CHICAGO Wrigley Field's highly-anticipated 100th birthday arrives Wednesday, April 23, as the Cubs host the Arizona Diamondbacks exactly a century after the Chicago Federals opened then-Weeghman Park against the Kansas City Packers April 23, 1914. The 100th birthday game headlines the first of 10 decade-themed homestands celebrating 100 years of Wrigley Field. Tickets for the April 23 game are still available at www.cubs.com, and fans can look forward to the following special events.
The first 30,000 fans joining the team for this once-in-a-lifetime milestone will receive a replica 1914 Chicago Federals jersey as they enter the ballpark, mirroring the throwback Chi-Feds home uniforms the Cubs will wear on the field. The D-Backs will participate in the historic date as well by wearing Kansas City Federal League uniforms.
In addition to receiving replica jerseys, the first 10,000 fans entering Wrigley Field will receive a birthday cupcake compliments of Jewel-Osco. Fans also will be able to view an elaborate decorative cake from Carlo's Bakery, setting of the hit TLC show Cake Boss, near the Ernie Banks statue on Clark Street until the third inning. The cake will then be transferred to Cubs Charities' Bricks & Ivy Ball at the Field Museum, where a portion will be served to guests.
These birthday gifts aren't the only reason fans will want to arrive early for the game. The sights and sounds at the ballpark that day will reflect the ballpark experience from a century ago, including music, graphics and even elements of the game broadcast. Leading up to the afternoon's pregame ceremony, historic photos and video tributes to Wrigley Field will play on the right field video board. Greeters wearing clothing modeled from a century ago will welcome fans to the park while grounds crew members work on the field wearing Weeghman Park jackets from the same era. After both starting lineups are announced, members of the Northwestern University marching band will take the field as was customary for Opening Day and other special events during the ballpark's first two decades. In fact, Wrigley Field was the site of the National Football League's first marching band halftime show Oct. 17, 1926, when Jack Bramhall's band played during a Chicago Bears home game.
The live music will then give way to an extended pregame ceremony welcoming Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and a lineage of Wrigley Field's most important icons back to the cherished ballpark. Past owners will be recognized near home plate, as the Ricketts family will be joined by descendants of both the Weeghman and Wrigley families and representatives of the Tribune Company. The Chicago Bears, who played 50 seasons at Wrigley Field from 1921 to 1970, will be honored next, as members of the McCaskey family will be joined on field by Bears/University of Illinois legend Dick Butkus and Gale Sayers, who will be recognized with a bobblehead at Wrigley Field July 11.
Wrigley Field is beloved by many Cubs legends and Hall of Famers, and many of these greats will return to their former positions on the field for this special occasion. Ernie Banks ( SS ), Glenn Beckert ( 2B ), Andre Dawson ( RF ), Ryan Dempster ( P ), Bobby Dernier ( CF ), Randy Hundley ( C ), Fergie Jenkins ( P ), Gary Matthews ( LF ), Milt Pappas ( P ), Lee Smith ( P ), Billy Williams ( LF ), Kerry Wood ( P ) and Sam and Spencer Brown ( grandchildren of Ron Santo, 3B ) are scheduled to take part in an "Alumni Take the Field" presentation before the ceremonial first pitch.
Sue Quigg, grandniece of former Cubs owner Charles Weeghman, will throw the game's ceremonial first pitch using the 100-year-old ball her grandmother Dessa Weeghman threw at a Chi-Feds game a century ago. Wrigley Field staple Wayne Messmer will sing the game's National Anthem, concluded by a historic bi-plane flyover.
The tributes to Wrigley Field will continue throughout the day. Fans will have a chance to sing "Happy Birthday" to the venerable ballpark led by Gary Pressy on the organ in the 5th inning. The crowd can then join Dutchie Caray, wife of the late Cubs broadcast legend Harry Caray, and many of the day's special guests as they lead the 7th inning stretch from the field.
Specialty Food Offerings:
For fans who truly want to embrace the centennial atmosphere, Levy Restaurants has developed several menu items at the ballpark that trace back to popular food offerings from a century ago. Guests can take a culinary trip through time by visiting the Decade Diner, formerly the Sheffield Grill, located inside Gate D near section 142. Homestand specials for the 1910s include a classic Reuben Sandwich with pastrami, sauerkraut, house-made Louie dressing and Kraft Swiss Cheese on a marble rye bread; as well as a Breaded Pork Chop Sandwich with an herb-breaded boneless pork chop, slow-cooked onions and spicy mustard on toasted roll. The Decade Dogs stand near section 123 will serve decade-themed specialty hot dogs this season, starting with the 1910s Reuben Dog featuring a Vienna Beef hot dog, sliced corn beef, sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing and Swiss cheese.
