Archive for the ‘ Experience Wrigley Field ’ Category

Now Playing: The Cubs and Vine Line celebrate 100 years of Wrigley Field

It’s not every day people get to attend a 100th birthday party. On Wednesday, Vine Line was on hand with the rest of the Cubs faithful to celebrate Wrigley Field’s centennial and to be a part of the Party of the Century. The first 10,000 fans received cupcakes as they entered the stadium, and the first 30,000 took home a replica Chi-Feds jersey. The Cubs wore 1914 Chi-Feds throwback uniforms, while the Diamondbacks dressed as the Kansas City Packers (the Federal League club the home team faced 100 years prior).

The pregame ceremony included former Cubs players Ernie Banks, Glenn Beckert, Andre Dawson, Bobby Dernier, Ryan Dempster,  Fergie Jenkins, Gary Matthews, Milt Pappas and Billy Williams; Chicago Bears Hall of Famers Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers; members of the Weeghman family; and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig. During the fifth inning, fans sang “Happy Birthday” to the ballpark, and Dutchie Caray and a group of Cubs Hall of Famers led the seventh-inning stretch. If you missed the event, here’s our tribute to 100 years at the Friendly Confines.

1000 Words: Wrigley Field biplane flyover

Flyover

The Cubs concluded a memorable pregame ceremony to honor the 100th birthday of Wrigley Field with a historic biplane flyover. Several former Cubs players also took part in the festivities, including Ernie Banks, Glenn Beckert, Andre Dawson, Ryan Dempster, Bobby Dernier, Randy Hundley, Fergie Jenkins, Gary Matthews, Milt Pappas, Lee Smith and Billy Williams. Sam and Spencer Brown, Ron Santo’s grandchildren, stood in for the Cubs Hall of Famer, while Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers were on hand to commemorate the Chicago Bears nearly 50 years at the ballpark.

From the Pages of Vine Line: Wrigley Field 100th birthday photo gallery

Wrigley Field Memories

Few people get to see Wrigley Field in all her glory. This is before the hot dogs are on the grill, before the distinctive sound of cowhide meeting hard maple rings through the park, before 40,000 cheering fans make their way into the belly of the Friendly Confines.

The best time to experience Wrigley Field is in the morning, when the sun is shining and the park is empty. That’s when you can see the venerable, 100-year-old ballpark for what she is—a beautiful, lush green oasis in the middle of one of the most densely populated cities on the planet.

Bereft of fans, players and noise, you also get a better sense of just how anachronistic Wrigley Field is—from the brick outfield wall, to the ivy, to the manual scoreboard, to the light standards. Wrigley is a shrine to baseball. Not a modern, Disney-meets-Dave & Buster’s amusement park, where a sporting event just happens to be played amidst other fanfare designed to keep modern, iPhone-obsessed fans occupied. Wrigley is all about the game.

And sitting solo in the grandstand, it’s easy to imagine what the stadium looked like and felt like when Andre Dawson roamed right field, or Ron Santo manned the Hot Corner, or Grover Cleveland Alexander toed the slab. The concourses and halls of the stadium are filled with memories, stretching back past Babe Ruth’s supposed called shot.

For 100 years, Wrigley Field has been the altar upon which North Side baseball is consecrated. And a century of sporting (and other) events calls for a little celebration.

Ultimately, what else can be said about one of the great, historic cathedrals of baseball? We decided to turn it over to the people who know the stadium best and let the images and quotes speak for themselves.

Happy 100th birthday Wrigley Field. Here’s to 100 more. (Click the images below to start the slideshow.)

1000 Words: Wrigley Field gets its own Cake Boss birthday cake

WrigleyCake

Wrigley Field will celebrate its 100th anniversary Wednesday. And like all birthdays, a cake will be present. Fans will be able to view an elaborate decorative cake from Carlo’s Bakery, the setting of the TLC show Cake Boss, near the Ernie Banks statue on Clark Street until the third inning. The first 10,000 fans at today’s game will also receive a birthday cupcake, compliments of Jewel-Osco.

