“Is Wrigley Field a historic place?” I asked during a recent family get together.

“NO! They should have bulldozed that dump years ago and moved to the suburbs!” My dad shouts from the other room.

Now, before you start sending me hate mail, let’s dial it back a bit and reflect upon both sides of this spectrum. On one side of the argument, you have the devoted Cubs fans who have been through it all, thick and thin, good and bad (mostly bad it seems) and cling to the importance that their baseball mecca exudes through time. However, from the other viewpoint, you have my dad’s argument. There are many out there who don’t understand the tradition and sanctity of Wrigley Field. They feel it is simply a baseball stadium where a professional baseball team plays. Neither side is wrong however.

One might argue that the concourse is horribly cramped and outdated, especially from a Covid standpoint these days. While I do love every minute I spend at Wrigley Field, after all I’m a die hard Cubs fan, I can’t help but think some days it would be nice to see the team in a newer ballpark. So, once and for all, let’s dive in and discuss just what makes Wrigley Field have such a historic presence.

Outfielders sometimes need to be reminded that there is brick behind the outfield ivy.

If you were to tell anyone you were planning a trip to Chicago, ideally they would mention a few of the touristy spots for you to hit around town. Navy Pier, the Mag Mile, the “Bean” in Millennium Park, and even Sears Tower (yes, Chicagoans will always refer to it as Sears) are just a few of the hotspots that people come to Chicago to see. Ultimately, one of the other aspects a native Chicagoan will likely throw out is to go see a baseball game at Wrigley Field. It’s interesting that whenever this comes up, it’s always Wrigley that gets recommended as opposed to the newer Guaranteed Rate Field on the South Side where the White Sox call home. The absolute reason for this is the history that is reinforced within the bricks at 1060 W. Addison St. Let’s face it, the Cubs history is riddled with torture, depression, and heartbreak. These concepts are what make Cubs fans the cynical folk that we are! The years that provide us with awful baseball teams leave us looking for something that will make us content about being a Cubs fan. This is where Wrigley comes into focus.

Wrigley is like a dive bar, but it’s your dive bar!

Imagine your favorite dive bar that you would frequent during your college years. Regardless of how sketchy it was, it was YOURS! You were a regular. This is how Cubs fans feel during those tumultuous seasons. Even when the team was putting out players like Mike Olt, Edwin Jackson, and Jeff Blauser, we still were proud of our stadium and heritage. A baseball stadium that was built in 1914 and has withstood the test of time, witnessed two world wars, a moon landing, and much more. It has seen it all and provides comfort to those long suffering fans. This in the truest sense is what makes Wrigley so historic. It is bigger than us. It is longer lasting than us, and most likely it’ll still be around long after us.

Not only does Wrigley provide a backdrop for America’s past time, but it also has had the luxury of being in a variety of movies. It’s been the setting of countless baseball movies, and even comedies. Ferris Bueller, Uncle Buck, Blues Brothers, Rookie of the Year and A League of Their Own all have either filmed there or had Wrigley as a part of their movie at some point. This iconic feeling has transcended modern media and allows for younger generations to realize that such a historic location was even in movies!

Enter Wrigley Field stage right.

I’ve been lucky enough to visit a handful of other baseball stadiums in my time. The new Busch Stadium is a gorgeous ballpark. Coors Field has one of the best views past the outfield wall that I can remember. Guaranteed Rate Field is one of the best when it comes to being able to easily move around the park. Dare I say, the concourse at Guaranteed Rate is luxurious in terms of its spaciousness. Even Tropicana Field has its…uniqueness. However, none of those can seemingly compare to walking out from underneath the concourse and out into the seating area of Wrigley.

I still recall my first game on a cold and rainy September day in 2003. The Cubs were playing the Pirates and were all set to finally clinch the division for the first time in forever. While the game was called off due to rain before a pitch could be thrown, I was immediately enthralled in the history of the ballpark. I could look at third base and imagine Ron Santo kicking his heels. I was able to look to the pitcher’s mound and imagine seeing Fergie Jenkins throwing bullets to his opponents.

2003 – What could have been?

While other fanbases have just as many former players they can recite, odds are, those historic players didn’t get a chance to perform in their current stadiums. This is yet another reason that makes Wrigley so incredible. I know that when I go to see a game there, I’m sitting in the same stadium my parents sat in as kids, the same stadium my grandparents sat in, and even my great grandparents. How many other ballparks around the country can offer such a phenomenon? This grand sense of unpretentiousness shows just how small we are in the big scheme of life. This odd feeling contributes and builds the history of Wrigley Field.

Ron Santo and the ’69 Cubs

Is it perfect? Far from it.

While I will argue that Wrigley Field has every right to be considered historic and should be a destination during any visit to Chicago, it’s not without its faults. As I mentioned earlier, trying to get food down in the main concourse during a sell out game can be an effort in futility. Thankfully, this has been remedied over the years with a variety of new concessions and food services in the upper levels of the ballpark as well as in the bleachers. Ultimately though, short of lifting the stadium up and expanding the concourse, this is not going to change. Even the bathrooms have finally been updated slowly, but surely. There was nothing more disgusting than seeing a gigantic trough in the men’s bathrooms throughout the stadium.


The stadium itself has lost a little bit of its classic appeal in recent years with the addition of the enormous scoreboard in left field. While it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been, there was something special about looking into left field and seeing the rooftops and realizing that this game is being played amidst a neighborhood. A neighborhood, I might add, which has taken on the raucous atmosphere of the stadium itself as well. If you want to people watch, I highly recommend spending an evening in Wrigleyville.

It’s a ballpark in the middle of a neighborhood. How cool is that?

Ultimately, should Wrigley Field still be considered historic? While others may disagree, the answer is a resounding yes. As much of a pain as it is to get to the ballpark and try and navigate around your seat, it still is something special to behold. The bricks, the ivy, the original scoreboard all make it a magical place. However, instead of the physical aspect of the ballpark, think back to the people, the family members, and events that have been inside that stadium. That is what makes it historic in the hearts and minds of many Cubs fans around the country.

Not many ballparks exhibit this ability to transcend time and place. This is truly why Wrigley Field is a historic ballpark and one that must be viewed on its own terms. I will gladly concede that this historic beauty may be lost on people from out of town that do not have the unique tie to the ball club and area as much as its fans. However, if you can channel your thoughts to focus on what has gone on inside those brick walls covered with ivy, you can truly see just how timeless a building from 1914 can be.

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