Results tagged ‘ Wrigley Field ’

1/31 “We’re here to thank God for Ernie Banks”

Instead of mourning Ernie Banks on Saturday, his teammates, family and friends urged everyone to celebrate the life of Mr. Cub on what would’ve been his 84th birthday.

“We have come here to thank God for Ernie Banks,” Rev. Shannon Kershner said in her welcome statements.

The Fourth Presbyterian Church was nearly full for Banks’ memorial service on Saturday, and the crowd included former Cubs teammates Billy Williams, Randy Hundley, Fergie Jenkins, and George Altman, plus Hall of Famers such as Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Lou Brock and Andre Dawson. Also in the crowd were Kerry Wood, Anthony Rizzo, Sean Marshall, Jon Lieber, Minnie Minoso and Scott Sanderson.

Cubs broadcasters Len Kasper, Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer attended, as well as former Chicago Bulls great Bob Love, Blackhawks executives John McDonough and Jay Blunk, White Sox general manager Ken Williams, and former Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer were there, as well as Joe Torre, who represented Major League Baseball.

Banks’ twin sons, Joey and Jerry, each delivered personal tributes. Joey thanked his dad for letting them come to Wrigley Field, calling it “the best playground ever.”

“Move over Honus Wagner, there’s a new shortstop in heaven,” Joey Banks said.

Jerry wished his father happy birthday, and said the Wrigley family’s decision to purchase Banks’ contract from the Kansas City Monarchs was “the best $10,000 ever spent.”

“Who would’ve imagined you would become the icon of the great city of Chicago, representing not only Chicago but giving the fans love and devotion,” Jerry Banks said. “We’ve heard countless stories of interactions with fans. It makes our mourning his passing easier. For every tear we shed comes ten stories of laughter followed by, ‘That sounds like dad.'”

Jerry then shared three of his father’s favorite sayings to his children:

* “You learn more from losing than winning.”

* “I feel like Tony the Tiger. I feel great.”

* “How do you feel? I feel like I can fly.”

Following the nearly two-hour memorial service, a motorcade carrying the casket passed Banks’ statue in Daley Plaza and then headed north to Wrigley Field. The procession paused outside the ballpark’s marquee at Clark and Addison streets and fans applauded. The crews doing the renovation work at the 100-year-old ballpark also lined the streets to salute Banks one more time.

“He just had an amazing outlook on life,” radio broadcaster Pat Hughes said. “I think he woke up every day trying to make new friends. ‘I’m going to meet as many new friends as I can, I’m going to make as many people happy as I possibly can. he was a rare person.'”

Billy Williams paid homage to Banks by delivering a message for this year’s team.

“I know Ernie would put his stamp of approval on this — ‘The Cubs will win as a team in 2015,'” Williams said.

— Carrie Muskat

1/24 Ernie and Wrigley Field

In an interview with Ernie Banks for my book, “Banks to Sandberg to Grace,” the Cubs legend told me a story about how a nurse at a health spa in Tucson, Ariz., asked him for a favor. Here’s Ernie telling the story:

“[She said] ‘My grandfather was a longtime Cub fan and before he died, he wanted his ashes spread at Wrigley Field. Do they do that there?’ And I said, ‘I don’t know but I’ll let you know before I leave.’

“So I called, and they said, ‘Well, Ernie, we get a lot of requests from people who want to do that. We don’t publicize it because we don’t want to make it sound like a cemetery.’

“I know we haven’t played well but it’s not a cemetery, so I told [the nurse] that. She said, ‘OK, but I really wanted it to happen.’

“So now, I want it to happen to me. I want my ashes to be spread over Wrigley Field with the wind blowing out.”

1/17 Bleachers won’t be ready Opening Day

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said Saturday that the Wrigley Field bleachers will not be ready by Opening Night, April 5. The bleachers are currently being renovated, part of the five-year, $575 million “Project 1060″ for the 100-year-old ballpark. Bleacher season ticket holders received an email on Saturday outlining their options. They can get a full refund prior to games of May 11, get a credit amount prior to May 11, or relocate for all their games prior to May 11. Kenney said the left field bleachers are expected to be ready by early May, and the right field bleachers ready by late May. Said Carl Rice: “We want to do it right.”

— Carrie Muskat

12/3 Tree lighting at Wrigley

The Cubs will host a tree-lighting ceremony Thursday to celebrate the holidays and conclude the team’s yearlong 100 Gifts of Service. The ceremony will be at 5:30 p.m. CT outside the Cubs Store at the northwest corner of Clark and Addison. The tree was donated by Christy Webber Landscapes.

Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins will be joined by Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, Cubs Charities chair Laura Ricketts, president of business operations Crane Kenney and representatives from many of the organizations that benefited from the team’s 100 Gifts of Service this year.

Fans and Wrigley Field neighbors are invited to participate in a holiday toy drive to benefit children at Lawrence Hall Youth Services. New, unwrapped toys may be donated at Thursday’s ceremony or during the Cubs Store’s business hours — 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT — leading up to the event.

11/29 The holiday season

The Cubs are inviting fans to participate in a holiday toy drive to benefit children at Lawrence Hall Youth Services. Toys may be donated at the Cubs Store across from Wrigley Field from now until Thursday at 5:30 p.m. CT, when the Cubs will host a holiday celebration and tree lighting ceremony at the corner of Clark and Addison streets.

You can bring new, unwrapped toys to donate at the tree lighting event. The large tree, donated by Christy Webber Landscapes, will stand at the northwest corner of Clark and Addison to avoid conflict with the Wrigley Field renovation project.

Fergie Jenkins, Tom Ricketts and representatives from the organizations that benefited from the Cubs’ 100 Gifts of Service will attend the tree lighting. The 100 Gifts of Service represent a year-long program featuring Cubs players and associates engaging in community service in celebration of Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday season.

If you can’t attend the tree lighting ceremony, the Cubs Store will accept new, unwrapped toys as donations during its business hours of 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. CT. Lawrence Hall Youth Services has compiled a wish list of desired toys, including action figures, board games, dolls, educational toys, puzzles, sporting equipment, stuffed animals, toy cars and more.

In addition to the toy drive, fans worldwide can offer a monetary donation to Cubs Charities to support the toy drive and other programs targeting improvements in health, fitness and education for those at risk. Tuesday is the global day dedicated to giving back. The Cubs will participate in the #GivingTuesday social media campaign, and requests fans share both the #GivingTuesday and #CubsCharities hashtags when encouraging donations online. Donations to Cubs Charities may be submitted online at http://www.cubscharities.com.

11/26 Wrigley work delayed

The Wrigley Field bleachers may not be ready by Opening Day because of unseasonably cold weather and delays with related projects, but a contingency plan is in place for season ticket holders, a Cubs spokesman said Wednesday.

“It’s the nature of the construction business, being able to deal with timing issues and setbacks and delays,” said Julian Green, vice president of communications and community affairs. “[Delays] happen with any construction project. They’re compounded with restoring a 100-year old ballpark and trying to work within a 26-week timeframe, which as of Monday, is 19 weeks.

“This is an extremely challenging project given the environment that is the weather as well as the compressed timing we have,” Green said. “It’s going to be a challenge.”

The Cubs will have a better idea as to how long of a delay they expect before March 6 when single game tickets go on sale for the 2015 season, Green said. The Cubs are scheduled to open the season at Wrigley Field on April 5 with a nationally televised game against the Cardinals.

“We’ll make a decision well before [March 6] in terms of whether we’ll be able to have the bleachers ready,” Green said. “We’re still going to be playing a game April 5, Sunday night, at Wrigley Field, and that’s not going to change.”

Chicago has experienced frigid temperatures and some snow in mid November, which has created some work stoppages. Heavy wind on Monday also delayed the crews. There are other issues, Green said.

“There is ongoing work by the city of Chicago water department which is doing some work to install a new water main on Sheffield [street],” Green said. “Because of that ongoing work, which was supposed to be completed in early October, we’ve been delayed with some of the deep foundation and excavation work in the area of the bleachers.

“We’re still doing work out there but the speed in which we can move depends on the water crews finishing up that work,” he said.

It’s tough to predict Chicago weather, and this fall has been difficult with a record string of below freezing days.

“The first day of winter hasn’t even arrived yet — that’s Dec. 21,” Green said. “We expect some colder temperatures and snow. We don’t know what the winter may bring. All of that led us to put some contingency plans in place. We’re not throwing up the white towel yet. We need to put some plans in place to take care of our customers.”

Green would not give an exact number of bleacher season ticket holders affected, saying there are a few thousand people. They do have some options.

“If you’re a bleacher season ticket holder, we will be able to accommodate season ticket holders in the grandstands,” he said. “Given the attendance rates in April, or the past attendance rates in April, we have more than enough seats to accommodate season ticket holders who hold seats in the bleachers.

