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Wrigley Field historical sleuthing: Early bleachers edition

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This is a really good look at the bleachers when they were new.

There’s no clock on the Wrigley Field scoreboard. There’s only one score listed, and the famous ivy has only begun to grow.

That makes this one pretty easy. The clock was added in 1941, and with the ivy barely creeping above the ground as it was beginning to grow its way up the brick wall, this has to be from 1937 or 1938.

There’s only one date that matches what we see here — Saturday, April 23, 1938. The Cubs defeated the Cardinals 4-0 that afternoon, a four-hit shutout by Larry French.

A few notes about what you see in this photo:

  • In the bottom center of the board, where you’d now see the hit total for the Cubs and the “visitors,” you see a promotion for the next day’s game: TOMORROW ST. LOUIS. That wording continued through at least the end of the 1938 season, as you can see in this film from the 1938 World Series:

By 1941, the hit totals were shown in that location.

  • You can also see that the “W” flag was being flown, already, in that time, although in colors reversed from the blue-on-white you see today. While this is a black-and-white photo, the colors were definitely a white W on a blue field, as shown in this image from the Cubs’ 1946 scorecard:

I am not certain when the colors of the W and L flag were flipped. If you know, let us know in the comments.

  • This photo was obviously taken as the park is being cleaned up post-game. You can see some workers in the bleachers as well as grounds crew members on the field. Attendance that day was just 7,770. Per the Tribune, it was cloudy that afternoon with temperatures in the upper 50s.

Just another little slice of Wrigley life. Again, if you have photos in your personal collection of Wrigley and the Cubs from years gone by, send them along to the email on my profile here.