From the Pages of Vine Line: The best home opener from every decade of Wrigley Field

WeeghmanPark

Wednesday marks 100 years of home openers at the stadium we now call Wrigley Field. The following can be found in the April issue of Vine Line.

For a century, it’s been the day when everything is new again. To mark the occasion, there have been fireworks and parades; tributes to legends and unforgettable, edge-of-your-seat wins; warm spring days and blustery, winter-like afternoons.

Opening Day at Wrigley Field has always been a time to remember what it feels like, sounds like and smells like to be a part of Cubs history. Since 1914, fans from across Chicago and around the world have made their way to the Friendly Confines to witness the start of a new season and pin their hopes on the lovable North Side nine.

Over the years, the park has evolved: Weeghman Park became Cubs Park became Wrigley Field; the Chi-Feds became the Whales and then gave way to the Cubs; and 14,000 seats grew to 41,000. But the game and the excitement of the fans remain the same, season after season.

To celebrate the Cubs’ home opener on April 4 and Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday on April 23, we’re taking a look back at the most memorable Opening Day from each of the Friendly Confines’ 10 decades. Because this is, by nature, a subjective exercise, we called on Cubs historian Ed Hartig to help choose the games.

Without further ado, here are Vine Line’s 10 most exciting Wrigley Field openers.

1910s
April 20, 1916: Cubs, meet Weeghman Park

The Cubs’ official debut at their new, North Side home was no small event.

The matchup with the Cincinnati Reds kicked off with fireworks, six brass bands, a 21-gun salute and an official flag-raising ceremony. Local dignitaries gave speeches—though it’s possible few in attendance actually heard them. The roar of the brass bands drowned out at least one address, given by a local judge.

Members of the 25th Ward Democratic Organization paraded around the park with a donkey. There was a car parade, and the team’s president was presented with flowers and a live bear cub. (The cub, Joa, was led to home plate, where he mugged for photographers.)

Outside of the park, hundreds of people gathered on rooftops and clustered around windows to catch a glimpse of the action. Workers even added extra seats to the outfield to accommodate the crowds.

“There was a newness and a curiosity to things,” Chicago Tribune writer James Crusinberry noted. “It was the first time many of the players and doubtless many of the fans had ever seen the North Side park. But they seemed to have no trouble finding it.”

After all the festivities, the Cubs didn’t let their fans down, topping the Reds 7-6 in 11 innings. Cy Williams doubled to reach base in the bottom of the 11th, and a Vic Saier single drove him in to score the winning run.

Reds left fielder John Beall recorded the game’s only home run­­­—which meant he should have earned a free suit from a local tailor named George Kelly. The tailor was offering suits to any player who hit a home run during the opener, but it’s unclear if Beall ever took Kelly up on the offer.

1920s
April 14, 1925: The Chicago Cubs are on the air

For the first time in Cubs history, fans tuned into the action at Wrigley Field without leaving the comfort of their homes.

The 1925 home opener was broadcast on WGN Radio, with announcer Quin Ryan calling the game from the grandstand roof. At the time, it was a revolutionary—and risky—concept. Other baseball clubs had held off on radio broadcasts, because they worried airing the games would deter fans from actually coming to the ballpark.

The Cubs faithful, however, still turned out in droves. The crowd was estimated at 40,000, a then-Opening Day record.

“That the North Side park—newly painted and looking as neat as a Dutch bakery—will be jammed today is a certainty,” Chicago Tribune writer Irving Vaughan noted the day before the game. “The advance sales of seats have been so heavy that the supply of reservations was exhausted early yesterday.”

WGN’s broadcasts were sporadic in the early days, but the practice caught on soon enough.

As for the game itself? On a particularly chilly April day, the Cubs topped the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-2, thanks to the efforts of starting pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander. The right-hander hit a home run, double and single, and pitched a complete game, surrendering just two runs, neither earned.

1930s
April 12, 1933: Prohibition is (almost) over—and Cubs fans know it

About two months after the 21st Amendment, which would repeal Prohibition, was proposed to Congress—but still three months before Illinois officially ratified it—beer was back at Wrigley Field for the first time in more than a decade.

After the game, two bars located under the grandstand reported that they sold more beer at the 1933 home opener than they had soft drinks at the same game in 1932.

