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Wrigley Field historical sleuthing: Four 21st Century photos

Here are some recent images of the ballpark. Let’s go sleuthing!

Credit where it’s due, I found all four of these photos here:

Well, you know me. That sent me on a sleuthing expedition. Let’s go through these in chronological order as shown on the tweet:

This is Luis Gonzalez batting for the Diamondbacks in the top of the first inning Saturday, July 30, 2005 (you can see his name on the ribbon board beneath the scoreboard). There’s one out and Alex Cintron is on first base. The count is 3 and 1 and on the next pitch, Gonzalez would fly out to right field. The Cubs pitcher is Rich Hill. The Cubs lost this game 3-2.

You can immediately see the difference in the ballpark. This is after the first bleacher expansion, in the 2005-06 offseason. The Cubs are playing the Giants and we are in the top of the second inning with runners on first and third with one out.

This game happened Sunday, September 3, 2006. Pedro Feliz is the batter for the Giants. Ray Durham is the runner on third and former Cub Moises Alou is on first. The Cubs pitcher is Angel Guzman. Feliz hit a sacrifice fly to center field, giving the Giants a 1-0 lead.

The Cubs took a 3-1 lead into the fifth, but the Giants then scored four off Guzman and Michael Wuertz and eventually won 7-4.

This is during the first stage of the 1060 Project, and the second bleacher expansion. You can see the left field video board in place, but not the right field board, and the bleachers aren’t even close to being finished. A No. 14 is behind the plate in honor of Ernie Banks, who had passed away the previous January.

The video board image makes this one easy. Will Middlebrooks has just completed his at-bat in the top of the sixth inning. He flied to center off Jon Lester. There are Padres runners on first and second and Joe Maddon has gone to the mound to replace Lester with Brian Schlitter. The score is tied 2-2.

This game happened Sunday, April 19, 2015. Schlitter allowed a hit that gave the Padres the lead, and eventually the Cubs lost the game 5-2.

This is a bit of a puzzler, at first. It says “2023,” but the bleachers have advertising tarps, as they did during the pandemic season of 2020. On the other hand, there are people sitting in the bleachers, which wouldn’t have been the case at any time in 2020. This obviously isn’t a Cubs game day — look at the infield, it’s oddly tarped off with just the dirt portions covered. And, it’s been raining and the video boards are advising people to leave the seating bowl and seek shelter because of inclement weather.

This is, in fact, from 2023. From July 6-9, 2023, Upper Deck Golf had a golf event at Wrigley. You can see a nine-hole “course” placed in the outfield. The top of the scoreboard reads:


Checking the weather reports from last July, it appears the most rain fell on Saturday, July 8, so that’s when I’m going to say this photo was taken. Here are some other photos of the golf event:

These are all fascinating photos. There’s really a stark difference between the first two, which you can see here:

As for the other two, that’s a really good photo of the unfinished bleachers in 2015 and a view we don’t get to see much, a present-day private event at the ol’ ballpark.