10 Fast Facts About Wrigley Field

iStock
iStock

Originally opened in 1914, Chicago's Wrigley Field—home of the Chicago Cubs—is the second oldest ballpark in America (second only to Boston's Fenway Park). So it's hardly surprising that the field, which was renamed after chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. (who bought the baseball club in 1918 and renamed the park in 1927) is steeped in history. Here are 10 things everyone ought to know about this jewel box park.

1. THE FAMOUS IVY BACKDROP WAS PLANTED IN 1937.

In 1937, Bill Veeck Jr., the son of the Cubs's president, planted ivy vines against the outfield wall. It was originally 350 Japanese bittersweet plants and 200 Boston ivy plants, but the Boston ivy eventually took over. If a ball gets lost in the ivy, it's considered a ground-rule double as long as the outfielder raises his hands to indicate that the ball is lost. If he doesn't, it's considered fair play.

2. THE SCOREBOARD HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE 1937, TOO.

The old-school scoreboard is also still manually operated. Despite its prominent placement, it has never been struck with a batted ball. Golfer Sam Snead teed off from home plate and hit it once, though.

3. THERE ARE RULES FOR HOME RUN BALLS.

A Cubs fan throws a home run ball back at Wrigley Field
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

When a player for the Cubs hits a home run, the lucky fan who catches the ball doesn't take it home as a souvenir: tradition dictates that he or she return it to the player. (Cubs fans are thoughtful like that.) If it's a player on the opposing team who hits the tater, it will usually be promptly thrown back onto the field (even if the person who catches it is outside of the stadium).

4. WRIGLEY FIELD USED TO BE WEEGHMAN PARK.

Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley was an investor in the Cubs and kept increasing his shares, then eventually bought out Weeghman in 1918. He was full owner by 1921 and expanded the park in 1922.

5. LIGHTS WEREN'T ADDED TO WRIGLEY UNTIL 1988.

On August 8, 1988, Wrigley Field was lit up for the first time. They were scheduled to be added in the early 1940s, but one day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, P.K. Wrigley donated 165 tons of steel to the war effort instead. The City of Chicago issued an ordinance against night games at Wrigley because the lights would be distracting to people that actually lived in the neighborhood, but the organization and the city came to an agreement in time for the 1988 season.

6. THE FIRST NIGHT GAME AT WRIGLEY FIELD GOT RAINED OUT.

The first night game was supposed to be against the Phillies, but it got rained out. While waiting on the rain delay, some of the Cubs took the opportunity to act out a scene from Bull Durham and played slip-and-slide on the tarp covering the field. The players who participated were fined $500 each.

7. IT'S ONE OF THE ONLY BALLPARKS WHERE NEIGHBORHOOD RESIDENTS CAN SIT ON THEIR ROOFS AND WATCH THE GAME.

Cubs fans sit on rooftops across from Wrigley Field in Chicago
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This wasn't really a problem for the Cubs organization until the 1990s, when owners of the apartments built bleachers on their roofs and started charging people to come watch the game from their stands. The owners of the apartments agreed to share some of the proceeds with the Cubs and the Cubs agreed not to block the view with a fence. The team's owners have also scooped up some of these apartment buildings for themselves on occasion.

8. THE BEARS PLAYED AT WRIGLEY FIELD FROM 1921 TO 1970.

They were called the Staleys for the first season, but then renamed themselves to coordinate with the Cubs.

9. HARRY CARAY'S FAMOUS SEVENTH-INNING STRETCH RENDITION OF "TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME" ALMOST NEVER HAPPENED.

While Harry Caray was still announcing for the White Sox, radio producer and broadcaster Jay Scott approached him about singing the song for the audience, but Caray declined. So, during one game, Scott turned the mikes on in the announcer's booth without telling Caray and a tradition was born—a tradition that Caray brought with him to Wrigley Field when he became the team's official broadcaster in 1982.

10. BABE RUTH'S FAMOUS CALLED SHOT HAPPENED AT WRIGLEY.

During the 1932 World Series, The Babe pointed to centerfield to indicate exactly where he was going to hammer the next ball. And he did. It's much argued among baseball fans as to whether Ruth actually called the shot or if he was pointing at the pitcher or simply gesturing toward the Cubs's bench. Whatever he did, he did it at Wrigley.

7 Historic European Castles Virtually Rebuilt Before Your Very Eyes

A reconstruction of Spiš Castle in eastern Slovakia.
A reconstruction of Spiš Castle in eastern Slovakia.
Budget Direct

While some centuries-old castles are still standing tall, others haven’t withstood the ravages of time, war, or natural disaster quite as well. To give you an idea of what once was, Australia-based insurance company Budget Direct has digitally reconstructed seven of them for its blog, Simply Savvy.

Watch below as ruins across Europe transform back into the formidable forts and turreted castles they used to be, courtesy of a little modern-day magic we call GIF technology.

