Cubs unveil Wrigley Field 100th birthday festivities
(Photo by Stephen Green)
Wrigley Field’s highly anticipated 100th birthday arrives Wednesday, April 23, as the Cubs host the Arizona Diamondbacks exactly a century after the Chicago Federals opened then-Weeghman Park against the Kansas City Packers in 1914. The 100th birthday game headlines the first of 10 decade-themed homestands celebrating 100 years of Wrigley Field. Tickets for the April 23 game are still available at cubs.com Fans can look forward to the following special events.
The sights and sounds at Wrigley Field will reflect the ballpark experience from a century ago, including music, graphics and even elements of the game broadcast. Leading up to the pregame ceremony, historic photos and video tributes to Wrigley Field will play on the right field video board. Greeters wearing clothing modeled from a century ago will welcome fans to the park, while grounds crew members work on the field wearing Weeghman Park jackets from the same era. After both starting lineups are announced, members of the Northwestern University marching band will take the field, as was customary for Opening Day and other special events during the ballpark’s first two decades. Wrigley Field was the site of the National Football League’s first marching band halftime show on Oct. 17, 1926, when Jack Bramhall’s band played during a Chicago Bears home game.
An extended pregame ceremony will include Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and a lineage of Wrigley Field’s most important icons. Past owners will be recognized near home plate, as the Ricketts family will be joined by descendants of both the Weeghman and Wrigley families and representatives of the Tribune Company. The Chicago Bears, who played 50 seasons at Wrigley Field from 1921-70, will also be honored. Members of the McCaskey family will be joined on field by Bears legends Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers, who will be recognized with a bobblehead at Wrigley Field on July 11.
Many Cubs legends and Hall of Famers will return to their former positions on the field for the occasion. Ernie Banks (SS), Glenn Beckert (2B), Andre Dawson (RF), Ryan Dempster (P), Bobby Dernier (CF), Randy Hundley (C), Fergie Jenkins (P), Gary Matthews (LF), Milt Pappas (P), Lee Smith (P), Billy Williams (LF), Kerry Wood (P), and Sam and Spencer Brown (grandchildren of Ron Santo, 3B) are scheduled to take part in an “Alumni Take the Field” presentation before the ceremonial first pitch.
Sue Quigg, grandniece of former Cubs owner Charles Weeghman, will throw the game’s ceremonial first pitch using the 100-year-old ball her grandmother Dessa Weeghman threw at a Chi-Feds game a century ago. Wrigley Field staple Wayne Messmer will sing the game’s National Anthem, concluded by a historic biplane flyover.
The tributes to Wrigley Field will continue throughout the day. Fans will have a chance to sing “Happy Birthday” to the venerable ballpark, along with organist Gary Pressy, in the fifth inning. The crowd can then join Dutchie Caray, wife of the late Cubs broadcast legend Harry Caray, and many of the day’s special guests as they lead the seventh-inning stretch from the field.
Specialty Food Offerings
Levy Restaurants has developed several menu items at the ballpark that trace back to popular food offerings from a century ago. Guests can take a culinary trip through time by visiting the Decade Diner, formerly the Sheffield Grill, located inside Gate D near section 142. Homestand specials for the 1910s include a classic Reuben Sandwich with pastrami, sauerkraut, house-made Louie dressing and Kraft Swiss cheese on a marble rye bread, as well as a Breaded Pork Chop Sandwich with an herb-breaded boneless pork chop, slow-cooked onions and spicy mustard on toasted roll. The Decade Dogs stand near section 123 will serve decade-themed specialty hot dogs this season, starting with the 1910s Reuben Dog, featuring a Vienna Beef hot dog, sliced corn beef, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese.
Adults 21-and-over can imbibe in a 1910s Weeghman Park Old Fashioned—made of Bulleit Rye and Finest Call Old Fashioned Mix, served with an orange slice and cherry, and offered in limited-edition souvenir glass—from April 18-24 on the main concourse at Section 109 and on the bleacher patio in left field.
Cubs Authentics Memorabilia
Game-used memorabilia from Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday game will be available to collectors through various purchase opportunities. Framed, game-used bases with commemorative base jewels may be pre-ordered or purchased at the Cubs Authentics kiosk at Wrigley Field, pending availability. Baseballs used at Wrigley Field this season feature the Wrigley Field 100th logo, while an additional “April 23, 2014” time stamp will be added to baseballs used on the centennial date. Game-worn throwback Chi-Feds uniforms will be available via auction following the April 23 game. For additional purchase and product information, collectors can contact Cubs Authentics at 773-404-4753, cubs.com/authentics or visit the Cubs Authentics kiosk at Wrigley Field.
Bricks & Ivy Ball
Cubs Charities will continue Wrigley Field’s birthday celebration during its primary fundraiser, the Bricks & Ivy Ball. 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. The evening’s events support Cubs Charities’ mission of providing increased access to sports opportunities and targeting improvements in health, fitness and education for those at risk. For the first time in team history, the event has raised more than $1 million for charity before guests arrive.