Fans enjoying the affair with a cold one got to see the Cubs top the St. Louis Cardinals, 3-0. Gabby Hartnett had three hits in four at-bats, driving in two runs.

Cubs ace Lon Warneke, who had a few peculiar habits, took on the equally colorful Dizzy Dean.

“They called [Warneke] the Arkansas Hummingbird,” teammate Phil Cavarretta said at the time. “He’d be by his locker, and he had a little ole ukulele, and he’d play that and hum and sing, which was fine. As long as he kept winning ballgames, why complain?”

1940s
April 17, 1945: The start of something big

The story about 1945 wasn’t so much the home opener as the season it launched. The Cubs went 98-56 to capture their most recent NL pennant, beating out the Cardinals before falling to the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

The campaign was bookended by a pair of series against St. Louis. Bill Nicholson hit a home run early in the opener and later scored the winning run on a ninth-inning single by Don Johnson.

Later in his life, Cavarretta would compare Johnson to another second baseman with a reputation for starting a rally.

“Don Johnson was our Ryne Sandberg,” he said.

The Cubs would finish 6-16 versus the Cards for the year, but they still outpaced the division by three games.

1950s
April 18, 1952: A spirited comeback

With the Cubs down 4-1 heading into the ninth inning against the Cardinals, it looked like the team was poised to start the season on a disappointing note.

But the Cubs knocked in four runs in the final frame against three Cardinals pitchers, who didn’t retire a single batter, to notch a 5-4 win. A pinch-hit double from Bill Serena with the bases loaded drove in Roy Smalley and Joe Hatten for the tying and winning runs.

“I never saw such spirit,” said Cavarretta, who was managing his first home opener and considered sending himself in as a pinch-hitter. “In that ninth inning, four or five guys were eager to hit while we were building up the rally. I was going to get into the act until they switched to a left-hander.”

1960s
April 8, 1969: Just when you think you’ve got it …

The 1969 home opener looked like a clear-cut win, as the Cubs headed into the ninth inning up by three runs. But then Philadelphia’s Don Money slammed a three-run homer off Fergie Jenkins, and fans were left on the edge of their seats.

The Phillies took the lead in the 11th, but the Cubs battled back. In the home half, Randy Hundley singled and scored on Willie Smith’s two-run, walk-off, pinch-hit home run. Ernie Banks also homered twice in the Cubs’ 7-6 victory.

“I was in the dugout trying to keep warm, and I wanted to give Willie a kiss for doing it because I was freezing,” said Cubs infielder Glenn Beckert.

Cubs pitcher Bill Hands was sitting next to manager Leo Durocher in the dugout as Smith stepped up to the plate.

“[Durocher] kept saying, ‘Just a dying quail over third, that’s all I want.’ And I said, ‘The hell with that, Skip, he’ll hit it out.’”

1970s
April 14, 1978: Climbing the wall to get in

Typically, the team would save about 22,000 tickets to sell on gameday, but they’d cut that number to just 12,000 prior to the season. Knowing they’d have to be quick to get a seat, eager fans started lining up outside of Wrigley Field at 3:30 a.m.

Ushers pushed back people trying to climb over the outfield wall to get in, and, for a while, vendors were worried there could be trouble—especially since they were going through more beer than they ever had before.

In the end, the park saw its largest Opening Day crowd (45,777), and Woodie Fryman took a no-hitter into the sixth before a fly ball by the Pirates’ Dave Parker fell in. Gene Clines should have caught the ball, but Clines turned the wrong way, and the ball fell to safety.

The Pirates rallied to tie the game, but the Cubs ultimately won, 5-4, on a walk-off home run from Larry Biittner.

“When he left the bench, honest to God, he told me he was going to hit one out of here,” manager Herman Franks said of Biittner.

“I never said that,” Biittner countered. “I’m not a home run hitter. You know that.”

1980s
April 4, 1989: “Ulcer city”

Mark Grace said he’d never been involved in a more nerve-racking or exciting game.

The situation: With the Cubs holding a slim 5-4 lead, the Phillies opened the ninth with three straight singles off closer Mitch Williams. Noted Cubs-killer Mike Schmidt, who had already knocked a home run in the game, was due up.

