Winter 2020 Catalog Auction Ending Feb 22
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The structure at 1060 West Addison in Chicago, Illinois is not just the purported home of one “Joliet Jake” Blues. It is much better known as the home of the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field, the second-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. Built in 1914, Wrigley Field was originally known as Weeghman Park from 1914 to 1920, and since 1916 it has been home to the Cubs of the National League. Only Fenway Park in Boston is older, becoming home to the Boston Red Sox in 1912.

The story of Wrigley Field begins with Chicago businessman Charles Weeghman. Weeghman was a waiter in a Chicago restaurant who opened a lunch counter in the City of the Broad Shoulders in the 1890s. Weeghman’s lunch counter served only cold sandwiches, and his customers would eat at one-armed school chairs so Weeghman could fit more chairs into the restaurant. At one point, Weeghman owned 15 of these diners, with the one located at Madison and Dearborn serving 35,000 people each day. In 1911, Weeghman made an unsuccessful attempt to purchase a controlling interest in the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League. Cardinals owner Helene Hathaway Britton had recently inherited the team upon the death of her uncle, Stanley Robison, but she refused Weeghman's offer of $350,000 for the club, eventually selling the team to Sam Breedon in 1917.

Undaunted, Weegham bought into the new Federal League and founded the Chicago Whales, and made the decision to build a new steel and concrete ballpark for his club. He leased the land, the former site of the Theological Seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, from Edward Archambault, for 99 years at a cost of $16,000 per year. Weeghman's lease forbade the use of the land for "immoral or illegal purposes." Weeghman chose the site, in part, because of the proximity of the elevated train tracks. After the Federal League folded, Weeghman was allowed to buy an interest in the Chicago Cubs, emerging as the older club's majority owner. He then moved the Cubs from wooden West Side Park to Weeghman Park.

The ballpark was designed by brothers Zachary Taylor Davis and Charles G. Davis. It reportedly cost $250,000 and took just two months to complete. The single-deck stadium was named Weeghman Park after its owner, Charles Weeghman, and had a seating capacity of 14,000. Construction began on March 14, 1914, and the park hosted its first major-league baseball game on April 23, 1914, with the home field Federals (of the Federal League) defeating the Kansas City Packers. After the Federal League folded in 1915, Weeghman led a group that purchased the Cubs, and the team made its Weeghman Park debut on April 20, 1916. Four years later William Wrigley Jr., a chewing-gum manufacturer, bought the Cubs and renamed the stadium Cubs Park. In 1926 the current name, Wrigley Field, was adopted.

At its opening, the ballpark had only a one deck of grandstand in a V-shape, with wooden bleachers in the outfield. Original dimensions at Weeghman Field were 310 ft. (left), 440 (center), and 356 (right). It was the first ballpark to have permanent concession stands. The first Cubs game at Weeghman Field was on April 20, 1916. The Cubs won their first-ever game in their new home, 7-6 over the Cincinnati Reds. It was the Cubs franchise’s 45th season, their 41st in the National League, and they finished fifth in the league with a record of 67-86.

Presented is an exceptionally rare memento of that first Cubs game played at their new “forever” home, the game program from that opening series with the visiting Reds. The 6 x 9-inch white paper program is 44 pages (including cover) and features a scorecard centerspread with the Reds and Cubs lineups printed in black. The six-color front cover has the legend “Cubs Chicago National League Ball Club” across the top, over an orange banner with an illustration of an infielder at the left, a photo of a Cubs player in the center, and red, white and blue bunting below the “5 c [cent] Official Score Card” legend. The bottom two-thirds of the front cover are dominated by an advertisement for Boston Store, a Chicago-based sporting goods store. The back cover has an ad for “Blue Valley Butter” in red, blue and yellow. This program is the only one known of its kind and is in excellent condition – the centerspread scorecard is loose from the binding, but all other pages are clean and tight with no wrinkles or tears.

We can have confirmed that the program is from the first ever home series at the new park in Chicago. Additionally we have pinpointed the lineup card to the opening game for the following reason; First, the CIN roster in this program includes Johnny Beall, who was sold by the Reds on 4/26 to Milwaukee (American Association) despite going 3-4 in this game with a HR. This definitively nails potential dates of program to 4/20 or 4/22, as they were the only Reds at CHI games prior to 4/26. Second, as advanced vintage program collectors are aware, scorecards of this era listed either the starting pitchers for the game or a selection of two or three possible starting pitchers (Later programs would list all starters or just leave pitcher spot blank). This program lists potential Cubs starters as "McConnell, Hendrix or Pierce". Claude Hendrix did indeed start this game on Opening Day 1916 in Chicago while the 4/22/16 game featured Tom Seaton as the starter for the Cubs who is NOT listed as one of the potential three starters in this program.

Exceptionally Rare Chicago Cubs Vs Cincinnati Reds Program From April 20, 1916 Opening Day First Game Ever at Wrigley Field (Known as Weegham Park) -Only One Known
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