One hundred years ago, on April 23, 1914, Weeghman Park hosted its first game as the Chi-Feds played the Kansas City Packers. It was the eighth game of the Federal League season, and 21,000 fans filled the new ballpark at Clark and Addison Streets. Catcher Art Wilson hit two home runs to back pitcher Claude Hendrix, who went the distance in a 9-1 win. Chi-Feds manager Joe Tinker also was the No. 3 hitter, going 1-for-3 and scoring a run. Weeghman Park cost $250,000 to build, and it was completed in two months. It was a single-story grandstand that stretched from the left-field foul pole around home plate to the right-field pole. There was a small bleacher section in right. Today, that park, now known as Wrigley Field, will celebrate its 100th anniversary. The event has been hyped as part of a year-long "Party of the Century," and it's a chance for fans to salute the Friendly Confines. The Cubs will play host to the D-backs -- whose home state had been admitted to the union just two years earlier in 1912 -- and will wear throwback uniforms. Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig will attend, along with several former Cubs players, including Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Andre Dawson. The first 30,000 fans will receive a replica 1914 Chicago Federals jersey, and the first 10,000 fans will get a birthday cupcake. In the fifth inning, fans will be asked to sing "Happy Birthday" to Wrigley. Make sure you have your cellphone cameras ready. If you look at some of the photos included in the book "A Century of Wrigley Field: The Official History of the Friendly Confines," you'll see the neighborhood around the ballpark hasn't changed much. Built on land that once was the site of a seminary, Wrigley has gone through several renovations since it was first built, but there is still some 100-year-old concrete and steel left from the original structure, located primarily near the dugouts. Most of the ballpark has been refinished or resurfaced. A quick history: Weeghman Park and the Chi-Feds team were owned by Charles Weeghman, and when the Federal League folded after the 1915 season, he purchased the Cubs and moved them to the ballpark at Clark and Addison Streets. It was renamed Cubs Park in 1919, and it didn't become Wrigley Field until 1926 after owner William Wrigley Jr. bought the team. Banks hit his 500th home run at Wrigley, and Babe Ruth allegedly called his home run there during Game 3 of the 1932 World Series. Hack Wilson drove in his 190th and 191st runs of the season there, and Pete Rose notched his 4,191st career hit. Kerry Wood struck out 20 Astros, and Sammy Sosa hit his 60th home run in three separate seasons. Greg Maddux notched his 3,000th strikeout there.
Wrigley's centennial celebration on tap today
MLB.com | Apr 23