“When you have the bases loaded, no one out, and you’re 2-0 on Mike Schmidt, I can’t think of a worse situation to be in in all of baseball,” pitcher Rick Sutcliffe later said.

Luckily, Williams was up to the challenge. The quirky reliever rallied to fan the slugger and then struck out Chris James and Mark Ryal to preserve the win.

Williams’ former Texas teammate Paul Kilgus had given Cubs manager Don Zimmer some advice on how to survive watching Williams pitch in such a game.

“Ulcer city,” he said. “Drink a lot of milk, Zim.”

Sutcliffe picked up his third Wrigley Field opening win in five seasons, and Jerome Walton and Joe Girardi both made their major league debuts, each chipping in two hits.

1990s
April 3, 1998: Farewell to a legend

On an emotional day, the Cubs opened the 1998 season by paying tribute to Harry Caray, who had passed away in February.

The team unveiled a Caray caricature above the WGN-TV booth, and Caray’s wife, Dutchie, pinch-hit for her husband, leading the crowd in a rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” When the song finished, a bagpiper played “Amazing Grace,” and 3,000 blue and white Harry Caray balloons were released from behind the left-field wall.

In the game itself, the Cubs beat Montreal, 6-2, for their third straight victory, but it was the spontaneous wave of emotion that swept the ballpark at the top of the seventh inning that was the talk of the team afterward.

With one out to go before the start of the seventh-inning stretch, virtually everyone in the stands was on their feet, and chants of “HAR-RY, HAR-RY” echoed across the El tracks.

“I was looking around thinking, ‘Oh, geez, what if a ball is hit to me right now?’” said third baseman Kevin Orie. “I was trying to pay attention, but, at the same time, I was trying to soak it all in. Everyone had goose bumps.”

At one point, Montreal’s Chris Widger sent a fly ball into the outfield. Right fielder Sammy Sosa and second baseman Mickey Morandini went running for it, but the crowd’s chanting was so loud they couldn’t hear each other. The ball bounced out of Sosa’s glove.

Starter Steve Trachsel did a little bit of everything, pitching 7.1 innings of two-run, four-hit ball, striking out seven and driving in three runs with a pair of singles.

2000s
April 13, 2009: Lilly’s near no-no

Rain nearly postponed the game, but after a 72-minute delay, the Cubs and the Rockies got things going on a miserable 36-degree day.

The Cubs featured a makeshift lineup, as they were missing projected starters Milton Bradley (groin), Geovany Soto (shoulder) and Aramis Ramirez (stiff back) due to injuries. Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez was his own worst enemy, lasting only 3.2 innings, walking six and hitting a batter. The Cubs finished the game with nine walks.

The weather was the story until Ted Lilly got on a hot streak. The lefty didn’t give up a hit until the seventh inning, when he allowed a single to Garrett Atkins. He followed that with a walk to end his day. Three relievers finished off the Cubs’ 4-0, one-hit win before 40,077 fans at Wrigley Field.

Would manager Lou Piniella have left Lilly, who had thrown 104 pitches through 6.2 innings, in the game if the no-hitter had still been intact?

“It would’ve been a tough decision, because it’s early in the season to let a pitcher go much more than what he pitched,” Piniella said. “You’re looking for problems.”

Lilly said he knew he was on a good run, but didn’t let it shake his concentration.

“I was still trying to focus on making quality pitches, and not so much, ‘How am I going to protect the no-hitter?’” he said. “I just wanted to make good pitches and felt if I did that, I like my chances.”

1000 Words: Banks gets in the spirit

BanksStatueFeds

The Ernie Banks statue gets dressed up for the 100th birthday festivities at Wrigley Field. All the statues around the park will be wearing the Chi-Feds jerseys from 1914. The first 30,000 fans at the game will also take home a replica Chi-Feds jersey.

Both teams will be wearing Federal League throwback uniforms for Wednesday’s game—the Cubs will be dressed in Chi-Feds uniforms, and the Diamondbacks will be dressed as the Kansas City Packers (who the Cubs beat 9-1 on April 23, 1914, to open then-Weeghman Park).

