 unique homestands. These festivities include:
- Wrigley Field's 100 Great Moments presented by Budweiser: Starting at Cubs Convention, Spring Training and continuing throughout each regular season home game, the Cubs will unveil and pay tribute to 100 great moments in Wrigley Field History. Several former athletes, performers and dignitaries associated with these moments will be honored at Wrigley Field, and fans worldwide will be able to follow these unveilings via social media.
- Historic Bobbleheads: During the first Friday home game of each decade-themed homestand, the first 10,000 fans in the ballpark will receive a never-before-produced bobblehead honoring key individuals or events from that decade. The historic bobbleheads will be unveiled to fans at Cubs Convention in January.
- Throwback Uniforms: The Cubs have partnered with Majestic Athletic to recreate throwback uniforms from significant events at Wrigley Field during each decade of the ballpark's history. The first uniform, a 1914 Chi-Feds uniform, will be worn on the actual 100th birthday game April 23, 2014, vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks. The remaining uniforms will be worn on the "Throwback Sunday" game; the first Sunday of each corresponding decade. Fans of the visiting teams will also enjoy the vintage atmosphere, as many visiting clubs plan to wear retro uniforms as well. In addition to the Cubs' home threads, the team will introduce an alternate road jersey for 2014 that pays homage to the team's road jersey worn in the 1920s.
- Retro Toys: In addition to the retro uniforms, "Throwback Sunday" games will offer a great family atmosphere complete with retro toy promotional giveaways to children 13-and-under. The retro toys representing each decade will be unveiled to fans at Cubs Convention.
- Special Events Calendar: The Cubs once again will host a robust Special Events calendar for groups and individuals looking to enjoy a Cubs game while participating in a themed event. This year's Special Events will align with each homestand's themed decade. For instance, Golfers' Night will take place during the 1950s homestand, when golfer Sam Snead famously hit the center field scoreboard with a golf ball while hitting his four-iron. The full list of Special Events will be revealed later this offseason and tickets will go on sale Friday, March 7, during the general on-sale at www.cubs.com/specialevents.
- Dining Through the Decades: Fans hungry for an authentic, historic visit to Wrigley Field will be able to enjoy popular food and beverage offerings from that homestand's specified decade, thanks to the team's partnership with Levy Restaurants. Specialty food offerings will celebrate unique Chicago flavors through the years, and items throughout the park will be served in commemorative collectable cups, helmets and more.
- Historic Guests and Game Entertainment: With so many historic events taking place at Wrigley Field, the Cubs have an opportunity to host many former athletes, relatives, representatives and dignitaries who helped shape Wrigley Field into such an iconic venue. These guests will be honored by the team and fans throughout the season in special pregame ceremonies, ceremonial first pitches and as guest 7th inning stretch conductors. Fans also will be treated to popular music from the homestand's featured decade.
- Ballpark Décor: Wrigley Field is celebrating a milestone year and the ballpark will dress the part. Wrigley Field 100th décor will be featured throughout the exterior of the park, the concourse, field level and rooftop flags. The Wrigley Field 100th logo will be painted on the grass behind home plate and "100" will be brushed in the center field grass throughout the season. Each baseball used at Wrigley Field will be stamped with the Wrigley Field 100th logo next season, making for great foul-ball or home run souvenirs. Bases will adorn a commemorative base jewel featuring the Wrigley Field 100th logo, opponent and date. Finally, Cubs players will wear the Wrigley Field 100th patch on their jersey sleeve and side of their caps. These game-used, authenticated items will be available for purchase at Wrigley Field's Cubs Authentics kiosk in the main concourse or www.cubs.com/authentics.
- Commemorative Ticket Designs: When Season Ticket Holders receive their tickets this year, they'll notice themed artwork on each ticket inspired from past Wrigley Field game programs. Many of these program covers were designed by artist Otis Shepard, who served as the art director for Wrigley Gum for more than 30 years.
To learn more about Wrigley Field's 100 years of history and the team's planned celebrations, fans will be able to visit the custom website, WrigleyField100.com. Launching in January before Cubs Convention, the site will highlight each of Wrigley Field's 100 Great Moments as they're unveiled at the ballpark and on social media. Fans can learn more about each decade-themed homestand and corresponding entertainment - plus facts about the country and baseball in 1914. Cubs players, alumni, celebrities and fans will contribute videos and testimonials. The Cubs will invite fans to participate in polls to determine their "All-Wrigley Team," as well as other topics, such as their favorite broadcasters or concession items.
Fans should plan to bookmark WrigleyField100.com for the best information about their favorite ballpark throughout the 2014 season.
Happy 100th Birthday, Wrigley Field!
