Wrigley greatest hits

Introducing the Top Ten List for the Friendly Confines

May 17, 2012|By Tracy Swartz, RedEye

It was once home to soccer, women's softball and Bears games. In 1944, a ski jumping competition was held there. But starting Friday, Wrigley Field will host one of its most storied matchups: Cubs vs. Sox.

Whether you see Wrigley Field as the Friendly or the Unfriendly Confines this weekend, Wrigley is more than just a baseball park.

"It was a multi-purpose building up until the mid-50s. The Harlem Globetrotters played there," said Ed Hartig, who contributes to Cubs publications and served as a Wrigley Field tour guide for 15 years. "It's a tourist attraction in and of itself. … When they build new parks, the architects always come to Wrigley and they try to capture the essence of the park in their designs."

In anticipation of the Cubs-Sox matchup at Wrigley Field, RedEye counts down 10 of Wrigley Field's greatest hits.

>> 10/10: The Cubs' last appearance in a World Series was October 10, 1945. The Cubs lost 9-3 to the Detroit Tigers in front of 41,590 fans at Wrigley Field. The current Wrigley Field capacity is 41,160.

>> '09: The Blackhawks played the Detroit Red Wings in the 2009 Winter Classic, which transformed Wrigley Field into an outdoor hockey rink. More than 40,000 fans attended the game.

>> 8/8/88: Wrigley Field saw its first night game with lights—Cubs vs. Phillies on Aug. 8, 1988. The game was rained out after 3 1/2 innings. The Cubs' first twilight game without lights was in 1943.

>> "Seven:" The Dave Matthews Band played "Seven" and other songs at a concert at Wrigley Field in September 2010. Acts that have performed at Wrigley Field include Paul McCartney and Elton John.

>> $6: For $6, fans can park their car at DeVry University, off of Rockwell Street and south of Addison Street, and take a CTA shuttle to Wrigley Field. The shuttle starts running 2 1/2 hours before the game up to one hour after night games and two hours after weekend day games.

>> '05: Renovations after the 2005 season included expanding the bleachers, adding a restaurant and a window in the right field.

>> 4 statues: Former Cubs third baseman Ron Santo was immortalized with a bronze statue at Wrigley Field last year. Cubs legends Billy Williams, Ernie Banks and Harry Caray also are honored with statues.

>> 3.2 beer: After Prohibition was repealed in the 1930s, the Cubs sold "3.2 beer," which was 3.2 percent alcohol by weight, in the stands

>> No. 2: Built in 1914, Wrigley Field is the second oldest Major League Baseball park. Fenway Park in Boston was built in 1912.

>> WON: The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908.

tswartz@tribune.com | @tracyswartz

Sources: chicagocubs.com, baseballreference.com, "100 Things Cubs Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die."

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