1000 Words: Tinker’s family on hand for first decade-themed celebration

Tinker

Friday marks the first of the decade-themed celebrations going on at Wrigley Field this season, and everything 1910’s will be on display. Fans attending the game will receive a limited-edition Joe Tinker bobblehead, while three generations of the Hall of Fame shortstop’s family will be on hand to conduct the seventh-inning stretch.

Tinker spent 15 seasons with the organization, from 1902-16. He won two World Series titles with the club in 1907 and 1908, and his middle-infield partnership with Johnny Evers is viewed as one of the best in the organization’s history.

1910s Homestand Promotions and Guests: April 18-24

Dutchie

Dutchie Caray and friends will do the seventh-inning stretch honors at the Wrigley Field 100th birthday game on April 23. (Photo by Stephen Green)

In addition to celebrating Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday on April 23, the Cubs will host the following promotions and guests in honor of the 1910s decade at Wrigley Field. This homestand begins the season-long, decade-themed celebration of 100 years at the ballpark, including historic Bobblehead Fridays and Throwback Sundays featuring retro kids toys for the first 5,000 kids 13-and-under in the ballpark.

Friday, April 18, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 1:20 p.m.

  • Promotion: Limited-edition Joe Tinker Bobblehead (first 10,000 fans)
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Three generations of Tinker family members
  • Broadcast: WGN-TV, MLB Network, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Saturday, April 19, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 1:20 p.m.

  • Seventh-inning stretch: TBD
  • Broadcast: Comcast SportsNet, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Sunday, April 20, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 1:20 p.m.

  • Promotion: 1910s Throwback Cubs Diecast Train Engine (first 5,000 kids 13-and-under)
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Todd Protzman Davis (great grandson of Zachary Taylor Davis, architect of Wrigley Field)
  • Broadcast: WCIU-TV,  WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Monday, April 21, Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona D-backs, 7:05 p.m.

  • Seventh-inning stretch: Bob Brenly, former Cubs and current Diamondbacks broadcaster
  • Broadcast: Comcast SportsNet+, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Tuesday, April 22, Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona D-backs, 7:05 p.m.

  • Seventh-inning stretch: Kelly Amonte Hiller, Northwestern women’s lacrosse coach (Wrigley Field hosts Northwestern vs. USC for the ballpark’s first ever collegiate lacrosse match Sat., April 26)
  • Broadcast: Comcast SportsNet, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com

Wednesday, April 23, Chicago Federals (Chicago Cubs) vs. Kansas City Packers (Arizona D-backs), 1:20 p.m.
*100th Birthday Game*

  • Promotions: Replica Chicago Federals jersey (first 30,000 fans), Jewel-Osco birthday cupcake (first 10,000 fans)
  • Seventh-inning stretch: Dutchie Caray, Cubs alumni and other special guests
  • Broadcast: WGN-TV, beginning at 12:30 p.m., airing a special pregame show and the Wrigley Field ceremony, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Thursday, April 24, Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona D-backs, 1:20 p.m.

  • Seventh-inning stretch: TBD
  • Broadcast: WGN-TV,  WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com

Cubs unveil Wrigley Field 100th birthday festivities

WF100

(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.

Pregame Ceremony
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.

Now Playing: The Cubs kick off the Party of the Century at Wrigley Field

Despite typical April temperatures in Chicago and a 7-2 loss to the visiting Phillies, the Cubs still managed the kick off the Party of the Century in style. Friday’s home opener began a yearlong celebration of Wrigley Field, which turns 100 years old on April 23. The gametime temperature hovered in the high 30s—and a strong wind made it feel colder than that—but that didn’t stop 38,283 fans from packing the Friendly Confines. Cubs Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg and Billy Williams were on hand to throw out the first pitch, and Ernie, Fergie and Billy sang the stretch (Sandberg was otherwise occupied with his job as Phillies manager).

Vine Line talked to Cubs players and personnel about Opening Day at Wrigley Field and celebrating the venerable stadium the Cubs have called home for 98 years. There’s no better place to be than Wrigley Field—in April or September.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,821 other followers