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Wrigley Field bandleader Ted Butterman has died

He and his band entertained Cubs fans at the ballpark for decades beginning in the 1980s.

Courtesy Lisa Fielding

From 1982 through the middle of the 2010s, Ted Butterman’s Cubs Quintet entertained fans with Dixieland jazz during ballgames at Wrigley Field.

I’m sad to report to you that Ted Butterman passed away last Wednesday, aged 87.

This 2015 article by Lisa Fielding of WBBM radio sums up well what Butterman and his band did to liven up the ballpark:

80-year-old Ted Butterman says he debuted the band in 1982, a day he recalls Fergie Jenkins was on the mound and the Cubs shut out the Mets 5-0, a win for the team and for the newest addition to the Friendly Confines.

“The first couple of games when we first started playing out here they’d never heard anything like that before, we added to the ambiance of the park, brought a smile to a lot of people’s faces even though the Cubs were losing,” said Butterman.

Since then, he estimates he’s played nearly 3,000 games in front of the park, under the marquee, pregame and in between innings throughout the stadium.

“We only have a minute 20 seconds to play during the game, so we have to give it our all for a minute and 20 seconds,” he said.

As you know, I sat in the right-field bleachers for many years before moving to left field after the 2005-06 bleacher rebuild. Ted and his band used to set up near us and play between innings most games, and I got to know him a bit. Nice guy and he loved his music and the Cubs.

I’m not entirely sure when his band stopped playing at Wrigley, but based on that article, they played music for Cubs fans for at least 34 seasons beginning in 1982. Here’s some video of Butterman and his band playing at Wrigley in 2008:

Rest in peace, Ted, and thanks for the memories.