Just when I thought I had seen all the photos that were available of Wrigley Field during the 1950s or 1960s, up pops this one, via Twitter:
With dates clearly visible on the marquee, it didn’t take long to find out when this photo was taken. The Cubs played the Giants at Wrigley Field May 2, 3 and 4, 1961. They won the May 2 game (in fact, Don Cardwell was working on a two-hit shutout until the ninth inning) and lost May 3 and May 4. The 1961 Cubs were a bad team that finished 64-90 and the attendance for those three weekday afternoon games (a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) reflects that. Total attendance for the three-game series was just 11,504.
Beyond that, I can tell you almost exactly when this photo was taken. The Wrigley marquee in those days showed the dates of the current or upcoming series. You can see the ballpark gates are closed, so this could not have been a game day. This Giants series was the last three games of an eight-game homestand, with an off day Monday, May 1.
Since the Wrigley gates are closed, this must have been taken Monday, May 1, and judging by the shadows, probably around midday.
The rest of the photo is a great time capsule. Check out the fins on the cars! The black car at the right without fins is probably a 1960 or 1961 Ford Fairlane. The red and white car appears to be a 1956 DeSoto Sportsman. The one with the big fins and the logo on the door? That one, I’m not sure. Perhaps one of you who’s knowledgeable about classic cars can fill us in. The white-on-red license plates match the 1961 Illinois plate shown here.
Another thing of interest are the railroad signals and the tracks crossing Addison Street. Trains went into that area on a regular basis well into the 1960s.
If any of you have old photos of Wrigley Field, either inside or out, that you’d like me to sleuth, send them along!
Here’s a larger version of the photo at the top of this post. For an even larger version click here.
UPDATE: Via BCB reader BigJohnAZ, here is another version of the photo that is probably closer to the actual colors at the time.