“If there are bleacher season ticket holders who do not want to sit in the grandstand, we are considering a plan where we could either refund season ticket holders for the games they miss, or apply a credit for the 2016 season,” he said.

Green said the bleachers will be ready at some point in 2015; it’s just too soon to say when. The new video scoreboards and advertising signage will be installed by Opening Day, Green said.

— Carrie Muskat

11/24 Authentic Wrigley Field items for sale

Cubs Authentics has introduced the Wrigley Field Collection for fans looking to collect unique items from the ballpark. Cubs Authentics is the Cubs’ official provider of game-used and authenticated memorabilia. The Wrigley Field Collection will feature authenticated items in limited quantities throughout the season, including bleacher seats, flags, scoreboard tiles, signage and celebrity guest memorabilia, plus items related to Wrigley Field’s restoration and expansion.

Wrigley Field Collection items are available for purchase or bidding at http://www.cubs.com/authentics, beginning Monday with a limited number of Wrigley Field flags plus Budweiser Bleacher seats and aisle placards recently removed from the ballpark. Additional items, such as “W” flags flown over the ballpark after home wins and swatch items with authenticated infield dirt, will become available during the 2015 season and throughout the course of the restoration process.

In addition to memorabilia made available for sale to fans, the Cubs and Cubs Authentics continue to preserve historic elements of the ballpark and game-used gear for the team’s archives. Some items, such as bricks from Wrigley Field’s original bleacher construction, will be re-used in the restored Wrigley Field as possible. Others, such as unique signage or equipment used during noteworthy games, are stored securely in the Cubs Archives.

Cubs Authentics can be found at the following locations:

* The Cubs Store, 3620 N. Clark Street, across from Wrigley Field
* Online at http://www.cubs.com/authentics
* Memorabilia also can be purchased over the phone at (773) 404-4753 or by emailing CubsAuthentics@cubs.com

11/11 Season ticket sales hit limit

The Cubs have reached their season ticket sale capacity for the 2015 season. Julian Green, vice president of communications and community affairs, said the renewal rate for season tickets was 91 percent. The waiting list for season tickets has more than 50,000 names and is growing, Green said.

The renewal rate was close to 90 percent prior to the announcement on Nov. 3 that the Cubs had hired Joe Maddon as manager. Green said the excitement about the prospects, the improved play at the end of the 2014 season, and the start of the renovation work at Wrigley Field all contributed to the surge in sales.

— Carrie Muskat

11/7 Moving day at Wrigley

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On Friday, crews carefully moved what is known as the caretaker’s house away from Wrigley Field. The brick structure was built in 1923 and located at the northwest corner of Wrigley Field, outside of the ballpark. It’s temporary home will be about 200 feet away in a parking lot.

Construction crews needed the 470,000-pound building to be moved to complete modifications inside Wrigley Field’s Gate K. They are excavating for a new two-story basement level for the planned office building and plaza in the lots immediately adjacent to the ballpark. The caretaker’s house will be restored and returned to its original location by Opening Day 2015. When restored, the building will have a front porch with a combination of salvaged and new bricks. The house will be placed on a new foundation and will get a new roof.

Wolfe House Movers handled the delicate operation of moving the house, which was built for $6,000 during a major renovation of then-Cubs Park between the 1922-1923 seasons. Owner William Wrigley Jr. decided to build the home and offer it free of rent to Dorr, who was the ballpark’s grounds superintendent from 1919-57. Dorr and his family moved into the building in 1923, and he lived there until his death in 1957.

Long-time Cubs traveling secretary Bob Lewis use the building as his office and also called it home after Dorr left. Upon Lewis’ retirement, the building served as an office and also storage. Some players wanted to live there. Most recently, it was used as office space for the concessionaires.

— Carrie Muskat

11/3 Wrigley brick paver update

With all of the construction at Wrigley Field, many fans who bought commemorative brick pavers were concerned about what happens to their bricks. Here is a letter the Cubs sent to those people (in case you didn’t get it):

“As a Wrigley Field personalized paver owner, we appreciate your support of the Chicago Cubs. As you are likely aware, work is now underway to restore and expand beautiful Wrigley Field.

“We are taking great care to preserve and protect your paver as work continues in and around the ballpark. As part of this process, your paver may need to be moved and will not be accessible during this offseason. We will provide you with an update closer to Opening Day.

“We appreciate your continued support and patience as we work to restore and expand Wrigley Field to provide better facilities for our players, more amenities for our fans and continued economic benefits to Chicago and the Lakeview community.”

Wrigley Field Paver Program

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