Vintage Photos of Wrigley Field To Celebrate The Cubs' NLDS Win
Yesterday, the Cubs made franchise playoff history. They didn't win the World Series (yet) or even earn a division championship, but with their 6-4 victory over the rival Cardinals, they completed their first ever postseason clinch at Wrigley Field. In fact, they've only won one playoff series at all in the century-plus since their 1908 World Series title. The first October champagne celebration at one of America's oldest and most beloved ballparks seemed like as good an excuse as any to take a look back at the early years of baseball at Wrigley Field.
What was originally known as Weeghman Park was built in exactly two months—including a brief strike—but not for the Cubs.
The stadium was originally home to the Chicago Whales, a Federal League team trying to break into the bigs with the help of a fancy new ballpark.
After the Federal League disbanded, Charlie Weegham bought the Cubs and moved them into his eponymous stadium. April 20, 1916, their first Opening Day at the stadium, was filled with fanfare.
After chewing gum magnate William Wrigley purchased the team in 1920, he changed the stadium name to Cubs Park, which only lasted six seasons.
In 1926, Wrigley put his name on the park. That same year, a second tier of seats was added to increase capacity to 40,000.
Wrigley Field hosted its first World Series in 1929 and was flooded with fans. The grandstands overflowed and spectators sat on the field or waited outside for a glimpse of glory. The Cubs fell to the Philadelphia Athletics 3-1.
The Cubs made it back to the World Series in 1932 but they were swept in four games by the New York Yankees. Although it was likely no consolation to Cubs' fans, it was during this series that Wrigley Field hosted one of the most iconic moments in the game: Babe Ruth's called shot.
They lost two more World Series in the '30s. Four games to two to the Tigers in 1935...
And were swept again by the Yankees in 1938.
It was during the 1930s that Wrigley was updated to include many of the iconic features that remain today: The ivy-covered wall, the bleachers, and the then-new scoreboard.
The Cubs made their last World Series appearance in 1945. They were able to force a Game 7 against the Tigers but ultimately lost at home.
— Billy Goat Tavern (@Cheezborger) October 1, 2015
It was during that final game that local tavern owner Billy Sianis and his pet goat were ejected, inciting the Curse of the Billy Goat, which has supposedly blocked them from the Fall Classic ever since.
Wrigley wouldn't host another postseason game for almost 40 years as the Cubs limped through decades of mediocrity. The stadium itself remained largely unchanged until very recently. Although the photography improved.
There was one upgrade in 1956 when the Cubs installed this moving ramp for fans to reach the upper deck. It was the first of its kind in any ballpark.
Hall of Famer, MLB "All Century" Team member, and "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks is honored on the field in 1964.
Ernie Banks in the broadcasting booth with Cubs announcer Jack Brickhouse.
The team finally made it back to the postseason in 1984.
— Sports Chatter (@SprtsChttr) October 6, 2015
They'd end up losing to the Padres in the League Championship Series. But not before they tried to break the curse by inviting Sam Sianis, William's nephew, and his goat out for one of the playoff games. After last offseason's renovations, Wrigley now has a fancy new video board and other modern touches, but the biggest change of all is what the team was able to do on its field: win a playoff series.