Originally known as Weeghman Park, Wrigley Field was built on the grounds once occupied by a seminary.
Weeghman Park was the home of Chicago's entry in the Federal League and was the property of Charles H. Weeghman. The club was known as both the Federals and the Whales.
The cost of building Weeghman Park, which had a seating capacity of 14,000, was estimated at $250,000. The infield and outfield consisted of more than 4,000 yards of soil and four acres of bluegrass.
The first major league game at the ballpark took place, April 23, 1914, with the Federals defeating Kansas City, 9-1. The first homer in ballpark history was hit by Federals catcher Art Wilson - a two-run shot in the second inning off Kansas City's Chief Johnson.
When the Federal League folded for financial reasons after the 1915 campaign, Weeghman purchased the Cubs from the Taft family of Cincinnati and moved the club to the two-year-old ballpark at the corner of Clark and Addison streets.
The first National League game at the ballpark was played, April 20, 1916, when the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 7-6 in 11 innings. A bear cub was in attendance at the game.
The ballpark became known as Cubs Park in 1920 after the Wrigley family purchased the team from Weeghman. It was named Wrigley Field in 1926 in honor of William Wrigley Jr., the club's owner.
The Wrigley Field bleachers and scoreboard were constructed in 1937 when the outfield area was renovated to provide improved and expanded seating. The original scoreboard remains intact.
The score-by-innings and the pitchers' numbers are changed by hand. The numbers signaling batter, ball, strike and out, along with "H" and "E" to signify hit and error, are eyelets.
No batted ball has ever hit the centerfield scoreboard. Two baseballs barely missed - a homer hit onto Sheffield Avenue (right-center) by Bill Nicholson in 1948, and one hit by Roberto Clemente onto Waveland Avenue (left-center) in 1959.
One of the traditions of Wrigley Field is the flying of a flag bearing a "W" or an "L" atop the scoreboard after a game. A white flag with a blue "W" indicates a victory; a blue flag with a white "L" denotes a loss.
The original vines were purchased and planted by Bill Veeck in September 1937. Veeck strung bittersweet from the top of the wall to the bottom, then planted the ivy at the base of the wall.
The bleacher wall is 11.5 feet high. The basket attached to the wall was constructed in 1970.
Three flags fly on the left field foul pole: Ernie Banks' uniform No. 14, Ron Santo's No. 10 and Fergie Jenkins' No. 3. Four flags fly on the right field foul pole: Billy Williams' No. 26, Ryne Sandberg's No. 23, Greg Maddux's No. 31 and Jackie Robinson's No. 42.
Wrigley Field added lights in 1988.
The first night game took place, August 8 against Philadelphia, but was rained out after 3 1/2 innings.
The first official night game occurred, August 9 vs. New York, when the Cubs defeated the Mets by the score of 6-4.
In 2018, Wrigley Field will be celebrating its 30th year of playing host to baseball under the lights.
Wrigley Field has gone through many renovations throughout the years.
New office space was created and old offices refurbished in the administrative area behind home plate in 1981-1982, while the ticket office was built directly behind home plate in 1983.
During the winter of 1984, a new home clubhouse was completed under the third-base stands. The visitors' clubhouse was renovated in 1990.
In 1989, private boxes were constructed on the mezzanine level, formerly occupied by the press box and broadcasting booths. A press box and broadcasting booths were constructed in the upper deck directly behind home plate. Other improvements included a food court in the upper deck.
Following renovations in 1994 and 1995, there are now 63 private boxes.
An elevator was added to the third base concourse in 1996.
Following the 2005 season, the Cubs expanded the bleachers, adding a restaurant in the batter's eye and a window to Sheffield Avenue in right field.
In the winter of 2007, Wrigley Field underwent a major field renovation project to remove the field's crown, install an intricate drainage system and create a new playing surface.
Prior to the 2010 season, the back of the centerfield scoreboard was fully renovated for the first time since it was installed in 1937. Restrooms were remodeled and fitted with new fixtures, a new viewing
plaza was created adjacent to the indoor batting cage to provide fans the opportunity to watch batting practice and the PNC Club was added to the mezzanine suites down the left field line.
Prior to the 2012 campaign, the right-field Budweiser bleachers were transformed to include the Budweiser Patio. The area provided fans with a rooftop experience inside the ballpark, and added a 75-foot LED board just above the right field fence.
The long-awaited restoration and expansion of Wrigley Field, now known as The 1060 Project, is well underway. This multi-year upgrade is designed to preserve the ballpark's beauty, charm and historic features that fans have cherished for more than a century, while updating and improving the iconic ballpark for fans, players and the community.
The 1060 Project, which started at the conclusion of the 2014 baseball season, includes structural upgrades, improved player facilities, new fan amenities, outfield signage, two video boards, new premier clubs, expanded concessions, new and improved restroom facilities, and much more. For more information on The 1060 Project, please visit www.wrigleyfield.com.