While the entire season will be dedicated to celebrating 100 years of Wrigley Field, one game will stand out as Wrigley Field's actual 100th birthday. On April 23, 2014, the Cubs will host the Arizona Diamondbacks exactly a century after the Chicago Federals opened then-Weeghman Park against the Kansas City Packers on April 23, 1914.
Like any good birthday party, Wrigley Field's celebration will feature special guests, gifts, cake, entertainment and even a serenade to the tune of "Happy Birthday." An extended pregame ceremony will give fans a chance to welcome a lineage of Wrigley Field's most important icons back to the cherished ballpark. Throughout the day, Wrigley Field will mirror the sights and sounds of a century ago, including throwback uniforms, music and décor. Birthday tributes from players, alumni and celebrities will play on the right field video board throughout the game, and the crowd will have a chance to sing "Happy Birthday" to their favorite ballpark in the 5th inning. This birthday party even has dessert for its guests - fans will receive a special treat as they depart post-game.
Additional details about the April 23 birthday game will be released closer to the date.
Wrigley Field 100th Keepsakes
Celebrating 100 years in one ballpark is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and Cubs fans who wish to remember the occasion will be able to purchase a variety of official keepsakes in addition to the game-related promotional items. These items include:
- A Century of Wrigley Field: The Official History of the Friendly Confines" hard-bound book: This homage to the crown jewel of Major League ballparks details the life of a place whose history in the sport is unprecedented. With more than 200 lavishly illustrated pages and hundreds of compelling images, A Century of Wrigley Field: The Official History of the Friendly Confines, is the only official Wrigley Field retrospective produced and published by the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball. The book's forward is authored by Mr. Cub Ernie Banks; includes tributes written by Jimmy Buffett, Chris Chelios, Mike Ditka, Pat Hughes and Len Kasper; and features tributes to Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, Mark Grace, Ron Santo, Sammy Sosa and Kerry Wood, among others. Only 10,000 books will be printed at a suggested retail price of $50. The Cubs Store on Clark Street will have 200 advance copies for sale the week of December 9. The remaining books will be available for online orders in December, with fulfillment taking place before Cubs Convention in January.
- "100 Years of Wrigley Field" Exclusive MLB Productions DVD: The Cubs and MLB Productions have partnered on an all-access DVD tribute to Wrigley Field, featuring historic footage and interviews with former players, celebrity guests and team officials. Attendees at Cubs Convention will get first look at "100 Years of Wrigley Field" through an exclusive movie premiere. Copies will go on sale to the public in February.
- Cubs Authentics Memorabilia: Cubs Authentics will authenticate and sell game-used baseballs with the Wrigley Field 100th logo; game-used bases with commemorative base jewels featuring the Wrigley Field 100th logo, opponent and date; game-worn Sunday throwback jerseys; standard home uniforms with the Wrigley Field 100th patch on the jersey sleeve and side of each cap; plus other game-used and autographed memorabilia used throughout the 2014 season. These items will be available for purchase at the Cubs Authentics kiosk in Wrigley Field's main concourse or www.cubs.com/authentics.
- Apparel and Souvenirs: Fans can find official Wrigley Field 100th merchandise in special sections of Wrigley Field Gift Shops and The Cubs Store. More than 30 different apparel styles feature the Wrigley Field 100th logo, including hats, T-shirts, polo shirts and sweatshirts, as well as novelty items such as key chains, glassware, pins and pennants.
Chicago Cubs Charities
While the Cubs host Wrigley Field 100th celebration activities at the ballpark, Chicago Cubs Charities will commemorate the occasion by hosting events and initiatives benefitting the community.
Next season, Chicago Cubs Charities will continue Wrigley Field's birthday celebration during its primary fundraiser, the Bricks & Ivy Ball, which will be held in April. The "Party of the Century" theme will be integrated into the event for an exciting night of fun, entertainment and charitable giving. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet players, coaches and front office staff while bidding on exclusive experiences and memorabilia to further Chicago Cubs Charities' mission of providing increased access to sports opportunities and targeting improvements in health, fitness and education for those at risk.
Fans have already overwhelmingly supported Chicago Cubs Charities' first Wrigley Field 100th initiative: a limited-edition Wrigley Field 100th Christopher Radko ornament. Each ornament is made of hand-blown glass, hand-painted and includes the production number of the ornament purchased from the 1,200-ornament series. Ornaments were made available for $55 and sold out in October. Three ornaments remain on auction (#1, #3 and #4 in the series) until Nov. 15 at 4 p.m. CST. All proceeds benefit Chicago Cubs Charities.
Finally, Chicago Cubs Charities will also mark the celebration by giving gifts to the community through "100 Gifts of Service," a yearlong program featuring Cubs players and associates engaging in community service projects large and small. These efforts will be highlighted in the team's community newsletter and on Cubs social media platforms.