Al Capone once had front-row seats. Ronald Reagan dropped in by surprise while president. And Ferris Bueller made an encore appearance, so to speak, many years after catching a foul ball.
Wrigley Field is celebrating its 100th anniversary this season, with April 23 being the official day. It was named Weeghman Park when it opened in 1914. The Cubs re-named it Wrigley Field, in honor of team owner William Wrigley, the chewing gum czar, in 1927 when naming rights were a concept as foreign as lights at this ballpark.
Undoubtedly there will be plenty of discussion during the centennial festivities about some of baseball's best known moments, which happened to occur at the Friendly Confines:
The legend of Babe Ruth's called shot. The black cat that symbolized the Cubs' collapse down the stretch in 1969, which paved the way for the Miracle Mets. Sammy Sosa's home runs ... and corked bat. Kerry Wood's strikeout record. Steve Bartman.
But part of Wrigley Field's unique charm is that it has compelling stories beyond baseball. A new book, Wrigley Field Year by Year: A Century at the Friendly Confines, written by Sam Pathy, provides a comprehensive chronicle of the wild and wacky in addition to the hardcore hardball history. Pathy, a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, provides great details such as the team's decision in 1931 to have concession vendors dress in different color caps (peanut vendors in tan, ice cream men in white, cigar/cigarette sellers in black, etc.)
Here are some of the more notable nuggets, including a reason why the Curse of the Billy Goat, which supposedly hexed the Cubs from winning the World Series, might be bogus:See Slideshow >>