Ever wonder why Wrigley Field"s outfield walls room adorned with ivy?

You get in under the marquee in ~ Clark and Addison. Together you make your method through the concourse, a sliver of glowing blue sky is clearly shows through one of the walkways that lead to the seating area. As you climb the stairs, the eco-friendly hand-operated scoreboard in facility field comes right into view. Together you with the optimal of the steps, friend look to the outfield and see...nothing but a level old wall?

For fans entering Wrigley ar prior to 1937, the was the check out for those seated in the grandstands looking ~ above the field. No lush environment-friendly ivy to run from foul pole to foul pole. Just a wall, prefer every other stadium in the league.

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How boring.

Part of what renders the Wrigley field experience so distinct is having actually an outfield that looks various than the 29 other major league ballparks. So, just how did it gain there? for that, Cubs fans have a previous White Sox owner to thank.

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The beginnings of the ivy go back almost 90 years. William Veeck to be the Cubs president from 1919 till his fatality in October 1933. During that time, he hired his son, william Jr., who began as a gopher yet quickly moved his way up the Cubs organization. Veeck Jr, whom Chicagoans know much better as Bill, would certainly go on to buy the White Sox in 1975. He was behind infamous baseball moments like sending 3-foot-7 Eddie Gaedel come bat in 1951 and also Disco Demolition Night in 1979.

In 1937, Veeck gave Cubs fans very early glimpse the his capacity to make a splash.

That season, team owner P.K. Wrigley chose to renovate the ballpark the bears his family’s name and also make it much more of a destination rather than just an additional baseball stadium. A big part of the upgrade to be the addition of the bleachers and also the center field scoreboard, which has actually remained in its spot because that the previous 83 years.

Wrigley turned come Veeck, tasking him v marketing Wrigley field with something a little much more colorful in former of the bricks sustaining the bleachers.

As because that the inspiration for the ivy, Veeck credits the house of the Indianapolis Indians, Perry Stadium, which opened up in 1931 and had ivy climbing its outfield walls. In his autobiography, “Veeck together in Wreck”, Veeck wrote:

Since ns had constantly admired the ivy-covered...walls at Perry stadium in Indianapolis

I said we appropriate the idea for ourselves.

Imitation is the sincerest kind of flattery.

The ivy remained at Perry stadium (which to be renamed success Stadium and also Bush stadion over the years) until the ballpark closed in 1996. The ind tried to replicate the ivy covered walls in ~ their new park, but team officials were told experienced baseball standards now forced padded walls 

Wrigley’s walls have been grandfathered right into the rules, therefore they have the right to remain as is. And also any make the efforts to adjust them requires the approval that the City that Chicago, which included the ivy to component of Wrigley Field’s Landmark Designation.

The ivy additionally has a special collection of rules. If a batted ball goes right into it and disappears, the batter (and all runners) space awarded 2 bases. However, if one outfielder makes an effort to gain the sphere out that the ivy, the ball is live (and the outfielder operation the danger of detect not only the sphere in play, however others hit over there previously).

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But what if Veeck never planted the ivy?

What if in 1937, Mr. Wrigley made decision a brick wall surface was enough. Would certainly the team have kept the walls at their existing height and also just added pads to them once the league forced they do so? there is no landmark status, the Cubs can have determined during succeeding bleacher renovations to reduced the height of the walls a pair of feet to allow outfielders come attempt home run-saving catches.

In that case, there would be no need for a basket at the optimal of the walls. And there is no one, javier Baez’ eighth inning shot into the left ar basket in game 1 the the 2016 NLDS against the mountain Francisco Giants isn’t a homer, but a long fly out. And instead of win that video game 1-0, perhaps the Cubs lose it.

Maybe that provides San Francisco the momentum they need in the series and they go on and also beat the Cubs in the NLDS. Climate there is no World collection title and also the championship drought is at 111 years and also counting.

And it is a civilization I simply don’t want to live in. And also it provides me evaluate the ivy ~ above the wall surfaces that lot more.

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