Here’s some of the Chicago Tribune’s description of the Cubs’ first game at Weeghman Park/Wrigley Field on April 20, 1916: “It was another epochal day in the history of baseball and quite convincing that the Cubs have found a welcome to the north side. There was a newness and a curiosity to things. It was the first time many of the players and doubtless many of the fans had ever seen the north side ball park. New seats for the occasion had been build on the field behind the diamond and a double row of benches circled the outfield. A half hour before the game started the crowd spilled out of the fright side of the stand upon he field. A hit into the crowd was good for two bases. The players took great delight in driving the ball into that circle of fans, nine of them turning the trick. Besides, Big John Beall, who once wore a White Sox suit, drove one over the right wall and clear across Sheffield avenue on to the front porch of a flat building.
Because of the many side features, the teams were delayed in starting the contest. The big auto parade which formed downtown carried hosts of the box seat patrons to the field, for the parade was about a mile long, every car bearing banners. At the grounds [Cook County] Judge Thomas F. Scully had to make a speech that no one could hear. There were at least a half dozen bands there, and they even played while the judge was talking.
The Cincinnati rooters, number about 200, took part in the parade and occupied field seats in front of the Reds’ dugout. There were bundles of roses to be presented to favored ball players and an immense floral horseshoe for Manager Tinker and another for Heine Zim [Heine Zimmerman, the Cubs’ third baseman]. There were bombs exploded in the corner of centre field while the American flag was being raised. There was a live donkey brought into view by a host of Twenty-fifth ward Democrats, and there was a live and active black cub bear led to the home plate to do tricks in front of the movie camera.”
Claude Hendrix, the winner of the first game ever at Weeghman/Wrigley, started this game too for the Cubs and Joe Tinker, but when the game went 11 innings it was reliever Gene Packard who got the win, and Heine Schulz got the loss for the Reds. A double by Cy Williams and run-scoring single by Vic Saier won the game for Chicago. As the Tribune noted, Johnny Beall of the Reds had the first N.L. homer at Wrigley. And the first pitch, by Hendrix, was hit by Wade “Red” Killifer into left for a single. Killifer [as the newspaper spelled it; it’s actually Killefer] scored the first run on a Texas leaguer by Beall.
The game notes included this: “Several hundred snipers saw the game from the roofs and windows of flat buildings across the street from the ball park.” “Besides drawing a large bundle of American beauties, Manager [Buck] Herzog was presented with a walking stick and an umbrella.” “In the seventh inning [Bill] Fischer ran over a small boy while catching a foul fly on the edge of the crowd, but neither the boy nor the player was hurt in the clash.”
Here’s a Tribune cartoon making fun of the Reds:
More cartoon images of the Cubs’ first Wrigley game:
The top of the box score:
The bottom of the box score (notice all the doubles and other hits):