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Old Jan 1st 2009, 10:46 am
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ryno4ever ryno4ever is offline
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Lightbulb If the Ivy Covered Walls could talk....

...imagine the stories it could tell!

With the first ever NHL game to be played at Wrigley today...and only the second NHL game played outside, the Daily Herald in Chicago did a piece that gave a breakdown of various historical (non baseball) moments that have taken place at the Friendly Confines!

The point here is that it hasn't just been baseball that has taken place at what began as Weegham Park in 1914 before changing names to Cubs Park and eventually becoming Wrigley Field.

We've all heard about Babe Ruth's "called shot," Gabby Hartnett's "Homer in the Gloamin,'" as well as Ernie Banks' 500th homer and Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout gem.

But that's not all.

Over the years, the corner of Clark and Addison has hosted rodeos, championship wrestling matches, carnivals, ski jumping (yes, ski jumping), basketball games, football games and a personal favorite: a junior welterweight championship match between Mushy Callahan and Spug Myers on May 31, 1927.

Here are some of the highlights by decade:


June 12, 1915: Known as both the Federals and the Whales, Chicago's Federal League team held what the Sporting Life weekly newspaper called "first-class hippodrome acts" after the Whales game.

In a precursor to the day/night doubleheader concept, a separate admission ranging from 10 to 30 cents was charged to view such circus performers as "The Five Juggling Normans" and "the great baseball pantomime comedian George Silvers."

Oct. 26, 1919: The independent Hammond All-Stars football club, also called the Bobcats, defeated the Minneapolis Marines 45-0 in the first football game at Wrigley. About 3,000 fans attended the game.

In subsequent weeks, Hammond played five more times, twice drawing 10,000 to watch Olympic great Jim Thorpe.


Oct. 10, 1920: The first professional football game was played at Wrigley as the Chicago Tigers hosted the Racine Cardinals (who were renamed the Chicago Cardinals on Oct. 2) before 8,000 fans. The game ended in a scoreless tie.

Oct. 12, 1920: The Decatur Staleys, champions of the West, played the Akron Steel, champion of the East, for the American Professional Football League Championship.

Akron was led by star halfback Fritz Pollard, the first black to play in a professional sporting event at Wrigley Field.

The matchup, billed as "The Game to Decide the Pro Football Championship of the World," was played before 12,000 - 10,800 who paid the 50-cent admission. It ended in a scoreless tie.

Oct. 27, 1923: The University of Illinois defeated the Northwestern Wildcats 29-0 at the park before 32,000.

The game was moved to Cubs Park after U of I ticket requests exceeded 10,000 (including alums), and Northwestern's field only held about 17,000.

This game was supposed to be Northwestern's homecoming game, but homecoming was moved to a later date when it was decided not to play this game in Evanston.

Sept. 16, 1926: Charley Phil Rosenberg battled Bud Taylor for the world's bantamweight championship - the first title bout fought in Chicago since 1894.

July 17, 1927: A group of "all-star" Scotsmen dropped a charity soccer match to the Bricklayers 3-1 with proceeds benefiting the Scottish Old People's home.

Oct. 29, 1927: DePaul University beat Loyola University 12-6 in the first football game between the rival schools since 1922. The game drew 15,000 for DePaul's homecoming.

July 24, 1928: The Chicago Tribune hosted its Gold Glove Tournament before 4,000 fans at Wrigley Field. Nearly $6,000 was raised for Olympic boxing expenses. Fifteen bouts were held; tickets were sold for $1 and $2.


June 21, 1931: The Glasgow Celtics, one of Europe's most celebrated soccer teams, beat the Bricklayers 6-3 at Wrigley before 11,000. The game was preceded by a dancing exhibition by Irish and Scottish girls and music by a Scotch kilty band.

Aug. 20, 1933: Softball teams, survivors from a pool of 1,000 teams, competed for Chicago championships in seven divisions at Wrigley, winners automatically qualifying for a tournament held as part of the Century of Progress in September.

