When people think of Wrigley Field, they think of the ivy
The Wrigley Field Ivy
The beautiful green vines growing on the brick outfield walls is one of the first things people visualize when they hear the name Wrigley Field. The Wrigley Field Ivy is unique in all of baseball and one of Wrigley’s many unique charms.
The bleachers and the famous Wrigley Field Scoreboard were built in 1937 and the vines were planted that same year by General Manager Bill Vecck. The ivy was not only intended to beautify the stadium but was an attempt at cushioning the brick wall, using the most advanced technology available at the time. As any baseball player will tell you though, ivy does very little if anything to cushion someone crashing into the wall.
The Wrigley Field vines are a variety of ivy commonly known as Boston Ivy but are also referred to as Japanese creeper, Grape ivy, Japanese ivy, and woodbine. It is popular variety in Chicago and the U.S. used for a climbing ornamental plant on the walls of buildings.
Over the years many a baseball has disappeared into the thick vines during the summer months, creating funny memories for fans and players alike. If a player loses a ball in the vines, he can step back and raise his arms to signal to the umpire that the ball is missing. The umpires will call time and if there is no dispute that the ball was interfered with, the batter who hit the ball will be awarded a ground rule double.
Occasionally this rule has been utilized to prevent an opposing player from hitting a triple or to try and stop a runner from scoring from first base on a hit. I cannot think of any instances though were a lost ball in the vines has actually effected the outcome of a game though.
The Wrigley Field vines are one of those great things, like daytime baseball, sunshine, tradition and the call of “Old Style Beer here!” that just make Wrigley special.