Chicago Cubs: The history of the 1937-2005 bleachers
Everyone who saw them can still remember the shape. Two downward sloping ramps that began in center down to the well areas. Fans often spelled ‘Go Cubs’ with beer cups in the chainlink fence behind these seats. Who could forget the green batter’s eye in the center that went from unoccupied seats to a tarp and finally juniper bushes in the late-90s to 2005.
In the late 1930s, the original wooden bleachers were replaced and the new brick walls were graced with ivy, thanks to Bill Veeck. The outer walls lining Waveland and Sheffield were part of the original construction in 1914.
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Meanwhile, the iconic center field scoreboard was added atop the center field seats and was originally a dull brown color. The clock was added a few years later. The batter’s eye in center came about because opposing players had a hard time seeing the ball with people wearing white in his line of sight.
Over the next six decades, not much changed in the outfield seats. The well areas went from catwalks to several rows of seats, but the main areas in left center and right center stayed the same. Since the bleachers then did not go back nearly as far as they do today, more homers went over them and onto the streets back then.
“Ballhawking” outside the park during batting practice became a lifestyle for many Cubs fans. The old bleachers also gave fans in the grandstand a good look at the buildings on Waveland and Sheffield – and allowed for spectators on those buildings to see the field.