Chicago Cubs: One writer remembers first trip to Wrigley Field

(Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
(Photo by Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /

Here one writer recalls the first time he saw a Chicago Cubs game in person.

My first ever Chicago Cubs game that I saw at Wrigley Field was on September 14, 1996, as the Cubs took on the Philadelphia Phillies. I was 11 years old at the time, and though the Cubs lost the game, it will always have a special place in my memory.

I first became a fan of the team when I was nine years old. It was during the strike-shortened season of 1994; I became a fan watching the Tuffy Rhodes game on Opening Day of that year (when the otherwise journeyman outfielder hit three home runs off Dwight Gooden). With the strike eliminating the final several weeks of the season and the playoffs, I quickly became aware of all the financial “stuff” that often gets in the way of enjoying our great game.

I continued to build up my interest in the team in 1995, and by the following year, my parents decided they wanted to grow my interest further by taking me to a game. They bought all of us tickets and took us to Wrigley Field on that cool late summer Saturday afternoon.

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Unfortunately, as we were driving from Battle Creek, Michigan, we got stuck in traffic and didn’t arrive until about the fifth inning. I hadn’t missed much, as far as the home team was concerned; the game had remained scoreless until the Phillies put up a three-spot off Jaime Navarro. The Phillies added a run in the sixth and two in the seventh and would lead 6-0 not too long after we arrived.

Thankfully, I did get to see a couple of Cubs home runs: one from the great Ryne Sandberg, who was nearing the end of his career, and the other from Ozzie Timmons, who currently serves as a coach for the Tampa Bay Rays, both in the seventh inning. It wasn’t nearly enough as the home team lost to the Phillies, 6-2.

The Cubs at the time were on the fringes of the NL Central race; a sweep at the hands of the St. Louis Cardinals shortly after this game ended any hope that they could come back and catch the Redbirds for the division crown.

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It was the first of many games that I have since attended at Wrigley Field, and right now I’m on a personal eight-game home team winning streak. No matter how many Cubs games I attended the rest of my life, that first one will always hold a lot of meaning for me.