The year was 1914. Woodrow Wilson was in his first term as US President, the US was still decades away from reaching 50 states, and it was a few months before the first shots were fired in World War I.
In the baseball world, the newly formed 8 team Federal League was beginning play as a 3rd major league to compete with the established American and National Leagues.
Wrigley Field has been the Chicago Cubs home since 1916.
One of those teams was the Chicago Federals, who lacked a nickname (hence being called the Federals). The following year, they named themselves the Whales. Why a team in the midwest took up the nickname Whales, I have no idea.
Nickname making sense or not, the Whales won the Federal League championship that year. Unfortunately for them, they would not have a chance to defend their title, as the FL folded shortly after.
The Whales played their home games at Weeghman Park. The ballpark was a steel and concrete park named after Whales owner Charles Weeghman.
In 1916 Weeghman took majority ownership of the Cubs. That ballpark is still around today. You just probably know it as Wrigley Field.
My first trip to Wrigley Field for a game took place in July 2018. It was the final stop on a trip my friends and I dubbed the Midwest Baseball Fest. A trip that took us 6 ballparks in a span of 8 days.
Wrigley Field is a mecca of baseball history. Walking into the ballpark you could sense the history around the place. It is the oldest ballpark in the National League by far.
Throughout the years, Wrigley has gone through many changes. For the longest time Wrigley was noted for being the only MLB stadium without lights. The Cubs played every home game in the daytime until 1988.
Wrigley would over time add luxury seats and the modern amenities all ballparks hold today. A major renovation which included two HD scoreboards took place in 2014 and 2015 which actually spilled somewhat into the 2015 season.
What the Cubs made sure to do was not take too much away from what made Wrigley Field so special over the years. It is a baseball cathedral. You can feel the history come alive when you enter its gates. The Cubs may have never celebrated a World Series win in Wrigley, but there is a whole century of baseball history in this building.
You have to remember that this gem was built in 1914. We were light years away from modern technology. Think about it, the classic, cookie cutter, and retro eras all have come and went. Wrigley still stands today.
Many people visit Wrigley not to see the Cubs, but to see the ballpark. Today the majority of stadiums are nestled in downtown areas or they are surrounded by acres of parking lots.
Wrigley is nestled in a neighborhood. So much so that there is no room to expand the stadium to add seating. People have gotten creative by watching games from the rooftop bleachers. Although the recent additions of the outfield scoreboards has taken away many of the rooftop views.
I’ll admit as a Cleveland Indians fan I hold a certain grudge for something that happened between my team and the Cubs a few years ago. But don’t worry, I’m here to grade their ballpark. I loved Wrigley Field.
First off, you really can’t find an atmosphere in MLB that matches a game at Wrigley Field. I was there for a July game against the Reds and it could have been a late September game with playoff implications if you didn’t know any better.
Watching a game in the stands at Wrigley Field is about as close as you can get to traveling back in time. I even got to experience the game in the daytime since the Cubs still play many of their home games under the sun.
So if you haven’t, get out to Wrigley Field. You’ll be grateful for the experience. Either take the L Train or find a parking lot that offers a shuttle to the game. You won’t find parking near the stadium. If you do you’ll have to take out a second loan on your house. Just don’t let Go Cubs Go get stuck in your head.