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Wrigley Field historical sleuthing: 1960s edition

This one was easy to sleuth, but still contains a mystery.

This was one of the easiest sleuthing photos of Wrigley Field that I’ve come across.

The games listed on the marquee (ST. LOUIS MAY 19-20-DH 21), along with the style of cars visible in the photo, make it simple. Those cars are all late 1950s or early 1960s automobiles, so that narrowed down the search years.

These games happened in 1961, one of the Cubs’ interminable bad years in that era. The ‘61 Cubs, the first of the College of Coaches years, went 64-90. They did manage to split that four-game set against the Cardinals. They won the May 19 game 1-0. Glen Hobbie threw a seven-hit complete game shutout and Ernie Banks’ first-inning RBI double accounted for the game’s only run. On May 20 the Cubs again won 1-0, this time on a walkoff homer leading off the ninth inning by Ed Bouchee. Dick Ellsworth threw a three-hit shutout. Then they got swept in the Sunday doubleheader, 6-3 and 3-0, the second game a four-hit shutout by future Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, who struck out 11.

Of interest in the photo: First, the railroad crossing sign on Addison Street. The coal yard that once was adjacent to Wrigley Field (now the location of Gallagher Way) closed in 1961, but the rail line that once delivered coal there was still active. In fact, today you can still see one remnant of that rail line extant on the south side of Addison (though it’s not shown in the photo above). It’s a green post embedded in the sidewalk adjacent to the Cubby Bear bar, just west of the corner of Clark & Addison. That post once held railroad signals. This photo was taken by David Sameshima for one of our Wrigley construction updates December 31, 2016 when a wedding party was posing near it with Wrigley in the background:

David Sameshima

If you’ve ever walked by that post on Addison and wondered what it was, now you know.

Also of interest in the 1961 photo: The sign at the left that appears to read “BOX SEAT BRICK OVEN PIZZA.” I don’t know anything about this place; by the late 1960s it had been replaced by Franksville, a hot dog joint, and by 1980 a McDonald’s occupied that site on the northwest corner of Clark & Addison.

If you know anything about the pizza place, let us know in the comments.