The Chicago Cubs and Their Connection to the Eastland Disaster
Chicago, Illinois -- Congratulations to the Chicago Cubs, their entire organization, and Cubs' fans wherever they are (including those no longer with us)!
What an epic Game 7 battle that truly epitomizes the "never say never" and "we don't care 'bout no stinkin' goat" character of this team.
This past Monday we shared the Eastland Disaster connection to the Chicago Bears (George Halas). Now -- while still savoring and relishing the World Series Championship after 108 years -- we would like to share the Eastland Disaster
connection to Wrigley Field, home of the World Champion Chicago Cubs.
In 1915, the year of the Eastland Disaster, the Cubs did not play at Wrigley Field. The Cubs instead played at West Side Park (located on the west side
just south of the Eisenhower Expressway), not moving north until 1916 to what is now known as Wrigley Field.
Wrigley Field had originally opened as a ballpark in 1914 as Weeghman Park, named for Charles Weeghman, owner of the Chicago Whales of the Federal League
of professional baseball. The Whales called Weeghman Park their home field for the 1914 and 1915 seasons, until the league folded after the 1915 season.
The Cubs moved and played their first home game there in 1916 on April 20. Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. acquired complete control of the Cubs
by 1921. It was called Cubs Park from 1920 through 1926, before becoming Wrigley Field in 1927.
On July 29, 1915, just five days after the Eastland Disaster shook Chicago, Charles Weeghman decreed that all proceeds from the Thursday baseball game between the Chicago Whales and Buffalo Blues would be donated to the Eastland Disaster Relief Fund. Those
who entered Weeghman Park -- fans, players, umpires, everyone -- had to pay at the gate, with all funds going to help the families of the victims of
the Eastland Disaster. Imagine the ballplayers, managers, and umpires taking the field and imagine the fans in their seats -- everyone hearing the
tragic story of those affected by the Eastland Disaster.
For those who enjoy trivia: Just as the Chicago Cubs won the championship this year, the Chicago Whales did likewise in 1915 by winning the Federal League championship!
And if that wasn't coincidence enough? The starting pitcher for the Whales during the Eastland Disaster benefit game was a fellow with a last name
of -- you guessed it -- Hendrix.
Photo courtesy: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo