When I revisited my hometown of Chicago after a long absence, there were two places I had to revisit. One was the beautiful Buckingham Fountain, and the other one was Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.
I went to this baseball ground many times as a boy and a man. I always had a fabulous time there. Every time I go back it brings memories of my youth.
Wrigley Field is one of baseball’s oldest parks, built in 1914 as a 14,000 seat park. It is beautiful with ivy growing on the outfield walls. It seats over 41,000 now, after many years of adding seats. It was named Wrigley Field after the chewing gum man who bought the club in 1920.
One of its distinctive features is a hand-operated scoreboard, which is 30 feet by 75 feet. In this electronic age, Wrigley Field remains one of baseball’s most old-fashioned parks.
I can remember going to the park, one day, with my friends when I was 10 years old. We would take our baseball mitts just in case a foul ball came our way. At the “Seventh Inning Stretch” everyone gets on their feet and sings, `’Take Me Out To The Ballgame”. It’s a great atmosphere!
I remember one incident vividly. After the game, kids would wait for an hour or so for the players to come out of the dressing room and we would get autographs of our heroes.
Well, this particular time, we caught up with Hank Sauer, a big home run hitter at the time. He was the first player to hit three homers in one game off of the same pitcher!
My friend and I went up to him and he was like a giant compared to us. We probably looked like a couple of waifs!
“Will you sign our scorecards and shake our hands, please?” I said, timidly.
He looked down at us and said, “Lets see your hands.”
We turned our hands palms up.
He looked and said, “They’re too dirty!” Then he walked away.
That remark left us standing there with our mouths open!
Needless to say, we changed our allegiance to a more affable player. This memory still makes me smile today.
So whenever I get back to the “Windy City”, I have to see a ballgame at good old Wrigley Field.