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Opening Day Flashback - Northside Edition

By Karl Klockars in Miscellaneous on Mar 31, 2008 6:25PM

Baseball is always about statistics, numbers, charts and rankings, but this season of Cubs baseball is going to be all about one number. That number, of course, being "one hundred." Be prepared to hear about the hundred World-Series-Championship-free years at least a million times this season. So as the Lovable Losers get ready to tear the scab off of another season, we thought now would be an opportune time to look back at the park from when things like "naming rights" were a long time off.

wrigleyfootball033108.JPGFor example, many people forget that from 1921 all the way up until 1970, the Bears played their season at Wrigley as well. Portable bleachers filled in the space in the right-field section and raised capacity to 46,000 fans. At the start of the Bears' run at the park, it was still just called "Cubs Park," a name which didn't even have the zing of "Weeghman Field," the original name of the ballpark. Within a couple years after the Bears arrived, the upper deck area was added and the playing field lowered. The Chicago Sting also played some of their matches at Wrigley as well.

croppedandcompressedwrigley033108.jpgAnd what do we notice about this image of Wrigley, circa 1950? (A larger, hi-res zoomable image is located here.) No rooftop seating. No McDonalds across the street. No glimmering Torco sign. Streetcars. No lights. And what are those silo-looking things to the left? It looks like there's a Coke advertisement of some sort on there, but we're stumped.

firstpitch033108.jpgAnd if you want to go way back to 1915, we found this photo of Mayor "Big Bill" Thompson throwing out the first pitch for the Whales at the park back when there wasn't even an upper deck - it was all grandstand seats at this point. Keep that in mind when later this season complaints about a lack of tickets start getting tossed around. Later this week we'll take a look at 35th and Shields for the Sox home opener; until then, enjoy the rain. And the Old Styles.

Images and info from the Chicago Daily News online archive, as well as the Encyclopedia of Chicago.