Wrigley Field May End Up Changing Names
CEO Of Tribune Company Says Name May Go
POSTED: 12:56 pm EST February 27, 2008
UPDATED: 11:05 pm EST February 27, 2008
The chief executive officer of the Tribune Company said he may sell the naming right to Wrigley Field and would not hesitate to do so.
It is an idea that Cubs fans and baseball purists would not like at all.
Despite the fact that Wrigley Field is known worldwide, Sam Zell said during an interview on CNBC that he didn't get a discount because he wasn't going to use the naming rights that the field represents.
Zell said he plans to sell the Cubs and Wrigley separately, and the sale of the team has been delayed by Zell's plan to sell the stadium separately."Four or six" potential ownership groups have also been approved by Major League Baseball, he said.Located on the north side of Chicago in the Lakeview neighborhood, Wrigley Field has been a landmark of the city since it was built in 1914, and has undergone few changes since. Originally called Weeghman Park, it was renamed Cubs Park in 1920 and then Wrigley Field in 1926.
Some of baseballís most classic and memorable moments have taken place at Wrigley Field.
In 1917, there was the pitching duel between Jim "Hippo" Vaughn and Fred Toney, when both men threw no-hitters for nine innings, the only time in MLB history such a feat has taken place. The Cincinnati Reds won, 1-0, in the 10th with two hits off Vaughn, while Toney finished with a no-hitter.
But no Wrigley Field event is probably more famous than Babe Ruthís "called shot" during the 1932 World Series, when Ruth gestured toward the outfield stands right before be blasted a homerun off of Cubs pitcher Charlie Root. There has been much controversy over whether Ruth was actually calling his shot with the gesture, but the legendary event will live on as long as baseball itself.
But one legendary event that has never taken place at Wrigley Field is a World Series victory, because the Cubs have never won a title there. The Cubs have been to the series six times since Wrigley Field was built, but have lost all six times. The Cubs' last World Series victory was in 1908, six years before the stadium was built.
This might have something to do with the famous "Curse of the Billy Goat," which dates back to the 1945 World Series when Billy Sianis, owner of the nearby Billy Goat Tavern, was ejected from Wrigley Field along with his pet goat. As the legend goes, Sianis placed a curse on the team, saying they would never win another World Series.
The legend of the curse of the Billy Goat resurfaced in the 2003 National League Championship Series, when in game 6 of the series, fan Steve Bartman touched a foul ball that prevented the second out of the eighth inning. The Marlins went on to rally and win the game and force a game 7 on their way to becoming the World Series champions. Bartman, a Cubs fan, had to be escorted from the stadium by security as fans booed him and threw beer on him.
In 1937 a scoreboard was added that was manually operated, and still is to this day.The custom of allowing fans to keep foul balls hit into the stands started at Wrigley Field, as did the custom of throwing back home runs hit by opposing players.
"Take Me Out To the Ballgame" was sung at Wrigley thousands of times by legendary announcer Harry Caray until his death in 1998, and countless celebrities like Mike Ditka, Jesse Ventura, Ozzy Osbourne and Mel Gibson since.Wrigley Field is located in a residential neighborhood with few parking ramps, and as a result fans have been able to watch the game from the windows, porches and rooftops of the houses and apartment complexes that surround the park.
Many movies have also been filmed at Wrigley Field, like "A League of Their Own," "Ferris Buellerís Day Off," "Rookie of the Year" and "The Break-Up."The 1980 comedy "The Blues Brothers" highlighted landmarks all around the city.
In the film, Elwood Blues, played by Dan Aykroyd, falsified the address on his driverís license, putting down 1060 W. Addison, the address of Wrigley Field. Later, a group of Illinois Nazis looking for the Blues Brothers show up at Wrigley Field, thinking it is their address.