Sept. 20, 1934: Portable lights were strung around the ring to stage "The Greatest Match in Mat Annals," a combined boxing and wrestling card. The world heavyweight wrestling title bout was decided at Wrigley in a ring built over home plate. Jim Landos pinned Ed "Strangler" Lewis after 49 minutes and 27 seconds to claim the title.

July 31, 1935: A team of Chicago amateur boxers defeated a team from New York, 10 bouts to 6, in the first intercity boxing meet sponsored by the Catholic Youth Organization. The bouts were held before 40,000.


May 17, 1943: Wrigley Field was used for the tryouts for the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Seventy-five candidates took part in the tryouts, with teams to be chosen by May 25.

July 1, 1943: Two teams of all-stars from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League played under portable lights before 7,000 at Wrigley. Admission was free. The game was part of a benefit for the Women's Army Air Corps and culminated a daylong Chicago-area recruiting drive.

Jan. 23, 1944: The Norge Ski Club held phase one of its 38th annual invitational ski jump tournament at Wrigley. A crowd of 6,387 was on hand for the event. A total of 52 jumpers, including one woman - Marine Pvt. Dorothy Graves, who had leapt 204 feet at Lake Placid - participated in the event.

Lt. Walter Bietila had the longest jump at 90 feet, but he was disqualified for falling at the end of his jump.

June 16, 1946: The newly formed North American Professional Soccer League played its first game at Wrigley Field, and the Chicago Maroons beat the Toronto Greenbacks 2-1 before 2,200.

June 19, 1946: For five days and five nights, Wrigley hosted a $50,000 Rodeo and Thrill Circus. More than 900 cowboys and cowgirls competed in bronc-riding, bulldogging, calf roping, wild cow milking and wild Brahma bull riding events sponsored by the Rodeo Association of America.

Sept. 12, 1946: Light-heavyweight Jake "Raging Bull" LaMotta KO'd Bob Satterfield in the seventh round before 9,950.

Sept. 14, 1948: Henry Wallace, a Progressive Party presidential candidate, held a Chicago rally under the lights at Wrigley before about 19,000.

Standing behind a blue platform set up behind second base, Wallace hurled a challenge at the Illinois Supreme Court, which earlier in the day had denied him a place on the Nov. 2 ballot.


June 21, 1950: Lou Thesz took on "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers for the National Wrestling Alliance heavyweight championship, best two out of three falls. Jack Dempsey served as the referee. Verne Gagne and Chief Lone Eagle were among several others on the wrestling card that evening.

Aug. 21, 1954: The Harlem Globetrotters defeated George Mikan's U.S. Stars 57-51 under portable lights before 14,124. Earlier that evening, the House of David beat the Boston Whirlwinds, featuring collegiate scoring recordholder Bevo Francis, 49-43.


Dec. 13, 1970: Jack Concannon passed for 4 TDs and rushed for another as the Bears routed the Packers 35-17 in their final Wrigley Field game, with 44,957 in attendance.

While Wrigley Field generally held slightly fewer than 37,000 for baseball, the Bears drew at least 40,000 over their final 56 games at Wrigley, a stretch that began on Dec. 16, 1962.

1978: The Chicago Sting, of the North American Soccer League, used Wrigley for part of their home games from 1978-82 and in 1984. The field was set up from east to west (the Bears had set the football field from north to south). The Sting also used Comiskey Park and Soldier Field to complete their home schedule.


June 28, 1981: The Sting beat the Cosmos 6-5 in a shootout before 35,501 at Wrigley. With the Cubs having an "off" season and a midsummer baseball strike, this was the second-largest crowd at Wrigley during 1981. Only the Cubs home opener drew more.


Sept. 4-5, 2005: Wrigleyville became Margaritaville as Jimmy Buffett performed two concerts over the Labor Day weekend.

July 5-6, 2007: The Police, led by Sting, performed two concerts before 40,000 fans.
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