A Day In Wrigley Field History: December 3, 1926

Courtesy Chicago Cubs

No game was played on this Friday afternoon 87 years ago; nevertheless, it's an important date in the history of the ballpark at Clark & Addison.

You'd think there would have been a more momentous way of announcing this -- and there surely would be in today's modern, social-media-dominated time -- but in 1926, it was almost an afterthought in an article that mostly had to do with praise for Cubs manager Joe McCarthy and some other information on the business side of the team, via Irving Vaughn in the Tribune:

Chief of these was the elevation of Secretary John O. Seys to the second vice presidency, the placing of the secretary's mantle on Miss Margaret Donahue, and the appointment of Robert Lewis, for two years in charge of the box seat sales, as traveling secretary in place of Seys.

The boosting of Seys followed the decision of the stock holders to take over the refreshment and score card concessions at Wrigley field, which now is the official monicker of the north side lot.

If you have ever wondered about the precise date that Weeghman Park/Cubs Park became Wrigley Field, there it is -- December 3, 1926, 87 years ago in about three weeks. There was more corporate information reported in the Tribune article:

Wm. Veeck will continue in the dual role of president and treasurer. In his annual report President Veeck was able to show that the club had its biggest at home year in history. No announcement regarding figures was made, but it has been known for some time the Cubs led the league with over 850,000 paid admissions. This is an average of 11,000 per game.

According to baseball-reference.com, the Cubs drew 885,063 in 1926, which set a team record. Vaughn's article also quotes the Cubs' board of directors in praising of McCarthy:

"The board of directors of the Chicago National league ball club extends its congratulations to Manager Joe McCarthy upon the splendid work he did for this organization in the 1926 season, and wish to assure him of its very deep appreciation. Above all, the directors wish to commend him for the splendid discipline maintained and wish to assure him of their future cooperation in his efforts to foster team spirit."

It was a different time, but managers definitely had more influence on ballclubs then than now. Unfortunately, McCarthy was fired late in the 1930 season, as William Wrigley didn't think he was the man to help lead the team to a World Championship. How wrong he was, as McCarthy won eight pennants and seven World Series managing the Yankees from 1931-1946.

One more note about the names mentioned above: Margaret Donahue is generally recognizad as the first female executive in major-league baseball history. There was an article about her in the Tribune last summer, detailing her contributions to the Cubs:

Donahue, who worked for the team from 1919 to 1958, was the first female front-office executive in Major League Baseball who was not also an owner. She was an innovator who changed professional baseball by introducing the concept of season tickets in 1929. And she came up with other novel ideas that are now commonplace, from selling tickets at off-site locations to offering a reduced ticket price for children under 12.

Contemporaries were impressed by how Donahue changed the way the game was presented to the public.

"(Donahue is) as astute a baseball operator as ever came down the pike," wrote legendary baseball owner and executive Bill Veeck in 1954. "She has forgotten more baseball in her 40 years with the Cubs than most of the so-called magnates will ever know."

The Tribune article indicates that the Cubs will be recognizing Donahue during the 100th-anniversary celebrations next summer. Good for them; someone this forward-thinking should never be forgotten.

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