Wrigley Field has been a baseball icon for 106 years. The home of the Chicago Cubs has seen a series of firsts and iconic moments in Major League Baseball — and as of Thursday, it's officially a National Historic Landmark.
The recognition, which federally protects and maintains historical properties and objects in the U.S., was made in honor of "the significant role the ballpark has played in the city of Chicago and the history of professional sports," the Department of Interior wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
The 106-year-old field is the second-oldest Major League Baseball field, and the oldest field in the National League.
⚾️ Hitting it out of the park with this news! Wrigley Field is officially a National Historic Landmark.— US Department of the Interior (@Interior) November 19, 2020
This recognizes the significant role the ballpark has played in the city of Chicago and the history of professional sports https://t.co/lON5F9uomH pic.twitter.com/acLY7xMyfR
"The historical significance of Wrigley Field is interwoven into our nation's story and a key part of what has become America's beloved pastime for over a century," said secretary David Bernhardt. "It is with great enthusiasm that I designate this iconic national treasure, the site of many legendary events, innovations and traditions in baseball history, as a National Historic Landmark."
"Wrigley Field is a special place in the hearts of generations of fans," said Chicago Cubs Executive Chairman Tom Ricketts. "That's why, from our first day as owners, we committed to preserving Wrigley, which will now take its well-earned place in the lineup of American history and culture as a national treasure."
Wrigley Field was built in 1914, and became the home of the Cubs in 1916. That year, owner Charles Weeghman initiated the longstanding tradition of allowing game attendees to keep baseballs that were hit into the stands, the Department of the Interior said in a press release announcing the decision.
The field was also the first ballpark to provide refreshment booths behind stands, use an on-site organ as entertainment during games, and serve the first site of the Super Bowl's predecessor, the National Football League Championship, according to the department's statement. Wrigley is the only ballpark that still exists that was a part of the Federal Baseball League, and it served as the home field for the Chicago Bears from 1921 to 1970.
Iconic moments on the field include the sport's only "double no-hitter," which took place in 1917, Babe Ruth's 1932 World Series "called shot," and Gabby Hartnett's "Homer in the Gloamin'," which the department recognized as an event that propelled the Cubs to the 1938 National League pennant.
The U.S. currently only identifies roughly 2,600 sites and objects as National Historic Landmarks. Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox and the oldest Major League Baseball park, received the designation in 2012.