It was 100 years ago today that that grand old ballpark Wrigley Field (and home of the Chicago Cubs) opened its doors for the first time. This afternoon, the Cubs celebrated with a party and a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Chicago wore throwback Federations jerseys and fans came dressed in their best 1914 attire. Even Arizona got in on the act, wearing their own throwback jerseys even though the team wasn't around back when Wrigley opened.
For a while, it looked like Chicago would mark the anniversary with a win. But what would a Cubs party be without a loss? Chicago was up 5-2 on the Diamondbacks and an out away from winning the game when everything imploded. The Cubs committed a couple errors and gave up five run, capping Wrigley's centennial party with a L.
Tough luck and sloppy play has been a hallmark of the Cubs time at Wrigley. (It has never seen a World Series champion — the last time the team won a title was 1908.) But that's not what draws people the ballpark. Instead, it's the history. And the tradition. And that ivy in the outfield. Actor Bill Murray might have summed up the Wrigley experience best in an interview with the New York Times:
"I was a big Cubs fan, and I watched all the games on TV, but when I grew up, TV was in black and white. So when I was 7 years old, I was taken to my first Cubs games, and my brother Brian said, “Wait, Billy,” and he put his hands over my eyes, and he walked me up the stairs. And then he took his hands away. [He begins to get choked up.] And there was Wrigley Field, in green. There was this beautiful grass and this beautiful ivy. I’d only seen it in black and white. It was like I was a blind man made to see. It was something."
Wrigley's not the oldest park in baseball. That honor is Fenway's, which is 105 years old. But for 100 years, people have made special trips to Chicago just to see Wrigley and have that kind of experience. And it will keep attracting people for years to come.
For more about Wrigley's 100th anniversary, check out SI writer Tim Newcomb's great post on the Strike Zone blog about the history of Wrigley Field. If you're a baseball fan, you won't want to miss it!
Have you attended a game at Wrigley Field? Share your memories with us in the comments section below!
Photos: David Banks/Getty Images