1. Samobor Castle // Samobor, Croatia

samobor castle
Samobor Castle in Samobor, Croatia
Budget Direct

The only remaining piece of the 13th-century castle built by Bohemia’s King Ottokar II is the base of the guard tower—the rest of the ruins are from an expansion that happened about 300 years later. It’s just a 10-minute walk from the Croatian city of Samobor, which bought the property in 1902.

2. Château Gaillard // Les Andelys, France

Château Gaillard in Les Andelys, France
Château Gaillard in Les Andelys, France
Budget Direct

King Richard I of England built Château Gaillard in just two years during the late 12th century as a fortress to protect the Duchy of Normandy, which belonged to England at the time, from French invasion. It didn’t last very long—France’s King Philip II captured it six years later.

3. Dunnottar Castle // Stonehaven, Scotland

Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland
Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven, Scotland
Budget Direct

Dunnottar Castle overlooks the North Sea and is perhaps best known as the fortress that William Wallace (portrayed by Mel Gibson in 1995’s Braveheart) and Scottish forces won back from English occupation in 1297. Later, it became the place where the Scottish monarchy stored their crown jewels, which were smuggled to safety when Oliver Cromwell invaded during the 17th century.

4. Menlo Castle // Galway City, Ireland

Menlo Castle in Galway City, Ireland
Menlo Castle in Galway City, Ireland
Budget Direct

This ivy-covered Irish castle was built during the 16th century and all but destroyed in a fire in 1910. For those few centuries, it was home to the Blake family, English nobles who owned property all over the region.

5. Olsztyn Castle // Olsztyn, Poland

Olsztyn Castle in Olsztyn, Poland
Olsztyn Castle in Olsztyn, Poland
Budget Direct

The earliest known mention of Olsztyn Castle was in 1306, so we know it was constructed some time before then and expanded later that century by King Casimir III of Poland. It was severely damaged during wars with Sweden in the 17th and 18th centuries, but its highest tower—once a prison—still stands.

6. Spiš Castle // Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia

Spiš Castle in Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia
Spiš Castle in Spišské Podhradie, Slovakia
Budget Direct

Slovakia’s massive Spiš Castle was built in the 12th century to mark the boundary of the Hungarian kingdom and fell to ruin after a fire in 1780. However, 20th-century restoration efforts helped fortify the remaining rooms, and it was even used as a filming location for parts of 1996’s DragonHeart.

7. Poenari Castle // Valachia, Romania

Poenari Castle in Valachia, Romania
Poenari Castle in Valachia, Romania
Budget Direct

This 13th-century Romanian castle boasts one previous resident of some celebrity: Vlad the Impaler, or Vlad Dracula, who may have been an early influence for Bram Stoker’s vampire, Dracula. It also boasts a staggering 1480 stone steps, which you can still climb today.

[h/t Simply Savvy]

America’s 10 Most Hated Easter Candies

Peeps are all out of cluck when it comes to confectionery popularity contests.
Peeps are all out of cluck when it comes to confectionery popularity contests.
William Thomas Cain/Getty Images

Whether you celebrate Easter as a religious holiday or not, it’s an opportune time to welcome the sunny, flora-filled season of spring with a basket or two of your favorite candy. And when it comes to deciding which Easter-themed confections belong in that basket, people have pretty strong opinions.

This year, CandyStore.com surveyed more than 19,000 customers to find out which sugary treats are widely considered the worst. If you’re a traditionalist, this may come as a shock: Cadbury Creme Eggs, Peeps, and solid chocolate bunnies are the top three on the list, and generic jelly beans landed in the ninth spot. While Peeps have long been polarizing, it’s a little surprising that the other three classics have so few supporters. Based on some comments left by participants, it seems like people are just really particular about the distinctions between certain types of candy.

Generic jelly beans, for example, were deemed old and bland, but people adore gourmet jelly beans, which were the fifth most popular Easter candy. Similarly, people thought Cadbury Creme Eggs were messy and low-quality, while Cadbury Mini Eggs—which topped the list of best candies—were considered inexplicably delicious and even “addictive.” And many candy lovers prefer hollow chocolate bunnies to solid ones, which people explained were simply “too much.” One participant even likened solid bunnies to bricks.

candystore.com's worst easter candies
The pretty pastel shades of bunny corn don't seem to be fooling the large contingent of candy corn haters.
CandyStore.com

If there’s one undeniable takeaway from the list of worst candies, it’s that a large portion of the population isn’t keen on chewy marshmallow treats in general. The eighth spot went to Hot Tamales Peeps, and Brach’s Marshmallow Chicks & Rabbits—which one person christened “the zombie bunny catacomb statue candy”—sits at number six.

Take a look at the full list below, and read more enlightening (and entertaining) survey comments here.

  1. Cadbury Creme Eggs
  1. Peeps
  1. Solid chocolate bunnies
  1. Bunny Corn
  1. Marshmallow Chicks & Rabbits
  1. Chocolate crosses
  1. Twix Eggs
  1. Hot Tamales Peeps
  1. Generic jelly beans
  1. Fluffy Stuff Cotton Tails

[h/t CandyStore.com]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER