Memorable moments at Wrigley Field

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Andrea and Andrew Fry of Crest Hill, Ill., take a self portrait outside of Wrigley Field before the Chicago Cubs home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Andrew A. Nelles)

It's been 100 years since professional baseball was first played at the stadium that would later be named for a chewing gum magnate and serve as home to baseball's lovable losers, the Chicago Cubs.

Here is a look at some memorable moments at Chicago's iconic Wrigley Field:

First opening day – April 23, 1914


Crowds line up along the sidewalk outside Weeghman Park in Chicago on May 14, 1914. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Chicago History Museum)

The first incarnation of Wrigley Field was home not to the Cubs but to a Chicago franchise in the short-lived Federal League that was called both the Federals and the Whales.

Weeghman Park was named after team owner Charles H. Weeghman. It had a seating capacity of 14,000 when it opened on Chicago's North Side on April 23, 1914, with the home team beating Kansas City 9-1.


Chicago Cubs players Roger Bresnahan, left, and George Pierce play with a bear cub during the team's first season at Weeghman Park in 1916. (AP Photo/Courtesy of the Chicago Historical Museum,)

After the Federal League disbanded following the 1915 season, Weeghman bought the Cubs and moved them from the West Side Grounds. The Cubs christened their new home with a 7-6, 11-inning victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

The Wrigley family bought the Cubs from Weeghman in 1920 and the stadium was re-named Cubs Park. It became Wrigley Field in 1926, named after William Wrigley Jr., who founded the chewing gum company.

Scoreboard and ivy added – 1937


The Wrigley Field scoreboard on April 15, 2013. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

Bleachers and a scoreboard in center field were added to Wrigley Field in 1937. The original scoreboard survives and is still operated by hand.


Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves makes a running catch in front of the ivy-covered outfield wall at Wrigley Field on June 11, 1958. (AP Photo/Harry L. Hall)

Also that year, a young Cubs employee named Bill Veeck planted ivy on the outifield walls, giving Wrigley Field a distinctive look. Veeck went on to a Hall of Fame career as owner of the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Browns and Chicago White Sox.

Last World Series appearance – 1945


The 1945 Cubs team at Wrigley Field. (AP Photo)

The Cubs were playing in their ninth World Series in 1945 – not a bad appearance record for a championship that was being contested for just the 43rd time.

The franchise had won only twice, in 1907 and 1908. Cubs fans who thought that was a long championship drought had no idea what they were in for.

Chicago lost the 1945 Fall Classic to the Detroit Tigers in seven games. They finished third in the National League the following year. And then they went on a decades-long skid. They had just two winning seasons in the next 21 years. They didn't return to the playoffs until 1984.

They Cubs have had five more playoff appearances since '84, but still have not reached the World Series since 1945. The franchise's championship drought stands at 105 years, by far the longest in major league sports.

Ernie Banks hits his 500th home run – 1970


Banks tips his hat to the crowd after hitting his 500th career home run on May 12, 1970. (AP Photo/Jim Palmer)

Banks was a two-time Most Valuable Player and an 11-time All Star during his 1953-1971 Hall of Fame career. He is credited with popularizing the phrase "the friendly confines" to describe Wrigley Field. "Mr. Cub" hit his 500th career home run in front of a hometown crowd on May 12, 1970 in a game against Atlanta.

Harry Caray arrives – 1981


Caray leans out from the broadcast booth to lead the crowd sining "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during a Cubs game in 1989. (AP Photo/John Swart)

Caray had already called games for the St. Louis Cardinals for 25 years, and did the same for the Chicago White Sox for a decade after that, before he switched to the North Siders. He brought with him the tradition of leading the crowd in singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh inning stretch. He would shout "Holy cow!" at exciting moments during games and "Cubs win! Cubs win! Cubs win!" after each Chicago victory. The beloved broadcaster died in 1998.

Night baseball – 1988


Baseball is played under the lights for the first time at Wrigley on Aug. 8, 1988. (AP Photo/John Swart)

Fifty-three years after the first night baseball game, the lights finally went on in tradition-bound Wrigley Field. Residents of the area around the stadium that had obtained the nickname "Wrigleyville" had long opposed the change. The team's owners, the Tribune Co., argued that the Cubs might be forced to move from Wrigley Field if the city refused to allow night baseball.

Steve Bartman incident – 2003


Bartman, wearing a blue Cubs cap and headphones, reaches for the ball. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

The Cubs were just five outs away from their first World Series appearance in 58 years.

It was Game 6 of the National League Championship Series and the Cubs were up 3-0 at home against the Florida Marlins. One man was out in the eighth inning.

Left fielder Moises Alou ran toward the stands chasing a pop up that was drifting into foul territory.
A Cubs fan named Steve Bartman was also eyeing the ball. He was seated in the front row along the left field line. He reached for the ball as it descended, knocking it away from Alou's outstretched glove.

The Marlins went on to score 8 runs in the inning. They won the game, and the deciding Game 7, and went on to win the World Series. Cubs fans had to once again fall back on that baseball cliche that has perfectly fit their hapless heroes for nearly seven decades - wait 'til next year.

100th anniversary – 2014


Fans outside Wrigley Field on April 23, 2014 – the 100th anniversary of the first game played at the stadium. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

The Cubs have been back to the postseason twice since 2003, but they haven't won a single playoff game.

They entered the 2014 season with a streak of four losing seasons. They got off to a 7-12 start, which put them in a familiar place – last place in the National League Central Division.

 
 
 

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