The marquee hasn’t been a part of Wrigley Field’s entire 100-year history — this season is only its 80th — but it’s as much a part of the ballpark’s fabric as the sound of organ music and smell of Old Style.
How a simple sign has become so beloved is through the passage of time, much in the same way Wrigley Field has endeared itself to baseball fans.
“It feels authentic to people,” said Stuart Shea, author of “Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines.” “It feels authentic because it’s so different. It’s the same reason why people feel the way they do about Wrigley Field. It stands for the way we romanticize the past, and it’s a living monument to the past.”
Commissioned by the Federal Sign Company of Chicago and installed in 1934, the marquee’s initial purpose was advertising, Cubs historian Ed Hartig said. The Cubs relied heavily on day-of-game ticket sales — holding 25,000 of the then-40,000-ticket capacity for such sale — and used the marquee to promote that day’s game.