Wrigley Rooftops

Wrigley Rooftops is a generic name for the rooftops of residential buildings which have bleachers or seating on them to view baseball games or other major events at Wrigley Field. Since 1914,[1] Wrigley roofs have dotted the neighborhood of Wrigleyville around Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs play Major League Baseball. Venues on Waveland Avenue overlook left field, while those along Sheffield Avenue have a view over right field.

The rooftops had always been a gathering place for free views of the game, but until the 1980s, the observers were usually just a few dozen people watching from the flat rooftops, windows and porches of the buildings, with “seating” consisting of a few folding chairs, and with little commercial impact on the team. When the popularity of the Cubs rooftop began to rise in the 1980s, formal seating structures began to appear, and building owners began charging admission, much to the displeasure of Cubs management, who saw it as an unreasonable encroachment.

Various methods of combatting this phenomenon were discussed. The idea of a “spite fence”, as with Shibe Park in Philadelphia, or the Cubs’ previous home, West Side Park, was discussed. The idea was not implemented, nor was it fully abandoned. Before Opening Day in 2002, a “wind screen” was temporarily erected on the ballpark’s back screen behind the outfield wall, obscuring some of the view from Wrigley roofs. The Cubs had made their point, and progress towards a balanced relationship with the Wrigleyville neighbors would soon be achieved.

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This post was written by Jeff H.

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