Adults 21-and-over can quench their thirst with signature, period cocktails as well. A 1910s Weeghman Park Old Fashioned comprised of Bulleit Rye and Finest Call Old Fashioned Mix, served with an orange slice and cherry, will be offered in limited-edition souvenir glasses April 18-24 on the main concourse at section 109 and the bleacher patio in left field.
Cubs Authentics Memorabilia:
Wrigley Field is celebrating its centennial season throughout 2014 and fans have a chance to own part of the history through Cubs Authentics the team's official source for all MLB-authenticated, game-used and autographed Cubs memorabilia. Game-used memorabilia from Wrigley Field's 100th birthday game will be available to collectors through various purchase opportunities. Framed, game-used bases with commemorative base jewels may be pre-ordered or purchased at the Cubs Authentics kiosk at Wrigley Field, pending availability. Baseballs used at Wrigley Field this season feature the Wrigley Field 100th logo, while an additional "April 23, 2014" time stamp will be added to baseballs used on the centennial date. Game-worn throwback Chi-Feds uniforms will be available via auction following the April 23 game. For additional purchasing and product information, collectors can contact Cubs Authentics at 773-404-4753, www.cubs.com/authentics or by visiting the Cubs Authentics kiosk at Wrigley Field.
Bricks & Ivy Ball:
Cubs Charities will continue Wrigley Field's birthday celebration during its primary fundraiser, the Bricks & Ivy Ball. The "Party of the Century" theme will be integrated into the event for an exciting night of fun, entertainment and charitable giving. Attendees will have the opportunity to meet players, coaches and front office staff while bidding on exclusive experiences and memorabilia to further Cubs Charities' mission of providing increased access to sports opportunities and targeting improvements in health, fitness and education for those at risk. For the first time in team history, the event has raised more than $1 million for charity before guests arrive.
1910s Homestand, April 18-24:
In addition to celebrating Wrigley Field's 100th birthday April 23, the Cubs will host the following promotions and guests in honor of the 1910s decade at Wrigley Field. This homestand begins the season-long, decade-themed celebration of 100 years at the ballpark, including historic Bobblehead Fridays and Throwback Sundays featuring retro kids toys for the first 5,000 kids 13-and-under in the ballpark.
Friday, April 18, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 1:20 p.m.
- Promotion: Limited-Edition Joe Tinker Bobblehead, first 10,000 fans
- 7th inning stretch: Three generations of Tinker family members
- Broadcast: WGN-TV, MLB Network, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com
Saturday, April 19, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 1:20 p.m.
- 7th inning stretch: TBD
- Broadcast: Comcast SportsNet, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com
Sunday, April 20, Chicago Cubs vs. Cincinnati Reds, 1:20 p.m.
- Promotion: 1910s Throwback Cubs Diecast Train Engine, first 5,000 kids 13-and-under
- 7th inning stretch: Todd Protzman Davis ( great grandson of Zachary Taylor Davis, architect of Wrigley Field )
- Broadcast: WCIU-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com
Monday, April 21, Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona D-Backs, 7:05 p.m.
- 7th inning stretch: Bob Brenly, former Cubs and current Diamondbacks broadcaster
- Broadcast: Comcast SportsNet+, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com
Tuesday, April 22, Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona D-Backs, 7:05 p.m.
- 7th inning stretch: Kelly Amonte Hiller, Northwestern Women's Lacrosse Coach ( Wrigley Field hosts Northwestern vs. USC for the ballpark's first ever collegiate lacrosse match Saturday, April 26 )
- Broadcast: Comcast SportsNet, WGN 720-AM Radio, WRTO 1200-AM Spanish Radio, Cubs.com
Wednesday, April 23, Chicago Federals ( Chicago Cubs ) vs. Kansas City Packers ( Arizona D-Backs ), 1:20 p.m.
*100th Birthday Game*
- Promotions: Replica Chicago Federals Jersey, first 30,000 fans; Jewel-Osco birthday cupcake, first 10,000 fans
- 7th inning stretch: Dutchie Caray, Cubs alumni and other special guests
- Broadcast: WGN-TV, beginning at 12:30 p.m. airing a special pregame show and the Wrigley Field ceremony; WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com
Thursday, April 24, Chicago Cubs vs. Arizona D-Backs, 1:20 p.m.
- 7th inning stretch: TBD
- Broadcast: WGN-TV, WGN 720-AM Radio, Cubs.com
For more information on Wrigley Field's 100th birthday celebration, please visit www.wrigleyfield100.com .