My favorite memory at Wrigley Field, however, was going to a Sunday doubleheader (which is as good as baseball gets, though alas they don't do that anymore, unless it's day/night...), and in the first inning of the first game -- when a crowd's enthusiasm and energy is at its peak, Ernie Banks -- the beloved Mr. Cub -- came up with the bases loaded, and the place was going wild for that. And he hit a grandslam home run. Cheering rarely gets louder or happier.
One thing I've never seen in Wrigley Field is a World Series game, but...well, that's the way it goes. And after all, This Could Be the Year. (Not likely this year, but...hey, you neeeeeeever know. I'm a Cubs fan. Hope springs eternal. With emphasis on the "eternal.")
My dad did see a World Series game in Wrigley Field. Not a World Series championship, of course, but hey, for a Cubs fan, that's cotton. He grew up blocks from Wrigley, and at that time a kid accompanied by an adult got in free. He's talked about walking over to the park when he was around eight years old, going up to strangers and having them take him in to the game. Ah, boy, life has changed a whole lot since then.
The most fun baseball game I ever saw there was probably in the mid-1980s. The Cubs were playing the San Diego Padres and won 23-7, getting 31 hits. Just a joy. (When you're a Cubs fans, it's those things that stand out. A good game can make a season. A good inning can make a season...) The funny thing though is that my friend I was with worked in his family business, but played hooky that day. So, he couldn't tell anyone there that he'd actually been at the game! I remember leaving the park afterward, and there was a crowding milling around, and the policeman on duty who saw us asked, "How did the Cubs do today?" When we explained the unlikely occurrence for the Cubs, he burst out laughing.
Not only the Cubs, but the Chicago Bears also played in Wrigley Field, for about 50 years. I went to only Bears game there -- but it was a doozy. It was the game when Gale Sayers as a rookie scored six touchdowns to tie the National Football League record, which still stands. December 12, 1965. The day was pouring and the field was muddy, so the team took Sayers out of the game after three quarters when he had five touchdowns. They only put him in the fourth quarter, for one play. A punt return. He ran it back for a touchdown! Through the mud, with the opposing San Francisco 49ers slipping all over the place. It was also the game where the 49ers kicker, Tommy Davis, who at that point had the longest streak of kick extra points...missed.
One of the things the Bears did in their early days playing football at Wrigley was that, at halftime, rather than have a marching band, they'd bring in kids who were in the local neighborhood football leagues to play a 15-minute game. My dad was in one of those leagues, so he can officially say that really and truly he played in Wrigley Field.
The rest of us? We sat there and watched. And it has been a joy.