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Wrigley Field history: The ballpark in the snow

On this very cold day, here’s a 60+ year old photo of snow-covered Wrigley.

First, credit where credit is due, the source of the photo at the top of this post:

I couldn’t make this a sleuthing post because there is literally no clue as to when this photo was taken except for the snow on the field, which tells us “winter” but not much else.

1954 seems a good estimate for the year; the scoreboard matches, so does the “Ricketts” ad on the building on Waveland (which, if you don’t already know, has nothing to do with the family that currently owns the team, instead it was a restaurant at 2727 N. Clark which closed in the late 1960s).

The main reason I wanted to share this photo, besides the fact that it matches up pretty well with today’s brutal weather in Chicago, are two things rarely seen in any photo of the ballpark from that era.

First, you can see the lower box seating area without the folding chairs that were the seats in that time frame. Those were stored in a sub-basement at the ballpark in the offseason, an area where high-end clubs now sit. The posts you see are what created “boxes” around groups of seats, thus “box” seats. When the Cubs played there, the Wrigleys put four seats in each “box” row. George Halas added one in each for Bears games, so when the Wrigleys put permanent seating in those areas in 1965, Halas complained bitterly about losing 800 prime seats.

You can also see in this photo the base of the bleachers that were set up in right field at Wrigley Field to provide several thousand more seats for Bears games. You can get a better sense of how that worked in this photo from November 28, 1961:

Bettmann Archive

Having those bleachers in right field often killed off a lot of the grass there, making the right field turf occasionally look bad for Cubs games for the first few weeks of the season until the Bears moved out after 1970.

Just something to pass the time on this very cold Chicago day. Stay safe!