Chicago Cubs history: 2005 marked the end of an era at Wrigley Field

Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs
Milwaukee Brewers v Chicago Cubs / Jonathan Daniel/GettyImages

The 2005 season was a forgettable one for the Chicago Cubs. Outside of Derrek Lee's outstanding year, there was not much to enjoy as the team finished 79-83 and out of the postseason picture. It was a notable year however for The Friendly Confines itself as it was the final season of the classic 1937 bleacher configuration.

In 1937-1938, the famous brick walls with ivy planted on them, bleachers, and scoreboard were constructed. The outfield had remained virtually untouched for decades, but the time came when the bleachers needed some modernization and an increase in capacity. After some time of getting approvals and plans together, the winter of 2005-2006 would be the offseason in which the left field and right field bleachers behind the ivy-covered walls would be demolished and rebuilt to fit roughly 1,900 more patrons.

While the ivy walls themselves, the centerfield section of seats, and the scoreboard would remain, everything else in left field and right field was torn down. This included the outer brick wall that faced the sidewalks of Waveland and Sheffield, much of that wall dated back to the early days of the park. The centerfield batter's eye would go from a patch of juniper bushes to a private club area. No longer would the left and right field well areas be either catwalks or a small family section of seats with fence screens behind them. The days of spelling out "Go Cubs" with empty beer cups in the openings of that chainlink fence screen were over.

It might not seem like a big deal, but those old bleachers hosted countless memories. They sat fans for the 1938 and 1945 World Series, as well as the 1984, 1989, 1998, and 2003 postseasons. Countless home run balls from Cub legends like Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, and Sammy Sosa landed in those old seats, as well as notable baseball legends who visited Wrigley like Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Mike Schmidt, and so many others. Not to mention those seats hosted Chicago Bears fans for several decades, including hosting four NFL championship games from 1937-1963.

During the final homestand of the 2005 season, the bleacher regulars would pay tribute and say goodbye to the crumbling concrete and old rickety metal seats they had come to know and love for so long. 68 years of memories in the left and right field stands would turn into rubble soon after the home finale on September 28th. In that finale, Cubs leadoff man Jose Macias would give the old bleachers one last home run ball in the bottom of the sixth in a 3-2 loss to the Pirates.

The memories of the 2005-2006 bleachers did not even a decade as the Ricketts Family demolished left field and right field yet again as part of the 1060 Project in 2014. One of the notable memories of those brief outfield seats was the hoopla caused by the addition of the Toyota sign in 2010.

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While the left field and right field sections of the classic 1937 bleachers are now long gone, the memories still live on. Even if they witnessed a lot of futility over the years. From Mr. Cubs home runs, to bleacher bums, the old outfield seats were a lot of fun.