It’s hard to imagine, but one of the ballparks in the 2016 World Series hasn’t hosted a Fall Classic since 1945. That’s right, 1945! But here is a fact that is even more amazing: even though that park has been around for 103 baseball seasons, it has never been the home of a World Series champion.
Let that sink in for a moment. Wrigley Field opened in 1914. The Cubs moved in two years later. But the last time they won the Fall Classic was in 1908.
I had the chance to interview noted political and baseball author George Will a couple a years ago (full transcript here). He told me of a joke that was going around at the time: What do the Marlins and Cubs have in common? Neither has won a World Series in its new park.
On the American League side of the ledger, Progressive Field has been around 23 years. The first 14 of its seasons it was known as Jacobs Field. It has hosted two World Series, but its tenant failed to win either of them. In fact, the Indians haven’t been world champs since 1948.
For one team, it’s been 68 years. For the other, an agonizing 108 years. Something’s gotta give.
Every year since 2003, we’ve provided a “tale of the tape” of the two parks in that year’s Fall Classic (sometimes with a little tongue-in-cheek commentary), so here is this year’s edition, as Progressive Field and Wrigley Field take center stage in the sport’s biggest event.
|1994, when it was called Jacobs Field||Year opened||1914. It was the home of the Federal League’s Whales for two years before the Cubs moved into it in 1916|
|On the southern edge of Cleveland’s downtown, across the street from the Cavaliers’ Quicken Loans Arena. As Indians broadcaster Tom Hamilton always says, it’s “at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario”||Site||It was built on the site of a seminary, which seems appropriate|
|35,225. Despite their magical season, the Indians were one of only three MLB teams to fail to average 20,000 fans per game — for the fifth year in a row||Seating capacity||41,268. The Cubs saw the biggest jump in average attendance from 2015 to 2016, jumping 3,366 a game to 39,906|
|Natural grass (bluegrass)||Playing surface||Natural grass (bluegrass and clover)|
|Heritage Park beyond CF features plaques of members of the Indians Hall of Fame. Great food court in RF. New for 2016: a 221-foot-wide video board||Special features||New (very bright) video boards, although they aren’t universally loved. And the universally loved hand-operated scoreboard|
|HOK, now called Populous. Interestingly, Cleveland firm Osborn Engineering did the structural engineering, as they did for the Indians’ two previous stadiums||Designed by||Zachary Taylor Davis (that’s a person, not a firm). He designed several iconic Chicago buildings, including the original Comiskey Park|
|$175 million||Cost to build||$250,000. Yes, really|
|This is the third. 1995 and ’97 were the other two||World Series hosted||Six, all between 1918 and 1945. All were losing efforts|
|1948, long before this ballpark opened||Last World Series won by home team||1908, eight years before the Cubs moved in|
|Only once, in 1997||All Star Games hosted||Three, in 1947, 1962 and 1990. In all three, the home team (the NL) lost|
|The shape of the light towers is unique, and was featured in the official logo of the ’97 MLB All Star Game. The 19-foot-tall LF wall dubbed the “little green monster”||Landmarks||The bleachers … and one word: ivy|
|By any measure, a hitter’s park. Was 3rd out of 30 in average runs scored per game (20.7% more than average), and 5th in HRs (16.8% more than average)||Park factors (2016)
|Can you believe it’s a pitcher’s park?? In 2016, only five MLB parks allowed fewer runs, and only six allowed fewer homers|
|Loyal fans … but unfortunately, they don’t turn out like they used to in the ’90s, when they sold out the park 455 straight games||Filled with||Have you seen what scalpers are getting for World Series standing-room tickets? These fans are starving for a championship|