Tag Archives: wrigley field

Wrigley Field – “Turn On The Lights!”

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On this day in 1988 Wrigley Field finally joined the 20th Century.  The great American ballpark that is Wrigley finally hosted a night game under the lights.  Wrigley Field was opened on April 23, 1914 under the name of Weeghman Park.  The ballpark underwent many changes through the years but the most important was installing lights.  A total of 5,687 consecutive day games where played there before they held a night game.

The Philadelphia Phillies were the Cubs opponents on this night.  The game had a scheduled start time of 7:05pm.  A pregame ceremony took place prior to the game in which a long time Cubs fan was able to hit a button to turn on the lights.  The interesting not about this game it was never an official game.  The game was halted in the fourth inning because of rain at 8:14pm.  The game was officially called off at 10:25pm.

The first full game under the light would take place the following night on August 9, 1988.  The Cubs defeated the New York Mets in that contest by a score of 6-4.  Wrigley had a deal with the city of Chicago for many years following to only play around 20 night games a season.  The reason for this was with the ballpark being located in a residential area of the city the lights would affect the local residents from sleeping at night.

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The 1933 NFL Championship Game: “The First NFL Playoff Game”

Nothing is more exciting in any professional sport than a playoff game. American’s have enjoyed the NFL playoffs for eight decades. Since the NFL’s inception there have been over 500 playoff games. That tradition did not start in 1920 with the league’s inception.  From 1920-1923 the NFL Champion was voted by the team owners.  During the 1924-1932 seasons the Championship was won by the team with the best record (win percentage) at the end of the season.

The 1932 season was the final season before a Championship Game was instituted.  The final game of the ’32 season was technically a “playoff” game. The Chicago Bears (6-1-6) and the Portsmouth Spartans (6-1-4) shared the league’s best win percentage of .857.  To settle the tie an addition game was played between the two teams. The Bears were victorious in that final contest by a score of 9-0 over the Spartans. This game was recorded as a regular season game in the record books for both teams.

At the conclusion of the the 1932 season the NFL decided that a Championship game would take place at the end of every season. The two teams holding the best record in their division (Eastern and Western) would face each other to determine a champion. Thus began what we now know as the NFL Playoffs.

The 1933 NFL Championship Game played at Wrigley Field in Chicago. (Getty)

The 1933 NFL Championship Game played at Wrigley Field in Chicago. (Getty)

On December 17,1933 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL the first NFL Championship Game took place. The Western Division’s Chicago Bears (10-2-1) went to battle with the Eastern Division’s New York Giants (11-3). This game featured two of the NFL’s all-time greats, Red Grange and Bronco Nagurski both playing for the Bears.

The Bears drew first blood with a Jack Manders 16-yard field goal in the 1st quarter. In the 2nd quarter the Bears would receive another field goal from Manders, while the Giants QB Harry Newman threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Red Badgro. The Giants led 7-6 going into halftime.

When the second half began the Bears would retake the lead with another Manders field goal. The Giants quickly responded with a 1-yard touchdown run by Max Krause, the Giants now held the lead by a score of 14-09. The Bears scored their first touchdown of the game Bronco Nagurski touchdown pass to Bill Karr before the 3rd quarter concluded.

The 4th and final quarter began with the Bears holding a 16-14 lead over the Giants. The lead would change early in the final quarter when the Giants QB Harry Newman completed his second touchdown pass for the day to Ken Strong to take a 21-16 lead. The Bears came through in the final two minutes to take the lead and the win with a Bill Karr 19-yard touchdown reception. The Bears defeated the Giants 23-21 on that day. The Bears became the first NFL team to capture a championship via a “playoff” game.

Many people debated whether the first NFL game was in 1932, 1933 of 1967. The 1932 game was not officially scored as a “playoff” game while the 1933 game was. The semifinal playoff games did not begin until the 1967 season so some consider it to be the first season with a playoff. I feel that the 1933 game was a playoff game and has even officially been regarded as that by the NFL. With that being said, the first ever NFL Championship game was the first playoff game ever.

On This Day In 1998: “Kerry Wood Throws 20 Strike Outs”

On May 6, 1998 history was made at one of baseballs most historic ballparks Wrigley Field.  The game was between the visiting Houston Astros and the beloved home town heroes the Chicago Cubs.  Pitching for the Cubs that days was a young right handed pitch named Kerry Wood.  Wood had made his Major League debut just one month earlier and was about to shock the baseball world.

In front of the crowd of 15,758 fans Kerry Wood was set to face an Atros team with former All Stars and a couple of potential Hall Of Fame Players.  Players like Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio headlined the line up for the Astros that day.

Kerry Wood during his 20K performance in 1998. (Getty Images)

Kerry Wood during his 20K performance in 1998. (Getty Images)

Wood struck out every player in the Astros line up at least once during the game.  During his nine inning pitching clinic he gave up only one hit and his Cubs committed no errors.  When the smoke cleared Wood had thrown a record tying 20 strike outs.  The crowd was electrified from the excitement of this rare accomplishment.

Kerry Wood went on to have a respectable career with Cubs, Indians and the Yankees.  He had two stints with the Chicago Cubs and in the last half of his career was a closer.  He played his final game on May 18, 2012 with the Cubs, 14 years after making history.  He became the 1998 National League Rookie Of The Year and a two time All-Star (2003, 2008).  Wood retired with a career record of 86-75 , 3.67 and 1,582 strike outs.

Kerry Wood saying goodbye to the Wrigley Field crowd in his final game on May 18, 2012. (Getty Images)

Kerry Wood saying goodbye to the Wrigley Field crowd in his final game on May 18, 2012. (Getty Images)

The only other player to have struck out 20 batters in a single game was Roger Clemens, he did so in 1986 and 1996.  Only Eight players have pitched 18 or more strike outs in a game.  This record has not been matched or broken since Kerry Wood joined Roger Clemens on the top of this list.