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posted: 4/25/2014 5:18 AM

Nice Wrigley celebration, but it needed more stars

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  • Some baseball fans dressed in period clothes, top, and others donned the replica 1914 Chicago Federals jersey on Wednesday at the 100th anniversary of the first baseball game at Wrigley Field. Several greats from Cubs and Bears history also attended the celebration.

      Some baseball fans dressed in period clothes, top, and others donned the replica 1914 Chicago Federals jersey on Wednesday at the 100th anniversary of the first baseball game at Wrigley Field. Several greats from Cubs and Bears history also attended the celebration.
    Associated Press

 
By Mike North
The Rebel Inside

Wednesday was the 100th birthday of historic Wrigley Field, and I watched the ceremony featuring several former Chicago Cubs players (Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Randy Hundley, Glen Beckert and Andre Dawson), plus former Chicago Bears greats Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus.

Personally, I would have loved to have seen more players from both teams represented. That little ceremony was nice, but it seemed too understated for such a momentous occasion. After all, the next time a ballpark celebrates its hundredth birthday won't be until 2062 for Dodgers stadium.

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I have such great memories of Wrigley Field -- like going to my first game with my Uncle Joe against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1962. When I climbed the stairs, I thought it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. Then I became a vendor and worked at all the ballparks -- Soldier Field, Dyche Stadium (now Ryan Field) and Comiskey Park, but Wrigley Field in 1969 and '70 was where I made my money.

I really thought I was going to see a World Series, and I enjoyed two of the greatest years a kid could have selling Cokes in the stands while the Cubs were driving for a pennant. They came up short, but those were two summers I'll never forget.

And from 1967 through 1971, I spent most of my fall Sundays at Wrigley watching my beloved Chicago Bears. My buddies and I used to sneak in by walking alongside the Burny Bros. Bakery truck off Waveland Avenue while someone would distract the security guard.

Hands down, Wrigley Field was the best place to watch a football game. I do wish more Bears players such as Doug Buffone and Ed O'Bradovich had been honored at the ceremony on Wednesday.

In 1992, when WSCR radio started, it became even more of a place to go for fans and media. My wife Be-Be, a huge Cubs fan, and I had season tickets for two years by the right-field bullpen. We would go to those 2:20 p.m. Friday games, and let family and friends have the tickets the rest of the time.

My professional memories of the park include a radio broadcast remote I did from the now-defunct Hi-Tops on Lakeview for a Cubs-Sox series. An angry White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen called into my show, and everything went up for grabs as Ozzie went off and my guest, Cubs announcer Bob Brenly, sat by a little stunned.

It was a contentious interview, but later I went to the park and confronted Ozzie in the locker. We hugged and talked and it was all over pretty quickly, but the audio is there forever.

We all have memorable stories about Wrigley Field, and if you don't why not? Where were you?

Well there still is time to create more memories. Happy birthday, Wrigley!

Program notes:

Follow me on Twitter@ north2north, and listen to Fox Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman and myself from 5-8 a.m. Monday through Friday on Fox Sports radio. Catch my show from 7-11 a.m. Sundays, and check me out on iHeart radio or Foxsportsradio.com.

• Mike North's column appears each Tuesday and Friday in the Daily Herald, and his video commentary can be found Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at dailyherald.com. For more, visit northtonorth.com.

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