Ivy, brick walls and pennant flags: Celebrating 100 years of Wrigley Field

From Tim Newcomb at SI.com on April 22, 2014, with mention of SABR member Brian Bernardoni:

Wood can burn, but brick, concrete and steel beams do not. And in 1914, fire was a big deal, especially in Chicago.

When Charles Weegham, owner of the Chicago Federals, called architect Zachary Taylor Davis in 1914, flammability was foremost on his mind. Weegham was looking for a new venue for his new team in its new league, and Davis was well known for designing Chicago’s other baseball stadium, Comiskey Park, which had been built without the extensive use of fire-happy wood. For Weegham, the goal was to create a stadium that would last, at least for longer than a few years. So the new baseball stadium at the corner of Addison and Sheffield streets in north Chicago served as the emergence of a baseball stadium design trend, at least in Chicago.

Located on a former Lutheran seminary site, the park took just eight weeks to construct and only $250,000 in cash (roughly $5.8 million in today’s money), even as crews brought in 4,000 yards of soil and planted four acres of bluegrass. Housing the Federal League’s Chicago team for two years — known in 1914 as the Federals and in 1915 as the Whales — what was christened as Weegham Park became Wrigley Field, the eventual home of the Chicago Cubs. On Wednesday, Weegham and Davis’ construction celebrates 100 years of existence, making it the second oldest professional sporting venue in North America (Fenway Park is its elder by two years). In that century, it has become arguably one of the best-known sports facilities in the United States, if not the world.

Read the full article here: http://mlb.si.com/2014/04/22/wrigley-field-100th-anniversary-history/

Originally published: April 22, 2014. Last Updated: April 22, 2014.